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Below Deck Mediterranean - Anastasia Surmava

On last night’s Below Deck Mediterranean things in the kitchen boiled over and Captain Sandy Yawn proved, once again, that her bleeding heart for pretty young things lost at sea clouds her ability to lead.

Captain Sandy‘s friend Dr. Jen Berman, raunchy urologist with a penchant for crop tops, is still on board with her crew of New Jersians (another form of alien, unless you live in the Bravo-universe). Their first lunch was a flop, leaving them crabby; their first dinner was rubbery steak that looked like it came from a Fisher Price kitchen play set, and most of it ends up in the trash. The whole thing has been such a mess that Sandy and Hannah Ferrier decide to just permanently install Anastasia Surmava in the galley, and not only that – she’s in charge of dinner.  The time has come, Sandy, to FIRE Mila Kolomeitseva.

I can sorta understand where Sandy is coming from: sometimes, when I’m just operating in a Below Deck vacuum, I feel a bit bad for Mila. (I know, I know…. I’m also a bleeding heart!). Mila came on board ill and it seems like she’s just not able to find her footing. Maybe she can cook (questionable)? But I doubt it after watching Mila use Aunt Jemima boxed pancake mix and still fuck it up. You literally ADD water. That’s it! Mila wasn’t even using butter in the pan. I guess Le Cordon Bleu doesn’t teach Aunt Jemima?

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I do wonder with all the French pastry and bread in the breakfast spread who would prefer American pancakes to that? Unless the guests presumed Mila made the pastries, and were scared they’d accidentally taste like cat food, or salt, or play-doh, or dirt…  (There is no way Mila made them – they looked amazing)

Mila - Below Deck Mediterranea pancakes

Mila spends ONE HOUR making these boxed pancakes, screwing them up over and over again, before finally producing 3 tiny flat, overly-browned pucks. A frisbee has more rise to it. It resembled like high school cafeteria breakfast. Hannah is beside herself. She confronts Mila about why she is using a boxed mix when she’s supposed to be a chef. Mila claims that’s what all Americans use, so that’s how you make American pancakes (WRONG). Then she suggests Hannah do the cooking if she knows so much.

Hannah Ferrier

Hannah barks that Mila already has her third stew — and that’s apparently still not enough. Even after Sandy observes The Great Pancake Crisis of 2019, even after she tells Joao Franco that Mila “f–king sucks,” she’s still holding on giving her one more chance. Followed by one more chance. Followed by one more chance on an infinite loop.

Having Anastasia in charge of dinner leaves the entire rest of the crew at a disadvantage. After working all day above deck, Jack Stirrup, Travis Michalzik, and Colin Macy-O’Toole are then forced to do dishes. Joao is even helping Hannah do cabin turndowns. He hopes the suspicion white glop he wiped up in the shower is conditioner and not something worse (the foam Anastasia served on the beef tartare, perhaps?)

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You know what’s fun though – for once the worst thing on the tables isn’t the centerpieces!

I have to say other than Mila, I’m really kinda loving the rest of the cast this season. There are a ton of characters, and Jack and Aesha Scott bring a silliness that’s like having Beavis and Butthead, or Wayne and Garth, participating in an invasion of the body swappers, and being deposited on the deck of Sirocco holding a toilet scrubber and an inflatable unicorn floatie. Also, their flirting is amusing and I sort of love them together.

Captain Sandy & Joao Franco

Joao is in general off his game. Brooke Laughton texted him “good luck” on the new charter season, then immediately posted an Instagram photo with her new boyfriend. Joao is bereft and turns to Captain Sandy for support. He actually cries about feeling betrayed by Brooke. From now on Joao could literally crash Sirocco into the rocks and Sandy would forgive him.

In Joao, Sandy sees a super-human: a man who can do no wrong, a boy who has been wronged, a child she can comfort, and a leader she can bequeath captain-hood too. Sandy needs to calm down and focus on appropriate workplace interactions. Probably not a good idea to repeatedly hug your boson while rubbing his back — especially when you’re supposed to be steering a super yacht! That said, I feel bad for Joao. I also feel bad for me that Jezabob was left in Zim and we’re forced to watch an entire season of Jezablob, sulking in his bunk like he’s lying in a coffin after burying his dreams of love.

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One person Sandy doesn’t have patience for is Jack. She’s tired of his hair being all askew and in his face. Apparently, that doesn’t look professional enough. Joao has to give Jack a talking-to about how to look like a deckhand. Really Sandy? Instead of dealing with real problems, Sandy is trying to assert her leadership with battles she can easily win. So Jack, here’s a hair tie, now go ahead and sexually harass all the women on board, in France, worldwide…

Colin is also having a difficult time. He’s not connecting with the crew the way he did last year, and seems out of his depth among these ribald sex fiends. Colin finds himself calling his mom for comfort and admitting homesickness to his proxy mom Hannah. Hannah is another one who has really undergone a switcheroo this season. She’s managing the stews effectively and not fighting with them, she has a sense of humor, and she’s even being pretty calm with Mila. But the levy is beginning to break… thank goodness, because while Mila can’t cook her way out of a pancake box she’s literally carrying this season.

