This season of Below Deck is toxic in the extreme. Every single episode is like Game Of Thrones — with shammies and champagne. I need Xanax to even get through an episode of trying to figure out who’s the double-agent villain or the actual heroine.
I love Kate Chastain, and I cannot imagine enduring what’s happening on that boat with such a stiff upper lip, let alone rising above it, but I think we can all agree it was out of line for Kate to repeat to Rhylee Gerber that Ashton Pienaar blamed her for the fishing episode. Should Kate have spoken to Captain Lee Rosbach to disavow Ashton’s claims? Absolutely, but sharing it with Rhylee directly, when the situation is already so irascible, smacked of Kate wanting to enact some revenge. Ashton deserved it, but the fall guy (or girl) here is now Rhylee.
So Kevin Dobson has an inferiority complex as massive as his bald spot. After a breakfast of overly salty eggs, Kevin is the most overly salty egg on board! Charter guest Justine came to him “chef to chef” to ask him to “step it up” for dinner. Kevin bristled with rage at being confronted. I’m not sure if Kevin has an issue with women, or with authority? He surely doesn’t respect the women on board (although he now seems to be able to work fairly well with Simone Mashile and Courtney Skippon, unless looks are deceiving?), but Kevin has also been openly dismissive of his BOSS questioning him.
Kevin’s biggest problem seems to be that he’s disorganized. Like he almost puts cream cheese in the sushi for lunch until Courtney reminds him (again) that some of the guests are dairy-free. KEVIN – THE PREFERENCE SHEET IS HANGING ON THE WALL. Thank god this guy didn’t go into the medical profession!
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To be fair, Justine had no business saying anything to Kevin about the food given that the primaries were so happy with the fare (and even mentioned it in the tip hand-off), but the way Kevin responded to even the slightest pushback was deplorable. Also, Justine was right: that breakfast was a total M-E-S-S.
Meanwhile, Rhylee is once again butting heads with the deck crew. After the disastrous fishing expedition (which I blame on Ashton) Rhylee learns from Kate that Ashton went to Captain Lee, embellished the story to claim the authorities found their boat fishing in illegal waters thus upsetting the guests, and now Brian de Saint Pern is barely speaking to her while they’re setting up the infamous toys, aka the deck crew rage traps.
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Brian just wants to avoid another situation with Rhylee, who is turning everything into an argument. I really like the relationships Rhylee seems to have with the women on board, and she is definitely a hard worker, but she 100% has issues with men and or authority. She’s like Kevin, but in reverse. Rhylee misinterprets every single redirection or suggestion as a criticism. She is the lowest person on the pecking order so she needs to suck it up to a degree! I don’t know if the the guys are outright ignoring her suggestions, but it certainly seems like Rhylee can be very impossible to work with. Like when Ashton was trying to teach her knots last episode and she freaked out about being singled out — even though Tanner Sterback was also being taught the same knots.
The larger problem is that Rhylee knows Ashton doesn’t like her. Maybe with good reason? Rhylee also knows Ashton doesn’t want her on his crew (with good reason?), but instead of handling this like a leader, Ashton has cultivated a culture of us vs. Rhylee among the deck crew. He should not, under any circumstances, be engaging in complaining about her with other crew members. He should not be allowing Brian to vent about not wanting to work with her. Instead, Ashton should be reaching out to Captain Lee to see about arranging a team-wide meeting to get to the bottom of their communication problems.
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One person who is finally having some success is Simone. It seems that without a crush on Tanner to distract her, Simone can actually be decent at her job. The guests love her, she seems more confident with service, and Kate rewards her by having Simone assist on the beach picnic. This is a coveted prize in yachting, which is all you need to know about how grueling and thankless the job is. Yachting is like motherhood but you can’t drink wine whenever you need to cope, and you’re raising forever babies. Like Jamie, the guest who refused to share a room, thus necessitating that Captain Lee gave up his own quarters to accommodate a bed-less guest.
Courtney and Brian also appear to be doing rather well. Brian even mentions the cursed ‘Where will this go after the season ends?’ question. Which you know means in heartache and with a secret girlfriend being unearthed from Thotland on the isle of Instagram.
