This episode features drunken misunderstandings, ridiculous costumes, criminally inspired editing, and Kristen Doute festering like a lone Sour Patch Kid in a saucerful of bile. This is what we all came for, people. For a brief shining moment, we were back where we all belong, watching Stassi have a series of never-ending fights with her closest friends over the pettiest of matters. This is where I live. When I die, this is where I want my soul to go to stay forever. Either there or the UCLA men’s water-polo team’s locker room. It’s really a toss-up.
The episode starts off with two perfect metaphors for what Vanderpump Rules has become. The first is Jax watering his lawn while wearing a Korean face mask, because that is what middle-aged suburban life looks like to these jabronis. The second is two of the servers at Tom Tom setting the plants on fire while Max stands there staring vacantly like he’s just unwrapped the Apple Watch that Scheana got him for Thanksgiving. Even a literal fire in his restaurant is not enough to make Max into a man of action or for him to do anything interesting.
Luckily, we are taken out of L.A. with a swiftness when everyone embarks on Brittany and Jax’s joint bachelorette-bachelor party in Miami, the Mariah Carey of cities. There are two big fights on the trip. The first is a leftover from last episode when Sandoval sent a string of rage texts to Stassi about her book-signing event at Tom Tom. I love how everyone keeps referring to “rage texts” as if it is some sort of copyrighted, nationally recognized mode of communication. While it is a thing people do, I do not believe rage texts could be a long across on the New York Times crossword puzzle and leave people satisfied.
When they all arrive at the hotel, Sandoval pulls Stassi over and apologizes. As he rightfully declares, Stassi loves a good apology. She likes to just soak in it, like the last bit of banana in a melted sundae. This is not the kind of apology she’s getting. Instead, Tom tells her that he is sorry for getting angry but that she should have talked to him instead of to Tom and Lisa. But how was Stassi supposed to know that? How is she supposed to be so finely attuned to the internal politics of Tom Tom that she should know whom to contact about her event and when? This is entirely a Sandoval problem, which he projected onto her. For the first time ever in her entire life, Stassi is completely and utterly in the right.
Later, at the strip club, Beau, wearing a denim shirt and khakis, and Sandoval, in a suit and a fake mustache, have a chat about how bad Sandoval’s apology was. First of all, this is not really Beau’s place. Sandoval apologized to Stassi, and if she isn’t happy with that apology, she should take it up with him. She is a big girl with an even bigger mouth; she can handle her own. Beau getting involved in this is just adding to the overall group messiness of a very easy dispute. Instead, we get what looks like a Best Buy sales associate going after a 2013 Williamsburg bartender in the parking lot of Gold Rush.
Sandoval, especially here, continues to be wrong, screeching about how Stassi shouldn’t have yelled at him in front of his customers. Beau then argues, correctly, that they are Stassi’s customers, because they were there to see her at a time the bar wasn’t normally open. Sandoval is getting mad that Stassi inconvenienced him while trying to make him more money with a bar full of paying customers. It’s insane. Also, she wouldn’t even have been yelling at him if he hadn’t yelled at her first. God, no one has ever been as wrong as Sandoval.
Ariana and Katie also get pulled into this argument. Ariana is mad that Stassi yelled at Sandoval (though she concedes that his rage texts were inappropriate). Katie is mad that Ariana said the problem with the whole thing is that Schwartz is incompetent. (If one is the owner of a bar, does one really need to know how to clock in, though? Isn’t he getting paid the same regardless of how long he works?) Ariana is also mad at Stassi for moving her book at the airport, which is as dumb as Hudson News being able to charge $8 for a bottle of Dasani just because we can’t bring liquids through security. When the revolution finally comes, the first business to topple will be Hudson News.
Yes, this fight drags on and on, and it is dumb. Speaking of dragging on and on and being dumb, we have to turn our attention now to Kristen: Everyone is still mad at her because, even though she didn’t let Carter move into her new house, she is still having sex with him, giving him the code to get into her place, and housing his entire box of sex toys. How many sex toys does one man need? An entire box? I mean, every dude should have a butt plug or something else for the back door, a Hot Octopus Pulse (if you have a penis, this will make it sing whistle tones), and maybe a masturbator from Tenga. Maybe. (This recap is now part of the Strategist.) But a whole box? How many dongs does one person need?
