Vanderpump Rules has two major storylines this season. Jax and Brittany’s engagement brings out the fun in the group. They plan a stealth party like it’s a caper. Wings from Hooters? Check. Alcohol? Check. Instagram friendly balloons? Check check. Even Lisa Vanderpump, a woman too distraught to work, attends. This is the beginning of Brittany’s payback, her prize for last season’s betrayals. As her mama says, you only get a first engagement once. She plans to enjoy every moment. Even as they celebrate, the Vanderfamily can’t help but question Jax’s motives. Lala, still mourning her father, knows how transformative that loss can be. Sandoval and Ariana, who know how little change Jax is capable of, think he’s hiding from the pain. It certainly doesn’t help that he no longer has a relationship with his mother.
The plan to take down James brings out the petty in the group. Mean Girl #1 (Lala) is furious. James embarrassed Her Man Rand, he must die. She lays the groundwork by poisoning James’ only surviving friendship. Sandoval is happy to jump ship as long as he gets a totally bitchin’ 80’s costume for Pride. Priorities, people! Mean Girl #2 (Kristen) is chasing the dragon. She misses that familiar rush of public shaming not felt since the GG episodes. So she cloaks her shield in Brittany’s tartan and heads into battle. According to Doute logic, James cheated on Raquel with her friend Hope. He even pulled a Kristen by screwing Hope while Raquel slept in the next room. Now she wants to speak for everyone he’s silenced by bringing
Miami Girl Hope to Pride.
In order to maintain sanity while the Vandertwerps blithely enjoy their neon 80’s Pride, I’m going to pretend SUR is covered in Act Up posters and the AIDS quilt. Join me, won’t you? The cast swan around in tiny shorts and leotards. James drinks with any and all. Jax is back for a one-off, probationary try-out. Or one day of filming, whichever you prefer. What unfolds next is messy and confusing. Let me see if I can unwind it. Kristen scales a parking lot fence with Hope in tow. She corrals Raquel into a bathroom and tells her Hope slept with James. Before Raquel can begin to process the multiple betrayals of her friend sleeping with her boyfriend, Kristen loudly takes credit for discovering James (much like he took credit for discovering Lala). Might be an LA thing, certainly Freudian.
James gives Jax and Brittany an apology Patron basket. He wants some of the filming opportunities their friendship affords. But Raquel provides the real show when she confronts him about Coachella. I think there are only so many times a woman can be told her man is cheating before she starts to wonder. For Raquel that number is 103. James doesn’t want to address any of her valid complaints (you cheat on me, you start rap fights with girls) so he explodes about jealous Kristen and the haters. I think he actually believes people are obsessed with him. He tries to compare his experience to Jax’s, which is funny because Jax was also cheating. Seemingly out of any other choices, James moves on to the Fuck everyone! Who cares! stage. If he screams loud enough, long enough, Raquel won’t be able to think, much less ask questions.
Lala pulls Raquel away from James. It’s time to water and fertilize all the little Kristen seeds. She tells Raquel she was James’ wingwoman with Hope, with GG, with Ellie. And so many more. Raquel tries to logic the truth away. She tells Lala, “You don’t support other women, Bethenny.” But Lala has no compassion. Raquel made a choice by staying quiet when James bashed Lala, she must die. Lala leaves a mentally shaken Raquel with a warning: Wake up. The witches are coming.
James bounces around the SUR alley, enemy to enemy. Sandoval doesn’t believe. Lala won’t forgive. Kristen is out for blood. He’s a wounded animal, lashing out in fear. When Katie insults his pants (I don’t know who should be more ashamed that that’s how this began), James turns to familiar reactions. Misogyny. Fat shaming. Cruelty. He morphs into White Kanye, childishly insulting Katie and proclaiming his greatness. With a final explosion, he heads into Pride, SUR busser and wanna-be pop star Jesse by his side. James is full of self (and plenty of alcohol), ranting and raving and foaming at the mouth. And on a direct collision course with LVP.
Next week, Vanderpump Rules is airing on Sunday instead of Monday. James continues to insult everyone, Carter and Peter celebrate a birthday, Scheana gets iced out, and Katie gives Lisa an ultimatum about her hostile workplace environment. Sounds fun.