Bad news, yachties. If you thought Chef Tom Checketts‘ temper tantrum last week was the worst we’d see of him this season, would you believe me if I said it’s about to get worse? Or better, depending on your appreciation for drama in the Below Deck Mediterranean galley. Either way, you’re in for a disappointment. Or is it a treat?
Last week’s episode ended (once again) with Tom mid-fit. Remember? Quick refresher: the final charter of the season was about to start. The high-maintenance mom squad of guests decided to arrive an hour early. Now everyone’s frazzled and rushing. But no one more so than Tom. Because (also once again) there’s a problem with the provisions. Or, the quality of them, rather. Something about too-warm fish being replaced with frozen fish? Considering this recapper originally hails from the (landlocked) Mountain West with a strong aversion to seafood, I’m not the one to be asking about the qualifications of decent halibut.
But needless to say, the chef is livid. And there’s nothing anyone can do but sit back and watch him inevitably reach his boiling point. But that doesn’t stop Malia White or Captain Sandy Yawn from trying. You know, Malia who dragged Tom into this circus aboard The Wellington to begin with. Or Sandy…the captain, whom Tom angrily waves off for trying to solve the problem with the provisioners. Instead, Tom has a full meltdown in the walk-in freezer. Tom accuses Malia of not being on his side. He complains about burning croutons. He has nothing to feed the guests or crew. He’s ready to walk the plank, essentially.
Everyone takes a beat to change into their epaulets for the guests’ arrival, with Sandy pulling Malia into her office for a pep talk. Calling the bosun her “pride and joy” (because favoritism), the captain bans Malia from helping in the galley for the rest of the charter. If Tom has a problem, Tom can help himself. And trust and believe, Tom definitely has a problem. By now, he is full on raging. I mean, stomping around, ready to walk off the boat entirely.
Not even Bugsy Drake helpfully putting the frozen fish in the refrigerator to thaw makes him happy. When Captain Sandy returns to the galley to check on him, the two end up clashing, with Tom showing complete and utter disregard for Sandy’s role as captain. So much so that she storms off, calling an emergency all-crew meeting and muttering that she’s “not one to piss off.”
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However, Sandy‘s big bad blustering turns out to be nothing but crying wolf, emphasis on the crying. Gathering the crew, she does call out Tom by name, but then promptly gets choked up and nearly breaks down in tears. Half-crying, she explains that she just wants everyone to get along and be happy and have everything be sunshine and hard work and big tips on this last charter. Can’t we all just do our best, rah-rah sis-boom-bah? And in a weird way, the pep talk kind of works, mostly because it sucks all the angry energy out of the room and turns it into grade-A awkwardness. The lesson here? Watch out for Sandy — she’ll either cry or call you “secretly gay” behind your back via Cameo…
Once the guests board, Tom still has to rethink his entire menu. Because the halibut is frozen and the galley is a mess and it takes too long to cook lobster. So he opts to serve chicken for lunch instead. But even that he doesn’t have enough time for. Rather than deboning and reconstructing each baby bird like he did a few charters ago, he has to serve — yuck — basic filets. How beneath him. And of course this prompts yet another freakout. (Anyone out there keeping track? Because at this point even I have fully lost count.) But the real gag here is that this gaggle of snobby moms on board actually love the chicken. They rave over it, even though Tom insists he’s “disgusted” with the meal he put out.
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After lunch, it’s time for the guests to play with the water toys, so let’s put Tom on the back burner for a bit, shall we? Let’s focus on happier thoughts, like Alex Radcliffe being promoted to lead deckhand for this last charter! On a side note, the moms quickly peg Alex as “the hot one” among the crew, and like, where’s the lie? I’ve been saying this all season. Plus, Rob Westergaard gets a little too chummy with one charter guest, a mom who does parkour. After she gets stung by a jellyfish, he manages to turn rubbing her with vinegar into flirty banter, and of course Jessica More is eavesdropping. And by that I mean listening with daggers coming out of her eyes.
Cut to dinner, which Sandy decides to start early even though Tom needs 20 more minutes. As the guests get hangrier and hangrier, they start turning on each other, with two of them leaving the table go vent about how terrible the others are. Once again, Tom asks Malia for help with prepping and Bugsy rightly points out via confessional the pressure her pal has put on herself by asking her boyfriend to join the season. It’s put her continually in the middle of Tom and Sandy. It’s distracted her from her duties as bosun. And worst of all, according to Tom, is that it’s made him look bad in front of his girlfriend. Malia assures him that his many meltdowns won’t affect their relationship. But considering Malia made it clear this week that she’s single, I suppose that’s not something Tom has to worry much about anymore.
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The following day is a chance at a new start. Or at least some different drama. Tom manages to cook a breakfast’s worth of veggie omelets — no mushrooms — without blowing his lid. And Bugsy has a fun excursion planned for the guests in the form of a trip ashore to Sóller. She recruits Rob and Aesha Scott to take the mom squad into town. Naturally, the prospect of her boyfriend going off with her secret nemesis positively thrills Jessica. Aesha’s mostly put her head down and done her job this episode, but she’s about to incur the full wrath of Jess. And the worst part is that she doesn’t even know it.
Before they head ashore, the guests ask for a group picture with the two crew members. Don’t worry! It’ll be fun! However, with Jess watching like a hawk from above, Aesha rather innocuously brushes Rob’s butt with her hand as they pose for the photo. Honestly, even with the slo-mo it looked entirely innocent to me. But naturally, the motion sets Jess storming off, swearing up and down and threatening to destroy Aesha if she so much as lays another finger on her boyfriend. But for that, we’ll have to wait until next week!
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TELL US – DO YOU FEEL BAD THAT MALIA’S CAUGHT BETWEEN TOM AND SANDY? DID AESHA GRAB ROB’S BUTT ON PURPOSE? IS ALEX THE HOT ONE IN THE BELOW DECK MEDITERRANEAN CREW?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]