“I’m getting ripped tonight. R.I.P that [insert here].” With a single phrase, TikTok let me know last year that I was not up-to-date with what the kids were doing on social media. I didn’t catch the reference. I didn’t know why it was funny. And I didn’t want to film myself doing the little dance. But these millennial charter guests on Below Deck Down Under are apparently much more in-the-know than me, a millennial recapper. Because not only do they love the now-long-passed TikTok trend, they feel confident enough to film themselves making their own TikTok of it on national TV. In togas. They say everything you put on the internet lives forever. And that’s especially true when it also gets filmed for reality TV.
The premiere episode ended with Captain Jason Chambers upping the danger factor on board Thalassa. With mere minutes to spare before low tide wrecked the boat, he made it out of the marina in the dead of night. This new captain is a stud. It only took a full episode, but the first charter of the season is officially underway! He sets a course for Whitehaven, anchoring there just in time for the TikTok-obsessed guests to take off their togas and head to bed.
Bright and early the next morning, it’s day two of the charter. And Chef Ryan McKeown has a rather, erm, controversial plan for breakfast service. The master of the galley actually hates cooking breakfast. He hates that the guests stagger to the table one by one. He hates that they all want different versions of eggs. So instead of giving them the option to make his morning difficult, he tells them what they’ll be having for breakfast. Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon. No substitutions. Nothing else on the menu. Needless to say, Aesha Scott is a bit taken aback encountering such a brusque and uncompromising attitude. Plus, she’s the one who has to awkwardly tell the guests that there are no other alternatives for breakfast. Shouldn’t Ryan remember who’s paying for five-star service here? Having endless options available to you is kind of part of the deal.
Thankfully, the guests don’t seem all that bothered. They happily eat their eggs Benedict and spend the rest of the morning snorkeling in Butterfly Bay off the coast of Hook Island. It’s like something out of an underwater fairytale or adventure novel. Or maybe just Peter Pan. Around every corner of the coral reef, there are fish, sharks, stingrays and turtles. Suddenly it feels like we’re watching a stunning nature documentary rather than a reality show. As I mentioned in the premiere recap, access to snorkeling and underwater action is one of the things that will set Below Deck Down Under apart from its sister shows, so prepare to get up close and personal with a lot more marine life in the weeks ahead.
As she sets the table for lunch, we learn a bit more about Tumi Mhlongo. The second stew’s ultimate goal in yachting is to become a yacht interior designer. Or design the boats themselves. She also loves creating tablescapes, which is lucky for Aesha because the chief stews feels exactly the opposite. The guests return from snorkeling and Chef Ryan already has a hearty lunch of BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken and gourmet burgers ready to go. Slight problem, though. The squad wants to unwind in the hot tub with a round of espresso martinis before they change out of their swimsuits.
Chef Ryan is undeterred by what the guests want to do. (Sensing a theme yet?) Instead of waiting, he decides to start plating for lunch without even communicating with Aesha. He even goes as far as to call Captain Jason to the galley to help run food when the chief stew doesn’t answer her radio. (Because she’s talking to the guests and taking all those espresso martini orders…) Only once the captain gets all the way upstairs with three bowls of food in his arms does he realize the guests haven’t even sat down at Tumi‘s perfectly set table yet…Oops.
Captain Jason returns to the galley with food in hand, but Chef Ryan doesn’t like being told to slow down. Apparently, lunch should be served at his pace, not the guests. Meanwhile, Aesha‘s completely missed the entire miscommunication, and is baffled to learn lunch was about to be put on the table without her even knowing. So while the guests finally retreat to their cabins to change, an argument crops up between the chef and the chief stew. Ryan thinks Aesha needs to learn how to tell the guests “no.” As in “no, you can’t get in the hot tub right now, lunch is ready.” Aesha tries to explain that that’s not…how…yachting…works. But Ryan merely throws a tantrum when he has to put the food he’s cooked under heat lamps to keep warm. I predict major problems ahead between the interior and the galley.
