This season of Below Deck is so utterly disappointed I’m actually dreading watching it. The unchecked misogyny is out of control and it’s disgusting the way almost the entire male crew is actively attempting to gaslight most of the female crew. The exception in both these cases seem to be Brian de Saint Pern and Courtney Skippon, who maybe are protected by a bubble of love. Or at least like. Like, that in Courtney’s case, is probably al dente.
After being physically threatened and screamed at by Ashton Pienaar in his drunken “Smashton’ state Kate Chastain has disappeared from the boat. She literally walks off into the night, telling the producers and film crew to fuck off.
I like to imagine production tracked Kate down and put her up in a 5-star hotel, then gave her a bonus a spa treatment. Kate must have felt incredibly afraid and uncomfortable to walk off into the night in a foreign country where she doesn’t speak the language or know anyone outside of the Super Yacht. The only person who is at all concerned and tries to stop her is Rhylee Gerber. And the next morning Rhylee is the only person who actually remembers what happened.
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Kevin Dobson and Tanner Sterback, the other two witnesses to Ashton’s tirade, were so wasted they had no idea how they even got home. Tanner has no memory of kissing Kate, then throwing her to the Smashton by calling her arrogant and Captain Lee‘s pet. Ashton has no memory of anything either, but in his mind believes Kate has provoked him by commenting about his family. It appears to me that if you’re getting blackout drunk on the regular you might have what’s commonly known as an alcohol problem. Also if you are a SUPERVISOR, and you’re getting black-out wasted with your employees, it appears that you’re far too irresponsible to be actually leading anyone. Blind leading the blind here for sure!
OK, being drunk and having someone talk about your family is NO EXCUSE for the way Ashton unloaded on Kate and threatened her aggressively. Disgusting!
After speaking to the deck crew and Kevin, who all support his hazy version of events that Kate talked shit about his family, Ashton goes to Captain Lee to inform him that she’s MIA. Ashton reframes it a mutual argument. Captain Lee is unimpressed, but being that Kate is missing and screening his calls, has no idea what to think. Also there’s a charter coming on board in less than 24 hours!
Kevin is thrilled Kate is absent. He smirks that it just proves how self-absorbed and unprofessional she is. In fact he doesn’t think they need her at all.
Mid-way through the afternoon, just when Simone Mashile is having dreams of a miraculous promotion to Chief Stew where Courtney never leaves the laundry room and is trapped in there (awaiting a rescue from Brian who will save her by using a pasta noodle as a rope), Kate suddenly returns. She swans in wearing last night’s gown, but sporting what appears to be a gorgeous blow-out. Kate acts as if nothing happened and is shocked when Rhylee reports that Ashton has no memory of the night before.
Of course Kate’s next stop is Captain Lee. He is more worried than angry, and still has no idea of the gravity of what occurred (his tweets from last night definitely demonstrate that he wasn’t aware until the episodes aired!)
Instead of ratting Ashton out, Kate acknowledges that they need to work together as team leaders for the sake of the boat. And Ashton – what a real stand-up excellent guy (SARCASM!!)! He decides to “be the bigger person” by apologizing to Kate without expecting an apology in return. Even though he deserves one. So does Ashton feels he was the bigger person because he rage punched the van window instead of Kate?
And of course there is now the in-coming charter. The primary couple is a behavior analyst and an attorney, who will be vacationing with their friends, including a private chef. Also on board is Jamie, the cousin of the male primary, whom he shares a birthday with. Every other person on this boat wants Jamie to be thrown overboard. Maybe she and Ashton can go swim with the fishies? Just don’t expect Rhylee to plan that trip (kidding)!
These guests also have a very bizarre preference sheet. The primaries seem to want very simple food: they request pizza and matzah ball soup. They don’t eat cheese. They want a birthday party with a rainbow cookie. Then of course there is the private chef who upon coming aboard sneers that she will be “watching” Kevin. He is quaking in his boots, but mostly really really irritated at the impudence. I personally thought this woman was a jerk, who was obviously told to amp up the private chef nonsense, but it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jerk than Kevin himself!
Kevin’s food isn’t as fancy as some chefs, like Adrian’s from last season, but most of the guests seem to really enjoy it. Kevin’s weakness is that he can’t actually read the preference sheet and plan accordingly. Like when he serves pizza for the first lunch … And makes every single one WITH cheese, until Kate has to remind him that, you know, some of these people don’t eat cheese.
Kevin is small potatoes compared to the new biggest asshole on board: Jamie. There are not enough rooms for everyone to have their own and Jamie refuses to share with Lauren, because she can’t share a bed with another “grown woman.” Since it is Jamie’s birthday, Lauren graciously agrees to sleep in the common area. Jamie still whines to the primary couple that it’s not fair that she was even expected to share. Lauren, meanwhile, privately vents to the rest of the guests that Jamie is an asshole, and they all agree.
