What’s the most dire way to kick off a charter? Oh, I’d say without a deckhand. Or better yet, without a chef! And that’s exactly the predicament the Below Deck gang finds themselves in following Shane Coopersmith‘s firing and Rachel Hargrove walking off the boat. One of those exits was entirely expected. The other was absolutely not. But either way, they both leave Captain Lee Rosbach down two crew members and scrambling just hours before the season’s fourth charter.
For obvious reasons, this is a terrible position to be stuck in. Because, sure, you may be able to get through a single charter with one less deckhand. But there’s no way any yacht survives without a chef. Who’s going to make the food? Unlike other seasons in the Below Deck universe, there’s no stew-turned-secret chef to miraculously step up and save the day. And the morning of the charter, Lee can’t even seem to get the yacht staffing agency on the line for help.
Thankfully, one of the problems is solved with the arrival of Rob Phillips, the new deckhand. Eddie Lucas is relieved to discover the broody new yachtie has plenty of experience, mostly on sailing boats. Most of the women on board are thrilled to have a new piece of eye candy to ogle…and perhaps coax into a boatmance. For his part, Rob describes himself as some sort of real-life Indiana Jones wannabe. Meaning he hunts for gold as a geologist and does yachting in the off-season to make extra money. (Is there any off-season for gold-hunting? Anyone?)
RELATED: Below Deck Star Elizabeth Frankini “Felt A Lot Of Condescending Animosity” From Francesca Rubi
Then, just two-and-a-half before guest pickup, who comes crawling back to the boat but Chef Rachel. It seems after a good night’s sleep, she’s had a change of heart. Or at least seen her bizarre tantrum for what it is in the stark light of day. She blames it on being freaked out about coronavirus locking down her boyfriend in Italy. Maybe she just realized she was willfully tossing away an opportunity at reality TV stardom. But for whatever reason, Rachel’s back to beg Captain Lee for her job. The Stud of the Sea points out that, in literally any other circumstance, the answer would be a big, fat “suck it up buttercup and get off my boat.”
But in this situation, Lee doesn’t have many other options. He could cancel the entire charter. Offer the high-maintenance charter guests who flew all the way to Antigua a refund. Lose out on the crew’s tip. Cause a huge problem for production. Or he could just let Rachel grovel and get the chef back on board My Seanna. And let’s face it, we all knew Rachel was coming back, right? Especially after Kate Chastain‘s recent revelation that she used to spontaneously quit all the time when they worked together back in the day. Francesca Rubi is happy that Rachel’s back, but vows to keep things strictly professional now that she’s been burned by her pal. And Eddie doesn’t think Rachel deserves her job back at all. A bosun always remembers…
With the staffing voids filled, the crew welcomes the new group of charter guests aboard. And the preference sheet didn’t do this gaggle of gays justice. Izzy Wouters describes them as a bunch of gay teddy bears, but the primary waltzes onto the yacht as a cross between Elton John and Willy Wonka. And then promptly changes into a custom shirt emblazoned with “I’m the Primary.” Below deck, Elizabeth Frankini is busy venting to Ashling Lorger about Francesca. Rachel’s nervous about being on such thin ice. This is going to be a long charter, isn’t it?
At lunch, Francesca once again finds every reason to criticize Elizabeth. She even patronizingly calls the second stew a “blonde diner waitress” and condescends that she pours wine from the neck. Gasp! Clutch your pearls, Chess. Meanwhile, Eddie and Rob are in the laz getting news updates on how coronavirus is exploding across Europe. James Hough is blowing up the special unicorn floaties the guests specifically demanded on their preference sheet. Captain Lee pops down to the galley to watch over Rachel‘s shoulder as she preps for lunch. Pressure’s on, Rach…
Lunch goes and for dinner that night, Rachel pulls off a lavish Mardi Gras dinner. Complete with an eight-course tasting menu. And with that, gets a sliver of Captain Lee‘s respect back? But after dinner, drama starts brewing in among the stews again. Elizabeth has an ally in Izzy, who can’t really stand Francesca and was more than happy to transfer to the deck team so she didn’t have to work under the chief stew’s critical gaze. Naturally, the two are discussing how Francesca’s been treating her second stew when…Francesca walks in on the conversation. And then promptly storms down to her cabin in tears. After catching Rachel advising Elizabeth last week to go over her head to Captain Lee, Chess is starting to feel like she can’t trust anyone on this boat.
The next day, Francesca sees an opportunity for revenge when Elizabeth fails to take down the Mardi Gras decorations from the night before. She also reprimands the stew for working until 1:45 a.m., despite the boat looking like a confetti bomb had gone off. Basically, Elizabeth cannot do a single thing right. She forgets something, it’s a strike; she stays up to make sure all the rest of the work is done, it’s a strike in the other direction. For her morning chore, Francesca informs Elizabeth that the primary has requested the sheets be changed in the master cabin after just one night. Put in a pin in that thought, because we’ll come back to it in a moment.
After a low country boil for lunch and Captain Lee stepping in to help Eddie with a giant slide disaster, it’s time for a beach picnic! Or, well, a bonfire, I guess. Because it’s happening at sunset. Feeling the pressure, Elizabeth tells Izzy she’s bringing along a smoky quartz crystal to “sublimate any negative energy” coming her way. (Cough, cough, from Francesca.) What she doesn’t bring to shore is any extra bottles of rosé. Which is a little more important than the protective crystal. Thankfully, Eddie runs back to the yacht while the guests enjoy fireside s’mores (with homemade rosewater-infused marshmallows!) and saves the day. But Elizabeth knows this will be just another slight in Francesca’s long list of grievances against her.
Back on the boat, Francesca also discovers Elizabeth had Ashling change the sheets in every single guest cabin. Not just the master bedroom, as requested. Ashling complains that instructions go in one ear and out the other when it comes to her fellow stew. And it just makes her job harder. Fed up, Chess goes back to Captain Lee with her newest issues. She asks if she can replace Elizabeth after this charter. But Lee warns the chief stew that sometimes it’s better to stick with the devil you know than bank on a devil you don’t. Plus, Eddie reveals on the beach that Lee hopes Elizabeth will last through the season. So, is Captain Lee on Team Elizabeth?
TELL US – WHAT’S YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF ROB? ARE YOU SURPRISED LEE GAVE RACHEL HER JOB BACK? WILL FRANCESCA ACTUALLY TRY TO FIRE ELIZABETH OR FOLLOW LEE’S ADVICE?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]