In a season that featured Jen Shah arrested on federal fraud and money laundering charges, Mary Cosby accused of operating a cult and bilking her followers, and both Mary and Jennie Nguyen getting fired from the show, Part 2 of the three-part “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” reunion spent a whole lot of time on how Lisa Barlow said mean things about Meredith Marks.
And surprisingly little time on how Meredith threatened all the other women.
Ganging up on Lisa
The biggest battle was over what Lisa was caught saying about Meredith on a hot mic in the episode that aired Jan. 30. Including: “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.” Lisa also referred 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.”
Lisa is unhappy with the show’s producers for including that in the episode. “You guys knew what you were doing when you put that in there,” she says. “Like, I was on a rant. I just think what you guys did by showing that in there — you just gave them all a reason to [expletive] say, ‘That’s who you are.”
On the one hand, who hasn’t ranted in private in a way we never would in public? On the other hand — Lisa signed up for this. How would she think the producers wouldn’t use this?
The other women assume that Lisa was angry because Meredith refused to come to her defense in an argument with Mary. Lisa says she was “never hurt about Meredith’s relationship with Mary” — and the producers insert clips of Lisa looking very much hurt about it.
Meredith says, “To the best of my understanding, what triggered that tirade” was “you and Mary had an argument” and “you got upset that I didn’t take your side.” But Lisa says she was set off by Meredith saying she was “offended” that Lisa questioned her loyalty, “because every time I try and express my feelings, they’re offensive.”
Reunion host/executive producer Andy Cohen, who shot Meredith down twice in the Part 1 of the reunion, comes to her defense in Part 2. “What you’ve been slowly doing is pointing out situations through tonight that you feel that you have had her back,” he says. “Is that correct?” Meredith replies, “100%.” And she expresses her outrage at what Lisa was overheard saying on the hot mic.
“I find it incomprehensible that me expressing my feelings of being offended could be enough — there’s nothing that could be enough to trigger that kind of tirade against anyone,” Meredith says.
“It seems like a huge barrier in your friendship with Lisa was Lisa’s friendship with Jen,” Andy says. Meredith doesn’t address that, but she cries and accuses Lisa of being a bad friend.
Meredith says that, three days before her father died, she called Lisa and didn’t hear back. She alleges that when her father died and she needed Lisa’s support, Lisa wasn’t there for her and didn’t return her calls. “I needed a moment to grieve and a friend to be there for me, and you hurt me and you let me down,” Meredith says.
Lisa disputes Meredith’s version of events and says she did call Meredith multiple times. “I was there for you, Meredith,” Lisa says. “I was 100% there.” Andy interjects, “It sounds like you weren’t. I mean, it sounds like she doesn’t feel that you were.”
Heather Gay says that when her father was ill, she got a get-well text from Lisa — and it arrived the day after his death. Rather than crediting Lisa with any good intentions, Heather says this is “indicative” of Lisa’s behavior. “I mean, she may have known. Everyone else knew.”
Lisa is very defensive, loudly defending herself and insisting that she was there for Meredith. Andy tries to reason with her, saying, “It’s not landing with her,” which is clearly true.
“There’s a lot coming at me,” Lisa says. And, indeed, Andy, Jen, Heather and Whitney Rose all try to tell her she’s coming on too strong and not listening to what Meredith is saying. Heather and Whitney smirk and laugh at Lisa.
Andy reads the hot-mic rant back to Lisa, who admits, “That’s a lot.” Meredith says the content of the rant is “absurd,” but the “venom and hatred that the delivery came with is what resonated, and that it made her “utterly sick.”
Bizarrely, Meredith — who spent most of the season treating Jen like dirt — attacks Lisa for not instantly rushing to Jen’s defense after her arrest. And she goes on to say, “How do you think my kids feel about the things you just said about me and the rest of the world?”
Lisa says she was talking to herself “in a blind rage rant.” Andy says, “I don’t want to make this worse, but it kind of seemed like some sort of a truth dump for you.” Lisa says that’s not true. And, in response to a question from Andy, Lisa says she does not think Meredith is a whore.
Meredith says this in her own defense, “I have slept with fewer people than I have fingers.” And then Whitney says that Lisa told people that about Meredith “before this even filmed.” Lisa strongly denies that. “I’m sure she did,” Meredith says.
Lisa apologizes repeatedly. She’s loud and defensive, which is taken as a sign of insincerity by Meredith, Whitney, Heather and Andy.
Heather inserts herself again. “Are you sorry you said it, or are you sorry you got caught?” she asks Lisa. She doesn’t actually want an answer — Lisa says no — she wants to lecture Lisa. “You’re sorry you got caught,” she says. “Because I believe you said things like that about every single one of us. Because I know you said it about Jen. I know you said it about me. And I know you said it about Whitney.”
(If so, we didn’t see it on the show.)
Heather says the hot-mic rant “was like a Scooby-doo episode where we rip the mask off and we see who the real villain was, and now we can deal with it.” She goes on to say that she “came out on this reunion stage wanting to defend [Lisa] and help you support your point of view, because I thought it was valid. And you are unwilling to say you’re sorry for anything in a way that’s meaningful.”
