Well Below Deck Mediterranean is back, but literally nothing changed. Hannah Ferrier is still obnoxious and a terrible chief stew, Captain Sandy Yawn is overbearing and phony. OK – changed my mind. One thing has changed: Malia White is here again but this time she is a bosun who has no time for the boys. Malia actually didn’t annoy me this episode. So that has also changed.
The crew is setting sail in Mallorca Spain aboard The Wellington, the biggest yacht they’ve ever had, which means we have a 4-person deck crew, two of whom are rejects from Jersey Shore.
Captain Sandy is on my last nerve before Hannah has even stepped onto the boat. She is practically choking on her own words when she claims to truly believe Hannah is a hard worker who wants to do a good job, which is why she hired her back. See, no, this is BS that absolutely no one believes. I hate when reality television so infringes upon actual credible reality – why can’t Sandy just say Bravo made me hire Hannah.
Likewise Hannah pretends she wants to redeem herself and that she’ll work in yachting until she has babies. Hannah is back because Bravo paid her a lot of money. She admits to Malia that she’s dating a guy back in Australia, and that it’s serious. She looks about as happy to be on The Wellington as she would swimming in a pool of beef Wellington using a Croc as a floatee. Also, not to be a jerk, but Hannah is looking old and wizened.
Hannah clearly had no idea Malia was on the crew. After their fractious relationship in season 3, they have avoided each other and Hannah is shocked when Malia rounds the corner and they nearly bump into each other. But better the devil you know… So Hannah decides to bunk with Malia and put the stews in together. With 3 male deckhands the chef, Kiko Lorran, gets stuck with one of them.
Thus far I am adoring Kiko. He’s so cheerful and sweet-natured. Unlike other chefs (ahem, Adam!). However right away it’s hinted that there will be culinary issues. The main one being that Captain Sandy is all over him, and constantly nitpicking the food. She’s like my mother at Thanksgiving – hovering over me while I make the gravy.
Kiko seems to be self-taught. Which will be a problemo because Bravo will make it one. He’s from Brazil and has spent most of his career working on private yachts, aka for real rich people who don’t gripe about every little thing. Hannah instantly decides that she can lord over him, and therefore she likes him.
Sandy’s big thing this season is high-class shi-shi-shi. She is Lisa Vanderpump of the high seas and expects exquisite table settings with white glove service. Unfortunately the only thing The Wellington has to offer in the way of decor is plastic seashells, and … Hannah. Plus a very VERY surly Italian second stew named Lara Flumani. Initially Lara seems great – she has 6 years of stewardessing experience and has worked on a lot of boats. Unfortuently the minute she sits down to review her CV with Hannah and Hannah learns that Lara has previously been a chief stew, Hannah chafes. Hannah is the only one who doesn’t like her. The guys on the deck crew really like her.
Ugh – let’s break down these clowns, shall we. First there is The Situation, err… Pete Hunziker. Pete is into weight lifting and might as well have walked on board wrapped in an American Flag. He’s tacky, abrasive, and is wearing neon reflective sunglasses favored by middle aged dads trying to look pro-style at little league games. Pete is actually a dad, and he’s also a douche. Despite Malia being his boss, he keeps referring to as “sweetheart” and undermining her. Can we quit it with the mysoginist shit on Below Deck already, Bravo? We have beaten that inflatable rubber horse to death. This guy is gross and he’s also slobbering all over Lara. Although Lara definitely does not seem to mind.
The other deckhands are Alex Radcliffe, another American, who also happens to know Jessica More, the other stew, from their previous boat. These two are friends and seem genuinely happy to see each other. I wonder if was a coincidence or an intentionally casting? Rounding out the crew is sexy male model Rob Westergaard. I have actually seen this guy in Vogue, so he is legit. He also seems very down-to-earth and calm.
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Right away Jessica turns her Jessica Rabbit gaze in Rob’s direction and purrs that she could see them getting berry, berry close. Jessica has quite the resume. Although only 2 years in yachting most of her service experience comes from working at Hooters. She was also a real estate agent, a life guard, an assistant librarian, an ice cream impresario who spent 16 months living in an igloo in Iceland perfecting the perfect scoop of chocolate sorbet. Then there was that time she was a roller skating car hop who transitioned that into a stint in the circus as one of the hype clowns. Oh, she was also a belly button model and a professional post-it note tester. Basically Jessica has done everything except make a margarita. Her lack of service training doesning bother Hannah because Jessica has a good attitude – unlike Lara. Therefore Hannah immediately mentally promotes Jessica to second stew and stuffs Lara in the cabins wiping drains.
Didn’t Hannah previously hate a stew or two because they didn’t have service experience? Now she’s all about equality and rounding out her crew by making sure everyone gets their fair turn doing laundry. Now I agree that Lara is a stank-faced handful, and it’s clear that she thinks Hannah is lazy and incompetent from the get-go, but Hannah does less than nothing to try and establish a working relationship. The first argument is a miscommunication over the beer delivery. Lara thought Hannah was asking if she saw it (she didn’t); Hannah thought she was asking Lara if she knew where it was. Of course the problem is that the beer is misplaced and is later located somewhere else entirely by one of the deckhands.
