It breaks my entire heart to say this, but Katie Maloney Schwartz Maloney is right about everything. Now, let’s not be outlandish. Katie has been wrong more than she’s been right, and she’s undoubtedly been mean more than she’s ever been anything in her life. Still, every single action she took in tonight’s episode was entirely justified and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. I wouldn’t have gone so far as to call Raquel a Call Your Nephew Terrence while being filmed, but considering the absolute insanity that Raquel displayed, I’ll allow it. (Lala, on the other hand, can shut right the fuck up, calling Raquel a “pig” when she had no dog in this particular fight.)
As right as Katie is, Raquel is just as wrong. Possibly more wrong. Every scene she’s in, every question she asks, every fight she provokes is a sort of cringe that is so destabilizing it will give you a code brown right in your clean underpants. That’s the thing that has really struck me about Raquel this season — how erratic she’s gotten. She’s like a slot machine that has guzzled a whole case of Monster energy drinks. You’re never going to get the same thing twice, and you can never figure out exactly what her intentions are. There are two things that Katie is the rightest about. The first is when she asks her, mid-confrontation, “What are you doing right now?” No one has the foggiest. The other is she tells her to “take your six personalities” somewhere else. So it’s not just us; Katie sees it too!
Oh God, I just said Katie was right, and I agree with her, and I have a kind of indigestion that starts in your soul.
Raquel, a living “What I ordered, What arrived” meme, starts the wrongitude at the beginning of the episode when she goes shopping at a store that is called Polka Dots and Moon Beams, because the only thing Raquel loves more than a beachy wave is being too on the nose. That is where she buys the lightning bolt necklace that she and Sandoval both wore as a kind of in-joke. To make it even worse, you can see Tom wearing his when he sits Ariana down to discuss trying to fix their fracturing relationship.
Sandoval sits Ariana down on the couch and tells her that he doesn’t like when she belittles him in front of people and always finds him annoying. He says she has only agreed with him less than five times in their entire relationship. I will repeat a previous point that I made: He could stop being wrong about everything. When Ariana says she wants more quality time, she says she wants to make dinner, go for a walk around the neighborhood, watch Love Island together. He thinks quality time is taking mushrooms together and seeing the sunset, going skinny-dipping, or going hang gliding. That is dumb. Yes, that is quality time, but those are also one-time events. You can have both of those. You can have insane adventures together, but that is not enough. The mundane binds us as couples, and the relationship starts to fray when he starts ignoring that binding. No trips on mushrooms can knit that back together.
But this does seem like Sandoval is setting up his breakup with Ariana. He’s laying the groundwork to dump her after the reunion is filmed, wait six months, and then start publicly dating Raquel. The problem is Ariana doesn’t seem to give him the out he thinks she will. She’s still insisting on working it out. She tells him, yes, he can annoy her, but he’s still the only person she wants to hang out with more.
Throughout the episode, we get a few interludes with other cast members, like Lala saying she wants to have another baby with a sperm donor (my name is Dame Brian Moylan and I endorse this plan). Lisa getting a new mini-pony named Velvet, which sounds like the name of the secretary everyone’s dad had an affair with in the ’70s. The one big takeaway from the non-Scandoval-related scenes is that James Kennedy, the White Kanye himself, is not in therapy. (Pause for three hours and 17 minutes so that we can all stop laughing.) I have never seen a person in more need of therapy in my life, and I have met Andy Dick. James wants us to think that he doesn’t have childhood trauma and is totally over his broken engagement to Raquel. Well, if you believe that, then I have a corner gay bar in West Hollywood to sell you. Oh, wait, it’s already out of business.
The episode really revs up after Katie and Ariana have everyone by their sandwich shop to try out their menu. The after-party at SUR, which doubles as Lisa’s birthday party, was initially meant to be the season’s closing party. (And poor Scheana is stuck at home with COVID!) If this had been a normal season and we had only seen what Sandoval and Raquel wanted us to see, this still would have been an all-time jam of an episode. Thanks to revising history as we are witnessing it, it’s even better.
Sandoval starts by telling us that his relationship with Ariana is the best it’s ever been (he’s currently in an affair with Raquel), which is richer than the entire McDuck family tree. Then Raquel pulls Ariana aside and asks what is up with her and Sandoval. Okay, that is just evil, and it seems like she is testing the waters here, trying to see if things between them are as rocky as Sandoval pointed out. In Raquel’s defense (even worse to say than Katie is right), this might have been producer driven. While they don’t tell the cast what to say, they might put the two of them together and say, “Raquel, make sure to ask about their relationship.” Raquel, at the time, was posing as Ariana’s bestie on the show, and their relationship was a story line that needed to be resolved.
That said, everything that happens in the conversation is bonkers. They start talking about the importance of having sex in a relationship and how they aren’t having that much sex, as Raquel’s IUD is still fending off Sandoval’s sperm. How does she do this with a straight face? Then she asks Ariana if she’s sexually attracted to him, and she says she thinks he’s hot as shit. Apparently Ariana has some condition where she can’t see bad haircuts or white nail polish, but beauty shoots in the beholder’s eye. That’s how you say it, right? Then Raquel is pumping Ariana up, telling her she’s prettier than she thinks. Um, this is what you say to your friend whose boyfriend you’ve been jerking off with over Zoom? That is so cold that Paula Abdul once sang a song about it.
