vanderpump rules season 11 episode 8 recap

Punkee Recaps Vanderpump Rules: A Supervillain Returns!

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If you’re anything like me (apologies in advance if so), you’ll know that Vanderpump Rules was birthed by one of the most infamous scenes in Bravo history. During the third season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, it became apparent that one of Lisa Vanderpump’s employees at her restaurant SUR (our very own Scheana Shay), was in fact the mistress of cast member Brandi Glanville’s ex-husband, Eddie Cibrian. Having already pitched Vanderpump Rules to Bravo, producers decided the best way to launch the new series would be to film a sit down between Brandi and Scheana which would feature as both a scene on RHOBH and the opening scene of VPR.

scheana shay first scene vanderpump rules bravo

Image Credit: Peacock

Years later, VPR would pay it forward by having principle cast members Stassi, Katie, Scheana and Kristen travel across the coast to visit their “new friends” in the Hamptons, a crossover episode that would launch the new Bravo series Summer House (now on its 8th season). Well, tonight we see our third – and hopefully not final – crossover scene, as the notorious Jax Taylor returns to show for the first time since his 2020 firing, to launch his spin-off series, The Valley. So with that said, let’s get stuck in! 

We open on Sandoval and Ariana’s cursed sharehouse, where the former is setting up for his pool party and the latter is upstairs FaceTiming with Katie. ”I’ve gotta be out of the house for a few hours cos of this super cool pool party,” she mockingly tells Katie, as we see guests arriving downstairs (aka Schwartz). “Is this sanctioned by Ariana?” he asks Sandoval, who assures her everything is above board.

Back upstairs, Katie informs Ariana she’s heading to meet up with Lala, given things were tense the night before at Ally’s astrology reading. “How are you feeling about that?” Ariana asks. “I don’t know if she’s gonna come in pissed,” ponders Katie. “I’d like to think that it’s gonna blow over quickly and that you guys are just gonna have a nice dinner,” laughs Ariana, “Am I too optimistic?!” Downstairs, shots are being handed out to guests and again I’m unsure who the majority of these people are. Ariana comes down to leave the house and walks past the crowd without even a look, a truly nonchalant queen.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, Katie and Lala meet up to chat. They both look beautiful and I’m really glad they’re nipping this in the bud within 24 hours of their beef. “I obviously don’t like how any of that went last night,” says Katie, with Lala immediately agreeing. “That was the third time I feel like you’ve looked at me like I’m your enemy,” Lala tells Katie, before we see recent footage of the two having tense conversations. “Do you feel like you’ve hit below the belt with me?” asks Lala. “I know I have,” Katie admits. “Ok, and I know that I have retaliated in a way, like last night, I am not proud of that,” Lala tells Katie. I’m very impressed already by their accountability (Sandoval, you up?)

Back at the pool party, people are topless in the pool and taking shots. A very weird environment for Sandoval to create given he’s trying to rehabilitate himself, but onwards. 

Schwartz and Sandoval chat about women, but Schwartz is feeling uneasy. “I’m so proud that Tom is putting himself out there, but maybe don’t do it under the same roof as the girl you cheated on,” he tells us. FAIR POINT. Schwartz leaves, and in his interview, Sandoval tries to rationalise things. “I guess Schwartz is trying to be diplomatic here, but it’s not like we’re having a fucking orgy in the living room.”

Billie Lee is once again involved, and they are thirrrrrsty for some airtime. They ask Sandoval about the party’s vibes, and Sandoval tells them, “I’m not gonna get too crazy, I don’t wanna cause any friction with my roommate”. STOP BEING A SMART ASS SANDOVAL YOU LITERALLY CHEATED ON YOUR “ROOMMATE” AND REFUSE TO LEAVE??? 

He gets a text message from a girl he met at See You Next Tuesday and two randoms join the party. Poor little Ann is handing out shots and Sandoval attempts to flirt with these women in the pool. “To staying positive and testing negative!” he toasts, before asking these women if they’ve been to Burning Man (Jesus) and how he reckons this year will be great to go because he’s single. He cracks another roommate joke and how he has her locked in a room. My notes simply say: “he’s YUCK.” 

The next day, Ariana comes down to see poor Ann cleaning the trashed crime scene. “That’s so not what you should be doing!!” she tells Ann, while letting her know that Scheana will be arriving shortly. Ann goes upstairs to Sandoval’s “gym” to let him know Ariana’s movements, and Sandoval explains Ann’s JD in his interview. “One of Ann’s duties as my assistant is to do some housekeeping, I know whatever I can’t get to Ann will clean up, so I’m not leaving a mess ever.” As he says this, panning shots of the mess he’s left for her. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ann deserves a raise.