What’s the opposite of Smashton? It’s not Ashton. It’s Flashton. There is a hot girl on board named Mollie, a model, and she apparently has the hots for Ashton. Probably based on the humble and polite guy he appeared to be last season. Mollie immediately jumps into her bikini and proceeds to start flirting with him. Ashton cannot believe his luck — or his lack of luck considering that he’s not allowed to hook up with guests. Or maybe she’s baiting him (let’s hope!)
For their first night dinner, which is also to celebrate the joint birthdays, the guests want a masquerade dinner. With matzah ball soup (which Kevin has never even heard of) and lobster. Kevin knocks it out of the park and the primaries especially seem to love it, but the private chef is unimpressed. She’s even more unimpressed with Jamie who complains that they did not get a birthday cake even though they wanted a birthday cake and were supposed to get a birthday celebration. She goes on and on and tries to convince her cousin to go complain. Kate realizes just in time that there was nothing planned by Kevin.
Kevin’s dessert was gorgeous, but the dude forgot to order birthday candles (this isn’t something they keep on board?!) and then blames Kate for not planning a birthday event! Kate salvages it by bringing out two shots of Absithe, lighting them on fire, and singing happy birthday. Everyone else is excited except Jamie – of course – who complains that her mouth is burning and waaaaaaaaaaaahhhh… The other guests can’t wait to go to bed to escape her.
The next morning is a 6:30 am fishing trip, which Ashton delegates to Rhylee, the professional fisherman. Rhylee is excited, but she’s given approximately 10 minutes to plan. Ashton told her at night as she’s going to bed, and the trip is at the crack of dawn. The next morning Rhylee is preparing the kits and realizes there are no pliers, then when they get out in the water she chooses a spot which turns out is a no fishing zone. Something Ashton realizes when there are no other boats in the area. He calls harbor patrol, or whatever the Thai equivalent is, and is told they need to move.
Later Ashton tattles to Captain Lee, blaming the entire thing on Rhylee for dropping the ball in planning. Ashton also claims they were cited by the patrol, thus upsetting the guests. None of which happened! Kate, who happens to be in the captain’s quarter using the computer to plan something, mentions that there’s not a lot of fishing in Thailand – something Ashton might know if he got on the Googly like she does to accommodate guest requests. Kate calls this exactly what this is: Ashton trying to make himself look better at Rhylee’s expense.
Ashton is, of course, pissed that Kate is once again interfering and showing her arrogant side (oh please) by pointing out the obvious. Maybe Kate is Captain Obvious – Captain Lee‘s second in command?! He thinks Kate needs to butt out while he is talking to his superior, aka let the men handle it. Since they do it so well!
Seriously – how is this Rhylee’s fault? She was given about 6 minutes notice so when was she supposed to research the laws and map out where to lead the boat? Also the guests only wanted to be out there for 1.5 hours, so exactly how much fishing were they supposed to be doing. It seems to me that Ashton, the person who attended the preference sheet meeting and knew right away they wanted to fish (plus is the boson), should’ve either started planning, or let Rhylee know in advance to start organizing the specifics. I think these guests were all just thrilled to have time away from Jamie, because they were all tip-toeing around trying not to wake her up as they left.
Poor Lauren even found time to sneak in a meeting with Captain Lee to ask if something could be done about the room situation. Can’t she sleep in the sick room? Captain Lee gives up his own quarters and works with Simone to strip it completely bare while the guests are out fishing, just so Lauren will have a place to use the bathroom and shower.
Shouldn’t the guests have worked out the room situation in advance? They knew how many bedrooms and how many the boat sleeps — was Jamie a last-minute addition? I do think Lauren is incredibly sweet and is handling this all very politely. It’s Jamie who is the ass. Case in point, she wakes up and everyone is gone, so she sits down at the table to complain that there’s no food magically appearing in front of her.
When the rest of the guests return muffins and other pastries are brought out, then they all order complicated egg things for Kevin to prepare. Kevin is stressed by having to play short-order cook. Even though I think that’s essentially one of the job requirements. I’m also guessing Kevin forgot to order seasoning but since they are at sea he scooped up some salt, because all the guests complain that the eggs are too salty.
After breakfast the chef girl goes to Kevin to mention the salt and also inform him that he might want to fancy up the food. Instead of being agreeable and even remotely polite, Kevin bristles and snaps at her that he is adhering to the preference sheet. Which is true… However, Kevin should still be able to either politely explain this, or at least be willing to pivot to accommodate both the preference sheet and more upscale fare.
I thought the lobsters looked fine, and the dessert was beautiful, but the messy pizzas and the salty eggs – no. I wonder how Kevin is gonna blame this one on Kate? Maybe she should be chaperoning his interactions with the guests? Or playing messenger, intercepting any of their requests to then present to him on a silver platter?
TELL US – SHOULD ASHTON BE FIRED FOR HIS TREATMENT OF KATE? WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE GUYS ON BOARD?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]