Like a bra strap under a tank top, the Scandoval is really starting to show, and it is absolutely incredible. Literally the only thing Tom Sandoval does this entire episode, rather than ruin the idea of white nail polish the way someone other than Charlie Chaplin ruined the Charlie Chaplin mustache, is lie. He lies more than a sloth in the sun. He lies more than Charlie’s grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He lies more than the internet. It is shocking (and somewhat delightful) to watch, and I can’t believe he thought he would ever get away with it.
As awful as Sandoval is to everyone around him, the editors are the real heroes of this show. Sandoval is telling James that Raquel didn’t stay over at his house, and then we see a chyron that says “116 seconds later” where he says that she did spend the night. This guy can’t even keep his story straight for two whole minutes. Even I could keep myself straight for that long. I could flirt with a woman for a whole quarter of an hour!
Really the best, most artful editing I have ever seen on a Bravo show comes when we spin around the Vanderpump-verse seeing how, when, and why everyone found out that Raquel spent the night at Tom and Ariana’s while the latter was away at her grandmother’s funeral. Assisted with a voice-over from Lala — who brings it up in conversation with James — the story goes a little something like this.
The night after the ill-fated beach party and the aftermath at a now-haunted Hermosa Beach eatery, Raquel and the Toms go back to Sandoval’s to hang out in the hot tub and keep drinking. The next day, Raquel shows up to work 90 minutes late, and Lisa asks her why she was so late. She tells her that she spent the night at Sandoval’s house. As Lala says, “Lisa can smell bullshit a mile away,” so she calls Sandoval, who just keeps saying “dude” and “dipped out” like he’s some geriatric millennial Teddy Ruxpin on the fritz. Schwartz is in the car next to him while they FaceTime, and eventually Lisa asks, “Did she spend the night? Yes or no.” He says that she did.
Dude, the only thing worse than having a young woman spend the night at your house while your girlfriend is at her grandmother’s funeral is to get caught lying about her staying over there. Yes, the optics would have been bad. Know why? Because they were totally fucking upstairs after Schwartz left, that’s why.
Armed with this information, Lisa records everything on a cassette tape, plugs it in Ken’s back, and sends him into the kitchen of Villa Rosa to spill the beans to Katie. Wait, is Ken the Teddy Ruxpin? He delivers his lines, and the smile that glows out of Katie’s face makes it look like she came 19 times after getting a massage and eating the world’s best edibles. Katie tells all of this to Lala, who then tells it to James, and we have completed the gossip circle like we just followed the red thread on a bulletin board to help Claire Danes figure out who is the secret agent on Homeland.
James tells Lala that he caught Sandoval cheating himself while they were getting stoned at what I assume is the Woods, Woody Harrelson’s amazing dispensary and “ganja giggle garden.” (4.5 stars, would recommend.) Scheana also tells us later that he got caught lying to Brock as well about the same thing. Are any of us surprised that the truth about their relationship eventually came out? He should really reconsider monogamy, because Tom Sandoval is just too damn stupid to have an affair.
Lala also explains that over the Labor Day weekend, she was at a party with Brock, Scheana, Schwartz, Sandoval, Raquel, and a bunch of others from the cast. It was the day Ariana found out her grandmother had died, and Sandoval decided to stay at the party for two hours after Ariana called him upset that he wasn’t there. Finally, the penny drops, and Lala says, “I think Sandoval has a thing for Raquel,” which is the only time in her whole life she has been diplomatic because what she really wants to say is, “They fucking.” She adds, “Something ain’t right. I think something’s going on.” Get Lala on the next season of The Traitors because she would burn that Scottish castle to the ground with her rightness.
Lala also helps Ariana catch Tom out in another lie at the end of the episode when they’re all at Kristina Kelly’s (always both names!) lip-balm party at Tom Tom. Ariana tells Lala that he didn’t come home because his friend Jason (do they mean Jax and they’re using his real name?) left when Tom was taking a shit and missed his ride. Then Lala tells her that she was standing right there with him and Jason when Jason said he was leaving, and Tom said he wanted to stay even though his girlfriend was mourning at home.
