‘Real Housewives of SLC’ episode recap: The new Housewife says she helped send Jen Shah to prison

Mary Cosby is back, still acting smug and superior, as Season 4 begins.

(Gizelle Hernandez | Bravo) The Season 4 cast of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" — Monica Garcia, Meredith Marks, Heather Gay, Lisa Barlow, Whitney Rose and Angie Katsanevas.

Jen Shah is in prison, but her presence still hovers over “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” And not just because the returning members talk about her.

Turns out the new Housewife, Monica Garcia, used to be one of Jen’s assistants. And in the fourth-season premiere, she tells viewers she was one of the witnesses who helped send Jen to jail.

That wasn’t the only reference to Jen, now serving time in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges.

“Oh,” Meredith Marks says, “I mean, there’s nothing to say about it anymore. She says she’s guilty and she’s going to serve her time. Everyone can start healing and moving forward. That’s the only positive.” Meredith has not contacted Jen since she started serving her sentence. “I mean, she’s in prison. Like, what do you want me to do?” she asks a producer. (She could write her a letter, of course.)

Mary Cosby, who battled hard against Jen in Seasons 1 and 2 and has returned in Season 4 as a “friend” of the Housewives, is predictably smug about Jen’s fate. “I believe in karma. You get what you deserve, I guess.” In a confessional, Mary says she’s “interested to see what [life] will be like now that Jen’s gone. She was the big elephant in the room.”

• Angie Katsanevas says, “Being friends with Jen Shah introduced me to things that I would have never known or been around. Like the legal system. The difference between federal and state charges. And Monica.”

Angie and Monica met “a few years ago” through Jen, Angie says. “And since we’re both picking up the pieces of a destroyed friendship, we figured, ‘Hey, let’s do it together.’”

In a confessional, Monica makes this surprising statement. Although Jen often told Heather she was her “ride or die,” Monica says, “To be completely honest, Jen never said anything nice about Heather. But she also never said anything nice about anybody ever, and everything that came out of her mouth was [expletive]. So I’m going to make my own assumptions about Heather.”

Mary asks if Heather still has a “strong attachment” to Jen; Heather says, “No, I think that was projected by a lot by other people.” (Actually, it was projected on our TVs, again and again.) She does acknowledge there was “alway a connection” between her and Jen, “and that’s what made it so difficult to have clarity or any boundaries for me. I just didn’t have any. And I felt too deep in it. Like if I stopped for one second, I couldn’t catch my breath. She was a lot.”

“Yeah, but you knew what you were walking into,” says Mary, in her compassionless way.

Now that Jen is in prison, Heather feels “like a weight is lifted.” In a confessional, she adds, “I feel like I can just shut the door on it and move on.”

(Fred Hayes/Bravo) Monica Garcia has joined the cast of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Meeting Monica

Viewers meet the new Housewife when she joins Angie — newly promoted from “friend” to Housewife herself — at The Cliff Dining Pub in Draper for lunch. They’re soon joined by Lisa, who remembers meeting Monica “a few years ago” when “she was running an errand for Jen.”

Turns out that Monica was a member of the Shah Squad, one of Jen’s multiple assistants, and a witness against her.

In a confessional. Monica says that Jen asked her, “‘Do you want to be rich? Do you want to make $600,000 a year? All you have to do is put this, this and this in your name.’” Monica was “weirded out” by this and contacted “a friend in the Secret Service,” who told her to “get the [expletive] away from Jen Shah. She’s going to prison.’ And Jen was arrested two months later. And that is how I became a witness with the federal government in her trial.’”

(Well, there was no trial, because Jen pleaded guilty just before it was to begin.)

Monica, 38, who runs a baby products company, is the mother of four daughters — ages 5, 6, 12 and 17 — and is getting divorced for the second time from the same husband.

“About four years into my marriage, I found myself in what one might call an entanglement. That resulted in a divorce,” she says in a confessional, “and then a wedding. Because we got divorced and we got remarried. And now we’re getting divorced again. …

“It’s fine. Totally normal situation,” she joked.