Scheana comes over and is shocked to see how trashed the house is. “This is what I came down to from the sexy singles pool party,” Ariana quips. Ariana tells Scheana she’s going to host a little games night tomorrow night, and the two move over to the couches for a chat. 

“Babe, how are you? Cos people are telling me you’re upset with me,” Ariana asks, before we see a montage of both Lala and Lisa telling Ariana she’d better work things out with Scheana. “What I don’t like is people telling me how I feel and putting words in my mouth, Lisa especially,” responds Scheana.

They discuss the Dancing With The Stars of it all, “You never told me you got it and I was kinda like, oh damn, I wish I’d heard it from you,” Scheana tells Ariana. “Did I have a good cry? Yes! But you know I’m genuinely happy for you, right?” Ariana tells her that it makes her nervous when others relay Scheana’s feelings because it makes her feel like Scheana can’t be honest with her in the moment. “Well I feel like Lala and I are together obviously way more often and she does ride very hard for me,” Scheana explains. Shots fired.

“I feel like Ariana used to be my person, I would literally talk to her about everything, but lately talking to her has been difficult. I don’t feel like she’s been super receptive to my feelings,” Scheana tells us in her interview. Scheana brings up her friendship with Sandoval, which I really wish she wouldn’t, and suggests a hypothetical of her and Sandoval being friends years down the track. “I think Scheana is bringing this up because she 100% has plans to be friends with Tom Sandoval and I think she’s trying to soften the blow when this becomes a reality,” says Ariana in her interview. A smart cookie. “I would kinda be like, not a side eye in a judgey way, but a side-eye in a way of like, you’re in danger girl,” she tells Scheana.

For some inexplicable reason, we get ANOTHER scene of Schwartz and Jo. They’re out for a walk by the lake and in his interview, Schwartz admits, “I could probably marry Jo and be happy, but I don’t want that right now…I do… but I don’t.” 

They get into one of those swan boats that you peddle and Jo tells a story about how she had a pet turtle when she was seven and took it on a walk on a leash and that it fell down a sewer. This absolutely tracks. Schwartz repeatedly calls her Joseph and asks her if she’s been on any Hinge dates lately which is 100% friendzone behaviour. Jo tells him she’s gonna go get a birth chart reading from Ally, and in her interview, explains that Ally was the only sweet girl in the group, singling out Katie as a jealous ex. 

It’s nightfall, and the gang heads out for drinks, including Sandoval. “Since Tahoe I’ve been wanting to try and reconnect with my friends,” he shares in his interview. “Losing them… it was tough, so any step forward with them feels good.” Hold those good thoughts, Sandoval, cos WHO is that arriving? Katie AND Ariana. Guys, this is the first time Tom and Ariana have been to the same event together, do you have chills too or is it just me?

“I can’t even put into words how huge of a deal it is that Ariana is here breathing the same air as Tom Sandoval,” Lala tells us. Sandoval does not look happy, nor comfortable. “Can you not stand so close to me? I don’t want Ariana to see us together,” Schwartz jokes (but not really) to Sandoval. Everyone is surprised but thrilled to see Ariana, who tells us in her interview, “I cannot let my ex prevent me from hanging out with my friends for the rest of my life”. GO girl.

Speaking of, the girls go outside and hang out on the patio. Everyone is happy that Lala and Katie have made up, and they joke that their new safe word is “croissant”. Ally tells them that she’s going to be reading Jo’s birth chart, and Ariana tells her she’s in danger. “I think she’s quirky!” says Ally. “That is such a generous statement,” Katie responds. 

“Where do I start?” Katie unleashes in her interview, “The day I announced my divorce, she sends me a text message saying I respect you, I support you, love you, and then a few months later she’s living with Tom Schwartz.” I should explain that Jo was friends with Kristen Doute, a kooky former VPR cast member who is set to make her triumphant return on The Valley.

Scheana and Schwartz are chatting at the bar, with Scheana referencing the “sexy singles pool party”. Sandoval interrupts them, who defensively explains that the party was rated G. Schwartz tells Scheana that he enjoyed hanging with Brock on guys night before Scheana turns to Sandoval and tells him that Brock spilled the tea about their Raquel discourse (ie. how Sandoval felt abandoned). “Can there be a part of you that can just take any of that out of it and be like, do you know what? Maybe I did hurt this person. Maybe, I didn’t even mean to but I did manipulate this person,” says Scheana, who turns the conversation from Raquel to Katie. She asks him to swallow his ego and admit to Katie that their bar Schwartz and Sandy’s was a big part of the demise of Schwartz and Katie’s marriage. At this point, Sandoval is completely dead behind the eyes.

