vanderpump rules season 11 finale episode recap

Punkee Recaps Vanderpump Rules: THE FOURTH WALL HATH BEEN BROKEN

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Congratulations, we made it. It’s been a truly unique season of Vanderpump Rules, as the cast grappled with the post-Scandoval dystopia they’d landed in. Real relationships shattered, new heights of fame, endless messy podcasts and a real estate war that left everyone perplexed. Let’s get into the final episode because there’s a LOT to unpack here.

We pick up the morning after Brock’s pointless roaring 20s drinks. We’re in San Fran and everyone is waking up in their hotel rooms a little dusty but ready to spill the tea from the night before. The hot topic of the hour: Dan.

“I wonder if Dan is gonna come around today,” Ally ponders, laying in bed with boyfriend James. “Tonight will be the big meeting,” James laughs, referring, of course, to Kyle Chan’s whisky launch (duh) that evening. Over in Lala and Katie’s room, Lala still isn’t too sure about Dan’s character. “This guy sounds like a fucking square,” she tells Katie, after detailing how Ariana had told her she thinks there’s no way Dan would shake Sandoval’s hand if there were an introduction. “No, I think he’s like the sweetest person,” Katie insists, loyal to Ariana almost involuntarily. 

Over in Scheana and Brock’s room, the latter asks the former how she felt about last night’s conversation with Sandoval. “Like, we have good productive conversations and then it’s like, are you being genuine or are you playing me?” says Scheana, explaining that her confusion over Sandoval’s sincerity is largely due to Ariana’s objective distrust in him. Brock, clearly over watching his wife’s inner turmoil, shares his two cents. 

“Out of those two, I’m sorry I love Ariana but, Ariana doesn’t reach out. Tom reaches out,” Brock tells his wife, before sharing in his interview that Sandoval has been the most generous friend to him and he’s always admired him. “I don’t agree with you,” she rebuts, “And Ariana is a very good friend to me. I talk to Ariana more than a lot of people in my life.” Brock explains he’s explicitly talking about actions, and Scheana gets it. “I understand that. In this group, you know that Ariana’s gonna be the person who’s probably not gonna show up but always wants to be invited,” she tells him, “But I will never turn my back on Ariana because she has always been there for me.” Scheana gets teary and Brock concludes the scene: “Ok, well you’ve got a dog in the fight.” 

Next, the group (sans Sandoval) jump on one of San Fran’s famous trolleys (trams lol) and we get the obligatory “Hello San Francisco!” from James, who seemingly has reverted back to his eight-year-old self. 

The group lands in Chinatown and sits down for lunch in the cutest little restaurant. I am JONESING for some dumplings. 

Drinks are ordered, and Lala gets stuck into grilling Dan. She asks him about his career, age, whether he’s been married and when/why his last relationship ended. She’s hectic and I love her for it. “Dan is handling this interrogation like a champ. He’s not breaking a sweat. But I will be damned if another person comes into this group dating someone and they end up being an asshole,” Lala tells us in her interview.

“Have you chatted with Sandoval yet? What do you think of him?” James asks Dan, giggling, and the table laughs. “Look I don’t know him, but I know what he’s done. I’ve not heard great things,” Dan responds. Yeah, I’ll bet. 

vanderpump rules ariana dan

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Scheana decides now would be a good time to share how her chat went with Sandoval. “Last night I put things in perspective for him. I said, ‘Have you ever thought about weaponising Ariana’s mental health on top of what you already did?’ It was like, in that moment, I again felt like I saw the mask fall a little bit, and he really thought about it and was like, ‘I really need to think about that’,” she tells Ariana. 

“How many times are we gonna keep believing this man’s genuine tears?” Katie jumps in, disgusted as per. “She has a fucking friendship with him that you guys keep dismissing!” Brock fires back, always one to defend his missus. “I don’t believe a damn word, a damn tear, a damn nothing that comes out of him,” Katie responds. Let’s not forget, Katie hated Sandoval BEFORE it was cool. “Everyone’s trying to make this whole Sandoval situation way more nuanced than it actually is. When a guy fucks over your friend, fuck the guy,” she vents in her interview. 

