Regular old Below Deck returns this week, which means swapping Hannah Ferrier‘s bitchiness for Kate Chastain‘s supreme bitchiness, but at least we can trust Kate not to date one of her yachtie
This season Captain Lee Rosbach is headed to Tahiti, the less explored island territory that promises hedonism, fire dancing, and gorgeous sights. It also promises a new cast of yachties. I can’t say I’ll miss a single soul from last season. Like not for one stinking hot minute because none of them are Chef Ben or Rocky. A season without Nico Scholly‘s sleaze is a good one indeed!
So with that being said, let’s recap last season and catch up on all the drama we’ve forgotten.
Season 5 opened with a mostly “green” crew. The Bravo producers pretended we’d buy their excuse that Captain Lee didn’t get his boat until last minute so the only people available were complete newbies, who also happened to be imbeciles and weirdos to boot! I couldn’t even recall the names of most of these peeps if that gives you any indication of how ineffective they were, but I do remember Jen Howell whose resume opened with “I like big boats and I cannot lie.”
I also remember how Jen spent most of the season complaining about how having a kid a young age ruined her dream of being a yachtie aboard mother ships like the one P.Diddy owns. Jen spent the other half of the season complaining about having to do all the work that comes with being a yachtie because what Jen actually wanted was to be a trophy wife so she could ride on her own big boat! Any energy Jen had leftover after pining for her lost youth and whining about toilet cleaning she spent arguing with Kate and drinking herself into a stupor. Aaaaahhh… the good life!
Last season saw new chef Matt Burns struggle with alcohol abuse and often, as a result of being distracted, serving up less than delicious food. Can we say salads? Green salads, chicken salads, fish salads, vegetable salads, red salads, blue salads… do you like salads, Matt The Chef, do you like salads? Yes, you bet! Poor Matt needed a major helping hand from Kate, in the form of one-on-one tutoring to pull himself out the salad stupor. Too bad it came at the tail end of the season!
Nico’s younger brother tragically passed away in between seasons, and Nico decided to return to the Caribbean as a distraction. Oh, and he got distracted… by second stew Brianna Adekeye, a wild child he once had a drunken cabbie kiss with many years before. Too bad Nico had a girlfriend… who was very, very far away, and kept very, very in the dark about his shenanigans!
Initially, Captain Lee trusted Nico with the role of bosun although he hadn’t officially handed over Nico’s stripes. Sadly Nico was pretty much inept from the start as he focused most of his attention on flirting with Brianna instead of running the exterior crew. This was an even bigger problem because the crew was filled with novices, such as Chris Brown, who although sweet-natured, had the IQ of
Jen a slug – and a matching work ethic! The only thing Chris worked hard at was partying and talking himself up. And like Nico, Chris Brown was more interested in women than the boat. The former conservative Christian was a virgin until he was 26, and had a lot of making up for lost time to do.
Unfortunately literally every man on the boat (save for the very married Captain Lee) was gunning for Brianna! I mean, Jen was a flotation device short of a lifeboat, Kate is many leagues out of their seas and makes no secret of it, and Baker Manning is related to Thomas Ravenel. OK, actually Baker was the only fun, normal, and hard-working person of the crew (not counting Kate and Lee), but she was obviously not interested in the tools aboard Valor.
Bringing up the rear of newbie-dom was Bruno Duarte, a former cruise ship waiter who erroneously believed he knew everything about cheffing and stewing. Basically, we can sum up Season 5 as a mess of producer-orchestrated drama, but it looks like they’ve learned their lesson this season by hiring experienced yachties who are anything but consummate professionals!
On charter one Kate realized she’d have to hold Jen’s hand through literally every task. Even buttoning up Jen’s uniform like a big girl. Nico immediately demonstrated that he wasn’t as interested in impressing Captain Lee as he was in capturing Brianna, who at least knew how to do her job and was fairly pleasant to be around, if not attention-seeking and just as desperate to capture Nico.
Jen’s biggest problem, according to Jen, that she hadn’t had sex since the Neanderthal Era as she demonstrated for Nico how she could give herself an orgasm on the spot. That was nothing compared to Chris Brown‘s behavior of shamelessly hitting on Brianna, and after being rejected, getting so drunk that the next morning he passed out and doesn’t hear Nico’s radio calls. But Captain Lee did!
In an effort to get the stew team up to snuff before charter 2, Kate and Lee impersonate bad charter guests and are less than impressed when the realize Jen’s only skill is hair flipping. Around the food. At least Kate could enjoy laughing at Jen – and occasionally tormenting her. Sort of! Basically, it was an especially bad time to have high-maintenance guests demanding entertainment in the form of a human sushi boat (Bruno found a skill he can master!) and non-stop margaritas (a skill Jen hasn’t mastered). Kate is so burned out by the time the guests leave that she seeks comfort in a higher power, aka “Aqua Jesus.”
He isn’t actually Jesus, or even related to, but he made Kate have an ahem, come to Jesus moment, more than once plus he’s got sexy long hair and his own houseboat. Score one and two! Captain Lee is so desperate for people who know how to do their jobs he barely bats an eye when Kate walk of shames back to the boat the following morning, and then disappears that evening – with guests on board! – for another fling with AqJeu.
In charter 3, the inexperienced crew bungles so badly the yacht crashes into the dock and Captain Lee realizes some things must change: first, someone is getting fired; secondly, an official bosun is being hired.
After all, Bruno proved himself unable to follow simple tasks and was crying over being disrespected before the first charter even left the boat, and Chris would rather loaf around his own reflection. After doling out tips for charter 3 a furious Lee drops the news that EJ Jansen will be arriving to get things in line. Nico is enraged by this slap in the face.
