Mary Cosby — the “first lady” of the Faith Temple Pentecostal Church — is called out for her failure to even attempt to live up to Christian ideals in the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” And if the friendship between Lisa Barlow and Meredith Marks wasn’t already over when this was filmed, it might be when Meredith watches the episode and hears what Lisa calls her — out of earshot but on a live mic.
The Jan. 30 episode, which was filmed almost nine months ago, has been overshadowed by recent events. Mary did not show up for the filming of the Season 2 reunion show and may have either quit or been fired from the series. And Jennie Nguyen was fired shortly after filming began on Season 3 when racist postings she made on social media resurfaced.
None of that was known when the episode was produced, and it’s not part of the narrative.
The day after
The day after a night of drinking and partying, all the women are getting along splendidly.
How wild was that party? Well, we see a clip of mortal enemies Meredith Marks and Jen Shah kissing on the lips. Heather Gay is astonished: “Clearly, we have been touched by the hand of God. There’s no other explanation.”
Longtime antagonists Heather Gay and Lisa Barlow are also very chummy. “I want you to know that hell hath not frozen over,” Heather says, “But Lisa asked me to go on a date and I graciously accepted.”
They’re going horseback riding; Jennie, Mary and Meredith are going to a spa; and Jen and Whitney Rose are going ATVing,
“I chose to go ATV riding because Whitney can actually drive an ATV,” Jen says. “But I’m just now realizing Whitney is more hung over than I am right now. I think she was drinking out of a serving dish last night.” (She was.)
The women are at a fabulous vacation home in southern Utah on a vacation paid for by the husbands of Lisa, Meredith, Mary, Jen, Jennie and Whitney. “Maybe our husbands were right,” Meredith says. “Maybe we just needed a little fun together. But, then again, when are the husbands ever right?”
Lisa & Heather and Whitney & Jen
Lisa tells Heather, with whom she’s been feuding since the show began, “I just want to stay in a great place with you.” Heather agrees, adding, “You’ve been at odds with everybody in defense of Meredith. ... I never considered — not even for even a second, really — the fact that Meredith just hasn’t been showing up for you at all” until the dinner the first night they were on this trip. Lisa thanks her, and says it’s been “hurtful.”
Jen and Whitney are also discussing Meredith, and they’re still not sure she was telling the truth when she said she missed the bus trip to Vail because of her father’s memorial. “If Meredith can lie about her own father’s memorial, what else is she capable of lying about?” Jen asks in a confessional.
Whitney remains convinced that it “looks frickin’ weird” that Meredith hired a private investigator and then didn’t show up for the bus rides to Vail and southern Utah. “Is she trying to cover something up?”
Heather believes Meredith told her the memorial was on a Monday; Lisa believes Meredith said it was on a Tuesday. “She’s lying to you or she’s lying to me,” Heather says. “Or she’s lying to both of us, and there was no memorial at all.”
Whitney asks Jen if “something bigger” than a dispute over mean tweets happened between her and Meredith. She’s pushing for Jen to tell her it had something to do with Meredith “being separated and having boyfriends.” Jen says no and it didn’t involve Meredith’s love life.
Back on the trail, Jen expresses doubts about Meredith’s sudden change of heart about their friendship. “I think you have to keep an eye on her,” Whitney says. “She’s your friend last night, but now she’s with Mary M. Cosby.”
Jen can’t understand why anyone would remain friends with Mary, who “says the meanest things to people. Then she comes back and is, like, ‘Oh no, we’re good.” And Whitney points out that it’s not just about Mary “saying mean things and treating us poorly” — that there are accusations about her and her church. “But Meredith is fine with that?”
(A number of former members of the Faith Temple Pentecostal Church have alleged that it is a cult and that Mary and her husband, Robert Sr., have swindled members of their congregation.)
Jen says Mary and Meredith have “a lot of the same behaviors. … It’s, like, ‘I can do and say whatever, and you all need to accept it because I’m better than you.’” They decide they need to bring this up when they see Mary and Meredith that evening.
At the spa
Mary, Meredith and Jennie go to the Five Petals Spa to get massages. Mary is a little odd about it — she remains fully clothed and wears sunglasses — and she’s super rude. “I would never turn down a massage,” she says in a confessional. “Are you kidding me? Never. Even if I have to be with Jennie.”
After the massage, Jennie apologizes for telling Jen about the private investigator Meredith hired. Even though Meredith never said anything about keeping that from Jen, she now says, in a confessional, “There was no reason for [Jennie] to relay that information unless she was trying to stir the pot between me and Jen.” To Jennie’s face, she says, condescendingly, “That was wrong. ... You didn’t act as a friend to me.” It’s worth pointing out that we’ve never really seen Meredith act like a friend to Jennie.
Mary nods her head in agreement with everything Meredith says and makes faces at Jennie.
Meredith asks both Jennie and Mary how their husbands and children are. Jennie says she’s spoken to Duy, who is still refusing to attend counseling. (They’re still at odds over his desire to add a sister wife to their relationship.)
