Welcome back to Below Deck. Where, yep, you guessed it, everyone is still sick. My Seanna has basically become a floating infirmary at this point. And the worst part is that we’re still smack dab in the middle of a charter. The other worst part? That James Hough and Elizabeth Frankini‘s boat-mance seems to be sinking faster than the Titanic itself. In fact, maybe the only good part is that the boat has become a safe haven a world away from the pandemic that’s taking over America. (At this point during filming, we’ve reached March 8, 2020.) So sure, Rachel Hargrove may be having serious G.I. issues, but at least it’s not coronavirus?
Eddie Lucas brings a doctor on board to start doling out medicine for the under-the-weather crew. Antibiotics for Elizabeth! IV therapy for Rachel! And nothing but a flirty charter guest for Ashling Lorger. Because, even though she’s come down with the same illness as the chef, she’d rather power through and show Francesca Rubi how tough she is. Is refusing medical treatment some sort of weird power play to get promoted to second stew? (Also, just so we’re clear, no Elizabeth, UTIs are not contagious.)
Over crew dinner, things get quickly awkward between James and Elizabeth with Ashling somehow caught in the middle. The deckhand barely speaks to his new boo —not even bothering to acknowledge that she’s ill. Instead, he once again turns on the charm with Ashling. In front of her. This is now becoming a thing and Elizabeth isn’t OK with it. She even approaches Ash about it, who vociferously shoots down the idea that she’s into James. But when she confronts him about the flirtation, he insists it was just a joke. Because he would never hit on another girl in front of the girl he was dating, OK? Sorry, it’s just his personality.
OK, I lied about nothing else good happening on the boat, because things are looking up for Izzy Wouters. She’s getting promoted to lead deckhand! After getting Captain Lee Rosbach to sign off, Eddie‘s more than excited to offer the job to Izzy. She has continually grown and proven herself over the last four charters. He trusts her. He believes in her. She believes in herself. Now the only question is whether James and Rob Phillips will believe in her too. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t go well. The male ego is a fragile, fragile thing, my yachties. Especially in a deck team that now has to answer to a female leader.
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Meanwhile, dinner is the simplest concoction that Rachel can cook up. Because she’s still running back and forth between the galley and the kitchen every five minutes. Of course, when you’re Rachel, “simplest” equals snow crab nestled in a homemade pasta with pesto sauce. Because of course it does. Just know that when I’m sick, you’re getting Top Ramen for dinner. At best. Oh, and don’t forget dessert! There’s tiramisu cannoli dipped in dark chocolate with a cinnamon kick. But little did you know that the cannoli is about to cause a huge problem.
Apparently James has somehow never had a cannoli. He doesn’t even know what they are, in fact. So like any self-respecting Italian girl, Elizabeth seeks to rectify this and asks Rachel if she can take the Brit a cannoli. Now, Elizabeth’s first mistake was announcing over the radio for James to meet her on the bridge deck. Her second mistake was doing it right in the middle of dinner service. So are you really surprised when Francesca marches down the stairs to catch her nemesis feeding her boyfriend a cannoli? And on company time?? Like any other time Elizabeth so much as breathes, she’s furious. And quickly storms away to report the whole illicit cannoli affair to Eddie.
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The following morning it’s the final day of the charter. And Rachel and Ashling are both still sick. Man, this stomach bug must be a really doozy. However, even after three days of being ill, neither of the ladies are the ones screwing up their jobs. That honor actually goes to Francesca, who’s more concerned about fawning over the charter guests’ dog than expediting their breakfasts. All while being passive-aggressive to Liz, naturally. By the time the yacht docks and the guests depart, Ashling’s given up on her American admirer too, citing the logistical challenge of the distance between Australia and the States. I say good riddance.
At the tip meeting, the crew is disappointed to discover they were only given an exceedingly average tip of $17,000. That’s $1,400 apiece. At this point in the season, they’ve become so accustomed to raking in the big bucks that anything less than $20K simply doesn’t cut it. But pats on the back for powering through the sickness, ladies! As a reward, Captain Lee surprises everyone with the opportunity to adopt a beach for the day! No, James, that doesn’t mean drink on your own private strip of coastline for the afternoon. It means picking up garbage! So while Rachel finally heads to her IV therapy, everyone else cleans up Belfast Bay while teaching viewers at home about the dangers of pollution, littering and mass killings of marine environments! James is enthused.
After getting back to the boat at nearly 10 p.m., James and Elizabeth make one more fatal mistake. Because they just can’t help themselves, can they? After making up, they decide to sneak off a guest cabin for the night. Without asking permission from Francesca or Captain Lee. I mean, they already did it a couple charters ago and got away with it. So it can’t get them in any more trouble than the cannoli did this time, right?
Wrong. The next day is a turnaround day, and all anyone can gossip about is where the lovebirds slept the night before. They weren’t in James and Izzy‘s cabin! And they weren’t in Elizabeth and Ashling‘s either! In her first official duty as lead deckhand, Izzy spills to Ash that they used a guest cabin. And of course the stew runs straight to Francesca with that information while Izzy’s busy being undermined by the rest of the deck team. Meanwhile, Captain Lee holds the next preference sheet meeting and surprise! The next charter guest is none other than Jackie Siegel. The Queen of Versailles herself! This’ll be fun.
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After stewing over the guest cabin gossip for an entire day, Francesca is ready to unleash. First she reports it to Eddie, who claims not to know whether it’s true. But in Francesca’s mind, this is a fireable offense. She finally has the ammunition she needs to get rid of Elizabeth once and for all, and it’s bigger than a cannoli on the aft deck. Once everyone’s in their PJs, she corners Liz in the crew mess and goes off. No apologies or justifications will suffice. No cleverly worded explanations will make a difference. Chess is out for Elizabeth and there’s no stopping her.
TELL US – SHOULD IZZY HAVE BEEN PROMOTED TO LEAD DECKHAND? WAS FRANCESCA OVERREACTING TO THE CANNOLI DRAMA? DOES SHE FINALLY HAVE THE REASON SHE NEEDS TO FIRE ELIZABETH FROM THIS SEASON OF BELOW DECK?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]