It’s reunion time for the crew of Below Deck Mediterranean! And once again we’re doing it virtually, which seems to have become standard operating procedure for all the Below Deck franchises in a post-COVID world. While the Housewives of various cities across the country are back on couches with Andy Cohen, each Below Deck crew is relegated to Zoom boxes, some very blurry. From a logistics point, it makes sense. The cast is scattered literally across the globe, with some filming the reunion from various boats they’re working on. But it just takes something away from the experience in my opinion.
It’s also questionable why we even…need…this…reunion? After all, the gang’s all here. Except Lexi Wilson, whom Andy reveals “firmly declined” the invitation to appear at the reunion. So with the primary villain of the season not in attendance, how much is there really to talk about? For the most part, everyone else pretty much got along, right? Oh wait, Delaney Evans is here. Ok, ok, I take it back. Let’s do this thing.
First, let’s briefly talk boatmances. Or, er, lack thereof. For a franchise often built on these ill-advised, short-term romances, this season really didn’t deliver much on that front. David Pascoe‘s crush on Malia White went absolutely nowhere. And the season-long flirtation between Courtney Veale and Mzi Dempers was really just between their drunk alter-egos Coco and Mav. But maybe it’s not a bad thing? After all the other boatmances we’ve been forced to endure over the past year have been particularly hard to watch. The one new development Andy confirms is that Malia is dating Lady Michelle’s hot engineer Jake. Though that doesn’t technically count as a boatmance because it didn’t start until after filming wrapped. But more on that later…
Who’s a Big Phony?
After briefly touching on the old Cameo drama between Malia and Captain Sandy Yawn, Andy puts Chef Mathew Shea in the hot seat. Surprise, surprise! By his own admission, the tempestuous chef has a history of bailing on jobs. The crew admits that they had no idea whether he was coming back after leaving the first day. And Mathew himself admits that his “knee injury” was just an excuse. However, almost everyone says they would work with him again on account of his consistently good food. (As opposed to his entirely inconsistent demeanor.) The only person on board who says she wouldn’t work with Mathew again is Captain Sandy. And technically she’s the only one whose opinion matters, so, sorry Mathew. The captain is big on reliability — something the chef is definitely not — and she was “mortified” after watching his behavior play out as the season aired.
Mathew spent the entire season needing to be constantly coddled, praised, and validated. And here we see what happens the moment he gets a sliver of completely valid constructive criticism. It’s not pretty. Out of nowhere, he starts slamming Captain Sandy, calling her a “big phony” and asserting that she’s “one of the worst captains” he’s ever worked with in his 15 years on boats. Uh…where did this feud randomly come from? Did I miss something or are Mathew and his hideous tie-dye shirt just lashing out for attention? Unfortunately Andy doesn’t press the issue and moves on to other topics. But it’s safe to say we probably won’t be seeing Mathew in the galley next season…
The Devil in the Hot Tub
Next up is discussion about Lexi‘s infamous hot tub attack. On…everyone. Sandy once again points out that no one on the crew ever gave her specifics about the night in question. But claims if she had known, she’d have fired Lexi on the spot instead of giving her a second chance. The entire crew agrees that, if anything, Lexi received an overly kind edit and that things were much worse than we saw. In fact, Katie Flood reveals that it got so bad that production actually had to step in, which is something they almost never do.
As for Mathew‘s later all-out war with Lexi on the crew’s day off, the chef blames it all on the alcohol. Lexi, meanwhile, has apparently taken to blaming production for giving her a bad edit on social media. Though I, for one, haven’t been keeping up on Lexi’s Instagram diatribes, so I haven’t seen any of that. One person she’s been pointedly attacking, however, seems to be sweet Mzi. According to the embittered former second stew, the deckhand wants to be white and doesn’t support Black people. Which is particularly rich coming from someone who seemingly didn’t know the context of “Afrikaans” when she tried hurling it around as a derogatory weapon during the season, but OK.
Delaney the Not-Deck/Stew
Andy then welcomes Delaney to the chat to relive her brief tenure on the boat. The temporary stew claims she was in quarantine as a deckhand, and didn’t learn she would be joining the crew as a stew until the last minute. However, she also insists that she wasn’t on her resume about being a deck/stew. It just wasn’t, like, an actual stew position on a superyacht, OK? After waffling back and forth in confessionals, Katie‘s now arrived at the position of not regretting going down to two stews and not bringing Delaney back. Because really, her presence was just causing far too much emotional stress on board.
The only thing Katie regrets is how much her decision impacted the deck crew, who were forced to step in and make up the difference after Delaney‘s abrupt departure. But even Malia backs Katie up in hindsight. Even if it was more work for herself and her team, the bosun supports Katie for making the right decision for the boat. Plus, we’re all dancing around the fact that Delaney. Was. Not. A. Stew. So bringing her back to replace Lexi would’ve forced Katie to train someone halfway through the season. And just as Delaney’s leaving the reunion, Lloyd Spencer loses service aboard his boat, and makes a sudden exit in the middle of his heartfelt goodbye speech. Bye Lloyd! And also Delaney.
What Happened in Split?
There’s a slight back and forth between Malia and Captain Sandy over their issues this season. But we all know these two are never turning on their alliance (because favoritism). So if Sandy calling Malia a secret lesbian in a Cameo can’t break them up, a little thing like trust over jet skis and not reporting David‘s injury won’t either. And finally, Andy gets to the question everyone wants answered: what exactly happened in Split after cameras went down?
Turns out, nothing all that interesting. The crew say they partied hard, but deny any hookups happening off-camera. Not even between Mzi and Courtney, who’s positively sloshed on rosé at this point. Mathew invokes pretends amnesia over what went down, even though he claimed in his confessional that it was like one of those big sex parties he loves going to so much. (Courtney does let slip that she saw everyone naked, but that could just be the rosé talking.) The one detail we get out of anyone is that the Split house is where Malia‘s relationship with Jake the hot engineer really started. So maybe there was some hooking up happening after all.
And with that, the reunion, and season, is officially wrapped! The crew reminds us for the millionth time that they all love each other soooo much and are in touch every day. In fact, they’re all in a group chat much like this reunion, the title of which is “Let’s Get F–kin’ Split’d!” So let’s leave it there, shall we? Because Malia has to go drop anchor…
TELL US – ARE YOU SURPRISED LEXI DIDN’T SHOW UP FOR THE REUNION? WAS IT ODD HOW MATHEW TURNED SO QUICKLY ON SANDY? WHO DO YOU WANT TO RETURN NEXT SEASON?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]