Last night we officially sent the cast of Below Deck on their final charter and we waved farewell with Tahitian flower crowns in our hair. Don’t I wish! Actually far from sunsets, the entire affair took place in the dark, sordid Watch What Happens Live clubhouse, with the disco’d up cast perched on uncomfortable stools which are clearly the castoffs from one of Lisa Vanderpump‘s collaborations with Nick Alain gone wrong!
First off Andy Cohen clears the suspense by stating that Caroline Bedol and Chandler Brooks won’t be joining them. That statement made it pretty much apparent that the reunion would be boring as everyone else was BFF by the time the season ended. Several of them are still close friends today!
Seriously, though, I had forgotten Caroline and Chandler were even on the show this season was so busy. Other than Rhylee Gerber they were the sole sources of drama in the first half of the season.
Everyone has opinions on why Chandler was such an utter disaster. The basic consensus is that he was overwhelmed by running a deck crew that wasn’t full of well-oiled seamen (meaning dealing with Rhylee). Also, he couldn’t cope with the cameras in his face. Rhylee blames Chandler completely for causing all of her outbursts, but she also completely blames Ross Inia for causing all her outbursts towards him. Even though Rhylee says she apologized and meant it – she didn’t as she’s still not taking accountability for basically being impossible to work with.
Captain Lee Rosbach comments that Ross let Rhylee get away with too much by catering to her tantrums. True that! Ross is so conflict-averse. He just tiptoed around Rhylee to everyone’s detriment. Lee does agree that Chandler mismanaged Rhylee and was “a complete prick” to her.
Adrian Martin is still in touch with Chandler. He wants nothing to do with the show and is no longer giving it any attention. I wonder if Chandler is still with Jamie from Below Deck Med?
Obviously, the matter of Caroline has Kate Chastain and Josiah Carter on the major defense. Especially after Andy plays never-before-seen footage from Caroline’s last day, which features Kate and Josiah crouched outside her door accusing her of leaving because she has a herpes outbreak. UM, WTF. Seriously, seriously gross behavior.
Kate and Josiah acknowledge that it wasn’t their finest hour (y’a think!). I’m noticing a theme here because they also blame Caroline for “pushing them to the limit” until they snapped. Kate and Josiah clearly have a party line of standing unified. They both claim to actually really like Caroline as a person. They insist their issue with her was that she didn’t do her job.
Look, I FULLY 100% agree that as a stew Caroline was more useless than a herpes outbreak. And she absolutely should’ve been fired for incompetence and laziness. HOWEVER, Kate and Josiah went way too far. They made many of their attacks personal. I also agree that Caroline was totally over-sensitive, and like Chandler a horrific fit for this intense of an environment.
Laura Betancourt tries to defend Caroline – mildly. Sensing her place in the cast next season is in jeopardy she quickly shuts her mouth with an insincere grin, and is empathetic to what Kate and Josiah had to deal with. See – if you go against Kate’s grain you’re gonna get accused of being a Muppet with herpes of the foot.
At least Captain Lee looks disgusted and shocked by the unseen footage. It is interesting watching Kate squirm as Captain Lee attempts to make excuses he clearly doesn’t believe Kate deserves. Lee lists his biggest regret of the season as how he handled the situation between Kate and Caroline. They both agree it would’ve been beneficial for all three of them to sit down to talk.
Andy has spoken to Caroline. She maintains that things were far worse than was shown on the show.
So, sayonara Caroline, let’s move on to your replacement: Laura. Unsurprisingly her relationship with Ashton Pienaar didn’t last. They are now “dear friends.” Very. FIRMLY. dear friends. We never get an answer for why though because ANDY DIDN’T ASK. Um, wtf!
Laura wishes she wouldn’t have exploded on Kate that one fateful charter, while guests dined upstairs. She too blames being pushed to the brink by Kate’s bitchiness and unfriendliness. Laura even blames herself for creating that strained environment by acting so arrogantly when she initially came on board. Kate and Laura eagerly say they want to work together again. Do I sense a plan to stack the deck of next season’s interior crew?! To avoid any potential Rocky’s or Caroline’s?