Jennie and Meredith ask Mary how Robert Sr. is doing. Mary pauses and says, “That side of my life, I’m not comfortable talking about it. Especially because I don’t really know you like that,” she adds, looking at Jennie.
That’s fair. Except she’s rude about it, and she gets up and leaves. In a confessional, Jennie says, “All she had to say was, “He’s great, he’s fine, he’s doing good. What’s so hard about that?”
Meredith says nothing about Mary’s bad behavior.
Who picked up the tab?
Back at the house, Jen has organized a Cinco de Mayo dinner “in honor of Mary calling me a Mexican thug.”
However, Meredith is worried about who picked up the tab for the party. When Jen was arrested on fraud and money laundering charges, she “stipulated to the federal government that she has zero assets,” Meredith tells Whitney. “If she’s paying for this dinner tonight, I can’t go.”
Whitney says it’s her “understanding that the husbands did pay for it. But I didn’t really ask any questions.”
The Cinco de Mayo party
Things start off all friendly. There’s a mariachi band and lots of alcohol. And Jen gives the other six women the gifts she intended to give them in Vail, before she was arrested. Each woman receives a diamond snowflake necklace, valued at between $2,700-$3,200 each.
Meredith looks sort of uncomfortable, but she accepts the gift and thanks Jen. Whitney is “shocked. She didn’t even want to come to the dinner!”
Mary says she’s cold, so she gets up to go inside and warm up. Whitney nicely asks her if she’ll bring some blankets when she returns, and Mary replies, “Probably not.”
When Jen explains what just happened, Heather laughs derisively and says Mary is “kind of a buzz kill.”
Jennie tells the other women about Mary’s rude behavior at the spa, which, she says, “caught me off guard” after Mary had apologized to her the previous day. Meredith, of course, comes to Mary’s defense.
Heather points out that that wasn’t the first time this weekend Mary had been “doing little [expletive] things.” And Jennie says she does not think Mary’s apology was “sincere.”
As this conversation continues, Meredith looks unhappy every time anyone says anything negative about Mary. And Lisa looks increasingly unhappy that Meredith continually rises to Mary’s defense.
Mary returns to the firing line
When Mary returns, Whitney bluntly asks her if she likes Jennie. “No,” Mary says.
“But you don’t have to be rude to me,” Jennie says calmly. Mary replies, “I, personally, think you’re rude” because of “the way you blurt out things.” Like when Jennie points out that Mary has been lying.
Mary is condescending and, yes, rude as she interrupts Jennie, saying, “I don’t care. I didn’t ask for your opinion.”
Heather calmly agrees that they’ve all seen Mary being rude to Jennie. When Heather says that Jennie’s husband “pitched in for the trip, too,” Mary takes her rudeness to a higher level. “What does that mean?” she says to Heather. “‘Cause you don’t have one.” (Heather is divorced.)
“Why would you say that, Mary?” Heather asks. Mary replies, “Because I want to.”
“[Expletive] you, Mary Cosby,” Heather says. “Who is your husband? It’s your step-granddaddy.” Which is, of course, true.
As for Mary’s insincere apology to Jennie the previous day, “You’re just going to have to live with it,” Mary says. “I don’t want to know you. I don’t really care.”
Lisa points out that Mary’s behavior is “not really kind.” But Meredith refuses to call Mary on it.
Jen once again goes after Lisa for not instantly defending her when she was arrested on federal fraud and money laundering charges. “This is not getting turned on me. I’m a great friend to everybody here,” Lisa says. “Who was there for [expletive] me? Because nobody is there for me!”
Meredith says nothing in Lisa’s defense.
“Right now, I’m at my breaking point,” Lisa says in a confessional. “I have been nothing but a good and loyal friend to both Meredith and Jen. But I’m so sick of emotionally coddling two grown women that have issues that they will not resolve.”
Back at the table, Lisa tells Meredith, “This has a lot to do with you and me.” Meredith acts disgusted and turns away from Lisa. In a confessional, Meredith says, “I do not understand where Lisa Barlow is coming from. She doesn’t stand up for me.”
That’s not true. We’ve seen Lisa stand up for Meredith repeatedly.
War breaks out between Mary and Lisa
Mary makes rude comments about Lisa, and Lisa strikes back. “Mary, you’re fake as [expletive]. … You say you’re sorry all the time and then you do the same thing over again. It’s the cycle of abuse.”
“And you’re real,” Mary replies sarcastically. “You don’t even know how to be real.”
And then Mary really gets weird. She attacks Lisa for “eating candy.” And, she sneers, Lisa eats “at Taco Bell, for crying out loud. … You’re raising kids on Taco Bell. Who does that?”
In a confessional, Mary says, “I think the love of fast food just shows just shows she’s not — she has no dep.” (Presumably, she meant “depth.”) “She doesn’t really look at the importance of life. Just sayin’.” It’s weird, even for Mary.
When Mary criticizes Lisa’s parenting based on trips to Taco Bell, Lisa asks Meredith, “Is this OK?” Meredith refuses to stand up for Lisa.
