‘Sister Wives’ Season 12 Episode 10 Recap: Therapy Catfight & the Regurgitated Catfish Scandal


It’s been a few weeks since we’ve checked in with the Kody and the crew from Sister Wives, and a lot has happened in the Cul de Sac of Broken Dreams in that time! Kody and Meri’s relationship has become more strained than ever before; a “background kid” has gone to spinal boot camp (and nearly secured her spot in the roster of Brown family kids who actually get camera time); and, most importantly, a HUMAN BEING shot out of Madison’s lady biscuit!

Let’s talk about that last one for a sec, shall we? The previous episode centered around Madison’s nightmarish bathtub-based labor and delivery of the first GrandSpawn ‘o’ Kody, Axel.

We know from watching Robyn heave out two of Kody’s youngins that the Browns favor the home births. The sister wives tell us that it’s common for polygamists to do home births because they’re too afraid to go to the hospital for fear their polygamist family will be exposed. Maddie’s not a polygamist, but she’s pretty crunchy, so she wants to push out the baby in the privacy of her own her mom’s bathtub. (#BohoBrideForLife)

“Thank the good Lord it’s not me grunting in the tub this time!”

Maddie told her family (and the TLC camera crew) that they could film her in the tub while she was in early labor, but when things really started moving and baby parts started to come flying out of her hoo-ha, she wanted everyone but Caleb and the midwife to leave. (She was probably trying to prevent Kody from being there to stare at her and say obnoxious things like he did when Robyn was in labor.)

After Janelle’s Jacuzzi tub was filled with hot water to clean out all the old soap and dry skin that was chillin’ in there, Maddie climbs in wearing a bathing suit. At first, Janelle is in there talking to Maddie, and then Christine comes in to chat…followed by Robyn. Soon, random background children and friends filter in, and they’re all staring at poor Maddie who is splayed out in the tub, huffing and puffing in her bikini.

“Maddie, sorry to bother you but your dad wants to know how much he should sell tickets into the bathroom for?”

Always one to make a bad situation even more horrible, Kody decides it’s a good idea to bring in FOLDING CHAIRS to set up in the bathroom so those who are there to view the water circus that is Maddie’s labor will be more comfortable.

Soon, there are about 15 people in the bathroom, sitting in folding chairs and chatting about how uncomfortable Maddie looks, all while this poor girl is vomiting into a plastic mixing bowl! (It’s safe to say they won’t be mixing ground meat for street tacos in that thing anymore!)

“Alright I’m ready, point me toward the birthing show!”

It’s seriously what nightmares are made of, but poor Maddie’s straight-from-Satan delivery isn’t over yet. She soon realizes that, after like THREE DAYS in labor, she’s not going to have a beautiful bathtub water birth like the ones she’s watched on YouTube. She moves to Janelle’s bed so she can shoot the child out in there…all while Kody is in there telling her to relax her face and smile.


When Maddie tells him to shut his trap, he reminds her that he’s done this a few times before and knows what he’s talking about.

Um…have a seat there, Kody. When a screaming ball of smells and sounds comes tumbling out of a hole in your body, you can brag about your knowledge of labor and delivery.

“…and then I was like ‘I’ll catch your baby’ and Maddie just started screaming and crying louder for some reason…”

Anyway, after 70+ hours  of labor, Maddie delivers Baby Axel, with Janelle, Kody, Christine, Robyn and her husband Caleb all in the bedroom watching. (They had the decency to kick the camera crew and the background kids out for the final part of the delivery.)

That’s where we left off last week, and this episode starts when Baby Axel is 11 days old. Robyn’s kids were sick (again), so she had to wait to bring King Solomon and Ari to meet their new baby nephew. Robyn is making strange faces during this scene, which means one of two things: either she has baby fever again…or she caught something from spending so much time in Janelle’s Staph-covered bathroom ‘o’ horrors!

Speaking of horrors, Kody is sporting a ponytail in this scene. He has said that this hairstyle gets Janelle’s loins ‘a’ quivering which is, of course, yet another horrific mental picture. He tells the sister wives (who, mind you, have collectively had 18 children) all about what it’s like to birth a baby.

