‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Season 3, Ep. 13 Recap

Photo: Vulture; Photo: Bravo

“How did you get a black eye?” These are the first words uttered in this episode, and they come from Whitney, who speaks for a troubled nation. For two weeks, it’s the question that has haunted us all ever since we realized Heather Gay was refusing to tell us the one thing we desperately need to know. As a die-hard Bravo fan herself, doesn’t Heather realize how frustrating this is for the audience? And doesn’t she realize how quickly everyone will turn against her for it? But, alas, another week goes by and she refuses to budge.

“We’re still unsure about what happened to my eye,” Heather lies, looking directly at Jen, which Whitney takes note of. Whitney is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and she has Jen Shah’s name at the very top of her suspect list. Has Rian Johnson considered tackling this one for the next Knives Out movie?

Since Heather insists she doesn’t want to talk about it, Danna seizes the moment to bring up her conflict with Jen. “Girl, I let you drive me. I put my life in your hands. We’re good,” Jen says, referencing the sacred bond of go-karting. But Danna is determined to throw that resolution away to say she knows someone who knows someone who worked for Jen, pleaded guilty, and is now an informant. First of all, this is too many degrees of separation. Secondly, I have no idea what Danna is hoping to achieve by bringing this up as if it’s new information, and I don’t think Danna knows either. To quote Mo’Nique, “Say their names, and if not, keep it on the playground.” But if the goal was just to make Jen storm out, then mission accomplished.

The women remaining at the table have a conversation about the position Jen and this case put them all in with Whitney describing it as a dance they all do. They want to bring it up, but they also want to remain safe from the wrath that would result. And while, yes, it’s bizarre to have them all just go about business as usual, getting into it about the case is a fool’s errand. It’s not like, if you ask enough, she’ll finally just crack and spill the beans (to a judge, yes, but not to Whitney Rose).

So until they get official word from the court (or a guilty plea), the women feel as if they just have to believe Jen. What happens if they end up with egg on their faces for trusting her innocence? Whitney says that, in that event, she’d have to sit down for a tough, awkward conversation with Jen at a “conjugal visit,” before someone explains to her what a conjugal visit is. Either way, I hope the brilliant minds at Bravo are hard at work inventing a hidden camera these women can wear on their hats and lapels when they visit Jen throughout season four.

Upstairs, Jen, Heather, and Meredith are in the bathroom with a fourth woman who turned out to be just a mannequin head for one of Jen’s wigs. “All you have to say to shut all of them up is, ‘Why don’t we talk about how Heather really got her black eye?'” Heather says, “And we’re not gonna tell them because they don’t deserve to know … because they already do, and they just want us to say it out loud.” Simultaneously, Meredith and I both say, “Wait, what?”

Does Heather know she’s on-camera? Shouldn’t her cover-ups and strategizing be happening behind the scenes? Let’s dig into this sentence. Why would this shut them up — isn’t this exactly what they’ve been begging to hear about? And then we have two completely contradictory statements from Heather: “They don’t deserve to know” and “They already do.” And if they want them “to say it out loud,” then why would it put the “fear of God in them”? This is so confusing I find it impossible to believe this isn’t some kind of Andy Kaufman–like performance art. But the threat was never made, and the women called it an early night at 4 am

And just like that, our San Diego trip is over and the women are all back in Salt Lake City where they belong until a court of law says otherwise. Whitney’s doing yoga, Lisa is fishing for some reason, and Brooks and Chloe are competing to see whose vocal fry is more monotone. But nobody is more of a sight for sore eyes (literally) than our long-lost friend Angie Harrington, to whom Heather pays a visit.

Heather immediately commiserates with Angie H.’s dog, Domino, on account of his horrific, bloodshot eyes with crusty puss dripping from them. It’s one of the most disgusting things Bravo has televised since the Real Housewives of New York collectively got diarrhea. Angie heard all about this eventful San Diego trip she was barred from attending and, like everyone else in the world, wants answers about Heather’s eye. She keeps telling her not to protect the person who did this to her, and while Angie suspects Jen or Lisa, Heather is staying mum.