At dinner, Katie and Stassi have the same exact fight with Kristen about Carter that we’ve been hearing for two seasons now. I haven’t been this annoyed by an inconsequential Bravo grifter who we never seen onscreen since Vicki dumped Brooks and we spent three seasons arguing about him. Ugh, this fight. It’s like a cold, wet swimsuit; I do not want to get into it again.
Well, Brittany is mad at Kristen because she’s trying to ruin her bachelorette party. It started the night before, when all the women went out wearing “tacky wedding dresses.” (Bachelor and bachelorette parties are a scourge and a national nightmare. They’re like roving pockets of SantaCon, disturbing and inconveniencing everyone around them, but unlike the annual day of filling East Village gutters with bankers’ vomit, you never know when you’re going to get caught in a tornado of penis hats or dudes looking to mistreat strippers.) Stassi narrates what happened at one of the clubs, because either the cameras weren’t allowed inside or they got such shitty video we can’t really make out what happened. Anyway, finding out it was a bachelorette party, the hosts of the club made a sign that read, “Don’t do it, Brittany.” Kristen convinced Brittany this was tacky and got her all upset about it, so the girls had to leave and sit in Brittany’s room waiting for Jax to bring back leftover pizza and picked-clean chicken-wing bones.
Back in the room, everyone is convincing Brittany that it was just a funny thing they do at this club. They had the same message the previous weekend for a friend of one of Brittany’s muggles from home. It’s meant to be a (admittedly tired and hack-y) joke about how every woman is too good to marry a man. Brittany’s problem is twofold: She is marrying Jax Taylor, a man she is too good for and whom she should be advised not to marry because he will eventually cheat on her and break her heart, and she has Kristen winding her up like a Victorian clock. Just when someone like Lala convinces her it’s okay, Kristen pops back in to tell her once again how tacky it is that they aren’t celebrating her love. This scene should be shown in every high-school health class as a PSA against tequila shots.
The next day, when everyone is on a “yacht,” which Jax says is no better than the booze cruise he took his senior year of high school, Kristen apologizes to Lala for making the previous night a living hell for the one sober person in the room. I bring this up only to talk about how good Lala looks on that boat. She even manages to pull off the Oakleys with #JaxGetsItRight on the bridge, which look like they were ordered from the Worst of Etsy web page. Oh, and her red eyeliner? And whoever did her hair? Lala, we have to stan. She has the range. We love to see it. I’m bitches, etc.
Things went much more smoothly for the guys, who just went to a strip club. I have to give the editors mad props for two things this episode. The first is showing the guys in the strip club without showing a single one of the women’s faces; that had to be an ingenious act of cutting around them and piecing the footage together. The other is when Jax is lying in bed telling Brittany how all the strippers skeeved him out and he didn’t even want one next to him, it’s intercut with footage of him motorboating, snuggling, and espousing his love for various and sundry Hustlers extras.
As they’re all hanging out at Gold Rush, Schwartz walks over to Sandoval and says, “I got you a lap dance.” Sandoval’s face screws up so much it threatens to pop off his fake mustache. Schwartz leads him to the bouncer, palms the big man a $100 bill, and walks past him into the Champagne room. Schwartz leads Sandoval through a curtain into one of the cubicles, which has only a ratty love seat with an empty bottle-service bucket next to it.
“Where’s the girl?,” Sandoval asks.
Schwartz pushes Sandoval back so that he lands on the love seat with a squishy thud. He starts undoing the buttons of his shirt. “There is no girl,” he says, pulling out his shirttails and unbuttoning his pants. Schwartz gets up on his knees so his crotch is just inches away from Sandoval’s mouth. “Lucky for you, I go a lot further than most of these ladies,” Schwartz says. “And I’m cheaper, too.”