‘Sister Wives’ Season 16 Episode 5 Recap: Scoliosis Surgery & “Sad, Sorry Lonely Little People”


Oh hello, there! If you’ve somehow found your way here, it’s likely that you’re looking to cackle at Kody Brown, his ego, his hair and the creepy way his vein bulges out of his red forehead when no one is listening to him.

You’re in the right place.

So far, The Ashley hasn’t had much time to recap this season of Sister Wives but she’s going to attempt to recap this episode late. (You know what they say: better late than…married to Kody!)

On with the polygamy s**t show!

This episode starts off with Ysabel in New Jersey with her parents Christine supporting through her very serious scoliosis surgery. As we know, Kody is not with Ysabel for the surgery because of the family’s COVID rules.

Hey, what do you expect him to do? It’s not like he makes these rules.


Christine has bucked Kody’s previous suggestion that their minor daughter travel from Arizona to New Jersey solo and get her spine literally reassembled, so that there’s less of a chance anyone in the family gets possible COVID exposure.


As Kody explained before, he can’t be aware from Robyn and their kids his family for as long as it would take Ysabel’s back to heal up, so she’s on her own. 

(He does, however, get to pout and act like it’s no fair that Christine and Ysabel “chose” to get her surgery now when he “can’t” go along. Darn that Ysabel! Not wanting to suffer in agonizing pain for a few more months! How selfish!) 

Luckily, Christine has a brain and is accompanying Ysabel to her surgery. And– as an additional kicker to Kody’s rules— Christine has brought her other daughters Truely and Gwendolyn with her. Kody’s vein must be bulging underneath his Top Ramen bangs something fierce y’all!) 

They are staying at Christine’s sister’s house in New Jersey and Christine says she’s trying to make the pre-surgery atmosphere as “positive as possible.” She tells us this literally before they show a clip of Christine telling her surgery-bound daughter, “OK…this is Ysabel’s last meal!”

I would be this girl in the corner, gnawing on my corn cob to keep myself from calling out Christine for basically telling Ysabel she’s going to die in surgery…

Christine introduces us to Wendy, who is her sister (and was smart enough not to buy the whole “love should be multiplied not divided” crap). Christine makes a point to tell us that Wendy and her husband are monogamous, and want nothing to do with sister wives stuff. 

That face you make when you know you’ll never be squabbling over plots of land on Coyote Pass with women you hate…

Christine tells us that Ysabel is really sad that Kody chose not to come with her to get the surgery. Christine goes on to explain that Ysabel isn’t the only one disappointed by Kody. Christine says that she and Kody are “in a tough spot” in terms of their relationship. She says that, despite the fact that she travelled across the country to get her daughter’s back ripped open, it’s kind of nice to get away from Kody, his band of miserable wives (and Robyn), and their problems.

And, yes, the “it” here is Kody…

Kody pops on camera next to defend his decision to abandon his daughter in her one time of need. He says that “circumstantially” there was no way he could have been there during COVID.


Ysabel receives flowers and the editors are totally setting it up to make us think that Kody, stricken with guilt and grief over not being able to be there for Ysabel, has tried to send a Bouquet ‘o’ Apology to make amends. But…then you remember it’s Kody and he doesn’t think about anyone but himself (and, if he were going to send someone flowers, it would totally be Robyn.)

“Awww they’re from Grandma and Grandpa!” Ysabel says of the flowers.

(Don’t forget, though, Kody did make Ysabel promise not to become “a bitter old housewife” because he failed to go to be with her. So there’s that…)


The other Sister Wives express how upset they are that they can’t be there to rally around Ysabel and Christine in their time of need. (Kody, meanwhile, is playing with his hair or something because he can’t be bothered to even film a clip and pretend he is sad he didn’t go.)

The morning of the surgery, Ysabel heads to the hospital WEARING KODY’S HOODIE. She’s wearing it because she wants to feel close to him even though “he’s not here.”

Oh, my heart. This seriously makes me want to just go grab a curly blond wig (and leave it out in the rain for a week to get the right Seahag-texture), paint a forehead vein on my face and be a Kody stand-in for Ysabel. 

“On an emotional level, it’s ripping her apart,” Christine says of Ysabel.

Christine reminds us that there was a time where Kody wasn’t a frizzy-haired asshat. She tells us that he used to attend Ysabel’s appointments back when they lived in Vegas. But, you know, something has changed since then. 

Christine tells Ysabel that this is the first day of the rest of her life, and that hopefully she will be free from the pain she’s dealt with for years. 