The real kicker, though, is when Raquel asks if Ariana wants to stay in the relationship. What she was hoping for, what they were both hoping for, was that she would say no. They want Ariana to give up. They want to make her look like the villain and the relationship is at the end of its life cycle, so it doesn’t matter if Tom and Raquel are hooking up. He wanted a repeat of him and Kristen, where we didn’t feel so bad that he was making out with Ariana because they were both clearly done with each other. They did not get that. Ariana, instead, says that she does. She’s in it for the long haul. Sorry, Sandy, you’re screwed.
While Tom Schwartz is in a booth rubbing lemons on his armpits because he stinks and Lala is literally singing, “All that I want is another baby,” Raquel thinks it’s a good idea to go up to Katie, her mom, and all of her gays while they’re talking about eating ass. She then tells Katie that a gossip-blog report about her and Schwartz making out all night at the Bayou (a gayish bar directly across from Tom Tom) was false. This, folks, is why you don’t believe Deux Moi. Either someone just made this whole thing up or they saw Raquel making out with Sandoval and got their Toms confused. Either way, don’t believe it.
Raquel then says that Katie rage-texted Tom about it, which she did not, and that Raquel doesn’t like the way Katie treats her ex. This is when Katie asks, “What are you doing right now?” It is unclear. Is she trying to be relevant to stay on the show? Is she just trying to start a fight like she tried to with Lala at Scheana’s wedding? Is she trying to create a smoke screen between her and Sandoval by making everyone think she might be more into Schwartz than she lets on? Raquel tells Katie that it is none of her business who Schwartz makes out with, which is true. What she’s missing is that Katie literally told both of them not to hook up, and they did. That’s what she cares about. That’s why she’s mad. It’s a specific betrayal, not the vague specter of him hooking up with another girl.
Then Teri, Katie’s mom, gets involved in the conversation and tries to put Raquel in her place nicely, but when Raquel tries to bring up some old shit Katie said to Scheana that we disproved in, like, episode two, Teri tells her to shut up. We see where Katie gets it, and you know what? It’s justified all around.
As Raquel continues doubling down, Ariana starts sobbing to Lisa because she’s again stuck between her friend Raquel; her boyfriend, Sandoval; and her business partner, Katie. Ariana has always been the one person in the group who doesn’t have beef with anyone, and this is how she is repaid, crying on Lisa Vanderpump’s shoulder wearing a blouse that is too adorable for words. And she’s defending Raquel. She’s defending the woman who betrayed her. I just can’t. I can’t even look anymore. Just kidding. I can’t pry my eye away.
When Sandoval comes in to defend Raquel and once again says that Katie has taken no accountability for how she made Schwartz feel, Katie gets so upset that she almost can’t speak through her angry tears. We have seen Katie go through a lot of shit on this show, including Schwartz pouring a beer on her head. I have never once seen her this angry, and I think it has something to do with a loss of control. She can’t stop it. She doesn’t have the Witches of WeHo at her back anymore. She only has Lala and Kristina Kelly (names both always!), and they’re hardly doing anything.
And Raquel? She’s rolling her eyes at Katie’s mom. She’s giggling when Katie storms out of the scene. What is even happening in her brain? Is she computing the same scene we are? On her way out, Katie hits Tom Schwartz, who says, “Why are you mad at me? I didn’t do anything.” Yes, Tom, that is exactly it. He was hiding behind the fake ficus, trying to stay out of the fray. I’m not saying he had to defend Katie, but he at least could have gotten Raquel out of that situation. He could have tried to tamp it down a little bit. But he didn’t. He tried to play all sides, be the nice guy, and not defend Katie again.
She drags him out into the SUR alley, the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the best battles of our era have been waged, to continue their conversation. Raquel, behaving like some kind of boss on a glitchy level of Super Mario World, rears her ugly head once again, only for Katie to yell at her. Raquel is now attempting an apology that is so weak it couldn’t even die in its own bed. Katie tries to send her away, but Schwartz tries to get Katie to listen. Why? For what? I finally feel for Katie, the one intelligent, perceptive person in a room full of buffoons who are all betraying her in ways large, small, medium, 2XL, and a child’s large (which works as a small if you’re really skinny).
Yes, Katie was mean, she called Raquel all sorts of names, but I finally get her point. You see how Schwartz never defended her or had her back. You see how Raquel insisted on making this an issue when Katie was happy to passive-aggressively tolerate her for the sake of the show. You almost see how she was justified in being mean to Scheana and then Stassi and then Lala and then Kristen and now, finally, Raquel. Almost, almost, almost. You almost see it in Lisa’s love for these kids, her maternal admiration for how much growth and conflict (and money) they have shown her over the years. It’s almost there, just out of her grasp, just beyond the tears, yells, and false friends. It’s so close, like a word you can’t remember, like a sense of right and wrong.