This week’s episode of Below Deck Down Under begins and ends with one thing: Jamie Sayed‘s leadership. Or lack thereof, depending on who you ask. The ex-cop/lifeguard/soldier made it clear when he arrived on the boat that he was a first-time bosun. And now at least one faction of viewers is probably wondering if there was maybe a reason for that. Jamie may be used to rigid systems of discipline, authority and hierarchy. But his attitude isn’t exactly gelling with his crew or his captain.
Take Benny Crawley for example. No doubt about it, the junior deckhand is definitely a personality. While he struggled at first, Captain Jason Chambers was not only patient but got to the root of who Benny is as a person. And proceeded to figure out the best way to lead him from there. Jamie‘s method of demanding instantaneous respect because of rank hasn’t worked quite as well. Benny’s chafed at every command and clearly doesn’t respond well to shaming, teasing or cracking the whip. Not when he’s on deck and certainly not when he’s on his night off, which is where this week’s episode picks back up. No matter how hard he pushes, Jamie isn’t going to get what he wants out of Benny by being hard on him.
Two other crew members not getting what they want from each other are Aesha Scott and Chef Ryan McKeown. Tension’s been bubbling up in the galley since basically the first charter. Mostly thanks to the cocky chef’s brash attitude and refusal to put any amount of pride or energy into his work. And him drunkenly trying to confront the chief stew at a nightclub doesn’t make their working relationship any better. In fact, it only prompts Aesha to pull Captain Jason aside the next day for advice about how to turn things around in the galley before the next charter.
Speaking of the next day — and the next charter — it’s upon us quicker than we can say “Thalassa.” During the preference sheet meeting, we learn that the next primary is a newly promoted aerospace engineer with NASA. So…that’s probably hands down the coolest career a primary has ever had on any Below Deck franchise. The crew only has the morning to prep for the guests’ arrival, and disaster strikes when the toilet in Benny‘s cabin mysteriously floods again. Yuck.
Thank goodness Culver Bradbury‘s there as Keith Stone, Plumber to lighten the mood, clean up the mess and keep poor Benny from jumping overboard. The engineers discover that the cause of the overflows has been a white service glove that somehow found its way into the ship’s plumbing system. How on Earth could that have happened? No one knows, but if she had to bet, Aesha‘s putting her money on Magda Ziomek.
All Magda wants to do is help. And she’s certainly eager. But Aesha cringes inside when the third stew basically asks if she can be on service again for this charter and switch roles with Tumi Mhlongo once it’s over. Yes, Magda is eager and sweet. But she’s also flighty (see: glove in toilet) and has to be supervised essentially at all times. Up on deck, Jamie‘s trying to hold a deck team meeting at the same time that Captain Jason‘s ready to get underway. Not only does the bad timing make Jamie look bad, but it keeps Captain Jason and the whole vessel waiting on a tight schedule because of the tricky tides. Eventually, the boat moves out to deeper water and Jamie and Culver are tasked with returning to the dock to pick up the guests in the tender.
Now, the primary may be a NASA engineer, but he and his friends are ready to party. Yet problems start rearing their heads on both the deck team and the interior as soon as the guests are on board. First, the deck team is entirely unprepared to ship out. Benny in particular is left to untangle a knotted up tow line on the swim platform, all while Jamie smirks from out in the tender. Personally, I got the feeling that the bosun was trying to watch the deckhand dig his own grave. But instead, Captain Jason comes down to help Benny unravel the line himself. And also puts blame on Jamie for not getting these kinds of details prepared ahead of time.
At the same time, the interior team is trying to keep the guests occupied and entertained with food. But with Magda on service, there’s a major communication mix-up over whether the crackers she’s serving are gluten free. Aesha radioes from the galley that they aren’t, but Magda hears that they are. So a guest who doesn’t eat gluten is very confused when the chief stew comes up to the main deck with actual gluten free crackers in hand that look nothing like the ones she’s been munching on. Magda is mortified at her mistake, and all of a sudden her concern outweighs her professionalism. To be fair, she’s worried she’s just killed the guest in the event she has celiac disease. (She hasn’t, the guest just doesn’t like gluten…) But worst of all, the third stew argues back and forth with Aesha about the misunderstanding…in front of the guests.
After a rough start to the morning, Captain Jason‘s determined to put some pressure on the deck team after they anchor in Whitehaven Bay. And Chef Ryan‘s determined to once again do the bare minimum for lunch. So he decides to serve grandiose platters of shellfish on ice. With literally nothing else to go with the crustaceans. Surprise, surprise, he gets visibly and audibly annoyed when the guests ask for, like, a simple salad and some bread. And he even has the audacity to complain about it right in front of Captain Jason. The outburst combined with his earlier conversation with Aesha sets alarm bells ringing inside the captain’s head. And next thing you know, he’s getting a backup chef in place just in case Chef Ryan crashes and burns.
Thankfully, one thing goes right on day one of the charter for the team. And that’s the afternoon of paddle boarding and lounging they’ve organized on Whitehaven Beach. (According to Captain Jason, it’s the most photographed beach in all of Australia thanks to its silky white sand.) The only minor crisis occurs when a few of the guests paddle their way out of sight of the deck team. So when no one from Thalassa answers on the radio, Jamie decides to pull out his lifeguard training and swim to the nearby cove to check on the guests himself. Never mind that Culver manages to get ahold of Captain Jason, who beats Jamie to the guests in the tender. Jamie still used the excuse to take off his shirt and stroll down the beach Baywatch-style.
Back on the boat, Aesha‘s still babying Magda when it comes to service. Because god love her, the Polish model is just trying so dang hard. She’s really doing her best to learn. And Aesha can’t help but be nice about it. All of the deckhands seem eager to learn as well. But when it’s time to move the boat, once again they’re not ready. Brittini Burton lifts the anchor while Culver tries to operate the jet ski crane. And this time Jamie‘s the one flaking the tow line for the tender. But he freaks out once the boat sets sail, asking Captain Jason to slow down because, in his estimation, the tow line is being pulled out too quickly.
It’s all part of Captain Jason‘s plan to get the deck team up to speed. But Jamie feels like they’ve been nothing but rushed all day. And somehow the blame for not keeping up is all falling on him. So, he ventures up to the wheelhouse to speak his mind. And the conversation quickly turns into a tense confrontation between bosun and captain. What else would you expect when Jamie basically accuses Captain Jason of not operating the boat safely?
The captain insists he’s doing everything by the book. After all, he has years of experience as a captain. And how long has Jamie been a bosun? But it’s not good enough for Jamie, who huddles the deck crew up to share his concerns about the way Captain Jason is running the boat. And the episode ends with him telling them to more or less follow his orders over the captain’s. Yeah, this isn’t going to end well…
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JAMIE AS A LEADER? WILL CHEF RYAN LAST THROUGH THE WHOLE SEASON? IS MAGDA TOO FLIGHTY FOR SERVICE? WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY ON BOARD: JAMIE’S OR CAPTAIN JASON’S?
[Photo Credit: Peacock]