This episode begins with two meetings that rival the Paris Peace Conference, the first of which is between Meredith and Lisa. The pair meet for a walk, despite what Meredith’s outfit may suggest. She’s wearing metallic-blue pants, high heels, and a fur coat that must have taken at least three dead Cookie Monsters to make. They catch up on their kids, and Lisa fills Meredith in on Jack’s plan to forgo college to serve a mission, noting that if he gets sent to Milan, there’d be lots of great shopping for her. Just as Joseph Smith intended.
Overall, the scene is tame, with both apologizing for their respective missteps and cautiously committing to moving forward on a new path. The best part is Lisa’s confessional where she lists, in order, the people she trusts the most: “anyone that signed an NDA, my husband, all of our lawyers because they are bound by law.” But she’s willing to make an exception for Meredith, adding her to the list because of their long history, and they end the encounter with a hug.
Next up is the buzzin’ cousins, who continue the show’s long history of tub scenes by meeting in a hot spring to debrief Heather’s fresh-start party. We also find out that although Heather and Angie aren’t on good terms now, the pair actually go back to high school, where they were friends, despite Heather being in the Mormon group and Angie being with the Greeks, just like the Jets and the Sharks. “I do remember that she won best sense of humor … I always feel bad for the girls that peak in high school,” Heather says. It’s a truly shocking revelation given that Angie is deeply unfunny, despite the attempts of whoever is writing her canned confessional barbs.
Speaking of high school, Heather overheard Lisa talking about Jack’s post-graduation mission at the party, and naturally that immediately caught her attention. She’s curious about his motivation, especially since she (much like Jack) doesn’t consider Lisa to be a true Mormon. “What I don’t think she’s prepared for is who he might be when he comes home, and I think she’s in for a rude awakening,” Heather says, and despite her previous tiffs with Lisa, I think this instinct to insert herself comes from a place of genuine concern. Will Lisa take it that way? Surely not.
Though we’ve known Angie for some time now, we’re finally seeing her in a solo scene, at home with her husband Shawn, daughter Elektra, and a poodle named Celia that she dyed pink. On paper, Angie makes a terrific Housewife. In practice? I’ve yet to see it. I fear that Angie lacks star quality. I need charisma and magnetism, of which there has thus far been far too little. I hope to be proven wrong. It’s never happened in my life thus far, but I’m open to it. I’d love for her to surprise us all and deliver. I’d even be fine with a Stockholm syndrome scenario where her monotone, garbled voice lulls us to a place of complacency and acceptance. Until then, I can entertain myself by seeing Celia gallivant around the massive house that famously played host to Coach Shah’s birthday party last year. Those grand digs are a far cry from our next stop: Monica’s house.
When we cut to the exterior of her home, it’s a noticeable change. Unlike the grandiose properties we’re used to seeing on this show (whether rentals or not), Monica has an ordinary house, suggesting a financial disparity might be at play. She and her mother, Linda, sit at the table preparing orders for Brea Baby, her baby-product company, and we get to hear some more backstory on our newest housewife outside of her Jen Shah connection. She moved to Salt Lake ten years ago and grew up in the Mormon Church after her mother converted to LDS when she was five, but she struggles with that experience. As for her father, he left when she was four, and she doesn’t even know what he looks like. All she knows is that he was gay and moved to Florida with his boyfriend. I can see her tracking down this gay dad as her season-six storyline.
She asks her mother to watch her kids while she goes to Palm Springs, adding that she’s nervous about joining this new group of women, mainly because of their differing income levels. She cries as she admits to her mother and daughter that she bought a Louis Vuitton bag to impress the women, and her daughter tells her that she shouldn’t base her worth on how much money she has. Housewives 101: Have a voice-of-reason daughter! This plot is instantly compelling to me. Often, a Housewife would rather die than admit their co-stars are richer than them, spiraling into debt to keep up with the Joneses, but Monica admits this insecurity from the jump and lets us see it play out.
You’d be forgiven if you used the double-date scene between Whitney and Justin and Angie and Shawn as a time to go to the bathroom or refill on snacks; I wish I could have done the same. The key takeaway from what was otherwise a snoozefest is Angie finding out that Meredith didn’t invite her on the girls’ trip to Palm Springs. The snub is a surprise, especially after their salon did the hair for Meredith’s fashion show last year. Luckily for Angie, Whitney loves stirring shit up, so she invites her as her plus-one on the trip. Nothing indicates that plus-ones are a thing on this trip, but these girls have a television show to make.
