On Sunday’s episode of Sister Wives, it was clear that there were even more problems than people knew.
Kody wasn’t just having issues with Christine. He was having issues with Janelle. Things weren’t okay with his kids, either.
There had always been a "pecking order" to Kody’s wives, one that he fully acknowledges.
Robyn was simultaneously a target and a queen in the family. Christine’s experience was very different.
Sister Wives viewers saw Christine Brown express her heartbreak.
Not once had she felt like "queen wife" or "queen mom" within her plural marriage.
Instead, as the flashback reminded us, Christine had felt like she was the "basement wife."
Christine explained that this is terminology within the polygamist community, but she hadn’t always known it.
"I put everybody first most of the time," she admitted. "It left me running on empty and I asked him for help."
It was only later that Christine learned those terms and realized that she had lived as a Basement Wife for many years, with her needs put last.
Stunningly, Kody seemed to understand where Christine was coming from.
“I’m carrying this load — and I’ve done it all these years — when you come in my family," he reasoned.
Kody continued: "This is a requirement I have, is that we’re going to be one family."
“That was like living in a fresh hell with Meri and Janelle," Kody bluntly complained.
"Christine lightened that burden," he admitted. "But then Christine [hit a wall]."
Kody commented: "What Christine has shrugged [in her responsibilities], Robyn was picking up.”
Kody also delved into the perceived pecking order of his wives.
"Meri was really hard on Janelle, and then Janelle and Meri were hard on Christine," he recalled.
"And then," Kody described, "Jenelle, Meri, and Christine were hard on Robyn."
"And Robyn’s going, ‘Well, I didn’t do this to you. I didn’t do this, why are you this way?’" Kody noted.
"And frankly, other than Meri, I’m not sure that the others would ever want to be her friend," he admitted.
Another big issue for Kody was how Janelle and Christine bucked against his extremely strict COVID precautions.
“In COVID, everybody has to make sacrifices," he noted — and not incorrectly.
"I feel like they’ve been the biggest jack wagons about what’s been going on,” Kody then characterized about his two "middle" wives.
Many of Kody’s rules were reasonable and common-sense, like wearing a mask and avoiding sitting down at restaurants.
Others, like wiping down mail (just leave it in a basket for a few days!), were excessive and even self-defeating.
Janelle’s main concern was the way that it brought him into conflict with sons Garrison and Gabriel.
Kody admitted that things were strained and even added that he and some of his kids need family therapy.
“I want my kids around me. I love them,” he insisted.
“They want my company," Kody noted, "but I struggle with the lack of respect they have for my leadership.”
Just for the record, "lack of respect they have for my leadership" is an unhinged way to speak as a parent.
Janelle felt that he forced her to choose between him and their kids more than once — and, as a mom, she obviously chose her children each time.
But clearly, so many of these issues already existed long before the pandemic.