Vanderpump Rules Recap: Beach Blanket Blotto

Vanderpump Rules

Beach, Don’t Kill My Vibe
Season 10 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Vanderpump Rules

Beach, Don’t Kill My Vibe
Season 10 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: Bravo

Have you ever seen a good farce? Noises Off (a decent movie, better play) or maybe The Importance of Being Earnest immediately come to mind. Traditionally the first act is all or mostly set up, learning the characters, their relationships, their romantic partners, and their enemies. The second act is a hilarious cacophony of door slamming, mistaken identity, screaming, cussing out, and, generally, the whole world falling apart until everything is destroyed.

Watching this episode of Vanderpump Rules, I realized that we are deep into the second act. It’s like we spent the past ten years just on background to understand the complex relationships, only to watch them crumble in real time for our entertainment. (Based on the previews for next week, I think we’re just getting started.)

It culminates at Tower 12, a now-cursed restaurant, where the entire cast — including total newbies like Ally; Lala’s new man, Los Don; and Satchel, a collection of hair ties snarled together in a public-pool filter — lose their fucking minds. It’s Schwartz against James, Schwartz against Lala, Lala against Raquel, Scheana against Lala, Raquel against Katie, Sandoval against Katie, Katie against everyone but berets, Ally against James, James against knowing how to use a straw, and Tom Sandoval against the truth about what is going on with Raquel. If we’re being perfectly honest, it broke my brain. I also came twice.

Then, when you add the Sandoval of it all, my gourd just isn’t big enough. The episode starts, essentially, with Schwartz telling Sandoval that he isn’t attracted to Raquel, and that he thinks she has a crush on someone else. “Yeah?” Sandoval says with a bagel-eating grin just as their order is called and they drop the conversation. But he knew that he was hooking up with Raquel by this time. Well, they had at least made out. Later in the episode, a producer asks Sandoval point blank if anything physical had happened between him and Raquel. Sandoval responds, “Nothing has happened. Like nothing that wouldn’t happen between, like, you know, me and Katie.” Oh, so he and Katie had an affair, masturbated together on FaceTime, and completely betrayed Ariana’s trust. Good to know!

Sandoval defends Raquel at every opportunity the whole episode, and if I didn’t know what I know now, I would have been like, “Good on him for defending her.” I mean, Scheana literally said that she would trust her husband in bed with Raquel. No wonder Scheana hit her when she found out the news (mostly because she knew she lost her feud with Katie fr fr).

This whole episode makes me question both the plans of production and Tom (and, to a lesser extent, Raquel). We know from the original season trailer, which came out January 9, about two months before Scandoval broke, that the season would include the “open relationship” stuff we saw in this episode. From interviews given after the fact, we also know that Sandoval was considering breaking up with Ariana around this time but said he didn’t because of her dog’s and grandmother’s deaths, which happened in this episode. He was already looking for an escape hatch while saying to Schwartz that he was “working on his love” with Ariana. Siri, insert a billion vomit emoji.

What would this season have looked like if the affair never came to light? Would we all have been debating whether or not they were boning? I feel like, based on how the season is edited and my inherent biases against particular cast mates, I would have been all up in these recaps saying, “There’s no way they’re fucking. Katie and Lala are so mean they’re making this whole thing up.” If we never knew, would the reunion just be him and Raquel denying, denying, denying, like Kristen and Jax before them?

Also, what was Tom’s plan here? Was it to hold onto Ariana until after the season ended (or after the reunion was filmed) and then break it off and slowly, slowly, slowly start drifting toward Raquel in public while boning the whole time in their Valley Village love nest? If there is already this much about their relationship in this season, how would they have ever gotten away with it? It’s almost as confounding as going to a fertility clinic and saying, “I’m here for my jizz results.”

The storyline kicks off when Ally, whose hatred for James has gone from bubbling below the surface to doing a Zoomba class in the light of day, tells James that when she told Katie about seeing Sandoval and Raquel at The Abbey, Katie said, “They don’t have that many rules.” James interprets this as them having an open relationship. But wouldn’t they all know this? These aren’t Housewives who just met a few seasons ago. These are a group of friends for a decade who hang out with each other in the off-season. If these two were shagging on the side, everyone would have been in on the secret. Ally, a novice, thinks she should talk to Ariana about it. James, who, for all of his many faults, knows how to play reality TV, tells her to speak with Scheana mostly because she loves gossip and will eat it up.

Lala and James meet for “drinks,” and James decides, quite sweetly, to invite everyone in the whole group to hang out at the beach. He says that he used to be uninvited to things and it always hurt, so he doesn’t want to be that dude. Aw. Because James knows the reality television arts and sciences, he knows if he doesn’t invite Raquel, everyone will just want to talk about why he didn’t invite her.

Is this really a good idea, though? Isn’t this the setup for the farce? As Ally says, “In my friend group, it’s not normal to see an ex. Usually, you break up with them and never see them again. In this friend group, you’re looking around, and you’re like it’s nothing but exes.” Isn’t that the whole conundrum of the show at this point?

