When Meredith Marks arrived on a frozen pond to the tune of horror movie music, and the sound of two young men screaming, "TROUT! TROUT! TROOOOOUT!" in between Heather flirting with them, there were hardly six minutes left in this episode — and at least a football field worth of ice to traverse. So, consider me stumped on how we might still accomplish all that the episode 3 preview had promised us: Meredith Marks' first-ever engagement, immediately followed by Meredith Marks' approximately 432nd disengagement.
To be clear, when I say "engagement," I am not referring to Meredith and her husband Seth — he of the most ill-advised soul patch in all of Salt Lake City, a land of many ill-advised soul patches — separating and reconnecting again. No, they prefer to do that by traumatizing wait staff, drivers, and their roommate son alike with their Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? cosplay…
I am, of course, referring to Meredith Marks finally putting on her Housewives blazer and getting down in the mud with the rest of the gals. Last season saw Meredith fleeing every single scene, every single party, every single dinner table that even hinted at drama. But between seasons 1 and 2, thanks to an extremely messy (alleged) social media manager, and a tweet that has fewer than 300 likes at airtime, Meredith has finally decided to engage, no matter how briefly. And, in the end, she really didn't need those six minutes to surpass her season 1 performance and finally make her (ahem) mark on season 2. She only needed a few seconds and one single line:
"Did you like a comment referring to my son as a sissy bitch?"
But before we get to those 13 little words every Housewives fan wants to hear, we are once again treated — and I mean that earnestly — to a Real Housewives of Salt Lake City motherhood montage. New Housewife Jennie's children seem absolutely delightful, and I would love nothing more than to pour a sleeve of Mentos into a Diet Coke bottle with Little Miss Karlyn. So, what a bummer it was after science experiment time and self-motivated tween counter cleaning to find out that Jennie's husband suuuuuucks. And hey, maybe he'll redeem himself later on… maybe he was just coming across as heartless and prioritizing of his own desires over his wife's health this one time…
But listening to Duy continue to pressure Jennie about having more children — a narrative he's been pushing for three episodes out of a three-episode run — only to find out that she's had nine miscarriages and was warned by her doctor that it would "very dangerous" to have more children…
Was pretty upsetting! Almost as upsetting as watching Mary's repeated attempts to ward off her son's sexual behavior. In last week's episode, she warned him about nether-regions that smell like fish (a legend so urban I haven't heard it since middle school). And this week, she shares some advice about contraception: "I'm like, wear a jimmy! Like, make sure you're covered, you don't want that thing coming home purple. I say real stuff! I'm like, you know, just because they look pretty don't mean they're pretty inside!"
To this point, most of Mary's advice to her teenage son has been your standard demonizing of teenage girls in an attempt to exonerate young men from any past, present, or future wrongdoing because the top priority of all young women is to entrap young men with their feminine wiles. So, our basic run-of-the-mill Housewives stuff! And whereas listening to Heather attempt to support her daughters' religious choices while putting distance between her own religious upbringing is the kind of fascinating family dynamic we've come to expect from RHOSLC…
I simply never could have predicted anything as wild as Mary asking her son over and over "do you wanna go to army" while he grunted one-syllable word responses that all generally sounded like "no." (Housewives fans have long known that Porsha on RHOA is this generation's Lucille Ball… but did you know that Mary is Lucille Bluth?!)
Mary says that Robert Sr. "went to the army, and he's where he is today because of that." So, she's insistent that Robert Jr. will also "go to army." And what does Mary think Robert Jr. will do at army that will ideally shape him into a man who may one day marry his step-granddaughter? In her own words: "He's gonna jump out of planes, he's gonna go underwater, and — I don't know what he's gonna do, he might even drown a little bit, but whatever he has to do, I want him to do it, and I'm ready." Watch out for pretty women telling tall tales, indeed, Robert Jr.
But for every Mary scene that makes me want to close my eyes and slam the TV shut, there's one where she's forced by a producer to describe Meredith's style. Which, after much pausing to make sure she gets her wording right, Mary describes as: "Um, Meredith's style is Meredith — Meredith Marks. And, um, that can be a style."