“He’s not a trash person, he’s a person who did a trash thing,” Schwartz declares, immediately activating Ariana. “A trash thing?” she asks, indignant at the insinuation that his trash was singular. “A very trash thing!” Schwartz, correcting himself trying to avoid Ariana’s wrath. “You watch what table you’re at if you wanna try talk like that. You can leave, if you wanna talk like that,” she warns him. “Ariana tries to put on this cool girl vibe, but she cares a lot,” Lala tells us in her interview, “Once she gets out of this ‘Sandoval’s the monster and Ariana’s the victim’, she’ll have to go through the mourning process, and I just don’t think she wants to deal with that.” 

Back to Brock vs. Katie. “You haven’t been there for like, my entire lived experience,” she tells him. “No, I haven’t been there for none of your guys’ lived experience in this group. But I’m gonna fight for my wife and she feels some type of way!” Brock responds. “No, but she’s doing the same thing. She’s also fighting for your wife,” Ariana explains, “Because she is defending her against the behaviour that’s been exhibited towards her by him, this trash person”. Brock gives up, “You’re right, I’m sorry.” It’s all a bit awkward at the table, but we’re used to that by now. “It’s ok, you’re defending your wife. You’re sensitive to her emotions,” Lala tells Brock, trying to diffuse the situation. “I know but defend it to the people that are actually doing things, not to me. I’m not the fucking one!” Katie proclaims, ending the scene. 

Back at the hotel, Brock and Scheana open the door to their room to find scattered rose petals everywhere and chocolate-covered strawberries on the bed. We see a flashback of Brock asking the hotel to do something special for his wife, which is cute as. “I love ya,” the big man tells her. “Thanks honey, I love you too!” she responds. Nice to see these two in a good spot after a rocky season. 

“I was about to fight everybody at the noodle bar because of just like, I don’t know. Cos of where you are with Tom,” Brock tells Scheana. “I’m glad that I at least got that conversation out of the way with Ariana. I mean, she seemed receptive enough,” she responds. “But did you tell her that you made things up with Tom?” Brock asks. “It’s not that I made things up with him, honey. We had another step forward and a breakthrough conversation, so yes I said that. I didn’t say him and I are best friends again, cos we’re not,” she clarifies. Ok then.

Over in Sandoval’s room, Schwartz comes in and dishes about lunch. “Ariana and Dan were there and I feel like I got to know him better now. He’s fucking great, it was fun,” Schwartz tells Sandoval. “Yeah… Ariana’s got good taste in men!” Sandoval responds. Yuck. “We kept it pretty civilised, I think. Brock spoke from the heart and he felt like the girls were being hypercritical of Scheana for just talking to you,” Schwartz spills.

Back in Scheana’s room, she gets a FaceTime from queen Lisa, who wants to know how everyone is getting along. Ok mum. “I did have a good conversation with Sandoval last night, I felt like we’ve taken a couple steps forward where he actually listens to me,” Scheana tells the matriarch. “I mean look, Scheana. You’ve got a long history there. Let me ask you a question, do you still love him?” Lisa asks Scheana. “Yeah,” she responds. “Well, there’s your answer,” Lisa mic drops.

“Scheana’s got so much pressure on her, and it’s almost like she’s going to Ariana to have some sort of like, approval,” Lala tells Katie, sitting on the couch in their room. “Ariana’s not gonna be like, ‘I really support this, I think you guys have a beautiful friendship’,” Katie says, which I completely agree with. “I don’t think that’s what she’s looking for. I think she’s looking for her to say, ‘You know what? I acknowledge the fact that you guys had a long relationship. If you feel that you want to go and work something out with him, just so you know, that you and I aren’t gonna change’,” Lala clarifies. 

“I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen at this time,” Katie tells her. “Right, so that’s pressure on Scheana. Scheana now has to live her life for something else who is thriving but has mad, like, rules for everybody,” Lala pushes, sticking up for her bestie. “There’s no rules, and I think that’s kind of like, it’s a bit more of a nuanced situation,” Katie explains, sticking up for her bestie. 