In an upcoming episode (seen in a clip in the Season 4 trailer), Monica says she was “married in the temple, then I was excommunicated.”

Almost immediately, Monica disses Lisa. She says that when she was Jen’s assistant, she talked to Lisa on the phone “constantly. Because Jen would get sick and tired of talking to her, and she would hand me the phone. ... You can literally be on the phone with her and set it down, and two hours later, come back and she’s still going.”

Monica is taken aback when Lisa says that for her upcoming 20th anniversary, she and her husband, John, are going to Europe, where they’re renting a “sick house in Braga” (Portugal).

“It is so crazy hearing them portray these perfect lives,” Monica says. “We’ve all heard things about each other, thanks to Jen. So I’m trying to walk, like, this fine line of being open minded and nonjudgmental, even though all their dark secrets are very heavy on my mind.”

(Presley Ann | Bravo) Meredith Marks and Mary Cosby on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

She’s ba-ack

After getting fired at the end of Season 2 — for skipping the reunion episodes, not for all her racist comments — Mary makes her comeback at Meredith’s Park City jewelry store, and she doesn’t come in humbly. “You better buckle up,” Mary says with her signature, smug smirk in a confessional, “because here I am.”

And then she struggles to operate a door. Which she blames on the door: “That could’ve left a mark. … Have someone fix that door.”

Meredith has remained in contact with Mary over the past year; the other Housewives have not. Mary claims it was her decision to “pretty much cut everyone off — except Meredith. I’ll just put it this way. The distance was good.”

They go to lunch, and, weirdly, Mary says she’s in “dinosaur mode.” (Huh?) She says that she’s happy that her husband, Robert Sr., spent the past six months in Las Vegas while she was in Salt Lake City. (That’s not the way to quiet gossip about the state of her marriage to her step-grandfather.)

In a confessional, Lisa tells viewers, “Aaa mission is devoting two years of your life to serving others, and teaching people about Jesus Christ, So Jack’s giving up two years of his life to basically help everyone but himself.””an explanation, Mary says, “I haven’t had a chance.” The producer points out, aou live in the same house.”

Lunching with Meredith, Mary is not eating her salad because it’s “too spicy. And whenever I do spicy, it comes out the other end spicy. … Ouch, ouch, ouch.” Ick. Even Meredith says, “That doesn’t sound very pleasant.”

Later in the episode, Lisa greets Mary and gives her a hug, but she makes it clear in a confessional it was not sincere. And Lisa reads the last text message she got from Mary: “Lisa, you’re the biggest idiot. You’re a black widow. You are the biggest liar in Utah. You’ll kill people with your nasty tequila. You remind me of a witch. You’re an evil person. You’re not interesting. You are a horrible human being.”

Just Mary being Mary. You know, a religious leader — “first lady” of the Faith Temple Pentecostal Church. In a confessional, Mary says, “Yeah, I do feel good seeing Lisa right now. I do. And I really like her jacket.”

(Presley Ann/Bravo) Lisa Barlow in an upcoming episode of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Lisa’s son is going on a mission

Among Lisa’s jobs is party planning events at the Sundance Film Festival, and we see her issuing orders to her minions/employees. “There’s a reason they call me the Sundance queen,” she says in a confessional. “Not many people can throw these huge parties on such a short timeline and execute them to perfection, like I do.”

She does, however, express regret that it keeps her away from her sons, Henry and Jack, particularly because Jack will be graduating from high school in a few months, and she wants to be “super present with everything he has going on” — in part because she and her husband just found out Jack is planning on going on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lisa gets teary when she says, “I’m not going to see him for two years.”

In a confessional, Lisa tells viewers, “A mission is devoting two years of your life to serving others, and teaching people about Jesus Christ, So Jack’s giving up two years of his life to basically help everyone but himself.”

She laments, “The hardest part is that Jack hid this from John and me for almost a year. And I’m, like, ‘Why don’t you tell us?’ And he literally said, ‘Because you and dad are different than me.’”