“I haven’t been able to get all the afterbirth out of my hair, so I did this…”

We put the stopper in the tub birth talk for a second so we can focus on Meri. As you know, Meri was catfished. (Has she mentioned that?!) Meri made a friend who was also catfished by the same person. Meri now wants her also-catfished friend, Cheryl, to come visit. Cheryl will be staying at Meri’s house during the visit, and is planning to bring her daughter along for the free trip. (What’s one more person bellying-up to Meri’s wet bar, right?)

Meri is hoping that Cheryl’s daughter will bond with Mariah, even though Mariah has made it quite clear to Meri that she’s over the whole catfishing storyline and has no interest in discussing it at all, let alone with some random girl.

“Unless you’re in it, you just don’t get it,” Meri said. “And my family doesn’t get it.”

Since Meri is soooo important, she calls the sister wives and Kody to her home (yet again) for a big meeting. No one has any idea what the meeting is about this time. Is Meri fixing to buy yet another useless house in Utah? Is she planning to leave the family? Does she just want to show them the new Spring/Summer 2017 leggings catalog?

Meri tells the gang that she has a friend coming to visit. Everyone stares are her, waiting to find out what Meri really wants to discuss…until they realized that’s it. She legit dragged all these people away from their kids and houses to tell them she has a friend coming over.

“I’ll buy Meri her damn bed and breakfast if it means I never have to hear this catfish crap again. Seriously.”

Kody is in rare form and for once it’s kind of entertaining. He’s not holding back at all.

“Are we now calling meetings to talk about having someone over to visit?” he asks before telling the sister wives that they’re wasting his time.

He couldn’t care less what (or who, honestly) Meri does, as long as he doesn’t have to pay for it.

The sister wives are clearly over talking about Meri’s Great Catfish Caper, so they decide to poke fun at her. Christine asks her if she’s sure Cheryl is real.

“I’m just glad it’s a real person,” Christine says as everyone giggles.

“You guys were kind of like sister wives, right?” Robyn says. “You had a relationship with the same man.”

“Am I supposed to pretend it’s not hilarious that Meri was sexting an imaginary friend?”

Kody looks uncomfortable, but the rest of the sister wives laugh uncontrollably. Meri tells us it’s good that they can all joke about it now…but then acts all butt-hurt when she realizes that the sister wives were all making fun of her.

Later, Meri takes Mariah and her girlfriend Audrey to Seattle. Mariah is gay (has she mentioned that?!) so she is doing her best to find the most stereotypical “gay” activities she can do on camera.

“They are just embracing the gay right now,” Meri says, as Audrey and Mariah pose on a rainbow crosswalk.

“Yay for gay…and jeans that expose random parts of our thighs!”

Meri, Mariah and Audrey frolic through the streets of Seattle, and you can just tell that ol’ Mer is chomping at the bit to talk about the catfishing incident and Cheryl’s visit. She waits until they are at dinner to ambush her daughter and pepper her with questions about her take on the catfish experience.

Meri asks Mariah if she will come down and meet Cheryl and her random daughter. Mariah looks incredibly uncomfortable talking about the catfishing incident, and even tells Meri that she’s moved on from this. Even Audrey hints to Meri that she needs to give this tired storyline a rest. Mariah clearly doesn’t want to hobnob with the Catfish Crew, but she agrees to go…on one condition. She wants Meri to go to a gay bar with her and Audrey.

“On the bright side, it may give me a chance to unload some of those rainbow-print leggings I haven’t been able to sell…”

Mariah knows that this will make her mom totally uncomfortable, but…because she’s Mariah, she pushes the idea on Meri. She knows that poor Meri is desperate to win back Mariah’s affection and will pretty much do anything to get on her daughter’s good side.

Meri looks like a deer in the headlights (or someone who just walked in on Kody grooming his chest hair while naked). She protests that she doesn’t really drink, and then says she can’t go because she’s not gay.

“I think that like queer spaces are like friendly for everyone. There’s kind of this idea that everyone is a little queer, so everyone should be welcome there,” Mariah says.

“You better not act like a little snot when we meet Cheryl. I’m hanging around ‘the gays’ for you!”

Meri agrees to go to the bar, which is some sort of alcohol-filled gay circus or something. Meri gets craaaazy and orders a Diet Coke, but is actually having a good time playing games and getting to know Audrey and Mariah as a couple.