By “meaningful,” Heather means that Lisa isn’t acting sufficiently meek and contrite. “Do you want me to cut my wrists in front of you?” Lisa asks. “I am being myself right now. … Everyone here wants to break me all the time.”
Jen says, “Lisa, you don’t have to be the strong …” And Lisa interrupts her. “I do, though!” she yells. “You don’t get that. I do!”
And Heather says, “None of us think we’re perfect. You do.” Lisa strongly denies that: “I don’t think I’m perfect, and I’m so sick of people saying that to me.”
Can Lisa and Meredith reconcile?
During the latter part of this argument, Meredith stays silent but looks angry and annoyed. Andy asks Lisa and Meredith where they’ll go from here.
“I’m genuinely sorry,” Lisa says. “I regret saying those words. It was a moment of rage. We’ve all — maybe not to my extreme — had them, and I am very, very sorry. And I hope that we can work on repairing our friendship.”
Meredith says that she saw the episode less than 48 hours before the reunion filmed and she is “processing. I don’t know where I stand. I hate to throw a 10-year friendship out the window. I’m devastated.” She also questions whether Lisa “did it intentionally mic’d.”
Lisa says she didn’t, and Heather asks, “Then why did you take your mike off and throw it” to a crew member. Lisa replies, “Well, I realized it was on.” Heather and Whitney scoff and Whitney says, “I call bull—- on that.” This is hardly surprising, given that the two of them have been anti-Lisa since the show premiered.
During two breaks in the filming, Lisa tries to quietly apologize to Meredith again. And again. Meredith brushes her off angrily both times.
Meredith is still making threats
Surprisingly little time is devoted to the fact that, in the closing moments of the Season 2 finale, Meredith essentially blackmailed some or all of the other Housewives. Andy asks her about her threat to “expose who everyone slept with.”
“They know who they are. They know what they’ve done,” Meredith says. “Maybe I know.” And she suggests she’s simply acting in her own defense. “I’m tired of it!” she says angrily. “Stop talking about me. Stop attacking me. Stop weaponizing my father’s death against me. Stop making rumors that I turned Jen into the FBI. Leave me alone.”
It’s … puzzling. Meredith signed up for “Real Housewives” during marital strife … and she’s surprised that people are talking about her? And nobody weaponized her father’s death. Meredith uses that falsehood as her own weapon.
Andy calls Meredith out again. “You’re threatening everyone is what you’re doing,” he says. And the other women agree. “I’m just stating that I have information and that I can use it if I choose or not,” Meredith says. Andy replies, “OK, well, that’s a threat.” And Meredith says, “Yeah, pretty much.”
Andy being Andy, he asks about a rumor “that Meredith and Jen were seeing the same guy at some point.”
“Like I said earlier, I haven’t dated anyone other than my husband for well over two years,” Meredith says. “I can’t speak for Jen.” Jen says, “That’s not true.”
Meredith asks the other women if they’re heard rumors about the other Housewives. She acts as if she has justified her threats when they all say they have. However, unlike Meredith, none of them has threatened to use gossip against the other women.
Meredith wasn’t always there
Although Meredith points out three times she had Lisa’s back, she ignores the fact that she did not during a dinner in southern Utah, just before Lisa went on the hot-mic rant.
Meredith says Lisa started the argument with Mary, which is not true. Lisa (and Heather and Whitney) came to Jennie’s defense when Mary was attacking her.
But Meredith’s real point is that Lisa and Mary were “vicious with each other. If you think I was going to get in the middle of that, you are out of your mind.” Translation: “Nope. Didn’t have your back on that.”
And Lisa points to Heather’s hypocrisy — that, on the trip to southern Utah, she expressed sympathy for Lisa consistently supporting Meredith’s back and not seeing that loyalty returned. And now Heather is once again attacking Lisa.
Heather says she was “trying to mend” the relationship between Lisa and Meredith. Lisa correctly points out that was not what we saw on TV. Heather, however, tells Lisa, “I had never seen your point of view, had never had compassion for how you might have felt abandoned. And I can say to Meredith right here — she didn’t really show up for you as much as, like, I’m blindly showing up for [Jen], who’s been horrible to me.”
“You don’t have to keep saying that,” Jen says. Heather replies, “Well, you know what? It’s true.”
Mary is the elephant in the room
Mary, who refused to attend the reunion — and was, reportedly, fired because of that — is the “elephant in the room,” Andys says. He asks the Housewives which of them “received mean texts.” Heather, Whitney, Jen, Lisa and Meredith raise their hands, but Jennie — with whom Mary fought openly — does not.
“She probably blocked your number,” Andy says. Heather adds, “She just said it to you in person.”
In response to a viewer question about why she was not intimidated by Mary, Jennie says, “I’m not intimidated by anybody. I have really high confrontational tolerance. And if you don’t like that, then that’s your problem, not mine.”
“I think that might be why Mary’s not here, Jennie,” Heather says, adding that she doesn’t mean that in a “negative way.”