“Scheana really feels like she should be the exception to this boundary that Ariana has created for herself of not wanting to have mutual friends with Tom. But Tom did not make a mistake. He made choices every day over and over for like, months, and has done nothing but double down on those choices that he made, over and over and over,” Katie tells us in her interview. Where is the lie? “If she wants to be friends with Sandoval, go ahead, and then he can dump all over her when he wants and take advantage of her and be a shitty person. If that’s the kind of friends you need in your life, go for it,” Katie says, ready to wrap the convo.

“How was your conversation with Scheana last night?” Schwartz asks Sandoval. “It was really good. She told me maybe to consider apologising to Ariana for revealing some of the mental health stuff. You know, I think that’s something I could do, for sure,” Sandoval responds. You think that’s something you could do? Aww, so big of you.

“I think it could be cathartic. She could tell you to fuck off but I think deep down, it might still mean something to her,” says Schwartz. The man has his obvious flaws, but I do think that he genuinely cares about everyone involved. “I’m not trying to, like, be buddy-buddy with Ariana. I know that’s not gonna happen. I just want the tension to maybe subside a little bit,” Sandoval explains in his interview. No shit you want the tension to subside. 

“Just definitely don’t go in there and get defensive,” Schwartz warns. “No, no, no. I don’t wanna do that. I just wanna go in and be like, ‘Hey, I’m really trying to do real work on myself, like, take actual action to, like, make myself a better person, to become a better person, to learn from this scenario,’ you know? And if weeks, months, years, decades from now, if she ever needs me, I’ll always be there for her,” says Sandoval. I call bullshit. “Probably decades,” laughs Schwartz, “Sorry.” 

We’re all getting ready for a fun night with Kyle Chan!!! Sandoval is already at the event setting up, and Brock and Scheana arrive decked out in matching gold outfits. I love them. Scheana greets Sandoval at the sound desk and he introduces Hassan, the audio engineer for his band that he flew out for the show. “Wait what? Thank you very much, I really appreciate that,” Scheana tells Sandoval, quite touched by the gesture.

“This is the person I remember. He’s my friend who does these types of things for people when they don’t even ask, and it’s so genuine. And that’s what made this whole fallout so hard, because I do remember who he was to me for 15 years,” she tells us in her interview, before leaning into the joke, “But, that’s just me making it about me.” 

The rest of the gang arrives and everyone looks fucking snatched. We see Scheana doing a line check for her microphone and she absolutely kills me when she tests the audio by asking, “Who’s feeling good as gold tonight?” Ariana and Dan arrive and greet the rest of their friends who are sitting in the corner on a couch. Ally and James look particularly loved up, and the latter suggests they go outside to check out the sunset. 

“It’s been so fun, but I miss Hippie so much. I miss the cats, and it’s like, I just wanna go home. But I’m having fun!” Ally tells James in reference to the last few days in San Fran. “Speaking of Hippie, I know that I said he was my priority, but you are my priority. You’re my number one priority, I love you more than anything. My heart explodes when I look at you, and every morning I wake up next to you and I’m like, ‘I’m the luckiest man on the planet’,” James tells Ally. 

“That means a lot to me. It really does. I know I said I’m not ready for marriage yet, but when I am, I want it to be with you,” she assures him. CUTE GUYS. In his interview, an emotional James reveals, “I wouldn’t change anything because it led me to where I am today. I would tell younger James, ‘You’re gonna go through a lot of shit before you find someone that makes you happy’.” Nawww James! 

Back at the party, Jo arrives. “I do really love Schwartz, we make a really good team. I would’ve liked to be together, and it breaks my heart, but am I just supposed to like, lay in bed and cry?” she tells us in her interview. Ally greets her and Schwartz gets them all some champagne. “Why don’t you come over to the Lion’s den?” Schwartz asks Jo, nodding over to Katie and the girls on the couch. “It’s just… I don’t like negative energy, so I avoid it,” Jo tells him. “They’re not negative, not all of them… what, Katie? Who cares?” he asks her. “What if I wanna tell her how I feel?” she asks hesitantly. “I just really want this to be over, so I’m hoping that maybe if I can say I’m sorry, I’m hoping she’ll say sorry back,” Jo explains in her interview. Here’s hoping…

The three head over to Katie, Lala, James and Ariana’s bestie Brad. Jo nervously perches on the couch next to Lala and Katie. “Joseph, you wanna say something?” Schwartz asks. “Well, I just wanted to say like, I’m sorry if I ever hurt you,” Jo calmly tells Kate, who immediately shuts her down. “Sorry if? It’s not a sorry if, it’s just a sorry.” I’m already sweating for Jo. “Ok, I’m really sorry,” she corrects herself. “Yeah, it’s weird. You’re weird,” Katie responds. “No, no. Don’t do that,” Lala interjects, not wanting Katie to go full mean girls. 