Speaking of making a show, Monica continues to make the rounds to fully integrate herself into the cast, this time going shopping with Heather ahead of the trip. Even though she’s friends with Angie (who Heather says is catty, jealous, and accused her of having sex with Jen Shah), she’s willing to give Monica a chance. But it’s only when Monica brings up her connection to the Mormon Church that Heather seems to warm up to her.
Monica tells Heather that she was married in the temple before she was excommunicated “for fucking my brother-in-law for 18 months.” It’s moments like this where we can practically see Heather forget that she’s on the show and not just watching it because she lights up at this revelation like only a Bravo viewer could. Monica explains that she was excommunicated after finally coming clean about the affair, while the man she was involved with wasn’t excommunicated — a detail that doesn’t surprise Heather. It was a difficult, isolating time in her life, but she ditched her Mormon undergarments and went straight to Victoria’s Secret.
Monica is proving not to be the trick pony I feared she was. In fact, the Jen Shah connection might end up being the least interesting thing about her! (I’m kidding; the least interesting thing is most certainly her line of baby swaddles.) It’s obvious that she already has much more to offer story-wise than just Jen Shah.
It’s finally time for their trip to the famed Trixie Motel in Palm Springs, which warrants one of my favorite kinds of Housewives scenes: the women packing for a cast trip while their children, husband, or pet watches on. In Meredith’s case, her audience is her supermodel children Chloe and Brooks, who dryly commentate like those two teenagers on The White Lotus talking to Alexandra Daddario. When Brooks suggests she get a surf suit there, Meredith has to tell him that Palm Springs is the desert, not the coast.
Over in Mary’s closet, a place that feels so much like home, she rings up the Trixie “Hotel” herself. When she’s corrected that it’s actually “Motel,” she silently delivers a look of fear and disgust, the comic merit of which could only be rivaled by Lucille Ball. “Do you guys have 2003 Dom Pérignon?” she asks, and, of course, the answer is no — another wide-eyed look of horror. What did we ever do to deserve such talent?
Anyway, it’s off to the airport, where the ladies find out that Whitney is taking a different flight, though they don’t yet know the mystery reason.
Nobody in the world exhibits such unbridled professionalism as a Real Housewife who takes it upon herself to start recording on her cell phone when drama goes down sans camera crew. This week, that hero was Heather Gay, who began recording from within a bathroom stall the second Lisa Barlow realized she had lost a $60,000 ring while pulling up her jeans a few stalls over. Amongst Heather’s whispers and a cacophony of flushes, we can hear a frantic Lisa begin her 45-minute search for the bling. “Does anybody see a ring on the floor!? I’m freaking out! Monica, do you see it? Help me!”
“I don’t think that ring was worth that; first off, I don’t think it’s worth 60,000,” Mary says in a confessional, never missing an opportunity to casually attack. After Lisa files a report (even though there isn’t a doubt in my mind that she flushed that bad boy down the toilet), they all load up into yet another sprinter van. This is where the magic happens, historically, as we all know. It’s also where Mary tells a still bereft Lisa, “At some point, you gotta let it go,” mere minutes (okay, probably hours) after losing the ring. But she says it has sentimental value, at which point Heather astutely adds, “I mean, I feel very sentimental about anything over $10,000.” The most expensive thing Heather’s ever lost, a producer asks? “My dignity.”
While the ladies were busy ransacking an airport bathroom for Lisa’s ring, Whitney and Angie were making themselves comfortable at the Trixie Motel, hobnobbing it with its namesake, Trixie Mattel herself, who blesses us with a special guest appearance. Are Whitney and Angie there early to see Whitney’s pal Trixie? To snag the best room? That’s what they might have you believe, but no, it’s to ambush the other ladies with Angie’s presence. Surprise!
The episode ends on an image so iconic that it should be printed in textbooks on LGBTQIA+ history: a Real Housewives of Salt Lake City sprinter van pulling into the Trixie Motel. It’s like a gorgeous Slim Aarons photograph.