You’ve got to hand it to Bravo (and TMZ) for making Vanderpump Rules fans think the jaw-dropping Scandoval came out of nowhere when, in fact, it seems to be a major plot point this season.
Presumably, Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss’ secret love affair won’t be revealed in the initial footage for the show’s ongoing 10th season. (The Bravo series went back into production after the scandal broke.) However, there’s enough suspicion from certain cast members—specifically, Katie Maloney, Lala Kent, and Ally Lewber—about something brewing between the two that it’s officially become a point of contention. So much so that during tonight’s new episode, a producer asks Sandoval in a confessional if “anything physical has ever happened” between him and Leviss.
“No,” the TomTom co-owner laughs. “Nothing has ever happened between Raquel and I. Like, nothing.”
After stuttering a bit, he adds this unnecessary qualifier about him not being friendlier with Leviss than others: “That wouldn’t happen between me and Katie.” Cue another nervous chuckle.
This whole episode, titled “Beach, Don’t Kill my Vibe,” is really just a horror movie about midlife crises. Not that this psychological phenomenon excuses or even rationalizes Sandoval’s or the equally loathsome Tom Schwartz’s behavior this season; as Lara Parker pointed out in a recent Buzzfeed article, Scwhartz has always been particularly awful. Still, it’s truly frightening what some men are capable of when they reach 40 and start wearing charm necklaces.
By now, viewers know that Sandoval and Leviss have at least kissed at this point, thanks to the Howie Mandel interview from hell. And according to comments from the cast, the two may have had some sort of rendezvous at Scheana Shay’s wedding in Mexico. This adds some important context to Sandoval seemingly soft-launching his eventual split from Ariana Madix on the show, or at least trying to make her look like a bad partner. In this latest episode, his anti-Madix agenda is on full display.
In an early scene, Sandoval and Schwartz complain about their sad personal lives over sandwiches. Sandoval, of course, uses the opportunity to rant about Madix always disagreeing with him and “making [him] feel dumb.” As I said in last week’s recap, Madix, a notably sardonic woman, has also been honest with Sandoval; in fact, last week we saw her defending Maloney against him in a polite, measured fashion. Plus, the couple already had a discussion about this last week, so why are we bringing it up again? This self-victimizing strategy of his isn’t fooling anyone.
It’s also interesting that Sandoval’s issues with Madix are the same problems Maloney has voiced about her marriage to Schwartz—yet he never showed her any compassion during that relationship, nor does he later on in this episode. More later on Sandoval’s weird disdain for Maloney!
Luckily for us, Lewber hasn’t let go of the crucial intel about Sandoval and Leviss hanging out at The Abbey at 1 a.m. She also mentions that Maloney implied that Sandoval and Madix have an open relationship. It’s hilarious watching James Kennedy make nothing of the situation, considering how much he loathes Leviss. He tells Lewber that she should tell Shay about seeing them out together since she’s Madix’s best friend. Meanwhile, Maloney talks to Kent about it, but they both still seem doubtful of an affair actually happening.
Lewber later does tell Shay, who’s offended on her bestie’s behalf but is always tired of the group trying to accuse Leviss of being a homewrecker. Unfortunately, Madix’s grandmother just passed away, so she doesn’t want to unload the news on her, but she does tell Sandoval about it later at a beach gathering. He denies the rumor as awkwardly as he denies hooking up with Leviss.
This initially chill beach day, planned by Kennedy, becomes increasingly chaotic in the best way. First, Kennedy throws a drink in Schwartz’s face after he makes jokes about his and Leviss’ former engagement. Then the cast goes to a nearby restaurant, where Kent eviscerates Schwartz for generally being awful. Then Kennedy gets 151 in his eye. THEN, Leviss tries to talk to Maloney about her makeout with Schwartz. Finally, Sandoval confronts Maloney about implying that he messed around with Leviss and that he has an open relationship.
Maloney tries to backpedal, but she can’t get a word in edgewise because Sandoval is screaming at her from the other side of the room about her own breakup. This man has been weirdly anti-Maloney throughout her divorce, as if she and Schwartz not being together isn’t a much healthier outcome for both parties. He calls Maloney’s choice to divorce Schwartz “heartbreaking” and claims that she never apologizes for anything.
At this point, his tangent starts to sound very personal. “You shouldn’t be with someone because of who you want them to be,” he says. “You should be with them because of who they fucking are!”
Clearly, Sandoval thinks a woman should just accept a man’s terrible behavior, no questions asked—just like he thinks Madix should blindly agree with everything he says. Hence, why he’s secretly hooking up with a woman who nods and smiles at everything he does. It’s all coming together!