A season of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” that included one cast member arrested on federal fraud charges and another accused of operating a cult ended with a third cast member yelling that she was going to expose others for being unfaithful to their husbands.
In the closing minutes of the Feb. 20 episode, Meredith Marks blows a gasket because she believes other cast members are attacking her family and her marriage. There’s an argument going on, but it’s not about that.
But as Meredith and Jen Shah are yelling at each other, Meredith starts issuing threats. In a confessional, she says, “Yes, I have been sent information about some of the women having extramarital affairs.” And she threatens that “if these women want to continue to talk about one of my dark times” — when she was seeing other men while separated from her husband, Seth — she’ll get her revenge.
Back at the event, she yells, “I’ll talk about who EVERYBODY dated that NOBODY knows about.” And in the confessional, she says, “They have plenty of darkness surrounding them that I am more than happy to talk about.”
Jen tells Lisa Barlow, “It is not my [expletive] fault that” Meredith “[expletive] the entire [expletive] … Upper East Side” of New York. Lisa hugs her.
We know Meredith isn’t talking about Heather Gay, who’s divorced. And we can assume she wasn’t talking about Mary Cosby, with whom she was still friends when the season finale was filmed. Which means that Meredith likely was referring to Jen and/or Lisa, Whitney Rose and Jennie Nguyen.
It’s a cliffhanger for Season 3. Or maybe for the three-part Season 2 reunion, which begins airing Sunday, Feb. 27, on Bravo — 7 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 10 p.m. on Comcast.
Jen meets with movers as she prepares to downsize from the 9,000-square-foot Shah Chalet to a 4,500-square-foot home in the Avenues in Salt Lake City.
“I would like an A for effort because I’m doing the best I can with what I can do,” she says. And she repeats that they’re downsizing so they can afford the $2 million retainer she has to pay her lawyers.
“Packing to downsize — that’s depressing,” she says. “Like, I’m acting like it’s OK and I got this and, OK, we’re moving forward. But like, this is hard for me.”
The mover estimates it will cost $8,000-$10,000. Jen doesn’t flinch.
“My trial starts March 7th. And so, yeah, am I scared? I’m very scared,” Jen says. “Is this the last everything I have with my family this year? It’s crushing because I’m the person that takes care of my entire family. What’s everybody going to do if something happens to me? This is why I can’t sleep at night.”
Jen says she and her team will “try to pack as much as we can” to keep the costs down. “Maybe we should have a garage sale, but I don’t think we can in the HOA up here.”
“And I don’t think any of your neighbors go to garage sales,” the mover says.
Heather holds a memorial for her father
Heather and members of her family and friends are at Eastlawn Memorial Hills to hold a memorial for her father, who died about a year ago. But only a few members of her family attend.
Her brothers, Tyler and Casey, are there, but her sisters, another brother and her mother do not show up. Heather says they were “taking a stand and refusing to participate because my mom [said] my dad was rolling over in his grave” because “they think it’d be a compromise of their values and a betrayal of their faith if they were to endorse me in any way.”
She thinks it’s “quite possible” the family had another memorial and didn’t tell her.
Heather says that, with the exception of Casey, “everyone here today are all kind of conflicted Mormons, too. And it’s become kind of like a committee meeting for the Island of Misfit Toys and all of the conflicted Mormons” who are “kind of between two worlds.”
Her father died in April 2021; the last time she spoke with him was Christmas 2020. “But things were very, very strained because I had recently been public about my faith crisis” and her exit from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She tells the others at the memorial, “I didn’t know if my dad even really knew who I was when he died” but she feels “compelled to make him proud. ... I knew I could never fully be myself and be Mormon. I would rather be his daughter than be myself. I would rather be Mormon and be loved and make him proud than anything opposite. But here I am a bad Mormon.”
The handful of people at the memorial sing “God be With You ‘til We Meet Again.”
Tyler asks Heather if she noticed that their mother pulled up for a minute. (There a clip of Tyler hugging his mom, but she clearly didn’t sign a waiver — her face is blurred.)
“I would’ve loved to have seen her,” Heather says. When Tyler suggests their mother didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the service, Heather says, “If you don’t want to interrupt the flow, you attend the event. You don’t show up midstream to make it about you. You saw it, you still disapprove. That’s all that was.”
Tyler points out that, while he, too, has left the LDS Church, Heather is an “easy target” because she is “loud and proud.”
“All of these people were willing to show up for me and take the heat, but they’re still welcome in both worlds, except for me,” Heather says. “And that’s because I’ve been so public about it. It would be fine if I wasn’t practicing Mormonism as long as I didn’t shout it from the rooftops.”
