One of the funnier moments of Vanderpump Rules’ Season 10 reunion — the first part of it, at least — came when host Andy Cohen revealed that Raquel Leviss had been relegated to watching the proceedings on a closed-circuit television away from the rest of the cast, owing to the temporary restraining order she filed against co-star Scheana Shay. Cut to a shot of a trailer situated in an empty parking lot, accompanied by the caption, “Raquel’s Trailer: 100 Yards Away From Scheana.”
Pure Bravo editing bliss.
With Raquel absent from the group sit-down, all of the ire was directed at Tom Sandoval, aka the “worm with a mustache.” From the moment he opened his mouth and forced out some sham tears, the gang jumped all over him. After all, this is the man who carried on a seven-month-long (at least!) affair with Raquel — a failed beauty pageant contestant, the best friend and confidant of his girlfriend of nearly a decade, Ariana Madix, and the ex-fiancée of his protégé of sorts, DJ James Kennedy. To make matters worse, Sandoval did so whilst encouraging Raquel to hook up with his best friend, Tom Schwartz, thus driving a wedge between BFFs Ariana and Katie; in the wake of Ariana’s beloved grandmother and dog passing away; while he and Ariana were in the process of fertilizing embryos; and in the home that they shared together. Once Ariana uncovered the affair, courtesy of a video Sandoval had sketchily saved to his phone of him and Raquel masturbating to each other over FaceTime, he’s done nothing but blame her for everything.
Highlights from the first part of the chaotic reunion included DJ James Kennedy’s barrage of insults at Sandoval (between trips to the bathroom); DJ James Kennedy and Lala booing and pointing at Sandoval like Jerry Springer audience members; Schwartz alleging that Sandoval had confided in him about the affair in August; Ariana saying she knew about Sandoval sleeping with Miami Girl all along; Scheana sharing that as of January, Ariana told her that she and Sandoval were in a good place romantically; and DJ James Kennedy and Lala calling out Lisa Vanderpump for her foolhardy attempts at defending Sandoval’s indefensible actions. The extended/uncensored version of the episode, which aired the following day on Peacock, saw Scheana claim that Sandoval had come on to Raquel in April of last year, in a hot tub during Coachella, and that he’d told her he and Ariana had an “open” relationship. “That has never been the case,” contended Ariana.
Part 2 of the reunion is where it becomes evident that this thing has been stretched to within an inch of its life, as the first handful of minutes focus on Lala’s relationship with sleazy movie producer Randall Emmett before everyone breaks for lunch. We’re then inexplicably treated to BTS footage of idle chatter and Schwartz doing pushups (?) before Sandoval pays a visit to Raquel’s trailer, which again is 100 yards away from Scheana. During their deeply awkward exchange, Raquel complains to Sandoval that “it looks like [you and Ariana] had this solid relationship,” which apparently differs from how the sympathy sponge portrayed it to her, while Sandoval stumbles through a bullshit explanation.
“I have gone through a transitional phase in my life this summer. And I think the pendulum swang [sic] a little bit too far the other way, and this is my wake-up call,” offers Raquel, grasping for any semblance of sincerity (calling a months-long affair with your best friend’s partner a “transitional phase in my life” is… a choice!).
When Sandoval learns that he can’t have an off-camera conversation with Raquel, presumably to get their story straight, he throws a hissy fit. “I’m in a very delicate position right now!” Sandoval whines at the crew, before finally getting his way.
DJ James Kennedy’s girlfriend, Ally Lewber, joins the fray and we relitigate her fella’s drinking and anger-management problems, which at one point (according to Sandoval) included getting in trouble for slapping a woman’s ass during an event in Atlantic City — a stark reminder that none of the men on this show are good people except maybe Ken Todd, who enters every room stroking a puppy like the world’s most congenial Bond villain. DJ James Kennedy gets defensive, attacks Sandoval, and makes even more trips to the bathroom. (What exactly is he doing in there?) Ally, an aspiring astrologer, is a delight as always and far too good-hearted for this cruel crowd, but we’re more than halfway through the episode and Raquel still hasn’t faced her castmates. Talk about slow-rolling the audience. Andy, this is getting ridiculous!
Back to that temporary restraining order. Raquel took it out because she alleges that after confessing the affair to Scheana following their taping of Watch What Happens Live, Scheana — who was Raquel’s closest friend in the group and defended her to no end — punched her in the face. Scheana, for her part, has maintained that she could not ball her hands into a fist due to the length of her nails. If the fists don’t ball, you must recall! Sandoval recalls overhearing Scheana copping to punching Raquel in the face, though everything Sandoval says at this point must be taken with a mine of salt. Ariana, the actual one on the call, says that’s nonsense. Raquel requested to dismiss the TRO either way, and has Andy deliver Scheana the paperwork stating as much.
“First of all, the betrayal of two of my best friends, that is heartbreaking in itself,” says Scheana, sobbing uncontrollably. “But then to throw all of this on top of it, when I did nothing but take care of her? I gave her a home to live in when she didn’t have anywhere to go. I was the sister to her that she didn’t have growing up. I did everything for her. And for her to do this to me? It has taken such a toll on me. I have not been able to be completely present for my daughter.”
We cut to Raquel watching Scheana break down in tears. She is completely emotionless, and later grins while chatting with producers. It’s chilling stuff.
Scheana departs, and prior to entering the lion’s den, Raquel sat down with Andy for a one-on-one interview. There’s only six-plus minutes left to go in the episode at this point.
“Things started getting more romantic after this girls’ trip that I went on,” explains Raquel, referencing the Vegas/Havasu trip she stormed out of after the girls mocked her. “He made me feel heard and seen, and those are feelings that I haven’t really felt maybe ever.”
Raquel claims she somehow envisioned a future where Ariana would forgive her for this mammoth betrayal, saying, “I think I was living in my own little reality hoping that it would work out.” She later alleges Sandoval framed their clandestine affair as something Ariana likely knew about but was in denial over — something Raquel says she now knows not to be true. Sandoval tried to convince her to not tell Ariana the whole truth about their affair and shorten its length, but she did anyway. She also says that Sandoval prepped her prior to the reunion, and she’s “scared” to see Ariana.
Scheana has now effectively swapped places with Raquel, so we see her lounging in her own trailer watching the reunion on TV with the caption, “Scheana’s Trailer: 100 Yards Away From Raquel.” (She presents Andy with a gold “Good as Gold” record before she departs. The song is a bop.) Raquel is finally — finally — brought out with under two minutes left to go in the episode, and it’s the first time Ariana has seen her since discovering the affair (the reunion was filmed March 23rd). Schwartz pops a Xanax, and… we’ll have to wait till next week to see the rest. Overall, Part 2 of the Vanderpump Rules Season 10 reunion felt like a plodding interstitial — especially compared to the bedlam that was Part 1. Let’s see if the supposed Part 3 twist that’s “so shocking, some of the cast could quit” lives up to the hype. One thing’s for sure: Bravo won’t be providing members of the press screeners in advance.