Mariah wants to make sure everyone knows they’re at a gay bar, so she manages to work the word ‘queer’ into every sentence she speaks. The gay bar visit makes Meri reflective about her daughter.

“It’s not about me, it’s about her. I had a vision of how I thought her life was supposed to go. But it’s not about me, it’s about her,” Meri says.

“If you want to sleep with a woman, I can’t really judge. After all, I slept with KODY for God’s sakes!”

Finally, she gets it. (Also…that will probably be the only time in the history of this show that we’ll hear Meri say that something is not about her.)

Once the girls get back from Seattle, the Brown family all gathers together for a good old-fashioned American barbeque. Everyone is there, even Mykelti and Tony. (Of course, we know Tony won’t be shoveling hot dogs into his gullet—those are for white people peasants! He only eats real steak street tacos!)

We get to meet Aspyn’s new boo, Mitch. Robyn gets all awkward asking, “Who are you?” (You can totally tell the producers told her to ask him questions so that viewers will know who the hell she is but…Robyn didn’t quite understand the concept.) Tony points out that Christine likes Mitch, who is an old family friend, much better than she liked him.

Um…Tony? I think Christine liked her post-pregnancy hemorrhoids more than she liked you. Have you met you?!

The face you make when you realize the attention’s not on you anymore… AND you’re stuck being married to Tony.

Kody tells us that when he and the family were “escaping” Utah, Mitch helped them move. (Kody, of course, is making it seem like he and his wives ran out of the state in the middle of the night via the Underground Railroad or something.)

But all is not fun and hot dogs with the Brown family. The sister wives have apparently been scratching each others’ eyes out lately over the birth of Baby Axel. Things have gotten so bad that they have to go see their family therapist Nancy over it. (Apparently they’ve already had a few sessions over this same issue, but this is the first catfight we’ve been let in on.)

We don’t really get to know who started this mess but from what we can gather, Meri is apparently mad that no one called her to let her know that Maddie was pushing the baby out.

“You should have held Maddie’s legs together until my online leggings sale was over. Geez.”

Janelle is pissed that Meri left and didn’t witness the birth of baby Axel. Meri missed the birth even though Robyn and Christine had a front row seat. She was the only Brown adult not in attendance when the baby was born. (She did, however, keep coming back to check on Maddie, as we saw in the footage from last week.)

They start the session and Janelle ain’t playin’! She goes right in for Meri’s uber-tan-colored throat, stating that Maddie’s labor wasn’t all about Meri and basically no one gave a diddly (tub) squat whether Meri was there or not because a HUMAN BEING was literally coming out of Maddie at the moment.

“I’m not feeling safe! I’m not feeling safe!”

Meri says that this happens all the time, and that she is constantly being left out. Janelle claims that she’s being left out because she purposely keeps her distance and because Meri’s basically just a great big ol’ happiness vacuum, sucking up any joy around her.

Christine and Robyn are just sitting there looking uncomfortable, and one of them brings up the fact that most sister wives like each other. They talk about how important their sister wives circle is and how they want to sit together at church even after Kody kicks the bucket. Christine states that perhaps Meri’s strained relationship with Kody is at the root here, and Meri cries angry tears.

“I’m wearing a helmet to the next therapy session. These biotches be crazy!”

Meri says she’s not mad at Maddie for not calling her (because she was, you know, busy crowning an all), but she’s angry the other adults didn’t stop and think to text her to come over. Meri says that Kody even texted everyone (Meri included) and told them to stay away from Janelle’s bloody bedroom for a while. Meri is upset that she was being treated like a background kid instead of a sister wife.

The therapist tells the sister wives they need some lighthearted, fluffy small talk and suggests they all go out to lunch together. The sister wives reluctantly agree, and choose a lakeside restaurant to have what may be the most awkward lunch since the family was in Alaska and Meri told the adults she wanted to go live in a tent with her imaginary lover.

Christine is doing her best to act as the mediator.

“Is there anything anyone wants to share?” she asks the other sister wives.

Trying to avoid stepping on any landmines (and, frankly, when you’re with Meri everything is pretty much a landmine), Christine brings up My Sister Wives’ Closet, the rotting corpse of a jewelry business that Meri and Robyn worked on years ago. Robyn is still “actively designing new pieces,” and Christine apologizes to her for not wanting to board that sinking ship.