He tells Ariana that he thought she wanted to be alone, but why would she be calling asking him to come home if that were the case? And it seemed like his girlfriend was in quite a fragile state. She keeps telling us how overwhelmed she is and how she feels like she’s barely holding on. And how does Tom repay her? By fucking her bestie in their own damn bed. (Where, when, and how much Schwartz knew is a matter of debate, but no matter how you slice it, neither the driver nor the guy in the sidecar will escape this crash.)
This is bad, and it looks worse for Tom by the minute because he’s abusing Ariana’s trust. It looks even worse for Raquel, whom Ariana seems to trust implicitly around her man. When Scheana confronts her about Katie’s “open relationship” rumors while glamping, Ariana says in a confessional, “I get it, Katie hates Raquel, but Raquel’s my friend, and she’s someone who is kind and sweet and loyal and just a delight since the day I met her.” To quote a great American poet, if I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I’d take back ever having met Tom Sandoval because he is an absolute piece of shit.
Everything that happens while glamping for Raquel’s birthday is an absolute shambles. Starting with the fact that this little dude ranch (any ranch owned by gays is a dude ranch) has homemade ranch. You can make ranch dressing at home? I thought it could only be concocted in industrial-size stainless-steel vats in a factory setting. But on this trip, Raquel talks about how these people are her real true friends. Then Schwartz jokes about Raquel having a type, and it’s taken guys, when he probably knows that she is already getting jiggy with the resident cover-band impresario. Then Raquel lets Ariana comfort her and tell her how she’s being a role model while the scent of her man is still lingering on Raquel’s panties.
That’s what is really galling about this whole thing: It’s that Tom and Raquel were carrying on like this while everyone trusted them, while all of these people stuck up for them. How did they think this would end? There is no way out of this that is not the end of Natural Born Killers. (In this analogy, Sandoval is Juliette Lewis because they have the same haircut.)
My heart was crushed when Ariana pulled Katie for a chat, using the phraseology from my favorite British dating program. Between that and Scheana shouting, “I’ve got a text!” while glamping, they were heavy on the Love Island references in this episode. Ariana confronts Katie about whether or not she spread the rumor about Ariana and Tom being in an open relationship. I agree with Scheana and Ariana; Katie said it, or at least insinuated it. But I also buy Katie’s explanation that she was saying they have an atypical relationship, which they do (or did). Still, I don’t think Katie ever thought they were in a thruple, even though that’s what it looked like when the three arrived at Kristina Kelly’s party.
As they’re talking, Ariana tells Katie that she loves and trusts Raquel, and she loves and trusts Tom that they wouldn’t do anything to her. Oh, our poor sweet little angel Ariana. Our poor, poor lost girl. I do feel awful for Ariana, but I also got a little sad for Raquel when she had a conversation with James at the party. Oh, wait. Earlier in the episode, James is talking to Ally about his behavior at the beach last episode, and she makes it clear that he made a fool of himself. (I’m starting to like this girl.) He then tells her he is not angry about the situation. Um, that’s like saying Lucky Charms doesn’t have any marshmallows; that is literally the defining characteristic and the only reason that people are still interested.
James sits down with Raquel, and she tells him she was sad when he said he regretted their proposal and engagement. She says she has no regrets and was happy for most of their relationship. She’s being nice and vulnerable, but James’s Squishmallow of an ego won’t let him metabolize the idea that a woman dumped him rather than the other way around. Then James says that he had to learn from his past mistakes. Haha. Good one, James. Since when has this man ever learned a thing? Since when has he not repeated the same stupid, drunken patterns like he’s a member of Chuck E. Cheese’s animatronic band and can only play one number over and over again? But they’re sitting there, out in the bleeding heat of a WeHo evening, the Lyfts whizzing by on Santa Monica Boulevard, and Raquel says she doesn’t regret anything in life, she wouldn’t take anything back, and then she glows inside knowing that she doesn’t care that she just fucked her best friend’s man.