“Hopefully someday soon I, too, can be free from the pain I’ve dealt with for years. That pain is, of course about 5 foot 10 and was last seen yelling about Coyote Pass plots!” 

Christine then gives a very graphic description of what’s about to happen to poor Ysabel. She’s talking about how she’s going to get sliced up the side, have her ribs “pried apart,” get her lung collapsed and then have the lung shoved to the side (much like Kody has done to Meri). Then Ysabel will have her spine pulled tight and straightened via fibers (which, on the diagram, look very much like strands of Kody’s hair.) 

It’s all quite horrifying but Christine and Ysabel seem excited. Christine talks about how hard it was to see Ysabel being wheeled off to surgery.

Christine films herself in the car and casually mentions that, nine months ago, Ysabel told her that she was in pain every day.

“I started applying for insurance at that point,” Christine tells us.


“What? Just because I’m their father, I’m supposed to make sure they all have medical insurance too?! Can I just get Robyn’s kids some policies and they can share with the others?”

Back in Miseryville… er…I mean Flagstaff, Kody’s acting like he doesn’t have a daughter whose lungs are literally being collapsed at the moment. He’s still more concerned about who in the family is complying with Robyn’s his COVID rules. He tells us that because Janelle’s son’s Garrison and Gabriel still dare to have lives outside Kody’s rules, he’s still socially distancing from them and Janelle, since she refuses to throw her sons out into the street.

He then breaks down the amount of time he’s spending with each Sister Wife. He says that because Christine is “traveling all the time” (you know, to get their daughter’s spine fixed and all), he doesn’t see her “almost at all.”

As for his “relationship” with Janelle, it is also pretty much non-existent, given the fact that “her” boys (UM…since when do they only belong to Janelle?) won’t stop seeing their friends.

And, of course, we know that Kody has thrown poor Meri out into the Coyote Pass trees, banishing her to a life of solitude and sad Lularoe Instagram Lives. 

“But, on that day that Kody wants some buttery soft men’s leggings, who’s he gonna call?!”

“The place I’m staying most of the time is at Robyn’s,” Kody tells us.

I’ll give you a moment to get over your shock…

Janelle explains why she refuses to boot her boys out of the house, stating that Garrison has been saving for a home and that he has enough to cover closing costs, but not quite enough for his down payment. Janelle refuses to kick Garrison out, despite Kody’s urging to. 

(Hey Kody— sounds like Garrison is trying to be responsible with his money while purchasing a home. Maybe you and the Mrs. could learn a few things from him, eh? We hear you guys aren’t doing too well in that department!)

Kody tells us that Janelle is acting like this is his problem, and not just hers. (Um…because he’s also your son, you dimwitted hair-brain.) Kody basically informs Janelle that if she ever hopes to have him come into her house and give her the occasional handshake, she’ll need to remove the Petri dish that is Garrison from her home.

Janelle tells us that she learned long ago not to center her world around Kody. This is good because, as we can see, Kody is doing everything he can to get Old Ball-and-Chains No. 1, 2, and 3 to stay as far away from him as possible. 

“He does give me one small peck on the cheek on national holidays, but that’s about it…”

Still, though, Kody wants Janelle to want to want him.

“She having to choose between me and the boys, and she’s choosing the boys!” Kody says in a huff.

Janelle says that her focus has always been her kids, because, even back in the good old days, she only had a husband with her every fourth night (and, even worse, that husband was KODY.) She knew on most nights, Kody was out pickle-tickling one of her sister wives and she had to be OK with that.

Meri pops on to remind us that she’ll gladly take any sliver of affection Kody throws at her, no matter what it costs her. Christine, though, says that her kids are way more important to her than her relationship with Kody.

“I would do anything for my kids,” she says. “My kids have really been my companions throughout my life.” 

“Lord knows if I would have relied on Kody for companionship, I would have had to contact Meri’s catfish long ago and tried to arrange a rendezvous!”

Kody tells us that he’s had just about enough of Christine and her “ultimatums.” (He’s the only one who can give ultimatums, damn it!) He states that Christine has made no effort to have him around more, and he warns Janelle that if she goes down Christine’s path, she won’t be seeing his mug around her house either!

“If you want to play Christine’s game the same way, I get it!” Kody tells Janelle.

Janelle, for some reason, still wants this furry Muppet around and assures him that she wants to follow his rules, but also doesn’t want to throw her sons on the street.

Somehow, Kody manages to make himself out to be the victim here.

“It makes me realize that, in plural marriage, I don’t matter!” Kody wails. 