Mary is asked to describe Meredith's style when she heads over to Meredith's house because — hold on to your furry houndstooth hats here — Mary and Brooks Marks have become very close friends during quarantine. According to Meredith, "Brooks has struggled a bit with feeling targeted by Jen, and he finds a lot of comfort in talking to Mary about it because she's been there." And listen — it is not okay for a grown woman to talk trash about a 21-year-old young man, and it's not okay for her to like Tweets calling him names…
But I absolutely draw the line at the idea that anyone would find comfort in Mary Cosby. That is a concept that defies reason, rationale, and reality.
And yet, there's no doubt that Meredith's rage at Jen Shah is real. Ultimately, it's Mary's sage counsel that pushes Meredith to show up to Jen's ice fishing outing, even though she originally said she wouldn't attend, and even though Jen asked for everyone's weight, height, social security number, credit score, and the extended warranty on their car in order to attend. But attend Meredith does! After all of the other women have been enjoying each other on the ice for a while, sprinting around to various holes trying to catch various trout, Meredith shows up unannounced, dressed in all white, ready to reel in the biggest catch of them all: Jen's lies.
After some pretending like everything is fine, Jen goes to sit down next to Meredith and Lisa, and Meredith tells Jen that she struggled with the decision to come. But something has been festering with her, and she thought it best to address it directly. "Your actions do not align with your words," Meredith tells Jen, and as she says it, you can hear a man screaming, "TROUT! TROUT! TROUT!" in the background because this show is perfect.
Meredith was clear with Jen at the reunion that if she continued to speak poorly about her family, they would no longer be friends. "Do you recollect me saying that?" Meredith asks, full-ass engaging right now. She then announces that Jen has been liking "homophobic tweets regarding my son's sexuality," and she was even told about a Zoom where Jen "questioned [Brooks] coming out and his sexuality." Jen blinks her big eyes. Meredith continues, undeterred: "Those are negative, homophobic microaggressions for a young adult who has not determined where he stands, and it's horribly painful for someone to be pressured to talk about something they're not ready to talk about!" So, you see, Meredith has come to this frozen lake prepared…
Unfortunately, Jen has not. "What are you talking about?!" she sputters. Jen says she's tired of being "accused of stuff" when she hasn't done anything.
"Did you like a comment referring to my son as a sissy bitch?" Meredith asks plainly. "No!" Jen answers. So, Meredith pulls out her phone and shows Jen the tweet calling Brooks a "s!ssy b!tch," liked by the one and only verified Jen Shah.
Well, that's easy enough for Jen to explain: "I have somebody that runs my stuff, so that is not me," Jen says of her own Twitter account. The same Twitter account that's been liking rude comments about Heather that she also claimed no ownership of last week, and Heather let her get away with it. But Heather is inexplicably desperate for Jen's friendship, whereas Meredith couldn't care less about being friends with Jen; she's just here to defend her son (Brooks Marks, close personal friend of Mary Cosby). Meredith roars that Jen is responsible for her own Twitter, and then, after three full minutes of engagement, begins the process of disengaging.
Because Meredith is furious. Like, the sunglasses exploding off her face from the steam coming out of her ears levels of furious. Lisa chases after Meredith as she storms off, but Meredith has had it: "No, I can't listen to the projecting, deflecting, and lying anymore," she yells, halfway to a pretty solid country song chorus. For some reason, this is the moment that Jennie decides to get involved, mostly because she's annoyed at having to listen to such a fruitless fight. So she marches over to Meredith and tells her she should try and listen to what Jen has to say.
And — while I understand Meredith's rage — she should allow this to be a bit more of a back-and-forth if she actually wants to come out on top. Because she, of all people, should know that Jen is fully capable of digging her own grave if someone just gives her the chance. But this is the point when the editors hit us with the "TO BE CONTINUED," and the ice fishing fellas hit us with one final, "TROUT, TROUT, TROUT," completely unaware that these ladies only ever came out on this frozen pond for the "DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA." See you back here next week for more PROJECTING, DEFLECTING, AND LYING.