Below Deck Season 9 Finale Recap: Petty Speedometer At 100,000

It’s certainly been an odd season of Below Deck. On one hand, it’s been tarnished by accusations of racism all season. On the other, we finally got to see a seemingly straight deckhand happily make out with his best friend, a gay stew. So yes, you could say there have been lows and highs. And so maybe it’s fitting that the season comes to an equally bizarre and convoluted end this week. But at least I can say I think I enjoyed it more than Season 8? Maybe? The good thing, anyway, is that even following a season that’s been hard to watch at times, there’s always another season in the Med or on a sailboat around the corner…

At the top of the finale, Chef Rachel Hargrove is still upset about ice cream. Specifically, she’s unhappy that Heather Chase asked Eddie Lucas, dressed as Alexander Hamilton, to bring the dessert to the beach picnic before the guests had finished eating. This despite the fact that the chief stew was merely doing what the chef asked. And radio’d Eddie right in front of her. Now the ice cream is at risk of melting. The guests hardly even notice the snipping among the crew. Though Heather doesn’t take kindly to Rayna Lindsey trying to shush her. It’s the end of the season and everyone is on each other’s nerves.

below deck season 9 finale recap episode 14 chef rachel hargrove cloche dinner

Back on M/Y Seanna, Wes O’Dell is attempting to flirt with Kaylee Milligan. But the new third stew doesn’t compare to the old third stew in Wes’ eyes. He misses Jessica Albert. Plus, his invitation to come hang out on the swim platform is dashed by the guests’ imminent return from the beach picnic, anyway. For dinner, Heather‘s come up with an idea to take the guests’ Hamilton obsession a step further. Now she wants Eddie and Jake Foulger to recreate the Founding Father’s death by duel at the hand of Aaron Burr…(sir). The first officer and lead deckhand are all about it. But Captain Lee Rosbach clearly isn’t a fan. Either that or he just hates Hamilton.

The guests have requested Captain Lee to join the glitzy formal dinner on their last night. But down in the galley, things are far less glamorous. Rachel‘s been stuck in a stress spiral since the beach picnic. And now she’s so tense that she’s demanding a silent galley for the duration of dinner service. That means no talking. No banter with Rayna. No joking around with Heather. It’s all business and she’s on a warpath. Not used to the chef’s intensity, poor Kaylee is terrified. Heather, on the other hand, misses the memo and her commentary on the food is less than appreciated. But even with dessert disaster involving untempered white chocolate, the final dinner is a success. And Rachel eventually apologizes to Heather in their cabin for being such a grouchy ball of nerves.

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The next morning is the guests’ departure day. The crew has just one more breakfast service to get through! Well, that and the tension that’s still brewing between Heather and Rayna. The night before, the deckhand-turned-sous-chef wouldn’t even respond to a compliment from her sworn enemy. And at this point Heather’s at a complete loss about what to do. She’s tried apologizing to Rayna multiple times. And every time, the junior deckhand assures her that all is forgiven and everything’s great. Though clearly it’s not.

Since it’s the final docking, Captain Lee has a special treat planned for Eddie. The first officer gets to dock the mega-yacht all by himself! This is obviously something he’s never done before and the pressure is understandably nerve-wracking. What if Eddie crashes the boat? Naturally, the Below Deck gods throw him a curveball when the ship’s bow thrusters stop working. It even looks for a moment like Captain Lee might have to take over. But the off-camera engineer gets them working again at the last second and Eddie’s virgin docking is an ultimate success. Lee couldn’t be more proud.

The guests depart and the final charter of the season is officially over. But there’s still plenty of work to do. Captain Lee calls the crew together for their last tip meeting, revealing the crew made an additional $17,000. That adds up to a grand total of $147,000 in tips for the season. Now that’s a number worth jumping off the bow for. Which several of the crew members do in celebration. Jake, of course, is naked.

below deck season 9 finale recap episode 14 rayna lindsey heather chase n-word confrontation feud apology

For their final night out, the crew doesn’t want to be anywhere near the water. So they turn into the jungle of St. Kitts, arriving at Caribelle Batik for a magical last meal. But right away, the passive aggressive jabs happening between Rayna and Heather put a damper on the evening. There’s tension over taking a group picture. Heather’s pointedly excluded, left to take the photo of everyone else. There’s tension when Heather reminds the crew not to judge a book by its cover regarding Kaylee‘s late stage arrival. Not even Eddie being willing to jump into a nearby fountain fully clothed can turn the mood around. Ultimately, Fraser Olender is left to mediate, trying to talk each of his friends down. But nothing he says can tone down Rayna’s pettiness at this point. He recognizes all Rayna wants to do is get under Heather’s skin and she’ll stop at nothing to do just that.

Ultimately, the animosity comes to a head over which car Kaylee will ride back to the boat in. Except it’s not about that at all, of course. Heather challenges Rayna to say how she really feels to her face instead of the little muttered digs she’s so good at throwing out behind her back. The chief stew also calls out the deckhand for never truly accepting her apology, and this is where things get heated. Voices are raised — Heather is essentially begging on her knees in a parking lot at this point. But according to Rayna, there will never be any forgiveness.

The rest of the crew tries to break up the argument. But Rayna‘s set off again when Wes tries to advocate for Heather and talk some sense into her. When Wes doesn’t fully take her side, Rayna lashes out by calling him “white” and denying that he’s really Black since he happens to be mixed race. Which is the lowest of blows to someone who’s done nothing but hear her out and support her behind the scenes all season long. But apparently no one’s opinion on the matter counts unless they blindly agree with Rayna holding her grudge against Heather to the bitter end.

below deck season 9 finale recap episode 14 wes o'dell mixed race rayna lindsey not black

Back on the boat, there’s no more fun to be had. So everyone goes to bed, with Rayna ending the night in Jake‘s cabin for one last cuddle. Bright and early the next morning, it’s departure day for the crew. But Wes isn’t going anywhere until he gets a chance to confront Rayna. He’s deeply hurt by her turning on him. But she’s insistent that he just doesn’t get it, willfully throwing every excuse she can think of in his face to dismiss and discount his own lived experience as a mixed race Black man. She doesn’t even any kind of apology, sincere or otherwise. But at this point, is that really surprising?

One by one, the crew say their goodbyes and leave M/Y Seanna behind. Wes can’t wait to get back to his beloved sail boat. Jake and Fraser — the season’s true love story — leave together for a holiday in Miami. And in a final twist, Heather and Rayna even hug it out as they say farewell. (Think that’ll last until the reunion?) Naturally, Captain Lee saves his last goodbyes for Rachel and Eddie, the latter of whom he admits he’s training to be a captain. Could Eddie become the new face of Below Deck? Guess we won’t find out until next season! Next week, the reunion!

TELL US – WAS RACHEL OVERREACTING BY DEMANDING A SILENT GALLEY? WERE YOU SURPRISED TO SEE HEATHER AND RAYNA FINALLY HAVE IT OUT? WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN RAYNA LASHED OUT AT WES? HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS SEASON OVERALL? AND WHO DO YOU WANT TO RETURN NEXT SEASON?

[Photo Credit: Bravo]