He goes on to bitch about how Christine has been complaining about Kody’s lack of romance or closeness to her “for years.”

“At this point, I’m happy if you keep your creepy mitts away from me, thanks!”

He tells Janelle that Christine is to blame for everything, including his and Janelle’s relationship going (more) sour.

“She’s taking risks with our relationship!” Kody tells Janelle. 

He informs us that he’s not negotiating with her kids on this.

“You’re either in and complying with our standard or I’m not coming around!” Kody yells.

He then delivers a quote that only Kody Brown would say and not realize how much of a douche-canoe he is for saying it.

“I’m a polygamist! I did crazy s**t to get into heaven! I’m gonna do crazy stuff to prevent someone from going there early!” he tells us.

“All I’m asking for is complete control over your lives, relationships, jobs and school schedules! Is that too much to ask when your reward for complying is ME!?”

Kody tells us that Janelle is “stonewalling” him into caving into relaxing “his” COVID rules so he leaves without any progress being made. 

“I’m the head of the household some places, I’m just not right here,” he yaps. “And that’s not the deal we made when we got married!”

Um…you booting your other three wives and their kids from your lives so you can play “happy family” with Robyn also wasn’t part of the deal, man!

Back in New Jersey, Ysabel is out of surgery, and Christine tells us that it was much harder for the doctor than he expected. We get to see the results, though, and it’s visually obvious how much her spine has been corrected.

I wonder if this doctor does brain surgeries too? Kody could use an implant…

Christine sticks a camera in poor Ysabel’s face right as she’s coming out of anesthesia. She immediately starts asking for Kody which is heartbreaking. Ysabel’s in intense pain, and keeps wanting Kody, which is just killing Christine. 

Christine finally gets Kody on videochat, and he talks to Ysabel. 

“Um, can I call you back? It’s dinnertime and Robyn made chili!”

Back in Flagstaff, Meri pops in to tell us that, no matter how much Kody shuns her, how bad her sister wives treat her, and how much the family ignores her, she’s not going anywhere!

“Oh, Kody and I. We had a conversation recently that just kind of came down to, we’re friends,” Meri tells the camera. “Which I guess is a good thing. It’s a good thing. But I guess I just kind of have hope for more than that.”

Meri says that she still wants Kody romantically, even though he has expressed that he doesn’t feel the same way. He has literally TOLD HER not to wait for him because he ain’t coming.

“At least I have my leggings!”

“Kody has said some things to me more recently that leads me to believe that there’s no repairing our relationship,” Meri says. “There are days where I get very, very discouraged. But then there’s days where I have so much hope.”

Janelle tells that she feels bad for poor, alone spinster Meri so she does text her every once in awhile…but not, like, every week or anything. 

“My relationship with Meri is not the kind of relationship where I’m going to talk with her every day,” Kody says. “And my best guess is that her sister wives don’t feel like having any type of interaction with her daily, either.”

Meri says that, despite all this, she has decided to stay and live out her life in solitude, grabbing at any crumb of affection she receives from Kody. 

“If I quit, if I walk away, it’s not going to get better,” she says. “I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me, whether you like it or not!” 

“For the love of the Baby Jesus, woman– take the hint!”

She states that the love she has for and from Robyn’s youngest kids, Solomon and Ariella, is worth living this sad, sad life.

Kody says that this is all his wives’ fault for not video-chatting each other during COVID.

“COVID has revealed us,” he tells the camera. “And we are sad, sorry lonely little people.” 

After Ysabel is released from the hospital, Christine’s daughter Aspyn and her husband Mitch, as well as Janelle’s son Hunter all come to New Jersey to support Ysabel. Christine says she made them all follow strict COVID guidelines before coming, but she knows it’s a bit risky. Christine can’t help but point out that Ysabel’s siblings were willing to come and “take the COVID risk” to support her, but Ysabel’s own dad wasn’t willing to do so.

“Ysabel is going to remember always that Aspyn, Mitch and Hunter were all there for her,” Christine tells us.

“At least I sent flowers! Oh…wait…”

Ysabel finally gets to go home after a long painful recovery. Kody manages to drag his scraggily haired butt over long enough to say hello to his kid after six weeks. Meri, Robyn and Janelle also come over to Christine’s to discuss (outside, of course) how the surgery went.

We get to hear Kody and Christine’s first conversation. He asks her how she is and she tells him that she’s exhausted from getting up every two hours to administer Ysabel’s pain medication. Kody is clearly not even listening because he’s like, “Oh so you’re just jet-lagged then?”