Meanwhile, Jen has a video call with her therapist, who tells her how important it is for her to lean on those around her. Jen worries about the pressure her situation is putting on Sharrieff and her two boys, and she is carrying a tremendous amount of guilt about it. In the chaos of the season, it’s easy to forget how remarkable it is that we’re essentially watching a woman grapple with the fact that she’s very likely about to be sent to prison and away from her family for years. And even so, she still finds the time to throw Champagne and attend sweatpants-fashion shows.

Speaking of, it’s the day of the charity fashion show Meredith put together to raise awareness for the mental-health and addiction foundation her sister and nephew created. First to arrive are Danna and Angie K., and Meredith isn’t exactly thrilled to see either of them after they rat her out to Lisa for talking about the SEC filing. But Meredith wants to make it very clear she’s not mad, so much so that the editors include an “I’m Not Mad” counter at the bottom of the screen during their conversation, which clocks in at five in a matter of seconds:

1. “I’m not angry at either of you, but it is a little bit disappointing.”
2. “I’m not mad, but I’m disappointed.”
3. “I’m not mad — I’m moving on — but it’s noted.”
4. “I’m not mad — like, these are irritations.”
5. “I’m moving on. I’m not mad.”

She maintains that she wasn’t really gossiping because it’s public information, but I’m not entirely sure that logic checks out. Despite all of this, Lisa still showed up to support Meredith’s family and mental-health awareness. Or, according to Meredith, she came for optics and to pose for social media. Also in attendance is Jen and Sharrieff, who brought a prop, which we love.

Jen, determined to resolve the dispute about her not paying Angie K. for Sharrieff’s party, requested an invoice and arrived at the function check in hand. In her confessional, Angie says she’s going to run to the bank and deposit it before the government freezes Jen’s account, showing us that whatever Catskills comedian she’s got writing these zingers for her is still on the payroll. When there’s a stark discrepancy between how funny a Housewife is in normal scenes versus her confessionals, you know she’s being fed lines.

But apparently that’s not the only Angie who Jen is making amends with because Lisa gets word that she called to make peace with Angie Harrington following their ShahXposed blowup. When Lisa heard this I thought she was going to pass out. “They are the most inconsistent people I have ever met in my whole entire life,” she says, and that inconsistency has her wondering what else Jen might be lying about… in her work life, for example.

When these women aren’t gathered around a charcuterie board or in an outdoor pool, they’re sitting across from one another Super Soul Sunday style in Whitney’s red Adirondack chairs. This week, it’s Heather in the hot seat, but she’s still not spilling the beans about what happened to her eye, even though Whitney wants to know if she’s been “assilted” (assaulted). This attack on Heather’s eye and the mystery surrounding it have put things into perspective for Whitney and made her long for the days of bad weather, when the pair would tell each other everything. But not so fast: Heather isn’t ready to let Whitney brush this friendship break under the rug as if nothing happened.

“When you break something, it’s broken. And it’s never as strong as it was,” she tells Whitney. Heather goes on to say she thinks Whitney was looking for drama where there wasn’t any and sacrificed her to get in the good graces of the other women, assuming she’d be able to run back to her whenever she felt like it. This is one of those moments when we, the viewers, can feel the camera in the room and understand the role that being on television and creating a reality show has in this interpersonal conflict. Heather is suggesting she was thrown aside for a story line, which makes me wonder how much of this show’s drama is because the show exists in the first place.

That seems to be the theme of the season. Would the feds have busted Jen had she not been flaunting her wealth and talking about her business on television? Would Meredith and Lisa still have a sisterlike bond had a hot mic not caught and broadcast a private rant? Would Mary M. Cosby have ever left her closet? The world may never know.

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