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Tom Sandoval Was Always Going to be the Villain of Vanderpump Rules Season 10

The bar owner created or heightened conflicts whenever he was on screen.
  • Tom Sandoval in Vanderpump Rules (Photo: Casey Durkin/Bravo)
    Tom Sandoval in Vanderpump Rules (Photo: Casey Durkin/Bravo)

    Before all the news of “Scandoval” broke, Season 10 of Vanderpump Rules was poised to end as most seasons of the reality TV series do: with a big party and some wise words from Lisa Vanderpump to wrap up the latest installment’s biggest conflicts. And the May 10 episode, “There’s Something About Her,” does just that, while offering a glimpse of just how differently things may have ended, had the affair between Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss never come to light.

    The new details that have surfaced about Sandoval’s affair with Leviss make all of his worst moments look even more villainous. For instance, Sandoval choosing to not leave a barbecue to be with Ariana Madix when she heard her grandmother had died is a pretty bad move, but doing so to continue partying with the girl he’s having a secret relationship with is borderline evil. But even without viewing the season through whatever the opposite of rose-tinted glasses are, it’s abundantly clear that Sandoval is a bad guy.

    For years Sandoval’s association with universally beloved cool girl Ariana gave him a pass for some of his more annoying behaviors, like his penchant for picking baseless fights with Katie Maloney and his obsession with stealing the spotlight at all of the show’s many costume parties, whether they were being thrown for him or not. And his friendship with Tom Schwartz bolstered his likability as well — the pair’s shenanigans and genuine love for each other countered the toxic masculinity on display from other past cast members like Jax Taylor.

    During Season 10, however, Schwartz was off fighting his own battle with his ex-wife Katie and Ariana was often out of sight, working to start her own business and dealing with the deaths of her grandmother and longtime pet. When left to his own devices, Sandoval became a master manipulator, and ended up adjacent to almost every conflict this season. Even if a fight between Maloney and Schwartz or Leviss and Lala Kent had nothing to do with him, he felt empowered to intervene, often very loudly and very aggressively. It’s not a great look for anyone, let alone someone who is supposedly trying to keep a secret.

    In “There’s Something About Her,” Sandoval really shows his true colors in a confrontation with Madix. He spends the episode blaming her for the couple’s lack of connection, both in talking head interviews and directly to her face. According to Sandoval, it’s Madix’s fault because she doesn’t stay out late partying with him and then doesn’t want to have sex with him when he does get home from a late night out. Madix always snaps at him, he says, though the fine editors at Bravo can only find one, very mild clip to support that argument.

    All Madix wants is to spend more quality time with him, to cook dinner and go for walks together before getting more intimate. It seems like a simple ask, but even on that point Sandoval turns the tables — “quality time” to him is “taking mushrooms together and watching the sunrise” and “hang gliding.” If Madix joins him in these activities, only then will she be “putting in the work” to make their relationship better.

    This outlandish response to Madix’s attempt at a calm and meaningful discussion about their relationship highlights how Sandoval’s been creating tension all season. He sets his own expectation for how an interaction should go, no matter how unrealistic that expectation is, then he attacks the person who inevitably falls short. But what these outbursts really show is how Sandoval is failing to do even the bare minimum to stay on anyone’s good side.

    In this episode’s last moments, he’s more focused on screaming at a mostly level-headed Maloney about her dislike of Schwartz and Leviss than on Madix having a breakdown in the corner because she hasn’t yet properly dealt with her grief. Even without “Scandoval,” these scenes solidify that not only does Madix deserve much better, but that Sandoval was going to come out of Season 10 looking bad, no matter what.

    The Vanderpump Rules finale airs May 17 on Bravo and streams on Peacock the next day. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Vanderpump Rules, Bravo, Peacock, Ariana Madix, Katie Maloney, Lisa Vanderpump, Raquel Leviss, Tom Sandoval, Tom Schwartz