“I haven’t even seen tonight’s episode and I’m already angry about it.” That was the tweet that popped up on my timeline before I sat down to watch the latest Below Deck Mediterranean. Or something like that. After having now sat through a grueling 75 minutes, I can confirm that viewer’s harbinger of things to come was accurate. Remember when this season was supposed to be about girl power? Women supporting women? How cool it is to have the first all-female leadership team in franchise history? Yeah, that’s officially a pipe dream.
Tonight was the episode every Below Deck Med fan has been waiting all season to see. We knew going into the premiere that Hannah Ferrier didn’t make it through the charter season. That she left sometime in the middle of filming. Did she quit? Was she fired? All fans knew was that the chief stew was now glowing and pregnant. And that she’d given up her career in yachting (and on Bravo) to give a life on land a try with her boyfriend and daughter-to-be.
By last week’s episode, the reason for Hannah‘s exit became ominously clear. It all came down to Malia White reporting her Valium prescription to Captain Sandy Yawn. Yet knowing where the story was headed after last week’s cliffhanger didn’t make it any less painful to watch the dramatic exit play out. Sandy called Hannah into a meeting with the first mate and confronted her with “It’s come to my attention that you have drugs on board.” And then, rather than actually talk through anything, Captain Sandy preemptively fires Hannah with the excuse that she “doesn’t feel safe” going out to sea with the chief stew she’s worked with for four seasons.
RELATED: Hannah Ferrier Calls Malia White A “Snake” For Waiting Until They Argued To Report Her Prescription Medication To Captain Sandy Yawn On Below Deck Mediterranean
It’s abundantly clear Sandy doesn’t trust Hannah. She even races down to the crew cabins and barges in on Hannah with her pants unbuttoned in the bathroom after asking the stew to go retrieve her prescription. You know, just to make sure she wasn’t “flushing any evidence” down the toilet. It’s all just gross and before we know it, Hannah is off the boat, waiting for Rob Westergaard to retrieve her suitcases.
As she paces up and down the dock — on the phone with her boyfriend — Sandy actually has the audacity to chase Hannah down on camera for an attempt at some kind of heart to heart. The captain says she feels bad, but her hands are tied. (Not really true.) Hannah maintains Sandy was just looking for a reason to fire her and doesn’t care about her at all. (Probably definitely true.) And with that, Hannah’s five-year journey leading us through the world of yachting in the Mediterranean is over. Well, after a sweet package looking back at her best and worst moments on the show. But still, in the middle of the Below Deck Mediterranean episode.
Now, yes, there are a lot of technicalities at play here about maritime law and proper protocol and the boat being seized by the port authorities. “Maritime law” is the thing Sandy and Malia both keep going back to again and again. It’s how they justify Hannah’s firing in every interview and on the new Below Deck Mediterranean After Show. However, the issue for fans is how this whole ordeal played out. Yes, Hannah should have registered her prescribed anxiety medication. But not doing so isn’t grounds for automatic dismissal. Malia even said so last week on Watch What Happens Live.
RELATED: Below Deck Mediterranean Star Jessica Moore Says “You Can STILL DO YOUR JOB SAFELY AND Take Your Prescribed Medications”
It’s up to the captain to choose how to handle the situation. And if you want to see a better way, just look back at how Captain Lee Rosbach dealt with a similar incident with Kat Held on the very first season of Below Deck. (Hannah’s former third stew-turned-chef Anastasia Surmava even shared the clip on Twitter during episode.)
And just like that, we’re expected to move forward with the next charter. Because of course, time and tide wait for no man in the world of luxury yachting. But we’re left with a huge absence in the show. And frankly, the rest of the crew is left with more questions than answers. (Besides Malia, who somehow managed to look Hannah right in the face and feign innocence. All while knowing full well she was the one who turned her in.)
But the thing is that Below Deck Mediterranean can’t just go on without Hannah and not have that absence felt. With a rotating crew every season, the Below Deck franchise has a different casting philosophy than, say, the Real Housewives, or Southern Charm, or Vanderpump Rules, or really any other show on Bravo.
RELATED: Below Deck Alum Adrienne Gang Slams Malia White As “Extremely Self-Absorbed”; Says Captain Sandy Yawn Is “Petty” And “Manipulative” For More Air Time
Hannah was one of two constant, reliable faces in the world of Below Deck Med. And she’d been around even longer than Captain Sandy, who was cast for Season 2. As chief stew, Hannah was the only OG who had been there from the very beginning. She built this ship we’ve been sailing on for the past half-decade. And now? She’s been abruptly booted with less respect than possibly any other talent in the history of Bravo. (Yes, I’ll say it, even Vicki Gunvalson or Lisa Vanderpump or Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute.) It’s just really disgraceful and wrong. And again, it could’ve been handled so much better if Sandy had just practiced real empathy and trusted her chief stew the way she claims to.
So does it matter that Bugsy Drake was finally elevated to the role of chief stew, making all her reality TV dreams come true? Only if you’re invested in the back half of the season with no Hannah. Does it matter that we have eight more episodes to go, making this the longest season in Below Deck history? Without Hannah, it sure feels like a lot.
Does it matter that the new charter guests seem even more high maintenance than usual? Or that they smuggled the world’s largest sex toy onboard? Not without Hannah to react to the madness with her signature world-weary eye-rolling and sardonic sass. Does it matter that Sandy openly admitted she didn’t even bother tasting Malia‘s boyfriend’s food before handing him the keys to the galley? Actually yes, that’s shocking for a captain known for being the world’s biggest micromanager of all time.
RELATED: Below Deck Mediterranean Star Malia White Continues To Defend Reporting Hannah Ferrier For Taking Prescription Medication
As the episode draws a close, Chef Tom Checketts, who seems otherwise lovely, starts feeling the strain of the job after numerous plates are sent back during dinner service. (Remember what I said about the new charter guests being ultra-high maintenance?) Dragging Malia into the walk-in freezer, he admits he has too much self-respect for this. He knows he’s good at his job and doesn’t have to prove it, he whispers. It’s only been one day and he already regrets taking this gig.
Tom‘s angry diatribe made me wonder if Hannah regrets taking the job five years ago. It’s safe to say she certainly never expected to go out like this. Nor did the fans expect to lose her from the show so suddenly. In the broader picture, 2020 has been a bizarre, unprecedented year in literally every way. And while it provides escapism from the very real challenges of the world for fans, the Bravoverse has not been immune from the year’s radical upheaval. OGs in nearly every city have walked away (or been fired from) Housewives. Reunions have been forced to film virtually. Production on shows across the network is just now starting to pick up in a post-pandemic world.
And in one fell swoop, we’ve lost both Kate Chastain and Hannah Ferrier — the dual anchors of the Below Deck franchise. With both shows adrift on the open sea, the only question to ask is what could possibly come next?
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TELL US – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HANNAH BEING FIRED? WILL YOU MISS HER ON BELOW DECK MEDITERRANEAN? SHOULD CAPTAIN SANDY HAVE HANDLED THE SITUATION DIFFERENTLY?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]