“I’m just tired of being the fucking scapegoat,” he snaps at Scheana, albeit in zombie mode. “It’s not being the scapegoat Tom, it’s about having some self-awareness and taking accountability,” responds Scheana. Sandoval is pissed off that the last ten years of his actions are being dragged, with Scheana insisting it’s actually just the last year. She can tell it’s pointless at this point, and swiftly exits the chat. “Tom, Jesus Christ dude, what are you doing?” ask James, who seemingly appears out of nowhere but has obviously overheard the chat. “I’m not grovelling to these mother fuckers anymore,” Sandoval tells James, before storming off and the scene ending abruptly.

The next day, we’re over at Scheana and Brocks and Summer Moon is rocking her new pink cast on her little broken arm. A new babysitter, Gabby, is heading over, and the two chat about the importance of having consistency in the house. Scheana’s argument is that her schedule has no consistency, while Brock is frustrated that the lack of consistency is preventing his next career move. “Getting a nanny is gonna help me figure out how I can be the best dad, best husband and best businessman,” he tells us. Gabby arrives and they leave her to bond with Summer Moon. Brock asks how last night went, Scheana explains her chat with Sandoval and how his constant doubling down isn’t doing him any favours. She also reflects on her chat with Ariana, and Brock shares his concerns. “With all of this support that she has, she hasn’t had the time to take a breath, and when that slows down…” he ponders. “Hopefully it doesn’t,” states Scheana.

Katie is over at Sandoval and Ariana’s place helping her set up for games night. Sandoval is upstairs sweating out his demons on the treadmill. 

In his interview, he explains that he doesn’t believe he was the reason that Schwartz and Katie got a divorce, but he’s willing to apologise because he knows it’s important to Scheana. Terrible motivation for an apology but ok. Ann texts Ariana to let her know Sandoval is heading downstairs to make a smoothie, so she swiftly exits and leaves Katie there to man the fort. Sandoval and Katie exchange awkward hellos, which is nothing new as these two have been mortal enemies for a decade now.

 “Obviously, I’ve been doing some thinking and reflection on all this shit, and Katie, I wanna apologise to you for the way I acted last year during the divorce. I know that you were going through a lot and probably didn’t need any of that extra shit,” he tells her. “Apologies are just like, words. At the end of the day, you fucked up big time,” she responds. “Oh yeah” he agrees. 

Katie tells him his actions were fathomless, which triggers Sandoval. “Fathomless? Wow, like you can’t even fathom that happening?” he squarks. “No, because you know what I did? I walked away from a 12-year marriage when I still loved the person, just because I wanted to be happy, I didn’t start fucking his best friend.” GO OFF KATIE.

“We’re not the same people,” says Sandoval, with Katie happily responding, “Obviously!”. 

In her interview, she explains, “I was in love with somebody who wasn’t ever gonna love me in the way that I wanted and deserved to be loved.” It’s nice to see Katie backing herself, especially considering all the shit Schwartz put her through and how much she copped after leaving him. “I’m trying to look back on the situation and learn and reflect and grow,” Sandoval tells her. “Well stop explaining yourself and start moving differently,” she scolds him. When he tells Katie he’s doing the best he can, she brings up the fact that throwing parties is audacious. “Give me a little bit of grace,” he asks her. “No,” responds Katie. Claps for her, please. 


Later, Schwartz arrives and finds Sandoval journaling in his room. “Rachel cutting off from me, that pain comes in waves. Me journaling, not drinking, was like me trying to connect, because I knew she was journaling and she wasn’t drinking. I lost pretty much all of my friends and now losing Rachel, it’s a lot for me emotionally,” he tells us in his interview. He pulls out photos of Raquel and himself from the journal and I’m GAGGED that he has these photos. WHO TOOK THEM, I GENUINELY WONDER? 

“There’s part of me that thought when she gets out maybe we could both be in a healthy place to see each other again, but I’m figuring out that that’ll never happen and it really, really fucking breaks my heart.” He is now crying both in his interview and in his closet, with an awkward Schwartz sitting in the messy bedroom taking it all in. Being the producer’s pawn that he is, Schwartz explains in his interview that he thinks it would be beneficial for Sandoval to spend time with someone who has been in his position, expertly setting up the return of Jax.

