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How ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Season 4 Premiere Addressed Jen Shah’s Absence

Jen Shah-s Assistant Says Meredith Marks Is the Only RHOSLC Cast Member to Reach Out Amid Prison Sentence
Chris Haston/Bravo

Jen Shah is no longer on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, but her presence was still felt on the Tuesday, September 5, premiere of season 4.

The bulk of the episode was filmed in January, the same month that Jen, 49, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison after her conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. (Her sentence was reduced by one year in March.)

Mary Cosby got right into it, asking Meredith Marks how she feels about the situation now that Jen is behind bars. “Look, there’s nothing to say about it anymore,” Meredith, 51, said. “She said she’s guilty and she’s going to serve her time. Everyone can start healing and moving forward now. That’s the only positive.”

In a confessional interview, Meredith added that she hasn’t spoken to Jen since she began her stay at FPC Bryan in February. “I mean, she’s in prison,” Meredith replied when a producer asked whether she’s tried contacting her former costar. “What do you want me to do?”

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Elsewhere in Utah, Lisa Barlow prepared to become a partial empty nester as her eldest son, Jack, made plans for life after high school. Jack, 18, had recently told his parents that he planned to delay college for two years so he could go on a mission with the Mormon church.

“A mission is devoting two years of your life to serving others and teaching people about Jesus Christ,” Lisa, 48, explained in a confessional scene. “So, Jack’s giving up two years of life to basically help everyone but himself.”

While Lisa said she’d miss her son, she noted that “the hardest part” of the whole ordeal was that Jack kept his plans secret from her for a year. “It hurts,” she told the camera through tears. “What else don’t I know about Jack? Am I so disconnected from my son that he doesn’t want to tell me this? Am I, like, a bad mom? Am I not present enough? How did I miss this?”

Keep reading for more of the biggest moments from the RHOSLC season 4 premiere:

How It Feels Without Jen

Jen won’t be back in SLC anytime soon, but her presence still looms large over the Beehive State. When Mary, 50, reunited with Heather Gay, her first question was how Heather, 49, was doing without her former BFF. “I’m fine, surprisingly,” Heather said, adding that she had trouble setting boundaries with Jen. “I felt too deep in it — like if I stopped for one second I couldn’t catch my breath. Because she was a lot.”

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Asked how she feels now that Jen is in prison, Heather replied, “I feel like a weight is lifted.” In a confessional, she added that she felt like she couldn’t be “honest” with Jen in the days before her sentencing. “With everything she had going on in her life, the stakes were way too high,” Heather said. “It was not a time to talk about our friendship and work on our boundaries. But now that she’s in prison, I feel like I can just shut the door on it and move on.”

Mary Cosby Returns

In addition to the Jen of it all, the biggest news in SLC was the return of Mary, who left the show in a storm of designer accessories after season 2. “You better buckle up, because here I am,” she quipped. “I’m, like, in dinosaur mode right now. That’s how much I need to be caught up.”

How The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Season 4 Premiere Addressed Jen Shah Absence
Mary Cosby Gizelle Hernandez/Bravo

While much of the premiere focused on the other women, Mary hinted that she’s had plenty going on in her own life since her exit. Her son, Robert Jr., has a new girlfriend — or is she his wife? Mary isn’t sure because she hasn’t asked, even though Robert Jr. still lives at home, presumably still with his own in-bedroom fridge (the better to avoid passing your mom in the kitchen and telling her whether you’re married).

Meanwhile, Mary’s husband, Robert Sr. — who is also her step-grandfather, lest you forgot — has been in Las Vegas for the past six months. “It was good,” Mary replied when a producer asked how the time apart had been for her.

Most importantly, Mary proved she hasn’t lost her knack for being the most quotable SLC Housewife. “It’s spicy,” Mary said of a salad she didn’t like. “I don’t do spicy. Whenever I do spicy, it comes out the other end spicy. We’re not doing that today.”

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The New Wives in Town

Angie Katsanevas, previously a friend of the Housewives, has now been promoted to a full-time Housewife alongside newbie Monica Garcia. The duo explained that they actually knew each other before the show — and were introduced by none other than Jen. Monica, for her part, claimed she once “stepped in to help” Jen after Jen fired one of her assistants. At that point, Jen allegedly offered to help Monica, 40, make more money. “I remember being so weirded out,” Monica recalled. “It was very bizarre. And I have a friend in the Secret Service. And I called him, and he said, ‘Get the f–k away from Jen Shah, she’s going to prison.’ And she was arrested two months later. And that is how I became a witness with the federal government in her trial.”

Bad Weather, Still Not Together

After the dramatic events of season 3, Heather and former BFF (and also cousin) Whitney Rose are still on the outs. During a conversation with Meredith, Heather revealed that she saw Whitney, 36, for the first time in months. A snippet of that meeting showed Bad Weather attempting to negotiate a truce, but it seems unlikely that clear skies are ahead. “I’m going to be honest, it’s going to be hard for me to trust you that you really wanna be my friend,” Whitney told Heather. “We’ve just gotta show each other that we mean it.”

How The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Season 4 Premiere Addressed Jen Shah Absence
Heather Gay and Whitney Rose Lauren DeCicca/Peacock

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City airs on Bravo Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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