“Alright well, it is what it is,” Katie tells her. “Well, do you feel like you owe me an apology?” asks Jo, a fatal error on her end. “No,” Katie responds coldly. “I sent you a genuine text about the divorce and I really meant it,” Jo explains. “Yeah, and then suddenly moved there and then, like asked him if you could stay with him?” snaps Katie. “No that’s not how it happened!” Jo exclaims.

“She’s saying like, the way that you moved was like, you were texting her ‘I’m so sorry, I’m gonna go move in with him now’,” Lala tries to play mediator.  “She never moved in with me. We never lived together!” Schwarts clarifies. “It doesn’t matter, you guys still stayed together and had sex and then texting Katie ‘I’m so sorry about your divorce’,” says Lala, as Ariana clocks the drama from the couch beside them.  

“There were like, months in between all these things and I just wish I would’ve had a space to explain that and I feel really bad about that,” Jo tries to explain. “I just feel like you always had it for him and you were just waiting for the moment,” Katie posits, with Lala, Jo and Schwartz all shutting that theory down. “Schwartz keeps bringing her around Katie and it’s like, why?” Ariana vents to Dan. “I don’t know who she is,” he responds. Sweet, innocent Dan. Hold onto that naivety! 

“Next time when you wanna let a woman know that you love and support her when she’s going through a divorce, don’t move in with her ex-husband,” Katie insists, clearly activated. “I never moved in, I was couch surfing!” Jo explains. “Just don’t fucking do it!” Katie practically screams, “Stay with someone else. Stay with anyone else. Stay with literally anyone else, Jo.” To her credit, Jo is holding her own. I would be hyperventilating if Katie even looked me in the eyes. 

“No! Let him go,” Jo tells Katie.“Jo you’re a fucking liar!” Katie exclaims, with Jo finally breaking and starting to tear up. “You’re fine, you’re fine, Jo, Jo,” Lala tells her, trying to stop the tears. “Katie, ease up a little,” Schwartz pleads. If anyone knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a Katie Maloney rage spiral, it’s Tom Schwartz. “It could’ve been like, ‘Hey, before you think this is weird, I’m gonna stay with your ex-husband who you’re not divorced yet from who you’re probably untangling your fucking life from, and it’s probably a difficult fucking time’,” Katie yells to Jo. 

vanderpump rules jo lala katie

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“I wasn’t thinking about you, I was thinking about myself because I had…” Jo starts to explain, but Katie cuts her off. “As a woman, you should’ve thought of me,” she says. Ouch. “She just came over to make peace,” Schwartz explains. “I don’t want peace,” Katie declares. YEP. Jo leaves and the whole situation is a mess tbh. I still don’t know where I land on any of the Jo vs. Katie of it all, but I do know it’s definitely all Schwartz’s fault. 

On a much lighter note, we get panning shots of the party that features Brock solo dancing up a storm in his silly gold suit. Sandoval, Lala, Scheana and Kyle are chatting and the girls tell Sandoval he looks dapper. He’s a Disney villain but ok. Brock approaches and the girls yeet. “Hey dude, I just wanna say, Schwartz told me that you stuck up for me today, and I really appreciate that,” Sandoval tells Brock.  “I mean look, I feel like we’re in the middle. We’re not Switzerland. We’re friends with both of you guys,” Brock explains.

Sandoval tells him he appreciates it, and Brock continues. “I think what we need to see from you bro is just step up and be here for yourself, for her and for your friends, and slowly that group might grow again.” In her interview, Scheana gets emotional. “I understand what he did to Ariana was absolutely terrible. I just wish that when it came to me in the situation, it wasn’t so black and white and she could see how much I’m struggling by trying to be loyal to her. And I don’t wanna lose her but I feel like I’m losing myself. I need to just let this shit go, it’s enough.” 