Meanwhile, Matt, apparently oblivious that Brianna is throwing herself at Nico, asks her on the world’s worst date. It’s literally a cautionary tale of what not to do. He starts by getting wasted during a picnic where he basically packs PBJs – and he’s a chef! – then he insults her for not liking him, and finally, he passes out. The disaster date, combined with some super bad dinner flops, gives Matt a wakeup call, that he needs to quit drinking and focus on food.
His only friend is Bruno, who counsels him through cooking situations, acts as unofficial sous chef, offers tireless advice, and then inserts his opinion on how Kate is running things. Kate is eventually forced to tell Captain Lee who has a talk with Matt about where Bruno – and his opinions – belong. On a Big Red Boat Disney cruise?
Kate is also against the Briannico fling, but she has her hands full continuing to parent Jen. Jen, who thinks flowbeeing her hair takes precedence over serving guests breakfast. Brianna is also frustrated with Jen. Since Jen is inept, lazy, and constantly throwing a fit she’s stuck picking up all the slack.
With EJ on board, Chris Brown is forced to sleep in the life vest storage closet where he contentedly strings up a hammock and turns off his radio. Luckily it’s only for one night until Captain Lee demands he get off his boat! Chris Brown takes this as an opportunity to show all the women off the Caribbean his Chris Brown-ness. He’s probably still in a Caribbean jail somewhere!
Nico is so not OK with EJ’s presence he tries to start a fist fight with him on the crew night out and threatens to throw his new boss overboard. If that’s not enough Brianna argues with Jen about how she’s not doing her job. The next morning EJ tries to have a civil discussion with Nico about his role on board and his vision, but Nico straight up ignores him.
Things are so tense that Captain Lee sends the crew ashore for lunch so he can have a mental health holiday – and Nico and Brianna, bonded over drama with their fellow crew, officially hook-up. Kate decides the way to fix Nico’s animosity towards EJ is to have Nico bunk with Brianna. Happy ending specials!?
While the deck crew gets sorted out and makes improvements under EJ’s tutelage, Kate still can’t wrangle Jen, who works a guests tailgate lunch dressed in a mock cheerleading outfit instead of her uniform. As punishment Kate forces Jen to wear a lifesaver costume for dinner. If you’re thinking Baywatch high-cut red bathing suit – don’t.
For Jen, this means war because in her mind she’s working harder than everyone else. Work smarter, not harder, homie! This escalates her fighting with Brianna, who constantly keeps tabs on how badly Jen is screwing up to report back to Kate; Kate who doesn’t need Brianna’s evidence because she has her own! To prove it Kate stages a ‘Stew-Off” and times Brianna and Jen at completing certain tasks. Guess who wins?!
The low point for Jen comes not when Kate embarrasses her, but when Jen is sexually harassed by the obnoxious charter guests and Kate doesn’t support her. Proving that she’s never heard of the #MeToo or #TimesUp movements, Kate lectures Jen for sending “mixed signals” to the guests who tried to force her into a three-way by trapping Jen in their room. Lee was too busy mediating Nico’s drama with EJ to notice. Just in time, EJ leaves to rejoin his regular charter, and Lee brings Kyle Dixon back.
Kyle, true to form, is a disaster from the start. First, he likes Jen and flirts openly with her – because he is titillated by her crazy. But Jen screws up her find-a-friend opportunity when she takes a bite of Kyle’s food during dinner, turning him into a he-monster. Over gravy people! Apparently, he forgot about this rap sheet…
Back on board the Valor, an upset, drunk, and dramatic Jen explodes. She calls Baker a whore and screams in Bruno’s face until he forcibly shoves her into her room and demands she go to bed. Baker tries to calm Jen down before Captain Lee wakes up, but Kate saw everything.
The next morning Bruno tattles that Jen scratched him while he was trying to protect Baker (truly laughable) – which wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been grabbing her in the first place! Jen’s reward is when a cocky Bruno gets killer rope burn and can barely walk. Jen is probably a witch who will put a spell on evil peens!
Kate is so fed up she has an emergency stew meeting and lays down the law about how Jen is to behave for the final charter. Basically be a completely mute robot even if her hair doesn’t look good. In contrast, Bri is rewarded with her steward stripes. The victory is short-lived when Nico started having second thoughts about his relationship with Brianna and started missing his stable, dependable, earnest girlfriend Melissa. The one he dumped to have a sexy yacht fling. Bri too is wondering where this will go post-charter, but pretends everything is fine while they are suddenly sleeping in separate bunks and Nico is calling Melissa on his break time.
Jen spends the final charter muttering that Kate is a bitch, stamping her feet and slamming things, rolling her eyes, ignoring everyone, and complaining that she’s being denied food and water and is therefore contacting OSHA. Does that apply in international waters?
The final feud of the season was, shockingly, between Kyle and Kate. Kate is irate after learning Kyle has been blaming all Valor’s problems on bad stewardesses citing Kate’s poor work ethic. She straight up tells Kyle that any friendship they had is done. Luckily for Kate – Lee does NOT agree.
By the time the final charter departed the crew is in tatters, but Captain Lee still promoted Nico to bosun – a decision Lee later regretted. Especially when he realizes Nico lied abut a wrist injury to spend time lying around in his bunk, duly lying to his girlfriend! While cheating with Brianna. Jen still refuses to accept responsibly for her actions, but in the she and Kate come to mutual understanding and part as friend-ish. Kyle, though, remains heartsick that Kate hates him!
The reunion proved that Nico’s sleaze caught up with him after Melissa dumped him. Karma, my friends! Also, Chris opted not to attend the reunion. Since getting fired he moved to Vegas to find himself. Somehow that seems perfect…
TELL US – ARE YOU READY FOR BELOW DECK SEASON 6? WILL YOU MISS ANY OF LAST SEASON’S CREW?
Photo credit: Bravo TV