Thrilling news!! This week has only one mention of hospital smell, and it happens in a confessional. So although it appears we’re not making any progress on the grandpa-fucking front, we may soon be free of at least half of Salt Lake City’s most infectious brain worms. It’s important to take the little victories wherever you can get ’em, so let’s dive right into another magical episode of this gold-plated shitstorm!
We left off last week as the Met Gala daytime luncheon was getting interesting. Meredith had just accepted her apology from Jen, leaving Mary to wait for hers. Jen tells everyone that she’s going to say what everyone is thinking but doesn’t want to say, and Mary starts mumbling, “I don’t agree with me thinking that you say what I say — I’m just saying.” This word salad must be how Mary hypnotizes her congregants, because I blacked out, and the next thing I know, Jen is telling Mary that if she opens her eyes at her one more time, there will be hell to pay. Meanwhile, old man Valter and his white-gloved minions are trying to keep their blood pressure under control while pouring some $900 olive oil on scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Jen goes outside with Heather to remind us that it cannot be later than 1 p.m. and to give Lisa a chance to stir the pot a bit further. They come back in so Mary can call Heather a hypocrite with “very many faces” and Jen a “ghetto hoodlum.” Jen then brings up a previous incident in which Mary told her that if there were Black people outside of a 7-Eleven, she would go to a different 7-Eleven. Absolute yikes. This feud keeps getting deeper and more insidious and seems destined to rage until the end of time. Jen finally leaves, and Mary asks for her $1,200 AirPods back. No word on the betta fish or the Women Helping Women in Business™ journal set, but it would have been nice to at least offer them up to Valter and Arturo as a drop in the restitution bucket.
The next day, the dust settles as Meredith gives Brooks the postgame report, Lisa tells her kid he’s getting two birthday parties, and Mary puts on the boots from her grandma’s high-school majorette uniform so she can pour protein powder into a blender and demand her housekeeper put on a beatboxing performance. Nothing to see here! At Heather’s house, we find out her ex is great at making his child-support payments and that Heather lets her daughter Ashley break ye olde Mormon rule about not going to multiple dances in a row with the same boy. Her boyfriend, Jaydon, plans actual dates and knows his way around the back end of the Supreme website, so here’s hoping they last long enough for us to see his hair reach tiny-ponytail length (we’re close! Maybe six more weeks). Heather also tells her daughters they can skip church the following day if they want, because what’s one more week without going? Say what you will about her “I’m not a regular mom — I’m a cool mom” energy, but this is merely giving kids age-appropriate agency in the face of community pressure not to, and, honestly, it’s really refreshing to see.
Meredith picks up separated husband, Seth, from the airport, where he has just returned from chasing the big ol’ closeout retail whales. He plants a liquidation-sale smooch on Meredith’s perpetually Juvéderm’d kisser in hopes of convincing her to uproot their family to Canton, Ohio. My guy. This is a no-go. Your lady just purchased a bunch of haunted paintings to furnish the new house. She’s got a jewelry store and a Bravo contract and has already moved half a dozen times to hang out with you while you score a bunch of deals on freshly bankrupted Payless shoe stores or whatever. As a born and bred Ohioan, I’d love to hear Seth’s 99 reasons to love Akron-Canton. I’m coming up with six, two of which are just the signature sauces on Swensons’ “Galley Boy” cheeseburger. Surely that tartar-sauce recipe can be found on Reddit.com, although maybe Seth’s delusions will continue because this may be our only chance to see Meredith emote. (Plus, I’m rooting for the Northeast Ohio tourism industry, even if the only way you’re getting me back there is in a cremation urn).
