This week on Vanderpump Rules, it was about Tom. While the season 11 premiere showed us how the group would look without Sandoval or Rachel around, this second episode reminded us that Tom isn’t going anywhere and he’s ready to watch everyone squirm in his presence now that he’s back from getting bloody noses in New Zealand — even if he’s no longer a worm with a mustache. Let’s dive into the Vanderpump Rules season 11, episode 2 recap shall we?
With Tom back in the picture, no one is hating their life more than his personal assistant Ann, who has the impossible task of being the go-between for Ariana and Tom as they navigate living under one roof while avoiding a run-in with one another at all costs. We literally get a split screen of Tom walking into his sad makeshift bedroom as Ariana leaves the primary suite full of influencer gifting boxes. Every time one of them asks her to do something, you can practically see Ann thinking, “I’m not sure what I’ve done to you, but I’ll take a pinot grigio.”
It’s honestly brutal. Sandoval tells her that he wants to throw himself a birthday party, so she has to ask Ariana if that’s okay with her. When Ariana threatens to call the cops on him if he throws a rager, Ann has to negotiate with Tom and then go back to Ariana saying he’ll agree to inviting just 12 people over with a curfew of midnight. It’s giving Cady Heron getting enough cheese and crackers for 8 people.
The most interesting thing we find out about Tom and Ariana’s bizarre living situation is that he’s resulted to plugging in a white noise machine outside of his room because he thinks that Ariana and her friends are listening in on him in his room. Boy, please! As if.
That paranoia feels connected to him feeling “betrayed” by Schwartz, who had recently gone on Jax’s podcast and talked shit about Sandoval.
A little over three months after news of his affair with Rachel broke, Tom finds himself “still very much in love with her” and eager for her to return from treatment (who’s gonna tell him?) as he informs us that most of the rest of the people in his life have abandoned him. He’s been asked to step back from Schwartz & Sandy’s and actually isn’t even allowed on the property, we learn via Schwartz, because he’s that much of a liability. So we’re finding him at a point where he’s all alone and views Rachel as his life vest. He’s so all-in with her that he still wants to give their relationship a chance and isn’t drinking out of solidarity with her.
So, all he can do is acknowledge the pain he’s caused, take ownership of it and move on, right? Well, not exactly. Just as he apologizes to Schwartz that he and the restaurant became collateral damage in all of this, he attempts to garner sympathy by telling him that the reason he up and left to go on tour when Scandoval broke is because he had bills to pay, since Ariana refuses to pay any of them. Not sure how many tickets he was selling at the time, but I digress.
He then gives Schwartz a quasi-ultimatum: “Are you gonna stick with me or what?” While his response of “I’m gonna do what’s best for me” had me jumping off my couch cheering, his subsequent actions proved that apparently what’s best for him was going to Sandoval’s birthday party instead of taking up Scheana on her offer to join her and the girls at Emo Night. Classic Schwartz! As wise queen and new business-owner Ally Lewber said about Schwartz when she read his birth chart, while there’s more good in him than bad, ultimately he’s a people pleaser. That’s the libra in him, apparently.
And that takes us to Sandoval’s birthday party, which Lala convinced Ariana to sign off on because she correctly pointed out to her that by preventing him from having the party or actually calling the cops on him, she would just be giving Sandoval the reaction that he’s really trying to get out of her. While she understood that Ariana wanted to prevent him from asserting his dominance, Lala explained that it was more important for her to not let Sandoval get under her skin.
If Sandoval’s party is any indication, he’s not as friendless as he made himself out to be. There were at least like 15-20 people at this shindig, most of whom were seemingly associated with his cover band. Eek! As I pointed out above, Schwartz was indeed in attendance, but he wasn’t the most surprising person to show up (and, no, neither was Billie Lee). That would be James Kennedy, who decided to stop by to see if Sandoval would take this chance to give him a sincere apology and demonstrate that he’d like to be a good friend to him.
“What I need to hear from Sandoval is very simple: ‘I’m really sorry. This is absolutely awful, and what I did was just absolute betrayal and I’m not sure if I can ever come back from this, but if there’s one thing I’m going to do is work every day to try,’” he explains. How is it possible that James said it better than Sandoval has ever been able to, even now — almost a year later — in 2024?
It turns out that James’ drive-by (Ally iconically refuses to come inside and waits in their double-parked BMW) lasts all of four minutes. After apologizing for ghosting him, Sandoval asks James if he could also take accountability… for what he did with Kristen 10 years ago. At that, James storms out and drives off with Ally (but not before peeing in his bush, which Ally points out is also Ariana’s). The No. 1 guy in the group, indeed.