“So…Janelle…um, what’s your favorite holiday?”

Meri sits there with a sour face, while Janelle looks like she’s doing all that she can to refrain from chucking the sugar bowl at Meri’s head.

Later, Christine is feeling icky about what happened so she calls Meri over to her “library” to have a chat. They sit down at Christine’s discount conference table and Christine lays into Meri, but it is honestly the MOST HONEST anyone in this family has ever been with Meri.

“This is not Maddie’s opinion this is my opinion,” Christine prefaces. “I wouldn’t have had you come to the birth. My thing is… you bring a lot of baggage when you come in and I don’t know what to do with it. You come in with bristles a lot and I don’t know if anybody else was thinking that. I don’t think so because it happened naturally. But, I just wanted to be honest with you that I was.”

“I’m not gonna lie to you, Mer…we even like Tony more than we like you…”

Kudos to Christine for actually being honest, instead of talking behind Meri’s Lularoe-covered back about how awful she is. She legit told Meri straight to her face that she’s a drama-loving joy vortex who manages to make everything about her, no matter who is involved.

As you can imagine, Meri doesn’t take it well. She said she feels like Christine is accusing her of something, even though Christine is doing an awesome job of saying what she feels and trying to hear what Meri’s saying. (She is legit three times better than the therapist Nancy!)

“Maybe I should tell her about that time I was catfished?”

“I’m not going to let you tell me what my feelings were,” Meri says. “I had my own feelings about it and being courteous to Madison and to Janelle.”

So…basically, Meri didn’t want to pull up a folding chair and watch the birthing show.

They are throwing around so many “therapy terms” that it’s hard to watch. Everyone is talking about “being guarded” and “throwing up walls” and “feeling safe” and it’s difficult to understand what’s happening. To translate: Christine is telling Meri that whenever she’s around she does her best to make everyone feel awkward and tense.

Meri gets up to leave, but Christine stops her and goes in for a hug. They end up sobbing together, and it appears that Meri may know that Christine is actually right. Christine wants Meri to feel happy in the family again, and happy in her relationship with her. Seriously, Christine is awesome. Sure she’s annoying as all holy hell, but she’s kind of awesome too.

“I’d be down to throw in a couple of bucks to see a Meri/Christine boxing match…just sayin’.”

Anyway, after all of that, Meri goes and makes an offer to buy the bed and breakfast in Utah they have talked about in previous episodes. She doesn’t know how she’s going to make it work, and she admits she hasn’t told the family that she’s doing this, so that should work out well….

Until next week, folks!

To read our previous ‘Sister Wives’ recap, click here!

(Photos: TLC)

28 Responses

  1. THANK YOU omg I’m dying of laughter! You’re a great writer too! Seriously i haven’t laughed this hard in a long time lol I’ll b back… I’m not proud to admit that I’ve been watching SW since day 1 ugh seriously thank you, y’all made my night!!

  2. I don’t get why everybody likes Christine so much! To me she is totally annoying with her fake cheerfulness. I mean I sure would hate to be married to Meri or be her sister wife, but Christine really is the worst…hated that fake “I am so concerned about you” talk in the ‘library’. (Has she ever been to a library btw?)

  3. Great recap, Holly and The Ashley! That birthin scenario was horrifying and loved Christine’s truthiness. Meri does bring a lot of baggage. Hopefully her MerBnB will hold it all.

  4. I don’t think she thought Robin was going to replace her as #1 at first just saw her as a friend and someone to gang up on Christine and Janelle with

  5. I get the ripped up jeans thing, I do. But when your thigh fat bulges out of the holes maybe choose non ripped jeans? Just sayin.

    1. Actually, pants that fit will rectify that. If they didn’t insist on wearing ripped skinny jeans they’d look better.

  6. Can we get a collage of all Meri’s frownie faces??? Please???

    Also- how funny is it that she has, literally, two frowns on her face?! She’s such a sad sack.

  7. Basically Mary thought she was with another man….so she was planning on cheating on Kody…yet he’s not supposed to be upset and only Mary is the victim. I don’t get her, she’s so selfish and the worst possible candidate for the lifestyle she chose.

