Last night’s supersized 90 minute Below Deck Mediterranean was so full of drama amongst the cast that after a while they didn’t even bother showing the guests. Like oh, yeah – those guys. I don’t think we even saw their final dinner, unless I was so distracted by all the cast issues that I blocked it out?
Lord Jesus I have the worst case of concentrationitis right now. I believe that’s called “procrastination” in actual English. Maybe Jack Stirrup is rubbing off on me when he should be rubbing the railings of Sirocco? We’ve all lost our will to carry on here. With three charters left to go, everyone has reached the point in the charter season where they’re in a haze of exhaustion. Most notably, Anastasia Surmava. Anastasia resembles a worn out sponge. Crumpled, and no amount of shoving Spongstasia in the dishwasher can bring her back to her former glory.
Poor Anastasia is officially floundering. And no, that’s not what she serving for dinner. Instead Anastasia spent this charter serving a weird mishmash of things which were not timed correctly. What’s hot is cold; what’s cold is hot. Sort of like Travis Michalzik and Hannah Ferrier‘s relationship.
Vern and his friends aren’t necessarily demanding (unless thy name is “truffle fry”), they basically want tasty food served at the correct temperature but that’s too much to ask of a person who’s not a 7-star chef! The episode opens with Vern finding a hair in his cheesecake, right in front of Captain Sandy Yawn. Anastasia is furious. “It’s boy hair,” she snaps, but offers to get him another slice.
And that’s when it hit me that instead of serving actual whipped cream IN FRANCE Anastasia is using ReddiWhip From. A. Can. Seriously people, WTF is going on this season? Is Kraft a secret sponsor of the Sirocco? Are we going to get boxed Mac & Cheese next? Little Debbie cakes arranged on a platter as petit fours. Lunchables?! It’s like Mila‘s ghost continues to haunt the Sirocco. Soon guests will be sitting in a hot tub that Campbell’s Chicken & Stars soup. June Foster would be happy. Every night she’s gone to bed dreaming of a frozen pot pie.
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Anyway, Milastasia serves a new piece of pie, topped it with ReddiWhip from a can that just seconds before was being squirted into Aesha Scott‘s mouth. Which means Vern has by proxy kissed Jack.
At 12:40am when Anastasia is George Foreman’ing a sandwich for Hannah, who is about to begin the late-night after-dinner cleanup. She admits that she’s exhausted and over it. Like cars who need fuel to go forward, Anastasia needs praise and without it welcome to Cars 5: “Exhaust System Fail.” The sad thing is that even though Captain Sandy has noticed Anastasia’s mental state, she’s turning a blind eye. Or so it seems.
I have a feeling that what we didn’t see is that behind the scenes, Hannah was putting wheels in motion; sharing her thoughts about June’s ineptitude and Anastasia’s flagging spirit and warning Sandy to get a
famewhore properly trained chef on retainer.
The next day the Sirocco has morning sickness, courtesy of massive waves tossing it to and fro. June can barely keep the vacuum upright!
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As Captain Sandy and Joao Franco are on the bridge monitoring weather conditions, Jack strolls by leisurely wiping an occasional spot of the railing. Joao is outraged that Jack is exposing his inept leadership by ignoring his list of chores and then doing a shitty job literally in front of the captain. Captain Sandy can barely contain her laughter as she orders Joao to go out there and lay the smack down.
Joao and Jack wind up bickering over how to properly work windex or something, because professional, until Joao drops the trump card: Jack better shape up, especially in front of the Captain, or he’ll be fired. Jack doesn’t want that, because being fired means being away from Aesha! So for his girl he decides to not just clean but make up for an entire season of slagging off by going into overdrive sucking up to Captain Sandy. Jack is much smarter than he appears, especially when it comes to manipulating people!
Unfortunately Jack’s cleaning revelation comes just as Vern got seasick and literally vomited over the side of the railings right where Jack is cleaning and Aesha is heading back to the kitchen. This doesn’t even bother Aesha who laughs that her “spewginity” has been popped. Elephant bone, Russian prostitute, vomit… Aesha really is the most positive person I’ve ever encountered.
Anastasia’s food the tossing and turning, the guests spend the day on shore where Hannah and Travis find themselves on the beach with nothing to discuss aside why they never went on a date. Hannah loves Sober Travis, who is disarming, sweet-natured, silly, and mellow, but Drunk Travis is a whole different animal. “Animal” being the key word!
While the guests are away, Jack helped Sandy display all the water toys at enticing angles, then took out the trash. He was scrubbing and rubbing everything down like the entire boat was made of Aesha. Sandy is majorly impressed with this newfound work ethic. Jack winks that it’s “show business”. Which is ‘Jack-speak’ for sucking up. Sandy on the otherhand thinks it’s just looooovely that Jack is finally taking the initiative to impress Joao and practically cries the tears of a proud parent.
