If last week’s episode of Below Deck Sailing Yacht was a reminder of how easily the threat of a global pandemic can burst the bubble of a luxury sailing vacation, this week was the aftermath. And it turned out to be a bit of a pump-fake if I’m being honest. The action picks up immediately following the guests leaving the boat. Parsifal is docked and the high maintenance foursome are being quarantined in a nearby hotel. As the minutes tick by waiting for the COVID test results, the crew has nothing to do but sit around and wait. Will the charter be cancelled? Will the entire season? Is this the end?
It’s not. After a tense two-and-a-half hour wait, the medical officer calls with news. All the guests have tested negative. But there’s a twist. Since one guest is still symptomatic, the doctors are recommending they don’t return to the boat. Which means no coronavirus, but the charter is still over. Which is a huge disappointment, considering they hadn’t even made it 24 hours into the charter. But at least the season’s not over? So there’s not much anyone can do besides breathe a sigh of relief and pack up everything the guests left on the boat.
In the midst of deep cleaning and sanitizing every inch of the boat, Captain Glenn Shephard calls an impromptu meeting. What could it be now? Surprise! It’s a tip meeting! Even though it was only one day, the guests were thoughtful enough to send the crew a tip via wire transfer. So it’s not the traditional envelope full of cash, but they’ll take it! “It” being $5,000, which amounts to $555 per crew member. Not bad for what was essentially less than a single day of work. And since the charter is over early, Captain Glenn gives the crew the night off. He just asks they don’t go too crazy since the next day will be a full turnaround day for the boat.
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Of course, this only means one thing. The crew is going to party too hard. It’s only been a few episodes, but I’m already convinced this particular crew doesn’t do anything in half measures. Particularly when it comes to alcohol. And partying. And hooking up with their fellow crew members. Which, in one way, I can’t really blame them. They’re stuck on the boat all season. Unlike past seasons, they’re not allowed to go ashore for dinners or clubbing or nights out. So the cabin fever must be intense.
The drinks start flowing and Gary King makes it clear to Colin Macrae that he has his sights set on Alli Dore. Much to Sydney Zaruba‘s chagrin, as she’s forced to endure the flirting between her boss/crush/first night’s hookup and her cabinmate. That being said, Alli is quick to pull Sydney aside for some girl talk about the first officer. Syd admits she does like Gary, as much as she wishes she didn’t. And Alli insists she has her fellow female yachtie’s back. She isn’t interested in Gary in the least. Cross her heart and pinky swear. We’ll see how true that is as the season goes along… But for now it’s nice to see the girl power on deck.
Quicker than you can say “bikini,” the drinking and hot tubbing quickly morphs into a game of everyone’s favorite middle school pastime. That’s right, it’s time for truth or dare! Which mostly involves Sydney being dared to kiss Alli. And Jean-Luc Cerza Lanaux admitting he’s most attracted to Dani Soares of all the women on board. This, of course, results in a three-second kiss between the two. That’s roughly one second for every week of JL’s longest-ever relationship. Daisy Kelliher also gets Gary to dance for the crew, leading a chant of “Go Gary, shake your penis!” that I’d rather have scrubbed from my mind forever. But now we’re all replaying it in our heads. You’re welcome.
As the night winds to a close, Gary tries to no avail to get Alli into bed. She’s not having it, teasingly pointing out that his inability to keep it in his pants is going to cause friction between departments. Not to mention between roommates. Eavesdropping, Sydney interrupts Gary’s flirtation. Which gives Alli the perfect excuse to escape to bed. Now Gary’s left with the last person he wants to be alone with. She attempts to force a conversation and awkwardly kisses him. He barely reciprocates. Still, Sydney’s determined. So determined that she basically invites herself to sleep in Gary’s bed. While nothing more than limp spooning happens, it ends early with Gary asking Sydney to go to her own bunk halfway through the night. Yikes.
The next morning, Gary‘s first point of business is putting Sydney firmly in the friend zone. Though if her flirty banter and constant offering of hugs are any indication, she doesn’t fully get Gary’s tactfully worded hint… (Still, this is Gary’s fault for putting himself in this position when he’s also her direct superior.) Then, Captain Glenn calls Gary, Daisy and Natasha De Bourg together for the next preference sheet meeting. The next primary is Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his ex-husband Tony. The two are well-known as the first same-sex couple t0 use a surrogate in the U.K. While they’re now divorced, they still live together. With their five children. And their two boyfriends. All of whom are coming on the charter. That’s a total of — count ’em — nine guests. This is going to be a lot.
Meanwhile, Alli receives a devastating call from home that her last living grandparent has passed away after a long battle with dementia. It’s heartrending to hear the third stew speak to her dad about the loss of her grandpa. And the worst part is she can’t leave the boat to go home to her family. I’m not sure whether this season’s unique COVID protocols have anything to do with it. But quitting just isn’t an option. It’s unlikely production has an entire back-up crew waiting in quarantine in the event someone leaves or gets fired. Which means Alli can’t go home for her grandpa’s funeral.
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The following day, it’s time for charter number three! And the entire Drewitt-Barlow clan arrives on Parsifal decked out in their flashiest three-piece suits and formalwear. Primary guest Barrie is particularly high maintenance and he’s not shy about expressing it. When Natasha suggests serving lunch and dinner family-style, he shoots it down with the wave of a hand. There will be no buffets on this charter. He expects plated service only. For every meal. He also takes a rather lecherous shine to Jean-Luc, and requests “Daddy Long Legs” help with service at every meal. Both the nickname and the leering are highly uncomfortable if you ask me. But not nearly as uncomfortable as what Daisy finds when she Googles the charter guests.
It turns out, Barrie’s boyfriend Scott is the ex-boyfriend of his only daughter Saffron. So not only is the boy toy half Barrie’s age, he was also dating her daughter. Which in turn helped to break up Barrie and Tony’s marriage. What an utterly jaw-dropping and bizarre arrangement. Remind me again how all these people live under the same roof? What do you suppose that conversation was like between father and daughter? If Barrie’s mid-charter proposal goes according to plan, Saffron’s ex-boyfriend will become her….stepfather? This takes a love triangle to a whole new (incestuous) level…
The guests’ demands also start things off on the wrong foot for Natasha‘s first dinner service. First she gets bread baskets on the table 15 minutes late. Then Barrie’s displeased with the number of mussels she serves. (He wants the entire first bowl meant for nine people to himself.) And the worst part comes during the main course. Perhaps Natasha got a bit over-ambitious with the filet mignon, but she didn’t think through the fact that the nine family members all want their meat at different temperatures. With three different options for side dishes: garlic mash, regular mash or fries.
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It quickly becomes a disaster of details in the galley. And Natasha can’t keep up. I mean, Dani and Daisy are sending plates out literally one at a time. Like, by the time Saffron’s finished with her meal, Barrie’s still waiting for his food. And he’s not happy about it. He complains to Dani, demanding that all nine family members need to be served together from here on out. That means at the same time. And while he’s fairly patronizing and brusque in his delivery, Daisy doesn’t think Barrie’s request is too much to ask. So the pressure’s on, or Natasha might just find herself in an even deeper hole on next week’s Below Deck Sailing Yacht…
TELL US – SHOULD GARY HAVE FRIEND ZONED SYDNEY TO PURSUE ALLI? WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON BARRIE DATING HIS DAUGHTER’S EX-BOYFRIEND? IS THE PRIMARY BEING TOO DEMANDING OR IS NATASHA DROPPING THE BALL? WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BELOW DECK SAILING YACHT CAST MEMBER?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]