  8. My thoughts are they agreed to plural marriage because Meri had such a hard time conceiving. She figured bring in a wife who can have kids, she will keep try, and she gets to still be #1.
    After Janelle started popping out kids and Meri finally had her baby, they needed another wife because Janelle wants to work, Meri focused on being #1 and her kid, so they needed another wife to pop out kids AND care for them, so enter Christine.
    It was never for love for because it’s how it should be or multiplying love. I think Meri liked being the #1, she could be boss, and she finally had her kid.
    Now the power has shifted and she’s lost her place. And the once very high throne she made for herself is gone. With Robyn, her once bestie sitting at the top.
    Meri spent YEARS only worried for herself, and now that the kids are older and the moms can bond over memories of raising them, she’s left out of that, because she wasn’t involved like they were. Even Janelle commented that the birth was special for her AND Christine because they raises Madison.
    So, sorry Meri. You can’t have BOTH. You chose your side, learn to live with it and stop worrying about not getting stuff.

  9. I agree with you, Ashley, Christine is a much better therapist than whats-her-useless-name. I’m loving the happier Christine and how she is becoming the softer version of Janelle’s voice of reason.

  10. Is it just me or does meri look like an older version of kail! Just add 15 years, a few more pounds and one too many dr miami ‘mommy’ makeovers lol

    1. Pretending to be gay….they could not be further apart, and the all things gay and plaid and trucker hats…please.

  11. I cracked up laughing when I got to the pic of Meri with the caption “Maybe I should tell her about that time I was catfished?”! So funny! Good write-up, The Ashley! Haha

  12. “And then I was like ‘I’ll catch your baby’…”

    This caption was fucking everything. Holy shit.

    I don’t even care to comment on how much of a little black rain cloud Meri is. (Polygamy)Lord! Get your shit together, accept that Kodmeister won’t be calling your spirit name to the mothership, and move on!

    Glad to see that Christine is finally getting that sweet, sweet(heart) Kaveman peen she’s been missing since Sobyn Robyn came into the fray. Good for her!

    1. right she was all fine and happy when she thought it was a guy and planning to leave. now everyone should feel bad for her please go live in your bed & breakfast and give the house to the rest of them

  13. I don’t know I really feel for Meri. I know lots of people don’t like her but she got married had a baby then had fertility issues got replaced three times over watched then have kid after kid now her only kid is a piece of work and she doesn’t seem to have much of a relationship with her husband at all and her sister wives gang up on her and make fun of her to her face. She seems sad and broken I’d act like a crazy person if I were living that life too. I hope she escapes and finds happiness.

    1. she chose that life style she suggested all the other wives. Her daughter is hurt because her mother was all set to up and leave for some idiot on the internet so yes she was mad and yes she can act that way. Meri thinks she can do what she wants play the victim when she wants but god forbid she do anything to make it right like with her own daughter. She is not a victim she is getting exactly what she gave to all of them

    2. Meri was not replaced three times over – SHE was the one who convinced Kody to live the polygamist lifestyle. Honestly, I think her infertility was a deciding factor there. Jenelle and Kody admit that their relationship was never really romantic. In fact, she was Meri’s ex-sister-in-law and Meri liked the fact that she and Kody weren’t in love. But, Meri apparently treated Jenelle like total cr@p from day one and held it over her head that she was the legal wife. Jenelle even left for awhile because of the way Meri treated her. She was all about Robyn when she thought Robyn would be her bff, but started being nasty to her once Robyn formed a relationship with the other wives. That’s what makes it so hard for me to feel bad for her. She seems like a downright nasty and selfish person. She signed up for polygamy, but immediately turned on the other wives the moment she felt threatened. Jenelle and Christine on the other hand seem rather close, with Jenelle even acknowledging Christine’s role as Maddie’s other mom.

      I do think Meri would be far happier if she got the courage to just leave instead of staying miserable in a lifestyle she secretly hates. I hope she uses the B&B as an opportunity to start living independently since that seems to be what she wants. Her selfish, spoiled daughter will come around.

  14. “I don’t know what my role is [with regard to Madison’s baby]. Do I have a role? Do I need a role?” –Meri, post-birth, post-making all her sister wives sit through 8 therapy sessions to discuss her feelings about not being there for the birth of Madison’s baby.

    She’s insane.

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