Sister Wives begins on a breezy note — the horror of the scary home birth left behind in Janelle’s dirty bathtub. The family is getting to know Axel, and King Sol gets his first royal snuggle. Robyn admits that generations blur in polygamy, and Janelle proudly declares that their frantic breeding is really paying off. Kody agrees, rocking a tight pony for the episode. Meri’s storyline skids backwards, revealing that Catfish Cheryl wants to butt her bruised soul back in front of the TLC cameras.
Meri hopes that Mariah and Cheryl’s daughter can swap war stories about maternal neglect, while Robyn launches a repeat monologue about the harrowing time in the family’s life. We’re reminded that shady Sam was an emotional abuser, and cray-cray to boot. The family doesn’t fully get it, and Kody wonders if therapist Nance will have to coach them through the banana flashback. The ladies crack jokes about Cheryl and Mare being virtual plural wives — and Meri understands that she deserves the sister-snark. Mare and Chare are up for reliving the good ol’ victim days — and as the wives share a good giggle, Kody is unimpressed. Meri is happy that she can laugh away her broken heart, but wonders if the family is really over the online brouhaha.
A cookout is on the schedule next, and we get our first looksie at Aspyn’s boyfriend, Mitch. Robyn welcomes him with a winky-wink and a grin, before Mitch sits for his first interview spot. Mitch reveals that he has plyggie tendencies, but has officially broken from the cult. The couple has been dating for three months. Kody delivers a veiled threat from outside a window, and Tony whines that Mitch has already knocked him out of his rather large saddle. Meri reveals that a trip to Seattle is planned with Mariah and Audrey. She hopes to convince her to meet Cheryl’s daughter — so she can get the heck over the catfish trauma. Christine next bellows the group together to share Ysabel’s treatment semi-success story. The teen’s back has improved, a testament to Ysabel’s work ethic. They want to dodge surgery, and plan to exhaust all other options and teach Ysabel to fight against her own ornery backbone.
We jet to Seattle, and join the girl trio as they explore the city. Mariah knows that Meri is trying hard to heal their relationship, and the catfish rehash becomes like a skipping record. Meri admits that the romance dragged their mom/daughter relationship into the swamp, and that Mariah has good reason to be bitter. They debate a jaunt to a gay bar, and Meri uses it as a segue to nudge Mariah to meet with her victim sister. Mariah doesn’t want to dredge up the scaly sludge, which Meri interprets as a resistance to dealing with her feelings. Meri wants to deliver a fish-flavored dose of tough love, so the ladies strike a deal — a powwow with Cheryl for a gay bar tiptoe.
The rainbow field trip continues, and it’s still daylight outside as the ladies take the plunge. The bar is unicorn kitschy, and Mare finds the joint interesting. The drink menu baffles her, and she admits that she’s too old for this queer place. They check out the downstairs, which is set up with retired arcade games. Meri plays along like a good sport — hopefully making up for failing to click her heels together when her daughter busted out of the closet. Mariah is at peace now — especially because her bitter hatred for her mother is fading. Meri is glad, even though her traditional vision has been shattered.
It’s Sister Wives therapy time — and we soon learn that Meri is being bashed for missing Madison’s filthy home birth. Robyn shares that they have already met with Nancy, to rat out the family defector. The wives are peeved about Meri’s absence, and Janelle immediately moves in for the kill, shaking off her reality coma for the occasion. Meri explains her side — pointing out the fact that Maddie was taking forever to spit out the baby — adding that she isn’t into board games. They retrace the disgusting spectacle, and Janelle is evidently infuriated that Meri did not butt her way between Maddie’s legs.
Meri stays calm in the critical storm, and doesn’t quite understand why everyone is so peeved. Janelle is “intensely communicating” her side, but a rewind reveals that Meri did check in, just refrained from barging in for the big push. She explains that she later felt shut out of the sacred bloodbath, especially when Kody forbade birthing room visitors. We hear that Madison asked for Meri — and Meri expresses love for the new mommy. Christine and Robyn offer tutorials on harem role identity, but Meri denies needing a role. Christine notes that reality bites, and fake is where it’s at. The sisters agree to try to stand each other’s presence, and Meri becomes emotional when thinking about her dead in the water marriage. They wrap the awkward shrink sesh, and decide to kick off their reinvented social life with a post-therapy lunch. The vibe is tense, and Janelle’s body language reveals a closed off, stinky attitude. They discuss doing business together, and Meri admits that her and Robyn’s partnership was a closet flop. The lunch is an awkward mess, and Meri looks like she would rather be in a gay arcade than at this crap-show.
Christine next dramatically summons Meri to her home — because she is ready to “get honest” about the controversy surrounding Axel’s birth. Christine confirms that Meri’s absence was “awful” but her presence would have been worse. Meri is buried by baggage, and is annoyed that Christine is busting it open on camera. Christine labels Meri’s presence “unsafe” for her, and did not appreciate her cranky attitude at lunch. Meri clarifies that she knows that chatter has been going on behind her back — the exchange further exposing cavernous family rifts. Meri’s mind is swirling, and she feels accused. Meri points out that she’s only uncomfortable within this messy bunch, and Christine wants to help her with her inbred discomfort.
Meri rejects Christine’s analysis, and believes that she was simply practicing common labor courtesy. Christine talks in circles, and Meri admits that no one in this family trusts her. Christine finally nails it when she says that Meri does not feel loved or accepted by the others — but then spins backward when she jumps between loving Meri’s absence or hating her presence — or the other way around. Meri is “guarded” and Christine is labeled a big dirty judger. Christine admits that a relationship with Mare would take blood, sweat and mock tears, and they agree that their connection is weird and scary. Meri admits to being guarded — and Christine is determined to bust through the Lula-Wall. Meri’s “factors” are real — but the duo’s discussion ends on a kind note.
The episode wraps with a wonky editing twist — with a cheery Mare ready to submit an offer on the Parowan property. The family is in the dark — just where Meri wants them. Meri presents her offer to Vicky, who is happy to accept. Meri would live there in a heartbeat — if only.
The Tell-All takes off next week — and it’s looking like a doozy!