That evening, the crew has to move the boat to a different anchorage. Because of Australia’s tide issues. They also have to flake the anchor chain on this particular boat — something that involves moving the chain back and forth so it doesn’t get twisted. And Benny Crawley can’t resist taking the opportunity to mansplain the maneuver to Brittini Burton, who actually uses the “martini” line from my premiere recap to constantly remind her male co-workers how to correctly pronounce her name. The female deckhand feels belittled and condescended to — and rightly so — and has no problem telling Benny as much a few hours later. Benny swears he would never do such a thing intentionally and promises not to going forward…even though he can’t help but mansplain that Brittini’s the one who needs to get up to speed in the process.
The guests invite Captain Jason, or “Captain Cutie” as they’ve nicknamed him, to join them for dinner. And the meal goes much more smoothly than lunch service. Aesha and her team pair Chef Ryan‘s prepared Insta-friendly beer tacos with formal synchronized service. And the high-low factor of it all is honestly kind of perfect in its total absurdity. Throughout the meal, Captain Jason regales the guests with tales from his career. Like the time in 2019 that he made the news by crashing a boat into a dock. And by the time the 1942 gelato is served, everyone’s happy and a little bit in love with the Captain. Well, except for Chef Ryan and Jamie Sayed, who both admit they’re more than a little attracted to third stew Magda Ziomek. Too bad the Polish model has a Polish boyfriend, boys!
The next morning is departure day. And rather than going back to the marina, the guests have to make their way off the boat by tender. Because of, you guessed it, the tides. The moon and the sea are conspiring to complicate the entire season, aren’t they? But before the guests leave, the boat has to move to yet another anchorage. Which requires once again flaking the anchor chain as the anchor’s pulled up from the ocean floor. In spite of his mansplaining the night before, Benny has a near-complete freakout trying to flake the chain himself. To the point that Jamie has to switch him out for Culver Bradbury in order to get the job done. Whether it was some kind of panic attack or Benny just not wanting to do the work, it’s another small red flag that will need to be addressed by the bosun.
Once the guests depart, Captain Jason calls the crew together for their first tip meeting. And while the captain admits there are clearly many ways the crew can improve, the first charter was altogether a success. It shows in the tip, too, which ends up being a respectable $16,230. (Take note, ye Roses of Below Deck Sailing Yacht infamy: this is what a decent tip looks like.) And once the boat’s dressed down, it’s time for the crew to unwind. For Tumi and Magda, that means flirtatiously cornering Captain Jason into revealing his star sign before the crew all heads ashore for their first night out. (For the record, he’s a Libra…)
In a spirit of humor and good-natured fun, Captain Jason gathers the crew to reveal something of a tradition under his leadership. Each charter, he’ll give a special “award” to the crew member who has the most improving to do. And the “prize” for winning the award comes in the form of a giant, gaudy disco ball helmet. Which the lucky crew member will be forced to wear on their night out. And the first crew member to win is…drumroll, please…Benny! For his dramatic antics while flaking the anchor chain. As well as his all-around dropping of the ball in lots of little ways. The deckhand isn’t exactly enthusiastic about wearing the glittering dunce cap, and basically refuses to play into the game. Culver, meanwhile, claims it’s all in good fun and part of being a team. He would know because he played football, OK?
Much to Captain Jason‘s chagrin, Benny isn’t wearing the helmet when he joins the crew for dinner at The Garden Bar Bistro. Instead, the deckhand is bonding with Aesha by revealing that his mom recently died from a combination of brain and lung cancer. And his dad passed away six months before that. Clearly, Benny’s been through more than one person should have to bear in the last year or so. So maybe that explains part of why he’s more focused on living life than doing work on deck.
However, Benny also takes the opportunity during the meal to thank Jamie for being patient with him during the first charter. He’s already been reprimanded once by the bosun. And somehow, the apology turns into Jamie asking Benny to step up, work harder and respect him as a boss. The deckhand views this as Jamie trying to instill fear in him. But he refuses to be scared. Because newsflash: he doesn’t intend to take orders from anyone.
TELL US – ARE CHEF RYAN’S DEMANDS IN THE GALLEY UNREASONABLE? DO YOU AGREE THAT BENNY WAS MANSPLAINING TO BRITTINI? DID BENNY HAVE A BAD ATTITUDE ABOUT THE DISCO BALL HELMET? HOW MUCH WILL HE CLASH WITH JAMIE THIS SEASON?
[Photo Credit: Peacock]