Wow, this week’s Below Deck Mediterranean was hard to watch. I can’t be the only one who felt that way, right? Watching a tearful Chef Kiko Lorran be chewed up and spit out was not only painful but frankly unfair and all kinds of unnecessary. I mean, last week ended with the Brazilian ray of sunshine being summarily fired by Captain Sandy Yawn. In front of the rest of the crew. In the middle of a charter. And then, he was expected to carry on and rise to the occasion for an entire day and a half after being told his food is terrible.
Tonight’s episode picks right back up in the middle of Sandy informing Kiko that he’ll be done once they reach the dock. And honestly, it isn’t any less frustrating to watch the second time around. In her confessional, the captain admits she likes Kiko. (If you don’t, you have a heart of stone.) But she insists that leading a crew isn’t about liking them, it’s about them doing their jobs correctly. But here’s the main issue with Sandy’s leadership style. Yes you have to find capable employees who can execute their responsibilities. But even more importantly, you have to create an environment as a leader where every person on your crew is primed to succeed and be their best selves. And that doesn’t equal micromanaging every single thing they do and constantly criticizing them as you look over their shoulder.
All season long, Sandy has crept around the galley, hemming and hawing and putting pressure on Kiko. She knows he can cook — she even called his food Michelin star-worthy at one point. But instead of letting him shine, she’s constantly second-guessed Kiko and needled every group of charter guests to find some sort of fault with his food. Sure, he doesn’t have a perfect track record (nachos are the albatross around every Below Deck chef’s neck), but what else does she expect when she’s constantly asking the guests, “What do you really think the food? It doesn’t look very good.” Of course guests will search to find fault when the captain repeatedly asks them for critical feedback. But even when they’ve been satisfied, Sandy has come to the kitchen to complain. Kiko was practically set up to fail from the beginning.
However, Vegas night must continue. So while poor Kiko (literally) cries himself to sleep, Alex Radcliffe and Pete Hunziker make a shirtless appearance as the Wellington Chippendales to host a casino night. Only on Below Deck Med would two crew members be forced to dress as strippers to appease the charter guests while openly sobs in his bunk all night. As sad as it was to watch Kiko fall to pieces, you have to admit the juxtaposition was kind of a masterclass in editing. Bravo, Bravo and 51 Minds.
Meanwhile, Hannah Ferrier is also starting to unravel. The chief stew feels partly responsible for Kiko‘s epic failure, especially considering she suggested the Vegas theme and guided him through planning the ill-advised menu. Plus, Kiko is her only real friend on board, making his firing personal. First she storms out of the galley to collect herself, declaring she “f**king hates this f**king job” to no one but the deep, dark sea (and Bravo’s cameras). Then, she wakes up in the middle of the night in the midst of a full-fledged panic attack. The commotion is so loud that it even wakes Malia White, who confusedly asks what she can do to help. Through shaking breaths, Hannah says she needs a Valium to help herself calm down, to which a groggy Malia asks, “Isn’t that a prescription?” Hmm…pay attention to that throwaway, it may turn out to be important…
The next morning, Kiko is feeling understandably defeated. In the famous words of another Bravo show, he’s ready to pack his knives and go. Rather than make a breakfast that will surely be torn apart by Sandy, Kiko opts to crawl back in his bunk, leaving Bugsy Drake and Jessica More floundering over what to do. Eventually, it takes some coaxing from Sandy to get the chef back in the galley, with some hollow talk about “cooking your food.”
Rather than make her pal suffer through lunch, Hannah organizes an excursion into Mallorca for the guests, led by Jess and Rob Westergaard. The day trip is the perfect excuse for the budding couple to take their boat-mance ashore. The charter guests even give them a couple nickname: JOB. (As the third stew points out via confessional, the nickname makes this the first “job” she’s ever really enjoyed. And do you blame her? Rob is dreamy.) Less dreamy and more cringe-y is Rob deciding to drop the “I love you” bomb on Jessica during the day date. Umm…what? Haven’t they known each other for like two weeks? Understandably, Jess is freaked out by the admission and doesn’t know how to respond. So instead, she does the totally rational thing and says…absolutely nothing.
Back on the boat, the guests have requested a ’90s-themed party for their final dinner. For some reason this involves Malia delivering her attempt at rapping about various crew duties and Sandy captaining the boat. In good news, though, Kiko knocks his final dinner out of the park. So much so, in fact, that the guests give him a cheering ovation over his food. Take that, Sandy. Seems like the fried Vegas debacle from the night before has officially been redeemed. Even if she did send Creepy Pete ashore for pizza to keep Kiko from making dinner for the crew.
The last morning of the four-day charter finally arrives, and the guests are devastated to leave. As the crew lines up to wave them off the boat, the co-primary literally almost cries. Via confessional, Hannah points out that the guests have no idea that one of the crew members they love so much got fired in the middle of service. With the charter over, Malia is thrilled that her boyfriend is finally coming to visit. And guess what? He’s a yacht chef. Captain Sandy‘s interest is obviously piqued when she learns this, and not-so-subtly asks the bosun to send her boyfriend’s C.V. over. Hmm…does this seem like suspiciously convenient timing to anyone else? What are the chances Malia’s boyfriend becomes the chef for the rest of the season?
Rather than stick around for the tip meeting, Kiko packs his bags and is beyond ready to get off this boat. And honestly, I can’t blame him. It’s worth noting that Kiko seems to say his goodbyes to everyone on board other than Sandy. He shares a sweet dockside chat with an emotional Hannah, who is inconsolable that her single ally in the crew is leaving. Hannah promises to keep Kiko’s share of the tip for him, and with that our ray of Brazilian sunshine waltzes down the dock, free of micromanaging and ready to shine for someone who will appreciate him.
TELL US — ARE YOU SAD TO SEE KIKO LEAVE THE WELLINGTON? DO YOU THINK HE DESERVED TO BE FIRED? WILL MALIA’S BOYFRIEND REPLACE HIM?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]