It’s probably unclear to anyone not familiar with Latter-day Saints, but Jack is likely referencing the fact that his parents are not temple recommend-carrying members of the church — they drink alcohol, among other things — and Jack is rejecting that to go on a mission.

“It hurts,” Lisa says. “Like, what else don’t I know about Jack? Am I so disconnected from my son that he doesn’t want to tell me this? Am I, like, a bad mom? … How did I miss this?”

And then, when John tries to talk to her about that, she tells him to “hold one one second” while she takes a call from her “team” at Sundance.

(Brett Colvin | Bravo) Heather Gay on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Heather on the move

Heather is in front of her new home in Sandy — trying to chip away ice on her front walk while wearing boots with very high heels. (It’s so Heather.)

What with the success of both her business (Beauty Lab + Laser opened a second location) and her autobiography, “Bad Mormon” (which made the New York Times bestseller list), she bought a much-larger house. “I want to venture out,” she says. “I want to be brave. I want to … start a new life. So I bought a new house.”

Her new house is three blocks from her old one.

Meredith drives up and reluctantly joins in the snow removal. When she inquires about “Bad Mormon,” Heather says people are “loving it,” but the reaction is “not all great.” Meredith correctly guesses that there is “backlash, mainly from people in the church.”

“I didn’t write a book called ‘Bad Mormon’ and put my face on it without anticipating fallout,” Heather says in a confessional. “But in addition to that, I’ve been under scrutiny because I’ve been friends with someone who went to prison. I had unexplainable black eyes. I’ve learned that hate is always going to come. But right now I’m just trying to, you know, block out the haters and, for the first time, live my life authentically for me.”

(Brett Colvin | Bravo) Whitney Rose and Heather Gay on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Heather vs. Whitney

Heather says that she recently saw her former BFF, Whitney — their first meeting in months. In a flashback to that meeting, a day earlier, Heather tells Whitney she wants to “forge a new path as friends.” Whitney replies, “It’s going to be hard for me to trust you that you really want to be my friend.”

Heather tells Meredith that her meeting with Whitney felt “vague ... but it was more positive than I thought it would go.” She “wants to feel safe around [Whitney] again,” but neither of them feel safe around each other. And Meredith says that she’s also not a fan of Whitney. “She’s really gotten under my skin,” she says.

“More than usual?” Heather asks, chuckling.

The Big Bathtub Battle

Meredith is mad at Whitney for comments she made to the New York Post’s Page Six about how, when she and her husband, Seth, took a bath together in a Season 3 episode, it was “creepy and, like, filled with bacteria or DNA or whatever.”

“My bathtub is cleaned by my housekeeper every day,” Meredith says, questioning if Whitney has drained and cleaned “that hot tub that she invites some 85 people into regularly. It’s like saying I’m dirty and creepy. It’s offensive.”

Heather laughs, but she isn’t quite sure what to make of this. “Wait, I’m confused,” Heather says in a confessional. “Does she think this is funny, or is she really mad?”

(Presley Ann | Bravo) Whitney Rose and Meredith Marks in an upcoming episode of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Oh, Meredith is mad. When have we ever seen Meredith have a sense of humor about herself or what people say about her? Which Heather acknowledges in her confessional: “Of course she’s really mad about it. She’s Meredith Marks.”

Meredith tells Heather, “Does she not know me? You don’t go after my marriage. You don’t go after my bathtub. I mean, the only thing she left out was my children.”

Later in the episode, Meredith confronts Whitney about her bathtub comments, claiming that Whitney said she was “dirty and gross [and] I’m creepy because I take baths” [with her husband]. Whitney is surprised Meredith took that seriously: “That was a funny joke, Meredith.”

“No, it was a dig on my marriage and a dig on my bathtub. Like I have a dirty house,” Meredith insists.(That seems an extreme interpretation, but we know Meredith doesn’t want anyone talking about her ever. Begging the question of why she signed on for “RHOSLC.”)

