The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: Jen Shah Is a Distant Memory in Thrilling Season 4

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Earlier this year, I vented my frustrations about how The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was no longer Bravo's diamond in the rough.

With the legal woes of Jen Shah taking up all of the screentime, the series had become a shell of its former self.

In one of the biggest surprises in reality TV history, the series managed to recalibrate following Shah's departure.

Season 4, Baby! - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Jen thrived off being the center of attention, and her presence had a halo effect through every storyline in the first three seasons, leading many to believe the show would sink further into oblivion.

12 episodes into The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City Season 4, I can confidently say it's the strongest season yet -- and one of the best seasons of Real Housewives. Ever.

Jen Shah on Season 3 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Jen Shah, Who?

It's hard to believe the reality TV series has managed this late-stage comeback, but it's a testament to the cast clocking in and realizing they needed to save their show.

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We've witnessed many of these shows get the pink slip for becoming too toxic, which probably explains why the returning OGs have been working on their friendships.

Who would have thought Lisa Barlow and Meredith Marks would be on talking terms after that hot-mic moment and the resulting fallout?

Lisa Barlow for Season 4 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

The best part?

Lisa's aware of her friend's flaws and isn't afraid to point them out, adding some much-needed depth to everything that's happened thus far with the original stars.

But that doesn't mean the original cast doesn't have beef, but it isn't as dark as some of the stuff in prior seasons.

Don't Come for My Bathtub!

Meredith Marks for Season 4 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

We've had Meredith complaining about Whitney coming for her bathtub and Mary claiming that Whitney called her something pornographic, referencing comments Whitney made in the past.

The delivery of that scene in the Sprinter van may have been comedic, but it highlighted that these women are here to put on a great show that will get the fans talking. 

Monica Garcia's Big Impact

Adding Monica Garcia as Jen's replacement was a stroke of casting genius for many reasons.

Monica Garcia - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

From the moment she arrived on the scene, Monica has shown remarkable resilience despite navigating meandering relationships with the women.

It's hard to tell who she's friends with at this stage, but it's clear that she didn't come on the show to make friends.

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Monica has a personality that's perfect for the small screen, and after helping steer the series in the right direction, she deserved to be rewarded with first seat at the reunion.

It's rare for a first-time housewife to get that coveted seat, but her impact on the season has been undeniable.

Heather Gay for Season 4 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

She's been a part of the biggest arguments, and if the teasers for the cast trip to Bermuda are to be believed, that won't change any time soon.

We know that Heather learned something about one of her co-stars during the trip, and given the Bad Mormon author's recent comments about not wanting to film with Monica, this has got to be about Monica.

If you watch The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City online, you know that Monica had close ties to the incarcerated Jen Shah, so there's a good chance the fateful phone call in Bermuda has to do with something about Jen's case.

Despite getting a front-row seat into Monica's life, there's still much we don't know, meaning that there's a high probability she'll be with the show for many seasons.

Whitney Rose for Swason 4 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

If the ladies refuse to film with her for next season, it wouldn't shock me if producers introduced a friend or two for Monica to help keep her on the show.

She may not be everyone's cup of tea, but she's a natural in front of the camera and delivers perfect commentary in confessionals.

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The big test for Monica will be how the reunion pans out because there's a possibility the ladies will come armed with plenty of stories to discredit Monica.

The other new full-time housewife this season who has made an impact is Angie Katsanevas.

Angie Katasvenas for Season 4 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Jen's legal woes marred Angie's guest role on RHOSLC Season 3, but the producers elevating her to a full-time cast member is another aspect of the show that worked.

It's clear Angie wants to be full-time and has been putting the work in to get in front of the camera while simultaneously delivering comical moments.

The funniest part of it all is how Angie introduced Monica to the ladies, and then the pair got into the mother of all feuds, with receipts being shared across social media after the episodes aired.

But Angie may also be the person who forgives Monica and films with her next season because they tend to repair things quickly even though they've had their arguments.

Mary Cosby for Season 4 - The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Mary Cosby Needs to Go

The biggest eye-roll this season has been the addition of Mary Cosby, who spent the first two seasons as a full-fledged housewive before bailing.

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Bringing her back would always lead to wild moments, and while she makes for great TV, we've been seeing a much nastier side of her personality.

She rarely wants to engage with the ladies, and when she does, she complains about what they're wearing, says they look "inbred," and even calls service staff lazy.

Mary Cosby for Bravo

There's a fine line between love and hate, and something tells me Mary is no longer straddling that fine line with viewers.

She's hopped to the "hate" side and hasn't looked back.

Her random friendship with Monica is another big moment, too, because it seems like Mary is trying to build connections with all of the women, sans Whitney.

Is she trying to secure a full-time return next season? Her actions this season have been obnoxious, so I can't imagine what she'd do if she reclaimed her snowflake.

Mary Cosby in Vail

For now, we have a handful of episodes left, followed by the reunion, and it promises to be a rollercoaster ride to the finish line.

What are your thoughts on the show's comeback?

Who do you want to be on the cast for Season 5?

Hit the comments.

Catch new episodes Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.

Paul Dailly was an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic.Follow him on X.

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