Games night is popping off, with everyone arriving and gathering in the kitchen. Schwartz and Sandoval come down to leave the house, and Ariana is revolted that they’d stop and say goodbye to her guests. They move to the couch and play Never Have I Ever, resulting in cheating jokes, threesome references and Scheana basically admitting to having had an orgy with John Mayer. You know? Games night discourse!


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The next night, Sandoval, Schwartz, James and Brock sit down at TomTom for drinks. James reveals that Ally is currently doing a birth chart reading with Jo, and cuts to the two at drinks, with Ally exploring Jo’s Sagittarius traits. We continuously cut between the two scenes for the next couple of minutes, so bare with me. 

Brock asks Schwartz if the two are still hooking up, with Schwartz using the “whirlwind romance” line we’ve now heard a million times. Ally explains to Jo that Schwartz’s Libra is activating Jo’s house of friendship and community and that it’s definitely a friendship bond. “But friends date too!” Ally reassures Jo. Lol.

“The girls for some reason, well Katie in particular, really didn’t like Jo,” says Schwartz, with Sandoval grossly implying it’s because Katie’s jealous of the girls Schwartz has hooked up with. Ally tells Jo that she’s really glad they’re hanging (a sweetie), “Yes I’m friends with Katie, yes I’m friends with Ariana, but at the same time, I want you to feel welcomed in this group cos you’re Schwartz’ friend”. Cute. “It’s really hard because when you’re called an anorexic crackhead whore and then like my mum having to text me asking “did you do crack?”… I have not said one bad thing about any of them.” Jo explains to Ally, while we see Instagram comments Katie had made in the past.

Ok, that’s enough of the scenes ping-ponging. Strap yourselves in folks, because none other than the original “Number 1 Guy in the Group” Jax Taylor has arrived to fuck shit up! 

“Well well well!” he announces, greeting all of the guys, minus Sandoval. I have chills again. “I know Tom and Jax, they haven’t really communicated in a long time, they’re not really friends anymore even. But, I also know that deep down they love each other. Maybe Jax can give him some advice from one person who has dabbled in infidelity to another,” says Schwartz in his interview. Jesus.

They catch up and Jax discusses dad life and how he’s opening a bar soon. “Well if you need any advice on opening up a bar, I know some boys who’ve opened up a bar,” says Brock, referencing the Toms. “No offense but you guys are the last guys I’d ask advice,” laughs Jax. Lol he’s wild. 

“Jax has always felt some sort of competition with me, which I’ve never understood and it’s just unfortunate cos we were best friends. But I think as time went on, I realised that nothing brings Jax more joy than celebrating other people’s failures and misery,” Sandoval explains to us.

 “So how are you?” Jax asks Sandoval, “What have you been up to? You look a lot better, I mean I’m not gonna lie, I saw a picture of you on social media and I’m like holy shit, this guy looks like he’s 50 years old”. Sandoval is having the worst night of his life and it’s unreal viewing. “I can’t lie, I mean obviously I’ve heard what’s going on” he continues. “I know you can’t shut up about it”, responds Sandoval, as we hear a clip of Jax and his recently separated wife Brittany discussing Scandoval on their podcast.

“Well I can’t not not talk about it, the whole world’s talking about it! I know what you did was wrong, but what I did was wrong too.” What’s this? Could there be some empathy from Jax? “Raise your hand if you’ve fucked up,” interrupts Schwartz, with the entire table raising their hands (grim). “The only problem I have with this whole situation is just the way you handled it. Sometimes it’s ok to tuck your tail between your legs and be like, you know what? I fucked up. It’s a humbling experience,” says Jax. Ok, slightly less empathetic, a little more preachy.

“Must be humbling to only have something interesting to say when you’re talking about me,” Sandoval responds. “You don’t think you have to humble yourself a bit?” asks Jax. “Jax, I don’t have to humble myself to YOU, dude. You don’t deserve it, homie,” snaps Sandoval, and for the love of god please never say the word homie again. 

“You’ve been relentlessly talking shit about me,” Sandoval claims. “The whole world has talked shit about you!” Jax rebuts. The two continue shouting at each other as Schwartz sinks into his chair (which is becoming his signature move) and the credits roll. With this scene, The Valley is born, and while I won’t be recapping it, please feel free to DM me as you know I’ll have some THOUGHTS.

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: Bravo, Hayu + Punkee