Later Hannah and Lara bicker in the stew meeting over who is responsible for table decor. Lara doesn’t appreciate how uptight Hannah is and Hannah finds Lara’s sarcasm (or is it?) disrespectful. I get it – plastic fish tank accessories make everyone cranky.
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There is less than 24 hours before the crew steps on board and the first charter guests arrive. Sandy warns everyone that their job is not to impress the guests, but impress her. Otherwise people are getting fired. Um, yeah right. Sandy is not firing anyone. Instead she’s going to glad-hand and passive aggressive cozy up to them without ever actually providing any leadership. The first charter guests a brother and sister duo who work together and their friends. The brother owns a lot of nightclubs which apparently entitles him to be an expert on haute cuisine (also yeah right).
The first bit of drama occurs when they’re taking off. Sandy can’t see out the window, Alex throws the wrong line, The Bitchuation leaves his post early and Sandy complains. Malia is mostly calm and for all my complaints about her ego, she’s competent to a fault. She even measures her reaction in how to deal with Pawsy Pete. Malia encourages the crew to treat her like one of the guys, so by that inferred reasoning Pete talks down to all his friends and calls them sweetheart?
There is the predictable struggle to get all the toys out even though no one wants to use 3/4 of them. I swear Sandy gets personal validation from the size of her toy box. She just needs to see it all landed out there, splayed over the water possessively, or something.
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Meanwhile inside Jessica is struggling to make a spicy margarita. Despite the obviously gaping holes in her know-how, Hannah still decides to keep Jessica on dinner service and move Lara into cabins so things are “fair.” Lara sees right through Hannah’s BS, and does not handle this news well. She feels she has earned her exemption from cabins by working her way to 2nd stew. Meanwhile, who is Jessica in this world?
Lara is giving me Italian mobster’s daughter vibes, and I’m curious how this is going to play out. The previews show that Hannah and Jessica are also arguing, so… is Lara going to get Jessica going against Hannah? I am ready for this drama.
Unfortunately for sweet Kiko lunch is a bit of a mess. He is late with plating, leaving the guests sitting at the table starving and cranky. He opens with a traditional Brazilian meal that even Putin’s godson, who owned the previous boat Kiko worked on, loved. However the guests complain that a fish stew was mushy. Well they only complained when Captain Sandy came around and pressured them to find fault. Then she marched right down into the galley to report back to Kiko and test his fish. Sandy apparently thinks she’s hosting Top Chef now. Anyways, Kiko passed with flying colors, but it is no way to build your chef’s confidence by constantly going into the galley to tell him the guests are unhappy. Why doesn’t Sandy stick to steering the boat, and let Hannah attend to service?
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Before dinner service begins Hannah and Lara bicker over the schedule. Lara is extremely unhappy about being sent down to do cabins, and she knows that despite Hannah saying she wants an equitable work force where people switch roles, this is some sort of punishment. Instead of trying to work things out with Hannah, Lara is snarky back.
Dinner doesn’t go much better than lunch. Kiko served fillet mignon that looked lovely, but the primary complained that the steak was dry. It certainly was not, but Captain Sandy immediately whisked it back to the kitchen and had Kiko make another one. The guests do realize they don’t get dinner comped if they complain, right? Also if they want a second steak they can just, you know, ask for one.
This steak, as vetted by Captain Sandy, was perfect. I will say Kiko has a tremendous attitude. He is barely batting an eye at Sandy playing maitre-d, and she really needs to get off his jock. She claims this is some sort of PTSD from last season, but honestly she needs to be focusing more on Hannah who is already losing control of her team in the most juvenile way possible.
After finishing turndowns Lara decides to take her dinner break and while she’s finishing up, Hannah radios. The radio is on the wrong channel so Lara doesn’t hear Hannah direct her to come and clear the table and prep for breakfast. Hannah is forced to come down to the galley in a moment that is eerily reminiscent of June, June Hannah — except not. While June was hapless and ditsy, Lara is calculating and passive-aggressive, but also sly.
Lara doesn’t even acknowledge Hannah when she walks into the crew mess. She just receives the task, then walks away to start doing it. Hannah is furious. She follows Lara up to the table, and demands that Lara respond when spoken to her by her superior. Lara argues that she’s doing what was asked so no words are necessary. Not good enough for Hannah (and really, it is totally insubordinate). Lara also informs Hannah that if she is going to come at her, she will come right back. I think this woman missed her calling as a New Jersey Housewife. Also I think Hannah has finally met her match with this one, because Lara barely bats and eye while Hannah is ruffled as a peacock in heat.
So there we have it, half way through the first charter and Hannah is engaging in arguments with her stews on deck.
TELL US – IS LARA OBNOXIOUS OR IS HANNAH SHOWING POOR LEADERSHIP? ARE YOU HAPPY TO SEE MALIA BACK? IS SANDY BEING TOO HARD ON KIKO?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]