There’s a fundamental principle to being a rookie cast member on any long-running reality show. I wouldn’t call it a hard and fast rule, but it’s basic common sense for any newbie. And especially for one who joined a given show as the boyfriend of a cast member almost universally reviled by fans. And it’s this: if you’re brand new to the show, try not to make the fan favorite cry. Simple, right?
Well somehow Tom Checketts managed to do just the exact opposite to Aesha Scott on this week’s Below Deck Mediterranean. Over, of all things, a cucumber. And an avocado. It was bizarre. It was unnerving. And it was a confrontation so out of left field that it bears being addressed right at the top. Plenty of viewers had reservations about Tom when he magically popped on board as Malia White‘s boyfriend. The timing felt suspiciously perfect for him to take over the galley, and helped fuel rumors that Malia had somehow managed to basically cast the show in the wake of several firings by Captain Sandy Yawn.
Heave ho, heave ho, it’s off the dock we go. If last week’s Below Deck Mediterranean felt like a filler episode to reintroduce Aesha Scott, this week certainly ramped up the drama for poor Rob Westergaard. But not before enduring the rest of the drunken charter featuring Johnny Damon and his band of merry pals. Or before dragging out Jessica More‘s heart palpitations from the end of last week into a full-blown medical crisis.
Remember pre-quarantine when Captain Sandy Yawn had a heart attack during SoulCycle? Apparently one in three women die from a heart attack or a stroke. I was not aware of this statistic. But Sandy used the third stew’s heart palpitations as the perfect excuse to inject the episode with a PSA about women’s heart health. First the captain lays Jess down on her couch and checks her blood pressure. She even goes as far as to text a cardiologist friend with Jess’ stats, but the doc says, and I quote, it’s “not that bad.” So, basically the entire medical emergency was all for naught. But I suppose if it helps even one female viewer be more aware of her heart health, it’s worth the tangent. And good thing Jess is OK! Well, at least before she’s about to get her heart broken…
We’re headed to Ibiza, baby! That’s right. Below Deck Mediterranean is leaving Mallorca behind for the bright lights and unstoppable party of Ibiza. Well, for the next charter, at least. No promises after that because it’s not totally clear if we’re staying there for the rest of the season.
In the closing moments of last week, we learned the identity of the new second stew: returning yachtie Aesha Scott! Everyone’s favorite bushpig from Season 4 is beyond thrilled to be back, even if the entire crew are strangers to her. In fact, the only cast member she knows is Captain Sandy Yawn, whom she envelopes in a huge hug the moment she steps on board. (Personally, I don’t know that I would come back after being thrown up on by a charter guest last year. But more power to Aesha!)
Welcome to a new chapter of Below Deck Mediterranean. The dawn of a new day. A time to set sail for the unknown sea, the wind at our backs and Captain Sandy Yawn still micromanaging the boat from the bow. Just kidding, we’re still in Mallorca.
For those of you just tuning in, this week is the first episode in the history of the show’s five seasons without Hannah Ferrier as chief stew. The OG’s firing — over an unregistered Valium prescription — was decidedly hard to watch last week. The fallout in interviews and other press was even harder to swallow. (Need an example? Just listen to the way Sandy chooses to use the phrase “do Valium” in this clip from the Below Deck Med After Show.)
“I haven’t even seen tonight’s episode and I’m already angry about it.” That was the tweet that popped up on my timeline before I sat down to watch the latest Below Deck Mediterranean. Or something like that. After having now sat through a grueling 75 minutes, I can confirm that viewer’s harbinger of things to come was accurate. Remember when this season was supposed to be about girl power? Women supporting women? How cool it is to have the first all-female leadership team in franchise history? Yeah, that’s officially a pipe dream.
Tonight was the episode every Below Deck Med fan has been waiting all season to see. We knew going into the premiere that Hannah Ferrier didn’t make it through the charter season. That she left sometime in the middle of filming. Did she quit? Was she fired? All fans knew was that the chief stew was now glowing and pregnant. And that she’d given up her career in yachting (and on Bravo) to give a life on land a try with her boyfriend and daughter-to-be.
Do you feel that? It’s the tide turning on Below Deck Mediterranean. This season has been a veritable rollercoaster so far, full of sudden exits, returning yachties from charter seasons past and even one scandalous, headline-making firing by Bravo. I mean, just take a look at how the show’s opening credits have changed from week to week. Last week, we unjustly said goodbye to Chef Kiko Lorran. But that casting change won’t even compare to the drama that’s about to rock The Wellington.
This week opens with sweet Kiko waltzing down the dock, luggage in tow. (Onto a better and brighter future without Captain Sandy Yawn backseat-driving his galley, surely). Hannah Ferrier is absolutely gutted by her pal leaving. She feels guilty for being partially responsible for the meal that sunk his ship. And, now, she doesn’t have a single true ally amongst the crew and she knows it.
Wow, this week’s Below Deck Mediterranean was hard to watch. I can’t be the only one who felt that way, right? Watching a tearful Chef Kiko Lorran be chewed up and spit out was not only painful but frankly unfair and all kinds of unnecessary. I mean, last week ended with the Brazilian ray of sunshine being summarily fired by Captain Sandy Yawn. In front of the rest of the crew. In the middle of a charter. And then, he was expected to carry on and rise to the occasion for an entire day and a half after being told his food is terrible.
Tonight’s episode picks right back up in the middle of Sandy informing Kiko that he’ll be done once they reach the dock. And honestly, it isn’t any less frustrating to watch the second time around. In her confessional, the captain admits she likes Kiko. (If you don’t, you have a heart of stone.) But she insists that leading a crew isn’t about liking them, it’s about them doing their jobs correctly. But here’s the main issue with Sandy’s leadership style. Yes you have to find capable employees who can execute their responsibilities. But even more importantly, you have to create an environment as a leader where every person on your crew is primed to succeed and be their best selves. And that doesn’t equal micromanaging every single thing they do and constantly criticizing them as you look over their shoulder.
Tonight we were in for a supersized episode of Below Deck Mediterranean, which delivered supersized drama of epic proportions for Kiko Lorran.
All the pressure was on the chef this week to deliver a Vegas-themed feast. But like any bad trip to Sin City, what happened in the galley didn’t necessarily stay in the galley. If the previews for next week are any indication, it appears some major changes are about to happen aboard The Wellington. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, shall we?