“I would never assume that Meredith has a dirty house,” Whitney says in a confessional. “I don’t even know where you’re living right now. I don’t know what vacation rental you’re staying in.” (The producers helpfully show us the four different houses Meredith has lived in in the past four years.) “I’d assume she’d wrap everything in plastic so that she gets her deposit back at the end of the lease,” Whitney says cattily.

When Whitney argues that her bathtub comments were a “shady joke,” Meredith says, “Did I make shady jokes when you got naked with your husband, painting each other [in Season 2]?” Meredith asks. (An excellent point.)

Whitney apologizes, but adds, “I need to trust that you’re going to let this go and not hold a grudge.” In the least self-aware comment of the episode, Meredith says, “I don’t hold grudges.” (Viewers have watched her hold grudges almost since “RHOSLC” began, including her vendetta against Lisa.)

They agree that they do not trust each other, and come to no resolution. “I am never going to live down ‘creepy bathtub,’” Whitney says in a confessional. “She’ll be bringing this up five years from now.”

(Fred Hayes/Bravo) Meredith Marks and Lisa Barlow on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Well, this is a surprise

Meredith pulls Lisa aside and invites her to “sit down one-on-one ... and have a little conversation.” It’s sort of shocking, given the extreme level of animosity Meredith has expressed for her former BFF since the end of Season 2.

They agree to meet the following week, and Lisa is more than a bit surprised. In a confessional, she says, “I did not see this coming. But, like, let’s be honest. I know she missed me. I mean, I would miss me, too.”

She was joking, but … oh, Lisa.

Who has read ‘Bad Mormon’?

If they’re to be believed, none of the Housewives have. Whitney says yes. Then she says no. Angie says, “If I read books, I fall asleep sitting up.”

Mary provides the snottiest answer: “No one’s reading that book.” (She is clearly unaware that it’s a bestseller.)

In a confessional, Heather says, “I’m not surprised that none of them have read the book. They’re not readers.”

(Randy Shropshire | Bravo) Heather Gay on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

Lisa provides the most egocentric answer in the form of a question: “Heather, am I in the book? Tell me everything.” Heather says she wrote that Lisa is “who you want to be sitting next to at a dinner party” and she’s “big city energy.”

And then in an astonishing display of cluelessness, with Heather standing right there, Angie says, “I want a signed copy of the book from Lisa. She’s a star.” You cannot blame Heather for mocking Angie about that in a confessional. “That is exactly why you’re not in the book and never will be,” she says.

Heather’s snowball fight

Heather hosts a get-together at The Lakehouse at Deer Creek. “I’m hoping we can really mend and start fresh,” she says optimistically. She’s also planning a snowball fight for later in the afternoon. “I want everyone to get out their aggression.”

“Nothing says ‘fresh start’ like an activity filled with aggression,” jokes Dre, Heather’s friend and business partner.

Mary arrives with Meredith, and Whitney does not look pleased. Not that you can blame her, given how awful Mary was to her in Season 2. But Whitney does give Mary a hug when she greets her.

Lisa brings Angie, and Heather is not pleased. “Classic Lisa,” Heather says. “I tell her she can invite a friend and she brings the one friend that spread the worst rumors about me the last time we were together.” (Angie speculated that Heather’s black eye was the result of a rough sexual tryst with Jen.)

When Heather announces the snowball fight activity, there is a decided lack of enthusiasm. No one is less enthusiastic than Mary, who sourly refuses to participate.

Heather encourages the other women: “This is your last chance to take out any hurt feelings, any resentment, any anger. Leave it all on the field right now.” When a guy blows a whistle, the women run to buckets filled with pre-made snowballs and start throwing them at each other. It’s low-level mayhem.

“It’s like ‘Lord of the Flies,’” Heather says in a confessional. “Which is probably a book they haven’t read, either.”

Now THAT’S funny.

The next episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” airs Tuesday, Sept. 11 on Bravo — 7 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 10 p.m. on Comcast. Episodes start streaming on Peacock the day after they air on Bravo.