Back on the couches, Schwartz sits with Ally, Dan and Ariana. “Dan, it’s nice meeting you bro, it’s been nice chilling with you,” he tells him. It’s all very pleasant until Sandoval approaches them. Ariana keeps her head down and completely disengages. “Hey Dan, I just want to introduce myself. I’m Tom. I heard you’re a great guy, I just wanna say what’s up and I wish you guys the best of luck,” Sandoval awkwardly tells Dan, who handles it like a gentleman and tells Sandoval he appreciates it. 

Sandoval leaves and Ally jumps in. “I’m not gonna lie, I got very nervous,” she says of the encounter, “I feel like it had to happen.” Ariana disagrees.

In her interview, she lays it out. “I’m not here as like, a cog in the machine of Tom Sandoval’s redemption arc, so you guys can do that without me.” 

Sandoval and Schwartz are chatting to the side of the couches. “I know you wanted to talk to Ariana but I’m picking up, ah, I don’t think it’s a good time with Dan there. You do what you wanna do,” Schwartz tells Sandoval. If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that Sandoval does what he wants to do.

Backstage, Scheana is changing into her costume; an equally glorious gold number. “I didn’t know my ass was gonna be completely out in this,” she worries. “Honey, you look great!” Brock assures her (cute), “I’m gonna be front row and I’ll see you out there. I love you!” On stage, Kyle introduces Scheana and her at The 27s (lol) start rocking out. “Everyone looks good as gold tonight!” she tells the crowd, because of course. Everyone is singing along to ‘Apples’ and even Sandoval is starting to come around to the diss track.


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After the performance, Ariana seeks out Scheana to congratulate her. “You killed it, honey!” she tells her, giving her a big ol’ hug. Scheana, for some goddamn reason, decides to bring up, you guessed it, Sandoval. She starts off by telling her about how he flew out a sound engineer just for her performance. “Like maybe, fool me once, fool me twice, I don’t know, but I’ve seen that genuine side of him that I’ve loved for 15 years, who has been a good friend to me, and I’m hoping he’s changing and becoming better,” she tells Ariana, whose eyes are glazing over with frustration.  “It’s just the same thing over and over with Scheana. I don’t know why she thinks that somehow she knows this man better than I do, but alright girl. Happy for ya,” she shares in her interview. 

Scheana tells Ariana that she wants to continue to see whether Sandoval is on a path of growth, and Ariana interrupts her. “Can I ask you a favour?” Don’t talk to me about the path of growth,” she asks Scheana, who looks a little shell-shocked. “He’s an ex-boyfriend of mine, who does not deserve to be in my presence or to breathe the same air as me and that will not change.” Ehhhh, I totally get it, girlfriend, but as we’ll find out shortly, it’s a little complicated when you’re both on the same TV show. 

“It’s hard because you say no contact, but also, I feel like you want different apologies from him, like what you said,” Scheana tells her. “I don’t want him to speak to me ever again, I don’t want apologies,” Ariana confirms. Scheana is confused and references Ariana recently making a comment about wanting an apology from Sandoval. “I don’t mean that I want him to apologise to me. I mean that he’ll never, like, it seems very much beyond him,” Ariana tries to explain. Hmm, I’m confused too. 

“Ok then that’s fine,” Scheana says, before getting teary, “I just don’t want to ever lose you or compromise our friendship, and I will always have your back. I just feel like, I can’t just, like, completely write him off forever.” In her interview, Ariana is perplexed. “I will protect myself and I’ll keep myself out of situations that I find hurtful or uncomfortable for me, but like, I’ve never once said that I don’t love her, or I’m gonna stop loving her or that we’re not gonna be connected anymore.” Producers show us flashbacks to Ariana on multiple occasions saying that she will not have mutual friends with Sandoval and how she’d essentially cut people out. 

The two both cry and hug it out, with Ariana assuring Scheana that she could never lose her because they’re family. Suddenly, Sandoval approaches. “Scheana, great job by the way,” he starts, but Ariana can smell the BS. She turns her back and furiously storms off. “Ariana!” Sandoval follows her but gives up. “I just wanted to tell her I’m sorry,” he tells Scheana, who tells him that she doesn’t want to hear from him.