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In order to keep Mila away from the guests’ plates and give Anastasia plenty of time to prep for dinner, Sandy decides to join them ashore for lunch. Basically to remind Dr. Jen of what good food actually tastes like and provide lots of opportunities to compare that to what Mila is serving. Or maybe she hopes to get everyone so drunk they get confused into believing they ate that marvelous lunch on board? The way the waiter lifted the bones from the fish to reveal a creamy sole – swoon. And that was just casual dining!

Jack Stirrup & Dr. Jen Berman

Back on Sirocco, the guests frolic in the water and Jack gets to give Dr. Jen a ride on the jet ski. It’s the closest he’s come to having sex in a record 10 days, and he barely made it without busting a nut. “I’d be willing to risk my life to bone Dr. Jen, let alone me job,” he jokes. If he were Joao, Captain Sandy could walk in on him getting intimate with a guest, but Jack better not push his luck – just his hair back!

Also how cute was the impromptu dance party with Jack, Travis, and Travis’ charming boat shoes paired with short pants? Anastasia enters the kitchen prepared to make meatballs out of men. Even though she’s a vegan. Since the guests like Italian that’s what she’s going for – which seems, I dunno, just so… meh. But I guess since Anastasia’s NOT the actual professional chef I should reserve my judgment.

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Mila is in denial about being demoted, so while Anastasia and Hannah are going over dinner plans she has Travis and Colin hauling giant bags of frozen turkey (or maybe mastodon?) legs out of the freezer. Mila walks into the kitchen and announces it’s something she wants to try. Instead, she gets put on salad duty, because chopping carrots is something even Mila can handle!

Anastasia is practically vibrating with nerves. So she foams the tartare too early and it disintegrates into something even more disgusting than what it already is, resembling spittle. Foam — how did that become a thing in the culinary world? Just no. Captain Sandy, who is again dining with the guests, and Dr. Jen both eschew raw meat. The other guests seem afraid to try it. I do not blame them — no one is listing raw meat on their preference sheet.

Anastasia Surmava

The second course, the salad, is actually a hit. It did look good. Although I’m 100% positive that Mila snuck some Hidden Valley Ranch dressing on there when Anastasia’s back was turned. The third course is spaghetti and meatballs. Which just… I mean, C’mon. All the Italian food out there and that’s what Anastasia picked? And it wasn’t even homemade spaghetti, but boxed! Mila snubbed the meatballs as dry, even after Anastasia went against her principals to taste test them. She did spit them out, so she can say that as a vegan she did not inhale, consume – whatever.

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Mila, whose palate is stuck somewhere between spam and koolaid, fully predicts that the guest won’t like them, but it turns out the guests love the meatballs! And they really super love the affogato served for dessert, which Anastasia added a side of liquor too. They celebrate their first enjoyable meal by skinny dipping. Poor Travis is stuck on safety patrol watching on.

Hannah is shocked by how calm Mila was about being displaced in the kitchen. Mila explains that Russians never give up, and she will just try a different approach. That approach is to get up super early and make the guests traditional Russian pancakes. Anastasia watches as Mila prepares the batter and informs her it’s too runny, and that’s why her pancakes don’t rise, but Russian pancakes are supposed to be flat, like crepes. So, how’s that for some cultural awareness taking us behind the front lines of the Putin empire: gays are bad and pancakes are thin as paper. The bacon also had the decency to look cooked this time so the guests ate it.

Hannah Ferrier & Joao Fraco

Hannah whispers to Joao that if the guests weren’t friends of Captain Sandy‘s there’s no way they’d deserve a tip after the food they received. Joao agrees, because unfair as it is, the chef carries 50% of the weight on the ship. It’s pretty much the major reason people pay for these yachts – to float around and eat gourmet meals of whatever their hearts desire! Joao predicts with all the opposition and negativity she’s facing Mila will leave on her own accord, but Hannah and Joao are both wrong. Mila is egotistical, so she’s not going anywhere, and Sandy is clearly afraid of having her taco shells poisoned.

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Hannah thinks Mila should do the decent thing and reject her portion of the tip since Anastasia did half the cooking and everyone else was forced to pick up the slack. As Dr. Jen’s group departs she specifically mentions that the food was an issue, but commends Sandy for being able to make adjustments in the moment which salvaged the situation … with spaghetti. Literally, this is the second time boxed spaghetti was served aboard this superyacht. THIS IS A PROBLEM. Also, you are in France, not Italy.

Because Sandy is her friend, Jen tipped generously. And because Mila is arrogant and delusional she willingly accepted her portion. While everyone else is cleaning, and Aesha is showing her love to Hannah by farting on her head (literally) Captain Sandy calls Mila to the bridge. Hannah suspects Mila will be fired, but Mila’s positive attitude towards Sandy saves her from exile to Siberia. Mila wants to prove to Sandy that she can handle this and begs for an opportunity to redeem herself in the third charter. Sandy acknowledges that Mila is always so respectful and pleasant. She gives her another chance to anger guests and decides to have her continue working with Anastasia.

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Hannah is furious, but Sandy doesn’t think she can find a chef mid-season, and having an incompetent chef and a fairly competent third stew standing in as chef is better than the alternative. Really? Because I think anyone could make boxed pancakes and Old El Paso Taco Tuesday in a box.

TELL US – DID SANDY MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION IN LETTING MILA STAY? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BELOW DECK MEDITERRANEAN SEASON 4 SO FAR?

[Photo Credits: Bravo]

 

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