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Taking a break from his issues with Rhylee and Kate, Ashton indulges charter guest Molly, a former America’s Next Top Model winner, in an impromptu photoshoot. I don’t remember watching the Molly season of AMTM, but if she finds Ashton hot she’s crazier than Tyra in a smize-frenzy during the post-makeover photoshoots. Just yuck!
Following the beach party success (the high point of the episode), Kevin does indeed step it way up for dinner! Even Captain Lee is impressed. Horrid room thief Jamie almost missed dinner since no one – including her own cousin – cared enough to go knock on her door and wake her up.
While the guests are eating, Rhylee asks to speak to Ashton about what was said regarding the fishing expedition. She instantly reveals that she heard from Kate that she was blamed. This sets the tone for a conversation that goes from two people tensely speaking, to all-out yelling about respecting authority in about 30 seconds.
Ashton’s dislike of Rhylee is palpable and he hisses that he’s “tolerating” her, while pointing aggressively at her. Ashton also suggests that Rhylee “look within herself” to find out why she can’t get along with others. Um, might Ashton want to take his own advice??
Rhylee snaps that Ashton needs to stop pointing in her face (agreed – that is not how a boss addresses his employee!) so he rudely dismisses her from the conversation. Ashton needs to have that finger of rage cut right off!
As Kate will later say they are both at fault, but as bosun Ashton is the more responsible party. Ashton can’t manage Rhylee because he doesn’t want to. He went into that conversation annoyed and disinterested, and I think she was truly trying to keep calm and collected. Of course she doesn’t necessarily want to be managed. She wants more instruction, then bristles at getting that instruction. Rhylee also seems in denial that she is 3rd deckhand.
After speaking with Brian about his own argument with Rhylee, Ashton’s mind is made up that he would rather have one less deckhand than deal with her constant negativity.
The next morning, following another win with breakfast, Justine comes into the galley to apologize and thank Kevin, but he refuses to even look at her! Courtney reminds him that he’s spiraling into a pool of self-doubt and nobody likes a collapsed soufflé! Kevin is just plain rude, but he also needs one of those online shrinks I hear advertised on podcasts. Kevin ‘just breathe — it’s OK for people to ask you a question about steak…
Not a moment after the guests said goodbye, Ashton is requesting to speak with Captain Lee in his temporary quarters which resemble my living room after a Target shopping spree: bags of stuff everywhere and me digging through them surprised at what I find. Captain Lee is literally putting his cup of coffee on the couch, so his mood is shall we say, more negative than Rhylee’s. Ergo not the time for Ashton to come blazing in announcing that the entire crew hates Rhylee, so he wants to fire her and finish the remainder of the season one person down. Captain Lee is shocked given that they have SIX DAYS, or two charters left, but agrees to consider Ashton’s recommendation.
Captain Lee then calls Brian and Tanner into his office situation to get their perspective. They are both more than willing to throw Rhylee right under the anchor and call her toxic to the morale of the team. I believe Tanner compares her to “a cancer.” Then Lee requests an audience with Kate, who tells him she finds Rhylee lovely (and in fact would rather work with her than Simone), but Captain Lee knows Rhylee’s issues with authority and mentions that she takes no accountability for the issues she’s having on board. Again. I wonder if it would be different if Rhylee were working with a female superior?
Later as Kate is ironing away, Ashton confronts her about repeating private conversations to Rhylee. Kate feels no remorse for telling Rhylee what was being said in the so-called confidence of the leadership department. Ashton is furious, but is trying to act like he’s this rational person, totally in the right, and questions Kate about why she felt it was her place to meddle in the way he manages his team. Kate’s answer is simple: She doesn’t think Ashton can manage his team effectively. Touche!
I love (sarcasm!) Ashton’s revisionist history in pretending he has no idea why Kate has such an issue with him, and acting like her attitude – just like Rhylee’s – is the problem. Yet the second Kate is out of earshot Ashton calls her a “f–king bitch.”
Finally, Lee calls Rhylee into his office area to inform her that there is a situation, but he hasn’t made a decision about her fate just yet. With less than a week to go, you’d think Ashton could just suck it up? Also after the way he behaved towards Kate, should Ashton really be questioning anyone else’s behavior. If only Captain Lee knew…
TELL US – SHOULD RHYLEE BE FIRED?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]