At this point, there is a complete tone shift, as Ariana has a very heated discussion with the show’s producers. “It’s not happening!” she tells Jeremiah, VPR’s executive producer, as she takes her microphone off. “Ariana, seriously don’t do this,” Jeremiah pleads. “Him fucking walking up on me from behind. He didn’t care if I fucking died in a ditch or got a fucking deadly STD, the way he was fucking around behind my back. That is non-informed consent. He does not deserve to speak to me. He does not deserve access to me!” she snaps, clearly at her breaking point.

vanderpump rules ariana tom scheana

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“She doesn’t wanna hear from you. I told her about our conversation last night. She thinks it’s performative, she thinks I’m an idiot,” a dejected Scheana tells Sandoval. “You know what’s funny? Is that she knows me well enough to know that I’m not!” he responds, also approaching breaking point. “So what do I mean to you?” Scheana asks him. “You mean a lot,” Sandoval responds. “Because we’re filming or because of life?” she probes. “No. I’m there. I show up, you know?” he responds defensively. “Don’t make me look like a fucking idiot, Tom,” Scheana tells him and walks off.

Sandoval is pissed. “This is fucking bullshit!” he exclaims before Billie Lee appears from literally nowhere asking him if he’s ok. “Dude, Ariana’s just going around saying that I’m not being honest and I’m performative, Do you know what it is? Ariana is fucking performative. She doesn’t like any of these motherfuckers, so she can fuck off saying that I’m performative,” he responds. 

Shots fucking fired. 

“It’s about a performance with the audience. He wants 30 seconds with the audience,” Ariana schools Jeremiah. “Whatever it is that Tom is trying to get from me, it’s not for me. It’s for him. I am the final boss in his video game of redemption, and because he can’t get to the final boss, he’s fucking pissed,” she tells us in her interview. We then see Ariana and Dan leaving the event, and filming, early. 

“If you don’t wanna film with your ex, like, don’t be on the show. Seriously. Don’t sit back on your fucking lazy ass and collect a fucking cheque for doing nothing,” Sandoval tells Billie Lee, before storming off again and finding Schwartz and Scheana. “Dude, I’m fucking pissed. Not at you, but I’m pissed that she’s saying that shit, because Ariana, she doesn’t fuck with you guys. On the real. She fucking talked shit about all you motherfuckers. She doesn’t show up, she’s not gonna come to your fucking thing, I’m gonna come! When push comes to shove, I’m fucking there dude!” He shouts at them.

“I know you are, Tom. I know,” Scheana tells him tearfully, “I fucking said this to her! I know, you have been there for me, and that’s why I’m struggling, because you have been a good friend to me and then she convinces me that you’re not!” Sandoval apologises and hugs her, telling her it kills him knowing how much Scheana has to put up with and how it means a lot to him. 

“I know it’s gonna be really hard for the people who stick by me or stick up for me. These people haven’t even forgiven me, they’re just recognising me as a person, and they’re still gonna get a relentless amount of hate for that,” Sandoval tells us, with several Instagram troll comments directed at cast members shown on screen. 

Lala enters the chat, and she is fucking done. “I have my own point of view but I’ve been biting my tongue because it’s very hard to do this,” she starts. “Because you’re afraid?” Sandoval questions. “No I’m not afraid, it’s a lot of breaking the fourth wall, so I’m gonna do it now,” she tells them. HERE WE GO. “This happened to her, The world rallied around her. She now thinks she is Beyoncé. It’s bullshit that she can’t film with someone that she stays under the same roof with!” Woah, tell us how you really feel Lala???

vanderpump rules lala scheana

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“It’s a lot that she’s saying don’t fuck with Tom Sandoval, but I’m gonna sleep down the hall from Tom Sandoval,” she continues. “I get it. He fucking cheated, he did a shitty thing. You did a really fucking shitty thing. It was weird how you looked us all in the eye and said a lot of shit, but he did not kill somebody!”. Katie joins them and I just know she is absorbing every second and ready to report back to Ariana as soon as possible. “I know, and I’m gonna back you up there,” Scheana jumps in. “It is unfair. I agree with you, and I want you to know, like, you’re not alone in that.” 