Christine makes it clear that her exhaustion has nothing to do with being jet-lagged and everything to do with taking care of THEIR daughter.

Janelle offers to come over and help with some of Ysabel’s nighttime care. She even offers to SLEEP IN A DAMN TENT IN THE YARD so that she can continue to follow quarantine rules. (She’s being totally serious, by the way. She says she really wants to help Christine out.)

Raise your hand if you’re an actual saint who cares about other people…

Robyn, on the other hand, says something that makes it very clear that “Kody’s” COVID rules may not be Kody’s at all.

“Our family decided not to be united on [COVID protocols,]” she huffs. 

That’s all for this episode of ‘Sister Wives!’

To read The Ashley’s other ‘Sister Wives’ recaps, click here!

(Photos: TLC)


  1. Oh my gosh I love it!!! LOL!! Meri, Janelle & Christine (who obviously already has) all need to pack up & leave manly man wannabe in the dust with his favorite wife Robyn who he obviously shows favoritism towards. Ladies you can do SOOO much better & deserve better!! Ditch the ramen haired noodle guy & find happiness elsewhere!!

  2. Janelle is a goodhearted person, she really is. I never understood her role in that family and why on earth she would stay …
    I hope she leaves next. Her children seems in generel to not like their father.

  3. I do hope that if Christine continues to film this series, she’s paid separately and Cody gets none of her cash. Fuck this guy.

  4. I have always wondered how much of the issues between Meri vs Christine and Janelle were low key fired by Kody. He has always been a shit starter but all the things that are coming out from his covid rules and all of the wives have different issues we have started to really see how he interacts with them individually and how he says one thing to one and a completely different thing to another.
    Meri had one foot out the door with the catfish. Hopefully she finds her way back to that exit(sans catfish) and leaves Kody and his house of lies.

  5. “She having to choose between me and the boys, and she’s choosing the boys!”

    I mean….yeah. Of course, she is. Kody has no idea what it means to be a parent. He’s fathered so many children and clearly thinks he’s done his part. Forget providing them with a stable father figure, financial security, or health insurance.

    This probably really was the point of no return for Christine. To be smacked in the face with just how little your husband cares about his children with you is a harsh wake-up call. Although, I feel like she should have realized this when Truely was sick as a baby. Kody couldn’t even recognize that she was sick.

  6. That sounds like a rough surgery, poor kid. Wonder if they had to wait til they had insurance to correct it, bc it feels weird that they didn’t fix her up when she was younger. I’m not a spine de-noodler tho, so.

    Glad Christine finally washed her hands of the douche-in-chief w his “those are her kids” bs, it’s just too bad so many kids, esp young girls, had to grow up in that environment.

  7. How can the 2 wives with 5 plus grown children follow these rules? Choose Cody over my kids. No way. What kind of father can stay away from their daughter who’s having surgery? Mari is following the rules but they don’t let her over. Makes no sense at all. Cody just wants Robyn. Christine sees what was going on. Robyn was in debt when she met Cody. Now she’s back in debt. Who’s the common denominator? Robyn is a snake. Robyn fake crys with no tears.

  8. 1) Ari and Sol can’t be away from Kody for 2 weeks but Truly, who’s right around Sol’s age can be without her dad for 6+ weeks?…..
    Sounds like Robyn is setting her kids up to have issues later in life if they can’t function for 2 weeks without seeing their dad IN PERSON (even though he can still call daily), so their sister can have more support.
    2) Kody wants to be the leader in his home but won’t lead by example. Kody is mad that Janelle and Christine won’t compromise their routines for him… while he stomps his foot on the ground and refuses to compromise for them

  9. Why and How is this show still on?

    Kody is a lazy moron who feels control slipping from his fingers.

    If a man doesn’t choose his child FIRST, he is no man.

    It took Christine this event to really see him clearly, and now she is free before she is too old to really enjoy her life. RUN Christine!!

    1. I honestly think most who still watch it have just been watching the train wreck. I remember being sucked into the horror for the first few seasons (pre-Robin, stopped watching when Solomon was born).

      I thought they would have realized it long before now (especially when he legally divorced Meri, didn’t bother marrying #2 or #3, that had a whole lot of his kids) but I’ll enjoy the inevitable conclusion to this shit show

  10. LMAO @ Sobbin Robyn’s and Kody,s hypocritical shopping trip to the mall to buy lingerie, without masks! Tell us again why the other wives can’t be around because they don’t practice social distancing.

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