Wow, the season premiere of Below Deck Mediterranean was an unmitigated disaster, huh? Captain Sandy Yawn readily admitted she pretty much failed on the first night of the season. Like, we’re talking falling flat on her face (much to the delight of many a viewer, I would presume). The weather was terrible. Chef Mathew Shea jumped ship at the first sign of stress. Therefore, the food, cooked by the rest of the crew, was atrocious. (Shout-out to the commenters who reminded me that Malia White played sous chef all season last year. That ability to help in the kitchen must’ve gone overboard with Tom Checketts…) The demanding guests were unforgiving. The whole thing really couldn’t have gone worse.
So now the main question is…can the crew right the proverbial ship? Or will it sink before the season’s even left the dock? In the aftermath of that terrible dinner, the answer to that question is uncertain. The guests got sloshed in order to choke down the food they were served. And although primary Terez is still throwing a tantrum in her cabin, everyone else seems to be in a (drunkenly) decent mood. One of the guests even insists on making chief stew Katie Flood do an “airplane” like a six-year-old. That seems like it would cross a line about appropriate treatment of the crew, but anything to save the tip, I guess?
At least Lloyd Spencer and his mustache seem to be able to handle anchor watch. So some on this boat is doing an adequately capable job. The same can’t be said for second stew Lexi Wilson, who starts having a mini breakdown at three in the morning. But can you really blame her? After such a disastrous first day — and in front of Bravo’s cameras, no less — I’d probably be crying in the laundry room too. Lexi also reveals via confessional that her dad passed away shortly before she joined the boat, and she’s obviously still grieving.
On day two, the crew wakes up to learn two things: the weather has gotten worse, and Chef Mathew is still not onboard. Seriously, how long does it take to get an MRI in Croatia? As the panic begins to set in again, Sandy calls in to have another chef and deck/stew begin quarantining as back-up. There’s no way she’s getting stuck in this predicament again. But just as Malia and Courtney Veale begin throwing together a sad excuse for a breakfast, Mathew announces everything’s fine with his knee. He arrives back on the boat amid a rainstorm and seems to expect a hero’s welcome upon his return. Instead, the rest of the crew is just relieved and also wondering where that limp disappeared to…
And Mathew may be back on board, but he’s not ready to do every part of his job just yet. Overwhelmed by the need to redeem himself (and the looming wedding the following day), the chef asks Sandy if he can take as many things off his plate as possible. Things like, you know, the wedding cake and actually cooking food for the crew. He just can’t be bothered to worry about anything other than the guests right now. Not wanting to spook the newly-returned chef, Sandy has no choice but to go along with his requests. That means paninis for everyone…again!
The day’s itinerary centers around dueling bachelor and bachelorette parties. So the deck crew calls in reinforcements in the form of Maureen the Magical Unicorn, a giant inflatable water toy with a penchant for flipping over in the wind. Meanwhile, the guests are working poor Katie to death with endless amounts of complicated drink orders. Is this their idea of retribution for the night before? Frankly, I wouldn’t put it past Terez. The chief stew is so busy being a bartender that she barely has time to get particular over Lexi‘s table settings. Like Bugsy Drake before her, Katie claims table settings are her thing. But, honestly probably not to the same extent as Bugs.
Down on the swim platform, Malia‘s reveling in the chance to properly train Mzi Dempers. The kid is so new he can barely tie a knot. Leaving him to “tinker,” Malia entrusts the rookie to watch over the swim platform with one specific instruction: keep an eye on the jetski lines. Think you can handle that, Zee? Meanwhile, Lexi‘s down in the galley trying to get into Mathew‘s good graces. By, you know, batting her eyelashes and lying to him. David Pascoe takes the male guests out on a fishing expedition for the bachelor party, leaving Mzi to watch over the bachelorette party. As the female guests pile into Maureen, someone notices one of the jetskis has made a run for it into the open sea. Oops…Guess you didn’t tie that knot tight enough, Zee.
The guys come back fish-less, but at least it leaves time for Mathew to finally make crew dinner for the first time. (Quick side bar: was anyone else as creeped out as I was by the moment between Captain Sandy and Mathew as she was fixing his collar? It was definitely a weird vibe, right?) And on the boatmance front, crushes are quickly starting to form — mostly on the part of the deck team. And so far there’s no competition! Lloyd likes Katie. Mzi like Courtney. And David likes Malia. Who’s, you know, his boss. Just like Wesley Walton was Malia’s back in Season 2… Let’s hope there’s not a repeat of that situation.
Dinner starts out just fine. Mathew‘s determined to cement a good reputation after an awful first impression. So he’s turning out all his best cooking, and Katie and the stews are showing off with synchronized service at the table. (Though I can already tell the chef’s insistence on saying “Rodger dodger” over the radio is going to grate on my nerves as the season goes on.) But no sooner has the first course — truffle pasta — been served than a storm starts raging. With the guests eating out on deck.
Mathew‘s forced to stand by as the stews move dinner into an interior dining room. Naturally, this sends him into a mini-spiral of panic. Once the table’s reset, he serves a whole local bass with tomato white wine caper sauce, followed by vanilla creme brûlée. The chef legitimately thinks he’s a hero after swooping in to serve two meals, but he’s not getting the royal treatment he expects to be showered with by the rest of the crew. Lexi doesn’t see why he should be praised for doing his job. And Malia and Courtney are privately wondering how long he’ll actually last. Good thing Captain Sandy has a reserve chef on deck, because I don’t see Mathew making it very far, either.
The food may have been great during dinner, but the mood at the table is decidedly less cheery. Somewhere between the fish and the creme brûlée, the engaged couple starts getting on each other’s nerves. There’s some light bickering. A huff here. An eye roll there. It seems petty, but the tension ratchets up as the guests head to bed. So much so that Katie can actually hear the couple fighting in their cabin. (The woman even threatens to call the man’s mother. Like…what?) And before you know it, they’re both screaming at each other, ready to call the whole wedding off. Katie rather hilariously scampers away to avoid being caught eavesdropping, but it looks like this charter’s happily ever after is still in serious jeopardy.
TELL US – ARE YOU SURPRISED MATHEW RETURNED TO THE BOAT? DO YOU THINK HE’LL LAST THE SEASON? IS THE CREW STARTING TO REDEEM THEMSELVES AFTER A ROUGH START?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]