Then Mary, who has been caught lying repeatedly, tells Lisa, “You’re the biggest liar I’ve ever met.”
“Everything about you is fake,” Lisa shoots back. “Your apologies are fake. Your church is fake. The way you treat people is fake. It’s all fake.”
“You need to work on yourself,” Mary says. Lisa disagrees, saying, “Lisa Barlow is an amazing human being.”
Mary continues to go after Lisa, saying, “My whole congregation don’t even like you.” Lisa shoots back that Mary’s congregation is “all leaving because they don’t understand what they’re even praying to, or who they’re praying to. Let’s not go there.” (There have been allegations — denied by Mary — that Mary thinks she herself is God.)
“You will never come” to my church, Mary tells Lisa. Lisa says she’s “not interested in going to your church.”
“I don’t invite the devil to my church,” Mary replies. Then she refers to Lisa as a “little chihuahua.”
Mary ramps up the rudeness
Heather takes up on Lisa’s behalf, defending her to Jen. And Heather says she’s “concerned” about “how we’re going to navigate this” because it’s “really clear” that Mary is not “interested in being friends with Jennie.”
Mary mutters under her breath and then tells Jennie, “You just get on my nerves.” Jennie replies that if that’s the case, “leave, because you get on everybody’s nerves.” Mary makes derisive, non-verbal noises, and Jennie says, “You’re a woman of God. Don’t do that.”
Mary tells Jennie she’s “a mess.” Whitney interjects, telling Mary that it’s “really complicated and confusing when you have a church and you treat us this way. Doesn’t God love everyone? That’s what doesn’t make sense.”
Mary sighs and rolls her eyes in disgust. And she says that because Whitney has a stripper pole, “you should never try to call me out who I am.”
“Yeah, God taught me how to do that,” Whitney says. And then there’s a cut to Whitney in a confessional, giving Mary the finger. With both hands.
Whitney continues to press the point that Mary’s behavior is not consistent with her role as a church leader. “You have a church. You have a congregation,” Whitney says, “and you’re telling us we don’t matter. Everyone matters to God.”
Mary plays the victim. In a confessional, she says, “So because I’m a woman of God, she’s allowed to disrespect me? And I’m not allowed to take up for myself and respond. ... I don’t know why I have to be held to a higher standard.”
Is pointing out Mary’s bad behavior “disrespecting” her? No. Is Mary being held to a higher standard? Perhaps. But she rejects the thought that, as a church leader, she should hold herself to a higher standard.
“They’re not nice to me. They’re really not,” says Mary, who has repeatedly been mean and rude to the other Housewives.
Mary and Meredith are both called out
Mary says that she’s not really friends with any of the other women except for Meredith. And, she adds, “when we’re together, we don’t talk about them. We have nothing rude to say about any of these girls.”
That’s another lie. We’ve seen the two of them talking down the other women in previous episodes.
Whitney asks Meredith to explain her behavior. “You exude leading with love and kindness. But [Mary] does not. So can you help me understand, because you have a friend of 10 years here,” Whitney says, pointing to Lisa.
“If I think that Mary’s doing something wrong. I tell her,” Meredith says. Whitney points out that Meredith has been sitting there silent while Mary has been openly insulting and obnoxious to her, Jennie, Lisa and Heather.
“Do I think that’s a nice thing to say? No, I don’t,” Meredith says, “But everybody is entitled to say that they want to be friends with someone or don’t. That’s OK.”
In a confessional, Lisa says Meredith’s words are “so upsetting to me because you turn a blind eye to the way everybody treats me. But one word about Mary and you’re, like, ready to defend her at all costs.” Shortly thereafter, Lisa gets up and stalks angrily to the house.
Whitney infuriates Meredith
Whitney bluntly asks Meredith, “Did you have a memorial service with your father?”
Meredith is furious. “Do not even go here with me,” she says. “It’s going to go very ugly, very fast. It’s none of your [expletive] business.” That’s not an answer, but she later tells Whitney she did have a memorial service for her father.
And, once again, Meredith angrily asserts, “Don’t talk about my family!” The fact that Whitney isn’t talking about her family, she’s questioning her truthfulness, does not occur to Meredith. She stalks off, with Mary running behind her.
Lisa has had it with Meredith
Lisa is beyond furious with Meredith — and she still has her microphone on. “What Meredith just did is so [expletive] up. I am [expletive] done!” Lisa says.
Lisa goes into her room and shuts the door, but the microphone is still on. “Meredith can go [expletive] herself. I’m done with her. ‘Cause I’m not a [expletive] whore and I don’t cheat on my husband,” she says, again referring to the rumors about Meredith.
Lisa says Meredith’s family “poses” (presumably as a happy family) and mocks Meredith for renting homes “’cause your husband changes jobs every five minutes.”
Lisa calls “fake Mary ... a piece of [expletive]. And she refers to Meredith as “that [expletive] piece of [expletive] garbage whore. I [expletive] hate her. ... She’s [expletive] half of New York! She can go [expletive] herself.”
The last thing we see is Lisa opening her door and saying, “Here, you can have your mic back,” tossing it to a crew member.