Creepy family photos
Meredith, her husband, Seth, their children, Brooks (21) and Chloe (19), and a photo team go out on the Salt Flats to shoot promo photos for Meredith’s jewelry line. Which, she strongly asserts, is unisex: “My men’s collection’s never coming out because my jewelry is for everybody.”
She says she contacted GLAAD “because I decided that we could really make this into something much more exciting by trying to raise money” for that group (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). It’s a bit ironic, given that Meredith has had her own issues with homophobia this season.
And then we’re flashing back to the dispute between Jen and Brooks, and repeating the clip of Brooks inaccurately saying, “she liked a tweet saying, ‘I want Jen to turn around and slap Brooks and call him a sissy b----.’” (There was no reference to slapping in the actual tweet.)
Meredith does say the right things about Brooks, who still hasn’t decided what his sexuality is, apparently. “My son has been going down his own journey. Wherever that leads him, that leads him, and I accept that at every level,” she says. “And I would just want him to know that we love and support him in every capacity.”
And then we cut to Brooks, 21, and Chloe, 19 — their faces slathered in makeup, wearing what appear to be silk pajamas, with Brooks draped over Chloe as they pose for the camera.
“This feels kind of sexual, and I’m not really enjoying it,” Chloe says. And Brooks replies, “You don’t have to be siblings in the photo.” And Chloe, raising her voice, says, “What is wrong with you? Get away!”
Meredith goes on to say, “My personal belief is equality means that you don’t ever have to come out.” And Brooks says, “Seeing this is extremely heartwarming and just empowering to see all of these incredible human beings.”
Whitney lets it (almost) all hang out
The episode cuts from exterior shots of two Latter-day Saint temples to Whitney’s house, where she’s preparing for the arrival of her husband, Justin. She’s wearing a thong that’s leaving her butt almost entirely exposed.
Justin arrives, and is apparently so stunned he can’t speak straight. “What do I owe this pleasure for?” he asks.
Whitney thanks him for supporting her through the rebrand of her beauty line, Wild Rose, adding that she wants to let him know she loves and supports him. Then she makes a crude comment as she opens a bottle of champagne. She pours the champagne in her cleavage, and Justin samples it there.
She leads him upstairs, where they’re going to have “no more robotic sex.” Justin strips down to his boxers. Whitney appears to be topless, although she’s wearing pasties. They cover each other in paint, and roll around on a canvas.
The Vida Tequila event
It’s a launch party for the new crystal adorned Vida bottles. And the food is “inspired by mall eats, but on a luxury scale,” Lisa says. It’s also inspired by the late 1980s and ’90s
Lisa is really pleased with how the venue turned out. How happy? Earlier in the episode, she said she loves it — 16 times.
Heather asks Lisa if Meredith is coming, and Lisa assures her she is. Still on their way there, Seth asks Meredith if she’s “looking forward to seeing everybody.” Meredith replies, “I mean, I guess it depends on how everyone behaves.”
Back at the event, Heather asks Lisa if she’s been mad at Meredith or frustrated with her. Lisa says no, although she does acknowledge there has been some tension between them. “Do you guys think something’s going on?” she asks.
“Yes!” Heather quickly replies. And, reacting to a somewhat awkward greeting between Lisa and Meredith, Heather says in a confessional, “I am over the land of make-believe with these two. It feels like they’re never going to get to the real issues if they continue just to, like, look the other way. It just feels like the friendship that never was.”
Mary shows up and, not unexpectedly, she’s awkward. Also not surprisingly, she’s mean. When, in a confessional, a producer asks why she’s not drinking Vida, she says, “I just think her tequila tastes like water. … I mean, it’s like Lisa. Just blah, you know? And then it puts a weird taste in your mouth at the end.”
And then she’s openly rude to Jennie, ostentatiously ignoring her. Jennie is livid. “It is common decency, when you see someone that you know, you say hi and you greet that person. Mary, you just don’t have any common decency or common sense,” she says.
In a confessional, Mary makes faces as she admits she’s ignoring Jennie. “I just wish I can poof her and just disappear.”
Sharrieff Shah thanks Mary for inviting his wife, Jen, to her church in the previous episode.
“Your timing was impeccable,” he says, “because the people visited her and they were sweet to her. They were kind to her.” Mary says that’s because they followed her lead. “It’s coming from me. … I have love. I forgive. … If people hurt me, I forgive them and move on.”
At that point, Whitney walks up and Mary instantly makes it clear she hasn’t forgiven her for perceived offenses and moved on. “Oh Lord. Pray for me,” she says, making a face. Whitney insists that Mary talk to her. Mary, seeing that Whitney has been drinking, is reluctant. And she’s rude about it.
“I’m sorry for talking about your church,” Whitney says. And Mary asks, “Why’d you do it?”
