As anyone who saw last week’s Vanderpump Rules preview knows, Tom vs. Tom reignites the James Kennedy/Katie Maloney Schwartz blood feud. It’s the storyline we hoped was over, all tarted up for the SUR alley. Will Fat-gate be the undoing of the only successful relationship on the show? Or will the Toms find a way to appease the all supreme Katie Maloney Schwartz and live to love another day?
Lisa Vanderpump is all aflutter. TomTom is opening and there’s still so much to do. At this rate, she’ll wear a hole in her favorite mom jeans racing hither and yon. Since Tom Sandoval is unavailable to film, Tom Schwartz spouts scripted lines in support of James Kennedy. Lisa seems ready to ease James back into the fold. All she needs is on-camera validation. The irony that Katie’s husband is the one to give it is lost on no one (except Schwartz himself).
Tom Sandoval is on a secret mission: spending $15,000 on a motorcycle (with sidecar) for the TomTom party. I’m sure Brittany Cartwright will spend more on her wedding dress and, as Sandoval explains, you only have the first opening of your first business once. The fiancée herself is recovering from oral surgery. Stassi Schroeder cheers her up with jello shots and gossip. Kristen Doute and Brian Carter will rue the day they blamed Princess Nastassia for their problems. No amount of eye heart emojis will shake her resolve. Brittany suggests Kristen could still turn her frog into a prince. Just like she did with Jax Taylor.
Despite being repeatedly fired by Lisa Vanderpump, James Kennedy books a gig at a huge club. It provides an opportunity to move beyond the confines of Vanderpump Rules, a peek into the real life of the White Ray Jay. Tom Schwartz wants to show his triplet brothers a good time. Tom Sandoval, Jax Taylor, a white limo, a VIP table. The night is magical from start to finish. In anticipation of their grueling 60 hour TomTom workweek, the virgin bar owners decide to take a quick Mexican babymoon. In the glow of the moment, and many quick dips to the bathroom, the Toms decide to include James in the fiesta. Janky editing makes it seem like Schwartz invited him first but we’ll never know for sure. Jax is the only one who sees the fly in the ointment. “I don’t care either way if James comes on this trip. But Tom and Tom, are you that dumb? Have fun telling the girls that.”
Ariana Madix, Stassi Schroeder and Katie Maloney Schwartz film at a cat café. The cats are adorable, the puns expected. They relentlessly dissect Kristen Doute and Brian Carter’s perfect Instagram relationship. The Endless Love narrative is reminiscent of the latter days of the Sandoval saga. Before Ariana is forced to take a blood oath in Stassi’s war against Kristen, the Toms call to tell the girls about their surprise vacation. Katie smells a rat. She demands to know the guest list. Tom Schwartz freezes like an impala in the veld. There’s a disturbance in the force. Out of self-preservation (and pure habit), he blames his best friend. Tom Sandoval did it. He invited James. The earth stops spinning for three agonizing seconds as Katie marshals her forces. No, no, no. Edible Katie is just as nasty as Tequila Katie. She might not yell but she knows how to inflict maximum pain. The Toms stare at the phone, only now realizing Katie. Isn’t. Over. It. She makes her position clear: they have a choice, and that choice is Katie.
Lisa Vanderpump makes Katie Maloney Schwartz continue the Girls’ Night In farce but no one is overly invested. Their sexy lingerie has morphed into pajama sets and robes. Exhausted from mingling with the normies, Katie has no time for tact. She instructs Tom Schwartz to tell Tom Sandoval to disinvite James Kennedy. Full stop. Sandoval is an idiot. It’s his fault she’s in this position in the first place. Schwartz tells her he’ll handle it but he doesn’t look convinced. “I’m stuck in the middle of my wife, Katie, and my work wife, Sandoval. It’s a position I don’t like being in.”
The Toms head to the alley for a showdown. James Kennedy can’t go to Mexico. It’s as simple as that. Tom Schwartz knows that Katie means business and he’s not willing to die on James’ hill. Tom Sandoval is frustrated. He had to get over the Kristen thing. Katie Maloney Schwartz should be over this. Before they resolve their dilemma, Ariana Madix comes tearing out of the restaurant, mid-rant. The Toms look at each other. Who is she coming for? It ends up Ariana is pissed that Schwartz always makes Sandoval the bad guy for decisions they make together. She has a good point, but terrible timing.
Katie Maloney Schwartz vs. Tom Sandoval
The air thickens as Katie Maloney Schwartz makes her alley entrance. Creeping up from the shadows, she’s scarier than any death in The Row. She instructs the assembled that she (and she alone) will decide when James Kennedy is forgiven. Tom Sandoval is unimpressed. Katie tries tears, bemoaning all the chances she gave James. Sandoval points out she got as many, if not more. “Everybody says fucked up things to each other. Everybody has. Guess what? James is the only one that gets fired for it.” Katie refuses to listen. She quivers her lip. She pops out a few tears. And gives an After School special about body shaming. Nearly out of ammunition, Katie plays her final gambit: I forbid it. In the face of absolute hypocrisy, Tom Sandoval loses control. “You’re a bully, Katie.” The Schwartzs flee in a waiting Uber. Sandoval returns to work, unscathed and unbothered.
The next day, the Toms are back at work. They quickly agree their partnership means more than James Kennedy ever could. They like him, just not that way. Besides, anyone can visit Mexico. “He could take his own trip.” “Yeah, just take his own trip.” Teddy Mellencamp’s brother Hud gets some airplay. As does Penny Davidi, celebrity chef and reality participant on Food Network Star, Season 7. You can’t deny Lisa Vanderpump knows how to milk promotion out of Bravo. Tom Schwartz pretends to learn the POS system while Pandora Vanderpump (née Todd) hides behind long bangs and flower dresses. James Kennedy strolls in, cocksure and on-time. He’s scheduled to ask Lisa for approval to DJ Brunch With Billie, the first step to reclaiming his SUR life. LVP interrogates him. How’s his anger? Drinking? James keeps his cool. He’s so close and nothing will stop him now. Despite all his big gigs, working for his mother figure feels like home.
Lisa Vanderpump magnanimously grants James Kennedy a day gig. He’s ecstatic. It’s All Happening. When Lisa reminds him she obviously can’t hire him for the TomTom party, he experiences a tiny glitch. He asks if he’s at least invited and their silence speaks volumes. He gets it, it’s up to the girls. Tom Sandoval thinks James’ reference is the perfect entrée to disinvite him to Mexico. What started as a small tremor erupts in a forest fire. James is incensed. He loses all semblance of sanity, the trigger has been sprung. He yells, he curses. Lisa begs for calm but James is running on instinct. When Schwartz tries to pacify him, he becomes the target. “Look at you, Tom. You’re doing great. You’re in your bar, going on a nice vacation. Yeah, it’s all lovely innit?” Fireworks explode with each “Fuck you!” Lisa and Sandoval manhandle James out the door. This isn’t how he wanted this day to go.
Next week: James Kennedy unpacks his Mexico suitcase. The Toms make it legal with Lisa Vanderpump. Kristen Doute and Katie Maloney Schwartz play, “No, you’re the asshole.” Lala Kent threatens Raquel Leviss with razor-sharp claws. “Will Lala get fired for that?” Sandoval muses. “James would.”