Laura doesn’t know why she was acting so unbelievably annoying when she joined the crew. Um, producers? Also we still never got clarity or proof of whether or not she was actually a chief stew of a similarly-sized vessel.
Adrian apologizes for all his lewd comments. He insists that he really had no idea he was making Laura uncomfortable because this was just a small fraction of their relationship. Laura never told Kate it was happening, but if Kate had known she definitely would have confronted Adrian.
Adrian stands by not realizing he was being offensive, but come on dude… I know he just crawled out of a Caribbean seashell yesterday, where he turned into a merman on borrowed legs, but he even sexually harassed a sea slug! I think he definitely knew that kind of language was inappropriate in the workplace. Even a workplace as licentious as a super yacht!
It also turns out that Ross is the drunken octopus, not Ashton! While intoxicated Ross did way more than just kiss Rhylee – he even attempted to make-out with Kate, but she is made from marble and has about the same amount of sex appeal as the inflatable slide. However, Ross, well his standards are loooow… So low! I’m guessing thing never worked out with his son’s mom, because he also admits to hanging out with Krystal – their final charter guest – and occasionally engaging in a friends with benefits situation.
Even though Krystal is supposedly married… (a little bird told me she is separated. Is it because of Ross, or because she’s Krystal?). Kate firmly stands by her statement that Krystal is the worst charter guest of her career and she has never experienced someone so mean. Including herself.
However, Kate does get a look of pissy betrayal on her face when she learns that Ross even wrapped his beer goggles around Hannah Ferrier! Keeping with the low standards theme, Ross admits to a drunken hookup with the romantically challenged Below Deck Mediterranean chief stew. Um, perhaps Ross should stop drinking. His decision-making under alcohol is extremely imperiled: hanging out with Joao Franco, getting arrested, Krystal!, and kissing Hannarrrrgh’s cigarette breathe.
Rhylee and Tyler Rowland are definitely not a thing, either. Rhylee keeps her back toward Tyler throughout the entire reunion and is still obviously embarrassed that she “caught the feels,” as Kate put it, and actually believed Tyler liked her. Rhylee blames the crew for constantly meddling in their relationship; asking Tyler if he liked her all the time and putting it into his head that she wanted to become “Mrs. Rhylee Rowland.” Rhylee doesn’t strike me as the kinda girl who would change her name if she got married. Who knew?!
Tyler, who seriously has 2 brain cells if that, rambles that he’s been asking Santa for a sailboat his whole life and resented Rhylee insinuating that she could share that dream. Rhylee, rightly, rolls her eyes and reminds Tyler that it’s not as if he had a legit business plan – it is literally a pipe dream. And he is smoking lots of pipes if he thinks he’s capable of operating a business without the help of anyone else.
Last but not least cameraman Brent appears to talk about saving Ashton when he went overboard. Brent is a huge guy, but incredibly humble and very bashful in front of the camera. He credits Ross and Rhylee for helping to thwart the potentially deadly situation. Brent was able to react so quickly because he was watching the incident unfold from the beginning, and was paying special attention to Ashton and Rhylee on the swim deck. It’s like some sort of spidey-sense was warning him that something was about to go wrong.
Ashton and Brent hug several times and it’s clear that Ashton’s perspective was extremely changed by the event. Even re-watching it a year later brings tears to his eyes. Captain Lee reveals that in his 35-year career that is the only ‘man overboard’ experience he’s ever encountered, and he too is clearly still distressed by the situation.
Checking in with all the crew, basically no one – other than Captain Lee – is presently yachting. Ashton is an estate manager to a wealthy family. Adrian is still the personal chef to a wealthy couple in NYC (and currently single). Josiah is living between Spain and London. Laura is teaching yoga and personal training, Ross is drunkenly kissing inappropriate women by night and being a super awesome dad by day. Kate, well – she’s Kate! Tyler is living in New Orleans. And Rhylee seems to be the only one still working on boats. Albeit fishing boats.
TELL US – WHO DO YOU WANT TO RETURN NEXT SEASON? WERE YOU BUMMED THAT CHANDLER AND CAROLINE WEREN’T AT THE REUNION?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]