We’ve reached the penultimate episode of this charter season on Below Deck Sailing Yacht. And if you think this season has been off-kilter and slightly bizarre, I’ve got news for you. It’s not over yet. So prepare for things to take several unexpected left turns before this season crashes into the metaphorical dock. For one thing, we still caught in a love triangle that will…Literally. Never. Die. We still have serious questions surrounding Dani Soares‘ surprise pregnancy to account for. And just when you thought we’d made it through filming in a pandemic unscathed, COVID attempts to get the last laugh…
But back to that love triangle. We thought this had reached a conclusion weeks ago. Except last we left them, Gary King was planning on sleeping with Sydney Zaruba to get back at Alli Dore for breaking things off with him. Which she only did after finding out he’d already slept with Sydney. Gary’s need for female attention is like a demented merry-go-round. And surprise, you can never get off. Which, come to think of it, is probably more than fine with Sydney, who seems perfectly happy to be used in Gary’s sordid hookup revenge plot. The only person talking any sense in the situation is Colin Macrae, who flat out tells Gary he’s being a complete idiot. But Gary’s made up his mind and is determined to sleep with Sydney (again).
Back on the boat, the rest of the crew is equally determined to keep the party going. Well, except for Jean-Luc Cerza Lanaux, who’s determined to get some sleep. But everyone else, of course, wants to drink and smoke and get in the hot tub. Under normal circumstances, this last activity would be perfectly fine. Who doesn’t love a hot tub? But somehow, it ends up just Gary, Sydney and Daisy Kelliher. That’s an odd trio if there ever was one on the boat. And the problem is that Sydney doesn’t have a swimsuit. So this is where Daisy tells her to just get in topless. And then runs downstairs in her bikini to convince Alli and Colin to join the fun. Leaving Gary alone in the hot tub…with a now-topless Sydney. No big deal, right? It’s going to be totally cool.
Wrong. From the moment Alli happens upon the scene, it’s looks bad. Very, very bad. (And that’s not even mentioning the fact that while Daisy was gone, Sydney flat out propositioned Gary again, and he said he wouldn’t say no to someone offering him sex.) Seeing Gary and Sydney together in the hot tub finally sets something off in Alli, and no amount of Daisy trying to intervene can stop her. She unleashes a season’s worth of pent-up emotion at both Gary and Sydney, screaming that she’s never felt so disrespected. Particularly when she’s done nothing but take Sydney’s feelings into account the entire charter season. That’s why she broke up the Gary, for goodness sake! And this is how her thoughtfulness and kindness is repaid. The clash brings the night’s revelry to a swift close, and for once, no one’s going to bed with anyone.
The next morning it’s time to prep for the final charter pick-up, which is set to be happening that afternoon. But things are more than a little tense on board after the previous night’s blow-up. Alli‘s left with an emotional hangover, unsure if Gary‘s instigating all the love triangle drama. But then again, she saw Sydney flirt right in front of her at dinner. If I were Alli, I’d write them both off and just get through the last charter. But of course Gary has to come running one last time. With his tail between his legs, he apologizes to Alli as she cleans the guest cabin. He finally feels like a “proper dick” for his actions. But according to the look on the third stew’s face, she’s having none of his latest apology tour.
Completely unaware of all the drama, Captain Glenn Shephard calls Gary, Daisy and Natasha De Bourg together for their last preference sheet meeting. The co-primaries are a pair of self-described “boss babes” from San Francisco. And their list of requests is fairly long but not impossible: a sailing tour of Croatia’s coastal villages. An obstacle course with the water toys followed by a beach picnic. A club night on board. And a bougie brunch on their last day. Not bad at all.
After the meeting, Glenn pulls Gary aside to ask if he’d be interested in staying with boat for the long crossing to Palma. The first mate is more than happy to stay on with Captain Glenn. Because he may be terrible at dating, but if there’s one thing I’ve said over and over this season, it’s that Gary actually seems capable at his job. (For some reason, Cap also asks Natasha to stay on as well. I have no logical defense for that one.)
Meanwhile, Colin calls an impromptu meeting with all of the department heads for a little pre-charter pep talk. His goal is to get Gary, Daisy and Natasha on the same page and working toward a common goal, for this last charter at least. Why haven’t we been holding these little inter-departmental summits all season? It really would’ve made a world of difference. But now they have 48 hours left of the season, and everyone wants to end on a positive note. However…
It comes time to pick up the final group of guests. The entire crew is in their orange polos with smiles plastered on their faces. Glenn and Daisy are on the dock ready to greet. And yet…no one shows up. Ten minutes tick by, then 20 and still no guests. Did they get lost? That’s not possible. Neither is running late, considering production is involved in escorting guests from their hotel directly to the marina. With, you know, cameras in tow. After 25 minutes, Captain Glenn gets a call on his cell phone with some very bad news. The entire group has tested positive for coronavirus. Despite all the filming precautions and pre-boarding quarantine. So they’re definitely not stepping foot on board. But! The agency might be able to throw together a last minute replacement charter that could start as early as the next day.
With nothing to do but wait, the crew essentially has the night off. So, Jean-Luc decides to plan an extra-special romantic date, getting permission to take Dani out on a tender ride. The recurring obstacle between the lovebirds has been their age difference. Dani’s ready for marriage and babies but doesn’t want to force JL to settle down. Jean-Luc, meanwhile, has never been in a real relationship before, but doesn’t want to let go of Dani just because she tells him to. Basically they’re at a crossroads: is this just a boatmance or is it worth giving it a shot once the season ends?
The surprise JL has planned for Dani back on the boat helps sway her towards the latter, and by the end of the night, the pair are exchanging “I love yous” and she’s insisting that if she gets pregnant, it must be God’s will. (Spoiler alert: it maybe might have been?) At the same time, Gary‘s left alone with Alli on the swim platform watching Jean-Luc and Dani quite literally ride off into the sunset. Awkward. Of course, this leaves them with nothing to do but confront their problems. Which somehow turns into Alli agreeing to give Gary another chance. That’s right, a fresh start free of Sydney and any other “avoidable problems.” Oh Alli, you were so close to getting out. We were all so proud for, like, half an episode.
The next morning, Captain Glenn calls a crew meeting. He’s got good news: they’ve managed to book a final charter for the season. The bad news: it starts in an hour. Oh and the other bad news: it will be a 24-hour charter for the crew of the Lady Michelle, the motor yacht that just so happens to be docked right next to them. Waiting on and serving their industry peers amounts to the crew’s worst professional nightmares. Daisy goes as far as to say it’s the lowest point of her career. But hey, the yacht’s management company will be providing a tip. And it’s only 24 hours. So while the rival crew could be snobby and look down on sailing and make the crew’s lives a living hell, it’s better than ending the season one charter short. Right?
Interestingly, Lady Michelle is the new yacht set to be featured on the upcoming season of Below Deck Mediterranean, which kicks off as soon as this season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht wraps up. And also filmed in Croatia. So for a moment, I was intrigued by the idea that we’d possibly be getting our first-ever Below Deck crossover! But none of the faces of the guests line up with the new crew, so now I’m not so sure. I certainly didn’t spot Malia White anyway…We’ll find out next week on the season finale!
TELL US — ARE YOU SURPRISED ALLI GAVE GARY A CLEAN SLATE? ARE JEAN-LUC AND DANI MEANT TO BE? WILL THE RIVAL YACHTIES BE A NIGHTMARE FOR THE FINALE?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]