Meanwhile, it’s husband-juxtaposition-o-clock. Jen’s in her office FaceTiming with Sharrieff, while Mary’s chatting with Robert in a big room with racks upon racks of clothes. You may think I’m describing a closet, but it more closely resembles an Olive Garden break room filled with the most expensive things from every T.J.Maxx in the tri-county area. Either way, they eventually move into the kitchen so the housekeeper can bring Mary a lunch tray filled with plastic-wrapped fruit and Robert Sr. can say that it’s all stinkin’ jealousy and ask if she needs a bodyguard. Sharrieff listens to Jen. He then validates her intraracial frustrations, encourages her not to internalize any of Mary’s nonsense as the mother of two Black children, reminds her that the only thing she can control is her response, and finally tells her how much he loves her and is proud of her. This man’s patience and emotional intelligence are off the charts. Someone hire him to stage interventions with (checks the footage) nearly every Bravo husband in existence, but may as well start with that asshat Michael Darby.
Whitney meets up with her brother Will to do some jujitsu and talk about their dad’s plan to go to sober living since he originally ran off to California post-rehab and almost relapsed. Will asks how he can help support Whitney, who is financially and emotionally tapped out. They talk about how even small text messages of love and acceptance can mean the world and laugh about wishing for normal parents. The whole thing mostly makes me angry that Whitney’s confessional glam squad did her so dirty. Sure, her voice is “sexy baby in Whoville,” but she’s got jokes and appears to be a good person! What crime could her eyebrows have possibly committed to deserve such cruel and unusual punishment?
With Sundance coming down the pipeline, Lisa is furiously showering her kids with money and attention in the hope that they’ll remember it in therapy later. Her son, Henry, is celebrating his eighth birthday, so everyone’s at the bowling alley letting their hair down. Henry is punching his friends in the face and barking at the ball retriever, while Lisa and John talk about how Meredith and Seth are in “that phase everybody goes through” where you feel out of sync and throw your partner’s Rolex out of a moving vehicle. Totally normal couple stuff! Lisa’s marriage is built on core love of God, core love of Jesus, and core love of family. It remains to be seen whether Meredith and Seth also get down with “eternal marriage.” Fingers crossed the answer is no, because Seth kind of sucks, and Meredith’s blazer collection is just begging to be worn shirtless on first dates with a bunch of 27-year-olds.
Whitney helps her dad, Steve, pack a bunch of chocolate almonds and his favorite performance-fleece quarter-zips to go back to sober living. She says it’s the first time she has seen her dad take accountability and responsibility, and as much as I want to wax poetic on how validating and important it is to see recovery narratives like this onscreen, shit’s about to go down at the Marks household!
As the camera slowly pans over portraits of happier times, Seth packs his suitcase to go back to work since he can’t keep “living this Park City dream.” Meredith suggests they maybe need a little bit of space. He forces a hat into his backpack, his beaded bracelets shaking with rage, suggesting that maybe him being out of the picture for a while will help Meredith find what she wants. She’s like, Yes, great, perfect! Seth “calls it like it is” and says he doesn’t know if they’re gonna make it as he sobs into her velour robe, undersexed tears not quite making it out of his beady eyeholes. He heads out as we see … THE BEAR FROM MIDSOMMAR! Y’all. She bought that ugly-ass painting from her shopping trip with Lisa, and it has taken over the bedroom. Wow, what a beautiful metaphor. Now if only Seth stays in Canton forever so Meredith can bewitch the eligible bachelors of Park City with her graceful shoulders and unique flavor of Lou Malnati’s vocal fry.
Just when we thought the episode was over, the producers threw in a li’l dessert. More specifically, a totally not-staged one-on-one dinner during which Heather attempts to broker some kind of peace and Mary tries to convince her that carbonation hardens your ovaries. Mary breaks down the “incest free” grandma-husband inheritance agreement yet again, insisting that Jen is angry about her race and jealous of her style, cry-gasping about how she didn’t want to marry her grandfather at first either, but she chose right for her family and herself and the church — and just look at her life! Girl, we’re looking at it. And I think it’s safe to say we remain collectively unconvinced. Tithings are one helluva drug!