“I did not say anything that’s not already out there,” Whitney says. (Which is true, albeit not particularly nice. There are umpteen stories and posts with allegations about Mary and her church, including that it’s a cult.) Mary talks over Whitney, saying, “My grandmother used to say it’s not the people who say it, it’s the people that carry it.”
“I would have not done that had you not put me down first,” Whitney says. Mary replies, “OK, but don’t validate yourself, either. … I’m not a mean person. … I don’t hurt people.”
That’s not what viewers have seen, but Mary genuinely seems to believe that’s true. Jennie, who’s sitting nearby, isn’t having it. She interjects, demanding that Mary explain her mean, hurtful behavior. Mary tells her to “shut up,” and Jennie says, “No, you [expletive] shut up!”
And then Mary, who has repeatedly made racist comments, says to Jennie, “OK, you gettin’ hood on us.” Jennie is furious. They yell at each other, and Mary gets up and walks away.
In a confessional, Jennie says, “You’re not going to walk away from me like I don’t matter. I do matter. And don’t look at me and say I’m from the hood. You don’t know what the hood is, Mary, you grew up in Utah.”
Back at the event, Jennie continues to confront Mary about the rude things she’s said. Mary makes more faces and says, “I didn’t sign up for you.” Jennie says, “I didn’t sign up for you, either.”
She continues to follow Mary, demanding that she repeat the mean things she’s said. Mary walks away again, and Jennie throws her drink, not exactly at Mary, but at her feet. The glass shatters.
(In a confessional, Jen says, “Been there, done that.” And, yes, she threw her drink when she was arguing with Whitney at a party in Season 1. “Also, I think my glass went a little farther than yours. But that was cute.”)
Mary exits the party, saying she will “never” talk to Jennie again and calling her “a maniac on the loose.” In a confessional, she says, “I’ve never gotten a glass thrown at me from no one. And the fact that no one even cared is, like, too much. Makes you wonder who are your friends? And who’s not?”
Lisa is not at all bothered about the fight in the middle of her Vida Tequila event. When Jennie apologizes, she says, “Why are you apologizing? I don’t care!”
Can’t we all just get along?
With Mary gone, the remaining six Housewives sit down together. “I want all of us to be strong and friends,” Lisa says. “Can we be there?”
There’s agreement, for the most part. Until Jen asks Meredith if the two of them are friends. Meredith replies, “I can’t give you the proper support as a friend and I should because I am still dealing with my own … trauma.” Jen doesn’t understand that she’s the source of that trauma.
Heather tries to explain how Meredith feels betrayed by Jen, and Jen quickly replies that she “did not talk about her marriage.” (Not true.) This leads to all kinds of cross talk and arguing. Jen is upset that Meredith is “friends with everyone else” but her; Meredith says, “Nobody else here did things that you did to my family.”
Jen tries to throw Whitney under the bus. “You’re the one who said all the stuff” about Meredith’s marriage. In a confessional, Whitney says, “Is Jen out of her mind? Like, she is the one who started the conversation about Meredith’s marriage last year. … If you’re the one that starts it, you’re the one to blame.”
Whitney is at least pretending to forget that she relished the gossip and pushed for more.
Meredith is now under the impression that the other women “are going back to try to harm my marriage again when I reconciled. … I’m out.” (Meredith says this a lot.) Lisa tells Meredith, “I think all Jen is telling you is that, simply put, she just wants to be your friend.”
For reasons that are unclear, Meredith flies off the handle and starts yelling. “What is the problem here! What is it you all need to know? We discussed this last year.”
Whitney and Heather walk away. Heather says, “Let’s [expletive] go. I hate these bitches.”
And then Meredith starts issuing her threats about alleged infidelity.
In the hokey end-of-season taglines at the end of the episode, we’re told:
• “Meredith and Seth are more in love than ever. They recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. No boob cakes were involved.”
• “Jen is anxiously awaiting her trial in March of 2022. In the meantime, she tries to stay positive, relish in the good times … And avoids thinking about her old closet.”
• “Mary is spending 2022 focusing on the joys in her life. She’s spending more time with her son, her church … and her mannequins.”
• “Whitney has traded in the title of ‘little girl’ for ‘CEO.’ She’s focused on more alone time with Justin. And less robotic sex.”
• “Lisa has spent the last few months reflecting on her friendships. She’s decided to be more upfront about her feelings … when she’s unmic’d in the privacy of her own home.”
• “Heather has officially embraced being an ex-Mormon. To celebrate, she took a yacht trip to Norway. No word yet if she snagged herself a Viking.”
Interestingly, there’s no tagline for Jennie, who was fired after racist social media posts she made surfaced. Jennie is, however, in the upcoming reunion episodes.
Mary got a tagline, although she was also fired — reportedly after she skipped the reunion episodes.