Is there anything more obnoxious than a bunch of drunk, entitled college kids? Oh wait, I can think of one thing. A bunch of drunk, entitled college kids…on a yacht. In the Caribbean. Unsupervised. I honestly can’t decide what I’d rather put up with for a charter: these spoiled children or the first group of equally terrible adults. Seriously, whoever’s casting the charter guests for this season is really putting the Below Deck crew through it.
And is it me, or is the season just not…gelling yet? We’re already on the fourth episode, second charter, and something just hasn’t come together yet. We’re also on the fourth episode, second charter and nearly half the crew has broken down in tears already. I mean, is the spirit of Kate Chastain haunting My Seanna? Was the looming threat of the coronavirus ruining the vibes in the Caribbean long before the pandemic shut down production on Bravo shows across the board? I simply can’t put my finger on what’s happening with the vibe of this post-Kate season.
Last week’s episode ended suddenly with poor Ashling Lorger breaking down in tears. The new third stew had just barely arrived. And after getting thrown into the deep end, she’s already pushed to the edge. Can you really blame her though? Ashling showed up at the last second, flying straight from Miami to the Caribbean. (Though it’s unclear how that took 30 hours of flying…) In the process, the airline lost the poor girl’s luggage.
So here she is, at a brand new job, with the added pressure of Bravo’s cameras in her face. On top of that, she’s jet-lagged. And she’s missing all of clothes. The girl doesn’t even have any underwear and she’s sobbing in front of her boss. Thankfully, Francesca Rubi is nothing but kind and empathetic. After all, it was only a couple of episodes ago that she was bawling in front of Captain Lee Rosbach.
Eddie Lucas is also struggling with his fledgling deck team. They’re inexperienced, underwhelming and, even with the addition of Izzy Wouters, simply not cutting it. Case in point: James Hough is on the late shift. And instead of thoroughly cleaning the bridge deck aft after dinner, he lets himself get charmed by a charter guest’s boyfriend telling him he looks like Tom Hardy.
Personally, I don’t see the resemblance, but if anyone says you look like Tom Hardy, it’s a compliment worth taking. However, by the next morning, the deck is still a disaster and Eddie is furious. But instead of motivating, the bosun’s rage just makes the junior deckhand feel alienated, all because he didn’t look under the dining table.
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After a breakfast of lobster Benedict by Chef Rachel Hargrove that surely went over the floating frat party’s heads, the charter guests decide they’d rather have mac and cheese balls…in the jacuzzi. Like any good stew, Elizabeth Frankini immediately says yes before checking to see if Rachel even has the right ingredients on board. (Spoiler alert: there’s no macaroni.)
While the chef improvises, Elizabeth gets scolded by Francesca for not communicating with her. And now the second stew is starting to doubt her tentative promotion. It can’t be fun to feel like you’re walking on egg shells all the time, under constant threat of getting your epaulets taken away.
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For lunch, the crew is tasked with setting up for their very first proper beach picnic of the season. And it…does not exactly go well. At the outset, Captain Lee was clear: he wanted everything brought to the beach in one tender run if possible. Well, guess how many tender runs it takes to pull off this beach picnic. Certainly not one. Not two or three. Seven. Seven runs between My Seanna and the beach. All with Captain Lee watching and the hungry college kids complaining.
And most of the screw-ups seem to be Elizabeth‘s fault. She’s the one, after all, who forgot sunscreen for the guests (that was tender run no. 4). And then forgot shot glasses and tequila (no. 5). By the end of the picnic, Francesca is fully questioning her second stew’s initiative and abilities. Anticipating basic guest needs shouldn’t be this hard, should it?
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After his seventh tender ride, Captain Lee asks Eddie to come to the bridge for a private meeting. There, the captain asks his trusted bosun what he thinks of the team. Eddie surmises that Francesca‘s having to shoulder most of the responsibility for the interior. But balls are being dropped left and right. And furthermore, he can’t keep functioning with this kind of hapless deck team. We’re only two charters into the season, but eventually something is going to have to give. Otherwise, major problems will only go from bad to worse down the road. As Lee wisely points out, most everyone on the crew has yachting experience. So they know better, they’re just not doing it.
On the last morning, the college kids finally disembark after a breakfast of duck confit and waffles. Do they even appreciate Rachel‘s elevated take on chicken and waffles? Or her lobster barbecue from the night before? Probably not. The primary — either Dax or Max, but who can tell the difference? — can’t resist getting in one final complaint about having to wait for the beach picnic.
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And then he has the audacity to tip a measly $1,000 per crew member. But would you expect anything more from a self-involved twenty-something frivolously spending his parents’ money? He’s certainly not thinking of all the work the crew just put in for the past few days. He’s rather spend the money on another butt tattoo when he loses his next fantasy football league.
During the tip meeting, Captain Lee is characteristically frank that everyone needs to step up their game. He sees Eddie and Francesca doing the majority of the work on their teams and he’s not OK with it. (While they don’t address it in the meeting, the two managers main complaints are Elizabeth and Shane Coopersmith.) So the message is clear: shape up or ship out. Which translates to my money being on more people getting fired before the charter season is up. Or even halfway through, really. This terrifying possibility, of course, is met with complete, stunned silence. Because no one is about to complain after getting a warning from the Stud of the Sea.
But hey, at least Ashling‘s luggage finally shows up while the crew washes the boat down?
Finally, it’s time for the crew’s next night out, and it seems they go to dinner at the exact same place they did last time. James is once again ready to party, but Shane would rather go over anchor vocab with Eddie during dinner. Plus, virtually everyone seems to have an impossible time understanding James’ British accent the more drunk they get, and it leaves the deckhand feeling totally isolated. Back on the boat, he even vents to Elizabeth that this whole yachting adventure is feeling a lot like boring work. He’s not relating to anyone on the crew. He’s not having fun. James is ready to quit. Just like he did after two weeks at university.
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However, the next morning, James gets a much-needed pep talk from his mom and is suddenly in a better headspace. Never mind about the quitting, captain! Meanwhile, the rest of the crew is busy prepping for the next charter. Rachel even busts out her old ROTC training to teach Elizabeth how to properly iron. (Like the second stew said, I never would’ve guessed the chef was an ROTC kid, but after knowing that tidbit of information, it actually makes perfect sense.)
The one person not working is Sunshine Shane, who decides to take a mid-day nap. To be fair, James said he didn’t need the kid’s help. But naturally, Eddie walks in on his most inexperienced deckhand sleeping in the middle of a shift and is visibly fuming. Looks like there’s going to be hell to pay for sweet Sunshine next week…
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TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TENSION BREWING BETWEEN FRANCESCA AND ELIZABETH? WILL JAMES EVENTUALLY QUIT BELOW DECK? WILL EDDIE HAVE SHANE’S HEAD FOR NAPPING?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]