Lisa says she’s not afraid of Mary. Whitney points out that she stood up to Mary. And Heather, perhaps without realizing it, admits she’s totally intimidated by Mary. “We’ve learned to navigate and not ever say no,” Heather said.
Another viewer wants to know why no one came to Heather’s defense when Mary body shamed her, calling her “chubby.”
“It was already so chaotic,” Lisa says. “It’s like — do you really want to pour gas on that fire?” Which is also an admission of intimidation.
Is Mary’s church a cult?
Meredith says that when she attended a service at the Faith Temple Pentecostal Church, “I didn’t see anything at the church that would lead me to believe it was a cult.” Whitney says, “When I attended, no. I question [it] now.”
Jen says, “I think every church is a cult, to some extent.” Her visit to Mary’s church was “a Mother’s Day tribute only to Mary. They were, like, losing their minds over Mary.”
Whitney says she does not believe that Mary thinks she’s God, “But she uses the fear of God to get what she wants.”
“Why are we acting like we didn’t know that Mary’s church is questionable?” Lisa asks. Which prompts Heather to say, “The Mormon Church is questionable. The Mormon Church does not have equal rights for LGBTQIA or women. And they’re a cult, possibly, as well. Who knows?”
It had nothing to do with the conversation, but Heather seizes the opportunity to vent against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Cameron conspiracy
Heather repeats the conspiracy theory that Lisa invited Cameron Williams and Meredith to the same fundraiser for foster children — specifically so that Cameron (who later died of a brain tumor) would bad mouth Mary to Meredith.
Andy asks Meredith why she thinks Lisa introduced her to Cameron. Meredith deflects that question, and asks Lisa if Cameron was on the board of Foster Care Utah, as she previously stated. Lisa says that Cameron was “part of” the board, and that he was on the organization’s guest list for the event.
Meredith, Whitney and Heather say Cameron was not on the board, which is technically correct. But when Lisa says he was “in the process” of becoming a board member,” Heather rolls her eyes and shakes her head in disgust. “He was there because you thought Meredith would take the football and run with it,” Heather says.
She’s wrong about Cameron. According to Utah Foster Care, “Before Cameron Williams’ life was tragically cut short by cancer,” he “was invited to become an official Utah Foster Care Board Member in June 2021.” This is not included in the show.
“You guys are so sick,” Lisa says.
Whitney, once again, deflects responsibility for her part in any of this. She says Lisa is “brilliant at igniting the flame, and I always fall for it.”
And then Meredith asks Lisa if Cameron really gave Mary $300,000, as she previously stated. Lisa admits she got the money figure wrong, but reasserts that Cameron told her he mortgaged his house to give Mary and her church money.
“Lisa, you flat out told me off camera that he did not donate $300,000. You told me it was about 10% of that,” Meredith says angrily. “And Mary told me the same thing.”
Meredith apparently thinks it’s OK if Mary only coerced $30,000 out of Cameron. She points out that Lisa didn’t correct her error and let it go out “on worldwide television.”
Exactly the same way Meredith’s deceptive statements about Cameron go uncorrected.
Whitney says that, before his death, Cameron “was ready to come out about Mary”; that Cameron told her “that Mary’s congregation definitely believes that she’s God”; and that “he had a relationship with her.” He didn’t say he had a sexual relationship with her, but both Whitney and Heather say they believe the two had an affair.
“He was young when this happened with Mary and he felt he was taken advantage of,” Whitney said. Both she and Lisa say they wish Cameron and Mary were there to speak for themselves.
In response to a question from a viewer, Lisa says it’s “100% true” that there’s a support group for ex-members of Mary’s group. Whitney says, “I’ve had ex-members of her congregation come up to me and say that I have it right” about Mary and her church.
The battle of the memorial
Andy is determined to rehash the misunderstanding over the memorial for Meredith’s father. On the day Jen was arrested, Lisa called Meredith from the shuttle bus and, in the clip, it seems obvious that Lisa believes that she has interrupted Meredith during the memorial. She tells the other women, “Meredith’s at her father’s memorial. I hate even bothering her.”
Meredith, however, was not at the memorial — she was in the bathtub, she says at the reunion. “Why would I answer the phone at my father’s memorial?” she asks. Lisa insists that Meredith told her she “just stepped out of” her father’s memorial. Meredith says that’s not true.
Because there was misunderstanding about the date of the memorial, multiple Housewives speculated that Meredith intentionally skipped the bus trip to Vail because she knew Jen was about to be arrested. And that “major misunderstanding … led to some horrible, brutal interaction,” Andy correctly points out.
“Yes, I feel like I could have very easily been asked before all this speculation went on,” Meredith says. What she doesn’t say is that she was later asked multiple times and could have easily cleared up the confusion, but she repeatedly refused to respond.
“I understand why you were so pissed,” Andy says. “But I’m saying that it seemed as a viewer that if you had said, ‘It was Monday,’ it could’ve been cleared up.”
Part 3 of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” reunion airs Sunday, March 13, on Bravo — 7 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 10 p.m. on Comcast.