“We have to have tough conversations, it’s not easy,” says Sandoval, before Lala brings it home. “I have never in my life experienced someone who gets cheated on and suddenly becomes God!”

“I love filming this show because it is real. I find it to be tremendously healing, and for Ariana to walk out this way, is just such a slap in the face,” says Lala in her interview. “This is what we do. We’ve been doing this for most of our adult lives.” Producers then show us footage of the core cast members getting mic-ed and prepped for interviews during their respective first seasons of the show. Can we please have a moment of silence for how fucking hot Tom Schwartz was in 2013, Jesus fucking Christ. 

The montage shows some of the most notable and dramatic moments on the show, with audio of Lala’s interview being spliced in. “We’ve all experienced high highs and low lows and there’s a responsibility that comes with living your life on camera. You have to be truthful, even when it’s extremely uncomfortable.” Footage includes Sandoval and Kristin’s break up, Stassi supporting Lala after her dad passed away, Katie and Schwartz’s wedding, Katie and Schwartz fighting, Scheana’s first marriage crumbling and James struggling with sobriety. 

“I’ve watched James live his authentic life. Scheana has. Tom and Katie. I feel I have, but there was a time that I was not honest about what was going on in my life, and it was suffocating,” Lala tells us, while we see footage of her lying to Katie about dating a married man.  “I don’t feel like Tom and Ariana were ever honest about their relationship until Tom was caught cheating, and you think that you get to be honest for one moment, and then you get to pack it all away and all is good? Fuck that.” 

“Sometimes you have to stick to your fucking boundaries. If your peace is more important than that, then fucking stand your ground,” Katie tells us in an interview before Ariana gets the final say. “We’ve all lived these difficult parts of our lives on camera, but if it’s something that actually really mattered to you regardless, you would do it anyways. He’s never tried to talk to me off camera, he could’ve written something in a fucking letter and left it on the kitchen counter and I could have read it at my leisure. But if you would only do it on camera, to me, you just showed your true colours,” she tells us in the show’s last interview. 

As the show comes to a close, we see those aforementioned true colours shining through. In the very final second of the episode, we hear audio from the Toms chatting. “That was a fucking plot twist,” Schwartz says. “I love it, it’s good for me!” Sandoval laughs. 


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I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS. Firstly, I’m frothing the fourth wall breaks. The show itself (producers, cameras, filming schedules etc) is so often the elephant in the room, so to show these frank conversations about cast expectations vs. personal boundaries is fascinating to me. Secondly, I entered the season so vehemently #teamAriana, but after watching the season, I don’t think it’s that black and white. As a woman who is clearly working through trauma, I absolutely understand her staunch approach to boundaries and self-preservation,however if I myself as a viewer was confused by Ariana’s actions and statements re: mutual friends, I can’t imagine how the actual mutual friends felt. 

Thirdly, Sandoval is absolute trash, but whether or not it was genuine, he worked really hard this season to mend relationships and absolutely copped a beating during the process. The man understands good television and he wasn’t afraid to make a complete idiot out of himself to deliver us good footage. Those in the crossfire (aka the rest of the cast) had to balance their allegiance to Ariana with the expectations of producers. They were hired to do a job and had to do it with both personal and professional obligations, and I think everyone ended up completely burnt out. 

Bravo announced that filming will not go ahead over American summer, as they’re giving the cast a well-earned break. But with the way season 11 finished, it could be argued that what we watched was actually a series finale. What better way to finish the show than to show us how the sausage gets made? Thankfully, we still have three reunion episodes left to wrap up the season, so maybe in a month we’ll have more of a sense of where things stand in the VPR multiverse. 

I’ll be back next week with reunion recaps, but thank you sincerely for those who came on the season 11 journey with me. Reporting this nonsense has been a privilege. 

Written by Lil Friedmann, lover of all things Bravo and staunch defender of reality television. You can follow her at @lilfriedmann on socials.

Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules is available to stream on Hayu from 31 January, with episodes dropping the same day as the USA.

Image credit: Hayu + Punkee