For the final Mardi Gras themed dinner, Hannah entrusts June, June, Hannah with the complicated task of
turning on her radio decorating the table with beads and feathers. And finally, here is something June can complete without micromanagement! The look was basically skinned muppet whose plastic innards were dehydrated into metallic beads. If you’re me, a person who swoons over understated minimalism, a tablescape which resembles the exploded brain of someone on acid would probably put you off any dinner, but in this case it invigorated these guests into a huge screaming match about the state of each other’s bank accounts.
Um, guys, you’re all on a luxury vacation, so presumably you’re all doing OK. Or at least have a ton of Venture Rewards points saved up!
Anastasia is so frazzled getting the Surf & Turf out while its still hot that she forgets to tell Aesha which guests ordered well done steaks. By the time Hannah catches her, Aesha is already literally standing amidst a bunch of screaming banshees and can’t hear in her earpiece. Welcome to the world of June! Hannah runs up to try and sort out the steak placements, with Anastasia and a plate of extra vegetables right on her tail!
Anastasia, wanting attention and praise, starts shouting over the guests to explain dinner, the literal volume of the entire table matched the figurative volume of the decor. And the entire thing left Hannah with crazy eyes ready to explode and be added to said centerpiece.
Right as Captain Sandy emerges to check on dinner one of the guests announces that his steak is undercooked and sends it back. He had ordered a well-done steak which got passed to someone else, who probably complained that his steak was overcooked.
To add insult to injury none of the guests like the apple cobbler Anastasia served for dessert. Probably because they are in THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, in case Anastasia forgot, not the American South.
Anastasia blames yet another chaotic dinner on the guests and is so desperate for them to depart that the next morning she practically sets the boat on fire to get rid of them by leaving a pan of oil heating up on the burner. It fills the entire galley with smoke, all the while June was standing there making juice, but since June doesn’t know how to work her radio or activate the part of her brain which controls “common sense” and she’s also delirious with hunger, she doesn’t even bother to turn investigate what’s going on.
Oh, June… Pancakes are apparently the death of every chef on this show because Anastasia cooks hers in advance, which leave them rubbery and cold for the guests, then winds up re-making them.
The guests’ parting comment was to complain about the food, and the low tip reflects this. Anastasia tries to hide behind the other stews as everyone suppresses a glare at her for landing them another paltry tip on the heels of a demanding high-maintenance charter group.
Just like Aunt Jemima gave Mila the kiss of death, Anastasia decides it’s finally time to admit to Captain Sandy that she cannot handle the anxiety of being the chef. Anastasia shares that she’s never had more anxiety in her life and is actually excited to go back to mindlessly dating the vacuum. Good thing Sandy has that other chef just hanging out, with nothing to do, during yacht season but wait for her call! <wink, wink!>
To wring out the drama as long as possible Sandy pretends Ben Robinson may no longer be available leaving Anastasia to chef for one last charter. Basically we’re stringing June along here, like an old anchor, until the last minute to enact multiple drama. And poor June – because with Anastasia demoted, that means June’s job is redundant! I bet they have pot pies in third stew heaven!
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Anastasia is exhausted, but relieved by the time everyone hits the town for a much-needed night out. Travis‘ only emotions are sober and drunk, and it doesn’t take a shrink to notice that he’s trashed before the group even leaves the boat! One drink, two drinks, 3 drinks, 10… 99 bottles of beer on the wall, take one down, pass it to Travis, 98 bottles of beer left to drink.
Travis is so drunk that while getting into the cab he accidentally slams Aesha in the face with the seat, then refuses to apologize. This is the last straw for Hannah. She would go on a date with Sober Travis, explore all the things in the little joke book he gives her about how to be good at sex, revel in dysfunctional show-mance, but Drunk Travis leaves her turning to Joao for a rescue tender.
Hannah tells all of this to Travis, over a smoke, while he’s blind drunk and probably thinks he’s talking to the pan Anastasia left on the stove. Maybe that’s why when Travis returned to the table and noticed Anastasia sleeping he slapped her in the face to wake her up?!
In Travis’s mind this was a gentle little “love tap,” to everyone else it was a crack across the face that echoed and left a red mark. Anastasia bursts into tears and flees. Anastasia confides to Hannah that her ex-boyfriend was a lot like Travis: a good man sober, but an abusive man when drunk.
Unfortunately Travis is so trashed that even with Joao screaming in his face he refuses to believe he’s done something wrong. Instead he blames everyone for overreacting to how hard he actually smacked Anastasia, and justifies that it’s OK because he didn’t mean any offense.
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Um, insisting that you hit a woman as a joke is on par with making rape jokes, except at least Jack immediately realized what a shit-head he was and profusely apologized. The same can’t be said for Travis who manages to even rile Colin up!
