What. Did I. Just watch? That was my rather dumbfounded reaction last Monday after screening this week’s episode of Below Deck Mediterranean. And frankly, that feeling hasn’t gone away as I sit down to write this a few days later. Was this the most dramatic crew fight in the history of the entire Below Deck franchise? Yes there have been fistfights and throuples. We’ve seen unjust firings and plenty of toxic masculinity throughout the years. But I can’t think of anything that reaches this same level of all-out war where every single person in the crew was involved. And that’s not even considering Chef Mathew Shea‘s abrupt and classless departure…
Obviously, all of the negativity can be boiled down to just one person on the boat. And that is second stew Lexi Wilson. Yes, Lexi’s bad attitude has peeked through the veneer of her pageant girl persona in recent weeks. She’s come across as high maintenance, snobby, inconsiderate and rude. But it was nothing like this. Tonight, the Bahamian bad girl ripped off the mask and showed her true colors. And there’s no word to describe them but ugly. Lexi’s the kind of girl who would not only take comparing herself to Satan as a compliment, she would openly delight in the cruelty she can wreak on the people around her. (Poor Lloyd Spencer!)
But let’s back it up and start at the beginning. Before Lexi chose violence and detonated an atom bomb of negativity on the boat, Lady Michelle had to get through a nighttime docking. As last week’s episode ended, a line snapped and we heard Malia White scream Mzi Dempers‘ name. But it was all for naught. Just a classic case of bait and switch by Bravo. Yes, a line snapped, but it was no big deal. As Malia pointed out, it happens all the time. And thankfully the most junior of all the deckhands reacted quickly and Malia turned it into an effective teaching moment. Roy Orbison Jr. — the primary — also quickly abandoned his drunken quest to jump off the boat and went to bed. No harm, no foul.
The next morning is drop-off day. You’d think that would make things easy, but no. Since Katie Flood took the late shift for her stews, Lexi is on breakfast service. Which means it’s time for another round in the galley between her and Chef Mathew. The primaries choosing to sleep in causes some form of confusion in Mathew’s brain. Lexi wants to serve the other guests since they’re asking for breakfast. He won’t take orders from anyone but Katie. Except Katie’s sleeping, so you kind of just have to deal with it, bro. Lexi is the breakfast girl whether you like it or not. But instead of expediting the meal, he decides to take his sweet time racking his knives, just to get under the skin of his nemesis just a little more. As the chef says, his superpower is annoying people.
All of this eventually blows back on Katie, who arrives right in the middle of the breakfast battle. Lexi declares she’s done being nice, and has openly begun threatening to strangle Mathew. All poor Katie can do is try to calm the situation down and send Lexi to do guest cabins. But of course, the second stew somehow takes this as evidence that Katie’s taking the chef’s side over hers. It’s the first time Lexi accuses the chief stew of being bad at her job, but trust me, it won’t be the last.
After a quick game of hide and seek with Captain Sandy Yawn, it’s time for the Orbisons to head out. They depart the boat as happy return charter guests, and Sandy is amazed that — for the first time in six seasons — there hasn’t been a single guest complaint thus far. (The first crew-prepared dinner of the season notwithstanding. Thanks again for that, Mathew.) At the tip meeting, she reveals the guests left a stack of $21,000. That’s $1,750 per person. Not bad at all for a two-day charter, huh? And now it’s time to party.
Well, not yet. First, the crew needs lunch. Which Mathew is baffled to discover is part of his job as the boat’s chef. Instead of just doing his job and throwing something together for lunch, he decides to throw a full-blown tantrum. He’s upset he doesn’t get any days off, even when there are no guests on board because people, you know, need to eat. Aww poor Mathew. Does he not understand that feeding people is quite literally the number one bullet point on his job description? I don’t get what’s so hard to grasp here. David Pascoe trying to cheer him up doesn’t do any good. A stern pep talk from Malia only does marginally better. I’m just so completely over this chef’s constant emotional volatility and love of pity parties for one. Enough with the coddling.
That evening, the crew heads into Sibenik for their second night on the town — the deck crew boys dolled up in their best rowdy shirts. At dinner, David makes a sweet toast about how quickly the crew has bonded. But Mathew insists on trying to steal to spotlight by loudly yammering on about sex parties, masturbation and manifesting a hooker. Just casual polite dinner table conversation. Despite the rest of the crew repeatedly asking him to zip it, the chef won’t stop. And when he won’t shut up about sex parties, he decides to get so worked up that he storms away from the table and heads back to the boat in a huff. This leaves everyone else stunned, but the night must go on, right?
