Below Deck Recap: Don’t Bring Your Smiles, You Won’t Be Needing Them

Well that was quite a heavy episode. Who thought that on top of two crew members with terrible attitudes and awful work ethic, we’d get a random racial epithet thrown into the arena? Nothing like a racial slur to ruin the good vibes on a crew night out. But before the Below Deck gang gets to their night out, they have to finish their fourth charter first.

And as this week’s episode kicks off, that charter is smack dab in the middle of an argument between Rayna Lindsey and Jake Foulger. Ok, it’s more like the deckhand talking back to her boss. But either way, the guests can fully hear the entire exchange from the deck above. Eddie Lucas quickly intervenes and forces the two to high-five it out. But the damage is done. And there seems to be no way that Rayna will ever respect Jake in his role as lead deckhand.

While the interior serves Rachel Hargrove‘s Greek family-style dinner to the guests, Rayna takes her complaints to Wes O’Dell. He’s been on her side in the growing rift against Jake all season long. And while he generally agrees with her, he also thinks Rayna’s overreacting. Why does ever little thing need to become a confrontation? Rayna later calls her dad from her cabin to complain some more. And this time she’s venting so loudly about Eddie always taking Jake’s side that the first officer happens to hear from the hallway. Oops.

below deck recap season 9 episode 8 heather chase

As the night wears on, Eddie tries to give Rayna a pep talk, but first let’s her know that she got caught bad-mouthing him. Yet not even that is enough to get her to let go of the idea in her head that Eddie and Jake are somehow against her. Meanwhile, Heather Chase pulls Fraser Olender aside to gossip about third stew Jessica Albert. Which…doesn’t seem like great leadership from the chief stew. After spending all day with Jessica on service, her mopey attitude is gnawing at Heather’s last nerve. There’s no motivation there. No enthusiasm. No initiative. So Fraser’s the first one to throw out the obvious question: do they need to start thinking about a new third stew?

The next morning it’s departure day. And while Rayna tells Eddie that she can’t find any reason to complain, trust me, she can. And she will. Chef Rachel serves up a combination breakfast of French toast and biscuits and gravy, and Heather uses breakfast service to attempt to show Jessica her expectations for the stew pantry. But the third stew couldn’t care less at this point and it basically goes in one ear and out the other. Minutes later, she’s also critiqued by Fraser over her sub-par housekeeping skills and finally lets out some of her frustrations with the job to the second stew. Of course, he turns right around and relays the entire conversation to Heather, but one thing neither Fraser nor Heather expected was for Jessica to interrupt and catch them gossiping about her. Awkward!

below deck recap season 9 episode 8 captain lee rosbach deck team

After picking up anchor, the deck team does an extra-special docking in their whites. Everything goes smoothly (for once), but the first thing the primary does as he departs is making a joke about them failing to blow up the slide correctly. The guests thought it was funny, but the looks on the crew’s faces make clear they don’t think it’s a laughing matter. And hint, hint: neither does Captain Lee Rosbach. At the tip meeting, he expresses his displeasure with the deck crew’s performance, shall we say, rather curtly. It doesn’t help that the tip turns out to be only $19,000, either. The rookie mistakes are starting to get in the way of the money. And that’s a problem for everyone.

Deciding he hasn’t reamed them out quite enough, Captain Lee calls for a separate meeting with the deck crew in the wheelhouse. And lays down the hammer, making it clear he has no problem firing all four of them if need be — even Eddie! — and canceling the rest of the season. The deck team should consider this their final warning, because they’re not going to get another chance. Step up and perform during the next charter or get fired. However, it’s also difficult to pinpoint blame on any one person for all the mistakes. Jake‘s performing well as lead deckhand, but is it his fault Wes and Rayna don’t respect him? Is Eddie not leading as much as he should? Is Rayna’s bad attitude the problem? Is Wes’ general ineptness the root of the all the issues? How do we fix this?

