Is anyone out there starting to feel like this season of Below Deck is perpetually stuck in first gear? For the first couple episodes, I chalked it up to a new crew. After all, we didn’t have Kate Chastain as our fearless leader to get things going. Plus, Captain Lee Rosbach spent almost the entire first episode in the hospital. For the first time, our real fearless leader arrived on My Seanna hobbling and, well, fragile. As a result, everything felt hesitant and uncertain. But at a certain point, you expect everyone to get their sea legs under them and get the show moving. Right?
However, that hasn’t really happened yet. As a result, we’re five episodes deep into the season, and everyone’s insecurities are running rampant on this boat. Captain Lee may be recovering, but the only crew member who really jumped in and dealt with her insecurity was Izzy Wouters. And look at her now! All it took was a change from interior to deck crew and she’s thriving on board. Most of the others? Not so much…
Shane Coopersmith is in hot water. It may be a turnaround day on the boat, but it’s not a good look to take a nap in the middle of your shift. It’s even worse when you’re sharing a room with Eddie Lucas and he catches you. The bosun is about at the end of his rope when it comes to Sunshine. And when he finally wakes up from his nap at 6:22 p.m., Eddie punishes the junior deckhand by making him clean the yacht’s waterline. (This is also known as “the job no one on the deck crew wants to do.”) But Sunshine should buckle in for a long ride because Eddie’s far from done cracking the whip.
James Hough, meanwhile, shows a very different side to himself this week. He may not be having fun so far, but it turns out the British playboy’s real insecurity is body image issues. Growing up as the youngest of three brothers, it seems jabs about physical appearance were conversation de rigueur in the Hough household, and that stuck with James. On land, he has a strict and rigorous gym habit, but being on the boat, he’s obviously not getting as much time to exercise. And it’s starting to bother him. Over the course of the hour, he makes loaded remarks about his shrinking waist and his expanding stomach. He complains that his arms are getting smaller. He also admits that when he’s not working out five to six days a week, he beats himself up inside.
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Therefore, James spends the entirety of the episode frantically working out. Since the charter hasn’t begun, he takes full advantage of the yacht as his personal gym. We see him jumping rope on the aft deck. He takes over his room with Izzy to do crunches. Basically, he’s using every spare moment to fight the demon inside his head that says his body doesn’t look good enough. We also see the poor guy continually take heaving lines to the face and binge on toast covered in chocolate syrup, so clearly he’s really going through it.
Elizabeth Frankini‘s insecurities lie in her simmering drama with Francesca Rubi. Since the first charter, things have slowly begun to sour between the second stew and her boss. And it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting better any time soon. Francesca thinks Elizabeth is too messy and disorganized. Elizabeth thinks Francesca is passive-aggressive and gives off bad energy. And remember, the second stew is all about good energy. But here’s the thing: from an outside perspective, Elizabeth actually seems good at her job? She’s a creative bartender and from what I’ve seen, the guests always seem happy with her on service. So maybe it’s just that Francesca wants Elizabeth to be a little clone of her and can’t handle their differences.
It certainly doesn’t help that the dynamic has shifted since Ashling Lorger came on board. Which is nothing against the third stew; she’s lovely and seems great at her job. But it was easier for Elizabeth to stand out as second stew material when she was being compared to Izzy. Now she’s being relegated to cabin duty while Ashling gets to set up for the guests’ beach picnic. Of course Francesca loves Ashling’s table setting so much that she stops to take a picture of it. But Ashling insists she wants nothing to do with the tension between her co-workers and is happy to sit the fence on this one.
Sunshine Shane is insecure about his job security. Following his ill-timed nap, Eddie spends the rest of the episode riding the green stew hard. He’s terse. He’s demanding. And he’s sometimes a little sarcastic, which we’ve learned Shane doesn’t appreciate. But the pressure is high that the stew retreats to his room to journal and reflect on how things have gone so wrong. See, Sunshine is one of those naturally gifted kids who generally excelled at everything in life up until this point. He’s apparently never really been bad at something, so this is new territory for him. But sorry Sunshine, getting straight As in high school doesn’t automatically mean you’re a great yachtie.
RELATED: Below Deck Star Captain Lee Rosbach Says Shane Coopersmith Needs To Get A Sense Of Humor And It Amazes Him That Shane Wastes His Potential
As the third charter kicks off, Shane bends over backward to show initiative and be at Eddie‘s beck and call. (It doesn’t hurt that Izzy pulled the kid aside to give him a much-needed warning that his job was on the line. Otherwise, something tells me Shane would’ve kind of been oblivious.) Eddie snaps that it would’ve been better to help, you know, during the work day instead of napping. But the deckhand made his bed and now he has to lie in it.
As further punishment, Eddie puts Sunshine on the latest shift. And what does he do but forget to close the laz door before going t0 bed. Apparently, this is a big no-no akin to leaving the garage door open all night. Which I get. But what are they worried about exactly? Actual pirates boarding the boat through the laz in the middle of the night? Like, actual pirates of the Caribbean? I mean, couldn’t they just board the boat if they wanted to? But either way, it’s another red mark in the long list of strikes against Shane.
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Chef Rachel Hargrove doesn’t really have much to be insecure about. Her food has been great, if unappreciated, so far this season. Captain Lee loves her. And this next set of charter guests claim to have more refined palates than, say, a bunch of twenty-something rich kids asking for a never-ending supply of Jell-O shots. So things are finally looking up for Rachel this charter.
However, even the chef’s self-doubt creeps in when the primary eats virtually none of her food for the first two days of the charter. First, he asks if the hand-marinated crab she serves for lunch is canned. (Canned crab? On a mega-yacht? As if.) Then, during dinner, he abruptly goes to bed before the main course is served. I’m pretty positive he eats at the beach picnic the next day — his 50th birthday — but I’d honestly have to go back and look for specific footage of him placing food in his mouth.
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Needless to say, it’s got Rachel on edge and second guessing herself. Even though all the other guests seem to love her food. Then, a major problem happens. For his 50th birthday dinner, the primary specifically requested one thing: Petrossian beluga caviar. However, when Rachel heads to the fridge, she realizes that what appeared to be the luxe caviar when provisions arrived is actually just cheap salmon roe. And just like that, a switch flips and we see the raging chef come out of Rachel. She’s swearing up a storm, elbow deep in cold storage, but there’s no caviar on board. Shane even ducks his head in the galley to help, but she threatens to kill someone and reading the room, he slowly backs away. Good call, Sunshine, but we’ll have to wait until next week to see how this caviar emergency pans out.
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TELL US — WERE YOU SURPRISED TO LEARN OF JAMES’ BODY IMAGE ISSUES? ARE YOU TEAM ELIZABETH OR TEAM FRANCESCA? IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL FOR SHANE TO BE FIRED SOON?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]