Last week’s episode of Below Deck Down Under certainly ended on a low note, with Captain Jason Chambers reprimanding the deck crew for their less-than-stellar performance during docking. However, unlike the way we’ve seen many a crew member take criticism immaturely over the years on other Below Deck shows, a surprising thing happens. This deck crew takes the captain’s critiques in and all commit to improving. It’s actually kind of shocking to see something dare I say professional happen in front of
Bravo’s Peacock’s cameras for once.
And I think the deck team’s reaction says quite a lot about Captain Jason‘s style and effectiveness in leading his team. Sure, he’s younger than his counterparts on the other franchises. But it’s more than that. He’s taken time to connect with his crew on a personal level and motivate them to be their best selves. He’s not afraid to stoop to the level of work that’s probably beneath him. Especially if it makes for an opportunity to have a positive impact on an individual crew member. Just look at Benny Crawley and the overflowing toilet if you need an example. The crew all look up to him, respect him, and want to do their best for him.
That being said, work’s over for the day. And it’s time for another crew night out. But first Captain Jason has to award the infamous disco ball helmet to the crew member who has the most improving to do. And for this charter, it goes to…Brittini Burton! (You just know Benny let out a huge sigh of relief inside that it wasn’t him again.) The exact reasoning is a little unclear. What did Brittini do that was worse than anyone else on the deck team? But either way, she’s more than happy to be a team player and wear the sparkling helmet of shame for the night.
The entire crew heads to a different restaurant on shore for dinner, and almost immediately Chef Ryan McKeown starts grinding on everyone’s nerves. He’s loud. He’s obnoxious. And he’s not about to apologize for it. He’s also the kind of person who purposely gets worse the more other people point it out to him. So that’s a cute quality in a person. His antics continue as the crew hit a beachside nightclub, but the drama shift focus when Jamie Pascal pulls Tumi Mhlongo aside to get the full story on Culver Bradbury and the hot tub. The second stew insists getting the jacuzzi with guests crossed a line, but the bosun thinks it’s perfectly acceptable if it meant pleasing the guests and securing a bigger tip.
Despite then talking through the issue with Culver at the club, the drama continues back on the boat when Jamie and Tumi get into the hot tub. While Culver — who was completely unaware that Tumi was upset — bonds with Captain Jason and Brittini over his collection of mullet wigs, the second stew and bosun go another round about whether or not the whole jacuzzi incident was inappropriate. The entire confrontation is honestly a bit redundant. And probably fueled by alcohol. But I’d rather watch Tumi threatening to quit than Chef Ryan trying to lecherously flirt with Magda Ziomek using lap dances and spicy noodles.
The next morning, it’s pickup day for charter number three! And Aesha Scott‘s making a few changes in the interior. For this charter, she’s putting Tumi on cabin duty and giving Magda the chance to be on service. Mostly because the third stew seems…less than adept at keeping the laundry organized and needs someone to keep an eye on her.
During the preference sheet meeting, Captain Jason reveals that the new primary is the founder of a global concierge company named Karim Gharbi. And his demands may be a bit more intense than the past two, relatively easy charters. They want a scuba diving lesson. But the real crux is their list of dietary demands. No red meat. Absolutely no buffet or family-style service. So the pressure will be on for Chef Ryan, as well as the interior. But the cocky galley master claims he’s not nervous and ready to step up his game. It’s time to see if his skills live up to all the braggadocio and bluster.
Also ready for a new challenge is Magda. Though it quickly becomes apparent before the guests have even arrived that the third stew may be a bit in over her head when it comes to service. English isn’t the Polish model’s first language, and she’s having to learn new vocabulary like “muddle” and “garnish” on the fly. Surely that’s a stressful situation to be put in at work. What’s even more stressful is knocking over an entire tray of welcome champagne, just as the guests board Thalassa. Which is exactly what happens to poor Magda, though I’ve rewatched the moment multiple times and can’t quite decide whether it was her fault or if Tumi ran into her by accident. Either way, add to that the fact that the primary basically wants to redecorate the entire boat and we’re off to a great start.
For lunch, Chef Ryan serves barramundi steamed en papillote. In layman’s terms, that’s Asian sea bass steamed in parchment paper. And before the guests even take their first bite, there’s a problem. Even though everyone else things the food is delicious, one woman in the group claims the fish is “too intense” for her and sends it back. Never mind that she had just dropped by the galley and told the chef that all she eats is fish. Now she wants a garden salad instead. Obviously, Ryan takes this well. Down in the galley, he unleashes a stream of vitriol, calling her “the b–chy one,” “arrogant,” and a “ratchet b–ch.” Yikes.
The boat reaches its anchorage and the guests are ready to snorkel. But first, Jamie offers to teach Brittini how to release the anchor by hand. It’s a relatively simple part of the job, but one the junior deckhand’s never done before. Sort of like Benny and the chain locker. However, Brittini makes a grave error. As Jamie’s showing her how to drop the anchor, she steps over the descending anchor chain. That’s yachting 101. A huge no-no. One wrong move and Brittini’s entire leg could’ve been ripped off. It turns my stomach just thinking about it. Looks like she’s officially in the running for Captain Jason‘s Helmet of Shame™ again.
Thankfully, the snorkeling expedition is more of a success than lunch. But when it comes to the Casino Royale-themed dinner, Chef Ryan decides to double down and serve nothing but fish for the guests’ fancy multi-course meal. Much to Aesha‘s utter disbelief. Yet the chief stew decides to keep her doubts to herself. The chef is more than capable of making his own doomed bed. And make it, he does. The very first course Chef Ryan wants to serve is a kingfish crudo, which four different guests immediately turn their noses up at. Because they do not eat raw fish. Even if it’s cured, and not technically raw. This elicits nothing short of a tantrum from the chef. But, like, why were you serving fish again if it was already a problem at lunch?
Ryan puts on his best face for the guests, but down below, he’s furious. And decides to take his sweet, sweet time cooking the crudo with a torch. (To be fair, he can’t put it in the oven or in a pan because the delicate fish would simply disintegrate. But the longer it takes, the more antsy and impatient the guests get. And the chef won’t even give Aesha an idea of when he’ll be done. So as the episode closes, everyone’s left waiting at Chef Ryan’s petulant whim…
TELL US – WHO’S IN THE RIGHT ABOUT CULVER: JAMIE OR TUMI? SHOULD CHEF RYAN HAVE COOKED FISH FOR DINNER? WAS HE PURPOSELY BEING SLOW TO GET BACK AT THE GUESTS AND AESHA?
[Photo Credit: Peacock]