below deck recap season 9 episode 8 wes o'dell jessica albert boatmance

However, the crew doesn’t have to think about it until tomorrow, because it’s time for their night out! Boarding a boat, the M/Y Seanna gang heads to the Carambola Beach Club for an evening of fun. And all eyes are on Wes and Jessica, who have been tiptoeing around the idea for several charters now that they like each other. But there’s just one problem: Wes has absolutely no game. Like, at all. He starts the night out by claiming he’s just waiting for Jessica to give him a signal, but any moment of romantic tension goes straight over his head. Not even giving the pair their own car home can get him to make a move. Yawn. (On the other hand, Jake has charm in spades, as he turns his flirtatious eyes on Heather for the night. The chief stew manages to withstand the temptation of the mustache though.)

Back on the boat, Jessica comes to the conclusion — via confessional — that maybe she’s not that into Wes if he won’t take initiative. Which is a little funny considering that’s exactly what Heather wants from her. Speaking of the chief stew, we have a problem. Back at the restaurant, she took a trip to the ladies room with Rayna. And on the way back to the group, Rayna casually tossed out the n-word in reference to Jake. And Heather repeated it. On camera. I was truly so stunned that I had to rewind and make sure I was reading the subtitles correctly. Come on, girl. Drunk or not, you’d think she would know that word is never acceptable to say in any context whatsoever.

Rayna lets it go in the moment, but decides to rather gently bring it up when they’re back on board. And Heather balks at the accusation, claiming she doesn’t remember saying it. Surprisingly, Rayna responds by being fairly even-keeled about the whole thing, using it as a teaching moment before an embarrassed Heather scurries off to bed. But if you think this issue is settled, though, you have another thing coming.

below deck recap season 9 episode 8 eddie lucas rayna lindsay apology

The next morning is a turnaround day for the boat. But having slept on it, Rayna wakes up hurt and fired up over the n-word debacle from the night before. It’s replaying over and over in her head as the deck team spends the morning practicing getting the slide blown up properly. Meanwhile, Heather, Eddie and Rachel meet with Captain Lee for the fifth preference sheet meeting. (Spoiler alert: the next co-primaries are a couple from San Francisco. And the poor woman has her jaw wired shut due to a biking accident. So that should be an interesting challenge for the team…)

Later in the day, Captain Lee checks the work of the deck team, and is infuriated to see things on deck a total mess. Parts of the deck Rayna and Wes claimed to have rinsed off are covered in salt. You can see literal water spots all over the jet skis. This does not bode well in the wake of their chat with Lee from the day before. It’s up to Eddie to reprimand the pair. Instead of apologizing and re-doing the work, Rayna decides to meet the lecture from her superior with eye rolls and attitude. Eddie obviously doesn’t take well to this display. After he leaves, Rayna rails against the first officer to Wes. And points out somewhat randomly that while she’s getting in trouble for not washing the boat down correctly, Heather‘s getting away with saying the n-word.

That night, while Jessica is in her cabin ruminating on how miserable she is, Rayna opens up to Fraser during a bedtime cigarette break. She claims to feel bad for disrespecting Eddie, and also brings Heather‘s racial slur to the attention of her pal. He wisely encourages her to bring her concerns to Eddie himself. Which she does, in a heart-to-heart in his cabin. Eddie’s more than open to her apology, and encourages Rayna that she has potential to move up in the industry if she’ll just listen and accept constructive criticism. And when she brings up the n-word again, he tries to lay out the importance of separating the personal from the professional while still standing up for yourself. Both walk away feeling like the chat was major progress. That is, until Rayna gets back to her cabin, insisting that Eddie just doesn’t understand.

TELL US – WHOSE ATTITUDE IS CAUSING MORE PROBLEMS IN THEIR DEPARTMENT: JESSICA’S OR RAYNA’S? WHO’S THE WEAK LINK ON THE DECK TEAM? IS THE POTENTIAL BOATMANCE BETWEEN WES AND JESSICA ALREADY DOOMED? AND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT HOW RAYNA HANDLED HEATHER’S USE OF THE N-WORD?

[Photo Credit: Bravo]