Ally has her lunch with Scheana, which does not go according to plan. Sche-Shay freaks out about Katie saying the open relationship thing, but mostly because Scheana hates Katie and just wants everyone to think that she’s spreading vicious rumors about Raquel and Tom and the absent Ariana. Scheana, upon hearing the Abbey rumor, also says that “Brock is like a big brother to Raquel, just like Sandoval is a big brother to her.” Scheana ends the conversation by saying she is going to make a beeline for Sandoval at the beach to tell him all this. Oops. Sorry, Ally. You’re still a novice.

True to her word, Scheana tells Sandoval right away, but it doesn’t blow out into the open. Why? Well, probably because Tom knows he and Raquel are bumping uglies while Ariana is out of town and doesn’t want to draw more attention to it. The best part of the conversation, though, is when Sandoval says if they had an open relationship, he would want her and Brock to come by and “hang out.” Scheana says, “I’d love an Ariana make-out sesh.” Even before she knew about Raquel, Scheana thought he was too gross to hook up with, even in an imagined swinger scenario.

The other reason this doesn’t come up is because DJ James Kennedy, the white Kanye himself, makes a giant scene. Alright, alright, the fault here is mostly with Tom Schwartz. As James tells them about his gig at Imagine Fest in Atlanta, Schwartz says, “That’s huge. Is it bigger than Rachella?” referencing when James proposed to Raquel last year. James makes it immediately clear that it is a bad joke, and Sandoval recognizes that it is as well. But James, our poor unfortunate soul, can’t handle the anger and says, “Make another unfunny joke,” and then throws a drink in Schwartz’s face.

James’s tragic flaw is that he can’t handle his anger. It would have been totally justified if Schwartz had made that awful joke and James immediately threw the drink. I totally sympathize when he says that he just wants these people to be happy for him for a change, but he totally undermines that when he can’t handle a bad joke. Oh, James. No crowd will ever be big enough, no approval will ever suffice, no amount of hot girlfriends will make up for the hugs your monstrous parents never gave you. But, as Charli says, “You can’t throw drinks at people. It’s not nice.”

During all this, Katie and Lala take their men to find a bar and leave the mess behind. They text Kristina Kelly (Always what? Yeah, you know by now.) to come to meet them at the bar. She tells the group, and the next thing you know, everyone is sitting around a sad living room-like lounge with alcohol in their guts and blood on their minds.

Schwartz, being an asshole the whole day, does one good thing and apologizes to James again for the bad joke. Lala walks up to join the conversation and says that James owes him a punch in the face for making out with Raquel. This wakes up the sleeping giant of Tom and Lala’s feud from when he hung out with Randall. The two just start insulting each other quite loudly in a public place.

This friend group knows each other so well that everything they say about each other, every insult, every read, is absolutely correct. Here is Lala on Schwartz:

  • “I can see right through his basset hound shit …”
  • “Open a bar and then I’ll be impressed with you …”
  • “Call me when you have a business.”
  • “You’re broke, you’re 40 years old. Look at yourself …”
  • “The stuff I’ve been through in the last year would put you in your grave.”

Not a single lie detected. Here is Schwartz on Lala:

  • “You are the personification of a sponsored post. You are the corniest human being in this entire place. Give them Lala. Who is Lala?”
  • “Go get more Botox and plastic surgery. You don’t know who you are …”
  • “You’re angry and you’re bitter. I don’t want to know you. You’re a bootleg housewife. Look at those lips. Ugh.”

Again, not a single lie detected. There is no side to be on in this fight when two awful people call out their awfulness to each other. All we can do is take one of the mediocre-looking chicken wings and chomp along as they fight.

The one issue, however, is when Lala says her business pays for her daughter, and Tom says, “You’re a good mother. You’re a good mother,” and then laughs. Oh, shut all the way fucking up, Schwartz. I’m here for just about every insult these kids (haha, “kids”) can throw at each other, but that is over so many lines it is like James at an all-you-can-eat pasta buffet. Lala tells Katie that Tom was out of line for making fun of her face. Um, really? Lala takes every opportunity to call Raquel stupid, but a joke about her fake lips is too far? Get onto the next bus back to Utah with that skullduggery and nonsense. (Is that what skullduggery means? I don’t know.)

When you think it couldn’t get worse, James takes his giant fishbowl cocktail and offers Kristina Kelly to drink the liquid in the middle. Ally flicks his straw and it sends some liquid straight into his eye. James makes a high-pitched squeal that can only be described as “damsel on top of a chair after seeing a mouse” or “fart through a too-tight bumhole.” Sandoval tells him it is 115-proof alcohol and to wash it out. James runs for the toilet, tripping on the way and whimpering as he washes out his eye.

The waitress comes by and tells them that it was just water, that he has nothing to worry about. “I’m not a pussy,” James says. “I heard you laughing while I was calling for you.” Oh, James — you’re just are a scared little boy, and that’s okay. I’m telling you it’s okay. Yes, you could still beat Schwartz in a fight, but don’t worry about being soft or needing help. But Ally has the best counter to James for his behavior the whole day. Ally shouts at him, “No one wants to see you make a fool out of yourself. No one is enjoying it … sit down and shut up.” In that room, in that space, in that horrible dark day at the beach, Ally is correct. However, in the context of the show, we want to see him make a fool of himself for all of our entertainment. We want to see them all make fools of themselves. Why? Because it’s a farce, and it would be hilarious if my heart didn’t break 19 different ways.

Vanderpump Rules Recap: Beach-Blanket Blotto