At this point, the alcohol is flowing. Mathew‘s outburst is evidence of that. But as everyone else starts FaceTiming their families, Lexi and Courtney Veale both get emotional and lock themselves in the bathroom. While Lexi’s dad died a few months before she joined the boat, the third stew’s father has been battling Alzheimer’s for seven years. So seeing the rest of the crew calling their loved ones set off something in both stews. On the way home, they’re both openly crying in the taxi with Katie trying to comfort both members of her team, but not before there’s some bizarre tension between Lexi and Malia over paying the bill for dinner. Lexi’s clearly some weird hostility towards her bunkmate, and it’s not just because she never got to use her physics degree. Or was it biology?
Back on the boat, Mathew continues to spiral. It’s just so randomly out of nowhere, but he’s packing his knives and he’s ready to go. Alerting the (off-camera) first officer, he shoves everything in bags and quits on the spot. His exit is aggressive and anything but graceful. He’s smacking cameras, pointing fingers and throwing fighting words at the crew members trying to help him off the boat. He’s also very, very inebriated. But if Mathew doesn’t want to be here anymore, no one’s stopping him.
The rest of the crew arrives to discover Mathew‘s gone. But they’re all too drunk to think too hardly about where he’s actually gone. Mzi‘s split his lip from taking a spill while carrying Courtney through the streets of Sibenik, but there’s still time to hot tub! In their cabin, Lexi‘s still looking for any reason to pick a fight with Malia, bragging about the $8,000 condo she lives in in Miami and warning the bosun that she’s dealing with Satan herself. I truly never thought anyone could make Malia — possibly one of the most roundly despised Bravolebrities of all time — look sympathetic, but I think it’s happened.
A game of hot tub truth or dare is where the night turns nasty. And I still don’t really even know how to properly break down what happens. During the game, David makes a tiny-ish move in his feelings for Malia, pulling her aside to ask if she could ever see him as anything more than an underling. Malia says it’s a hard question to answer, but before she can say more Lexi starts lashing out and calling David names. Then, when sweet Lloyd steps in, she turns her wrath on him, calling him a “p—y” and physically manhandling him by shoving her breasts in his face. Feeling violated, Lloyd taps out and retreats to his room.
Without Lloyd to pick on, Lexi then turns on the rest of the deck team, who have all jumped to their pal’s defense. But it’s truly one person after another with this girl. No one is safe. With Lexi attacking deckhands left and right, Malia sends Katie in for backup. The chief stew trying to mediate doesn’t do any good. In fact, it just adds one more person to the screaming match, with Katie having to get in her second stew’s face to keep her away from both David and Malia. It’s just a toxic storm of chaos. When Malia tries to drain the hot tub and send everyone to bed, it’s just one more excuse to fight, with Lexi screaming at her that she’s “just a bosun” and to “stand down,” whatever that means. She also takes one final shot at Katie, accusing her of failing at her job.
If there’s one good thing that comes out of this fight, it’s that it makes the deck team even closer. Oh, and also it gives Mzi the perfect opportunity to comfort a sobbing, wasted Courtney in her room while David gives Malia a shoulder to vent on out on deck. Are these yachties inching towards coupledom thanks to their common enemy? And just when you think the fight has wound down for the night, it simply heads into the galley. As the rest of the crew tries to wrap their head around what just happened, Lexi enters and starts calling David another round of names. She claims he’s “wack,” while he laughingly claps back that she’ll be “#unemployable” after this. She accuses Malia of being fake when the bosun tried to comfort her about her dad’s passing.
But it’s when poor Mzi steps in to defend his team that things hit a new low. Lexi shows her face by telling the junior deckhand to “take [his] Afrikaans ass and go the f–k away.” (For the record, this is simply further proof that she has no idea what she’s talking about, as Afrikaans is generally spoken by white people in South Africa and Namibia. But still, it definitely has racist implications by the way she incorrectly used it as a derogatory term…) Then, out of nowhere, she once again gets physical and shoves Mzi across the galley. This time, the “To Be Continued…” cliffhanger is fully warranted.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK MATHEW REALLY QUIT OR WILL HE COME BACK? WHAT CONSEQUENCES WILL LEXI FACE FOR HER ACTIONS? WAS SHE BEING RACIST TOWARDS MZI? WHO DID SHE TREAT THE WORST: LLOYD, MALIA, DAVID, KATIE OR MZI?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]