Colin, puffs into his inhaler for backup, and with June behind him holding a weighted blanket, screams that if Travis doesn’t apologize he’ll be in time-out with no dessert! Imagine: a world without Nutella to emotionally eat!
Was anyone else struck (no pun intended) by the fact that this season Joao is ‘saving’ the women from evil Travis when last season he was basically acting like Travis. Are we buying this so-called ‘personal growth’? #No
The only people who aren’t upset with Travis are Aesha and Jack, his ride or dies. Jack doesn’t think it will do any good to confront Travis when he’s drunk. Aesha is used to letting people get away with mistreating her under the guise of it being a joke, or an accident, or they offered a half-assed apology.
Anastasia, to her credit, also decides it’s not worth it to confront Trashed Travis, and also wants to take time to process everything. Why are there mature people on Below Deck Mediterranean this season? I’ve actually been missing hate watching Hannah cry about Prague and Crocs and Conrad’s cigarette tally, then fooling Captain Sandy by calling her hangover a panic attack over love.
The next morning before he even puts his underwear on Jack tells Trav that he was totally out of line and needs to apologize immediately. Then Travis vows to party less, then goes back to sleep while everyone else flips the boat in preparation for the next charter.
That evening Anastasia sits Travis down for a talk about his drinking problem. A drinking problem which causes him to slap his friends unintentionally, then complain that people are forcing him to apologize over a joke. I believe we call this ‘Shep Rose Syndrome‘ and it ends with deleting your twitter account because being bombarded with the truth causes an identity crisis.
In Travis’s case, he knows he drinks to alleviate homesickness and to escape insecurity, and he knows that he sometimes makes bad decisions when drunk, but he’s not ready to accept that he’s got a problem, or quit. So although he apologies to Anastasia, and she accepts because they’re friends, don’t expect this hot mess express to run out of booze anytime soon!
Finally, hours before the new charter arrives, Sandy receives a call from the Top Secret Rescue Chef we all know is Ben. Surprise – he’s in France with slabs of Velveeta and cans of tuna! In a race against the clock Sandy calls June to the bridge for a tough heart to heart – one of the toughest Sandy’s ever given – explaining that her position is now redundant so she’s no longer needed.
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Sandy acts like June knew all along she was only a fill-in from the Motor Yacht Temp Agency, but June is shocked. Poor June – just as she was feeling good over her centerpiece success and bonding with the crew and becoming close with Colin. The editors apparently love making June look bad, so foreshadowing!
I was impressed with June for telling Captain Sandy it wasn’t OK to use her, then dump her. Where did that clarity and assertiveness come from? It must’ve been hiding behind June’s invisible curtain. And Anastasia can say all she wants that she was forced to step into the role of chef out of necessity, but she wanted it and eagerly accepted.
I’m with Colin that June shouldn’t be suffering the consequences. Anastasia doesn’t care though – she’s not going to sacrifice her job for principals. Hannah doesn’t care because she doesn’t want to deal with June, June, Hannah. Aesha pretends to care, but her loyalty is to Anastasia.
Only Colin cares. He cares so much that while Anastasia, Hannah, and Aesha are celebrating the return of the Sandy’s Angels, he informs Joao that he’s turning in his Sirocco polos and returning to the land of Ferries and Friendly’s Sundaes, and Mama Macy’s Mac and cheese, in a bed he can roll over in and a download speed high enough to support his voracious appetite for rare show tunes sung in good old American accents.
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Can’t a boy just pine for long, slow Saturday afternoon walks through a Costco sample bonanza? (That is my dream date – who am I kidding!?)
Joao is devastated. Colin is more than a friend – they are the Rats of Zim; men who have stared into the wrath of Hannah’s craziest eyes, come back from the brink of her volcanic cigarette smoke and survived.
Hell, even Jack tries to talk Colin out of it, namely because Jack will then have to do more work to make up the slack, but Colin doesn’t have a passion for floating around the South of France cleaning things (FINALLY someone has this realization!) so we end on a “Colin, Colin Captain Sandy… ” cliffhanger!
Will Colin quit? Will June stay? Is anyone else disappointed that the twist wasn’t Ben being June’s ex-boyfriend and she’s carrying his love child which she plans to name Hot Pocket Pop Tart? Plus if June leaves she takes with her my favorite melody. Say it with me now, for posterity, “June, June Hannah… June, June, Hannah… June, June, Hannah… JUNE! JUNE! JUNE! JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNE!! (That last part was Colin holding a Boom Box over his head, screaming from the dock, ala Say Anything)
TELL US – SHOULD JUNE HAVE BEEN FIRED? DID TRAVIS GO TOO FAR OR WAS EVERYONE OVERREACTING? DO YOU THINK COLIN WILL REALLY QUIT?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]