What. Did I. Just watch? That was my rather dumbfounded reaction last Monday after screening this week’s episode of Below Deck Mediterranean. And frankly, that feeling hasn’t gone away as I sit down to write this a few days later. Was this the most dramatic crew fight in the history of the entire Below Deck franchise? Yes there have been fistfights and throuples. We’ve seen unjust firings and plenty of toxic masculinity throughout the years. But I can’t think of anything that reaches this same level of all-out war where every single person in the crew was involved. And that’s not even considering Chef Mathew Shea‘s abrupt and classless departure…
Obviously, all of the negativity can be boiled down to just one person on the boat. And that is second stew Lexi Wilson. Yes, Lexi’s bad attitude has peeked through the veneer of her pageant girl persona in recent weeks. She’s come across as high maintenance, snobby, inconsiderate and rude. But it was nothing like this. Tonight, the Bahamian bad girl ripped off the mask and showed her true colors. And there’s no word to describe them but ugly. Lexi’s the kind of girl who would not only take comparing herself to Satan as a compliment, she would openly delight in the cruelty she can wreak on the people around her. (Poor Lloyd Spencer!)
We don’t know a lot about Mathew Shea yet, except that he’s anxiety-prone enough to shirk his responsibilities when over-whelmed. The Below Deck Mediterranean chef feigned a knee injury to get out of cooking for the first charter. And that’s just Mathew professionally, though when he sticks around long enough to prepare a meal, it’s fantastic. First impressions of him during the crew night out brought on a “creepy uncle” vibe for Third Stew Courtney Veale. Then there was that “throuple” comment.
So Mathew isn’t invoking the best first impressions in any sense of the word. But it’s early in the season. We don’t know what kind of man he is, but he is one to call out another one to step up to his responsibilities. It’s interesting how these yachties’ lives tend to intertwine.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Below Deck Mediterranean is basically a show that never ends. Over the years, it’s turned into an endless cycle of cliffhangers. With cameras rolling virtually 24/7, it’s at times hard to recall where one episode ends and the next begins. This became all the more noticeable to me over the past few weeks as I’ve been binging an old season of the OG Below Deck. (Season 3, to be exact.) Can you even believe that entire charters used to begin and end in the same episode? Now we’re four episodes in and still only in the middle of the crew’s first night out!
Speaking of that, last week we left on in the midst of Mathew Shea and Lexi Wilson‘s tiff over whether they would ever deign to speak to one another in real life. We all know the answer is a resounding “NO,” so why are we still arguing about this? I’d much rather hear all the reasons Katie Flood never wanted to become a chief stew. Or all of the girls gossip about the creepy uncle vibes Mat continuously gives off. Or listen to Malia White argue that you can be a “good person and work in yachting.” Kind of rich coming from her of all people, but OK…
There’s a new batch of yachties setting sail under Captain Sandy Yawn. And Below Deck Mediterranean viewers know that Sandy can be polarizing, especially to her interior staff. Though with Hannah Ferrier gone, there’s a lot less tension on board already. New Chief Stew Katie Flood is quite capable in her job, and has earned the respect of her captain. So far so good onboard.
Of course there are no issues between Sandy and her protege Malia White. They worked together last season and know what to expect from each other. Malia and Sandy have always spoken highly of each other and the bosun is certainly indebted to the captain for guiding her in the industry. Maybe it’s Malia’s good opinion of her boss that trickled down to her team. And if the team head is doing well, there won’t be negative interaction between deck crew and Sandy. A halo effect.
What’s a more polarizing topic these days than Coronavirus? It’s 2021 and still we are divided over personal responsibility, mask-wearing, and mandatory vaccines. Is anybody not over it at this point? And if you’re one of those people that enjoys a little escapism by following reality TV, unfortunately these issues have long ago found their way into the lives of our favorite Bravo-lebrities.
Real Housewives of Orange County star Kelly Dodd Leventhal, for one, was playing loose and fast with the pandemic since March 2020 when she flew to New York just before lock down to shack up with then-fiance Rick Leventhal. She and the former FOX News anchor seemed to take the pandemic lightly since…..March 2020. From the need to wear masks, the severity of COVID-19, and a celebratory “super spreader” event. It’s a true feat that she and Rick did not catch the virus until New Years Eve 2021. And even in that situation, Kelly managed to infuse some drama.
Congratulations are in order for 51 Minds Entertainment. After eight seasons of the Bravo hit Below Deck, the production company can finally celebrate an Emmy nomination for the show. A well-deserved recognition for a program that spawned a franchise and is Bravo’s highest rated among viewers in a demographic spanning 18-to-49 year olds.
Below Deck premiered in 2013. After its immediate success, Below Deck Mediterranean aired its first season in 2016. Fledgling Below Deck Sailing Yacht is only two seasons in after its inception in early 2020. The franchise has marketed and presented to the consumer a unique look at life in the yachting industry. And it’s as if the drama is right there, on tap, and it’s just a matter of catching the moment and branding it correctly. It has worked for eight seasons, and finally the Television Academy is giving recognition.
As more and more Below Deck cast members progress through different stages of land-life, us fans will be able to reconnect with some familiar faces. And isn’t it nice to see some happy, ecstatic brides-to-be or pregnancy bumps on social media? But most alums slip from our minds, like Below Deck Mediterranean Season One deck hand Danny Zureikat, being hauled off on a donkey after a disastrous performance onboard. Of course, production likely prefers casting fresh faces each season. Especially with lower ranking staff, it’s one season and done with most of them.
Such was Brooke Laughton’s tenure on Below Deck Mediterranean. She joined the crew as a very capable second stew in Season 3. Brooke and Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier got along rather well until she started crushing on Joao Franco and Hannah ducked out of work responsibilities to smoke ciggies with Bosun Conrad Empson. Third Stew Kasey Cohen also had her eye on Joao and a rather sloppy love triangle resulted. Happier days were waiting for Brooke after she left the show, and just this week, she shared some very special news.
At the end of last week’s Below Deck Mediterranean, we didn’t even know if the primary guests’ upcoming wedding was even going to happen. Quick recap: the entire charter had been one disaster after another. The crew was operating on pure adrenaline while still getting their sea legs under them. The whole first charter was leading up to one thing: a Mediterranean wedding officiated by Captain Sandy Yawn. And the crew did get things more under control by the second day. But then the soon-to-be bride and groom started fighting. The argument escalated to the point that the groom called off the wedding, storming out of the cabin and leaving and eavesdropping Katie Flood scampering for cover.
The fight carries into the rest of the night. (Though it’s unclear whether the bride ever made good on her threat to call her fiancé’s mother. I need to know.) Lexi Wilson is left to eavesdrop on the argument during the late shift. And by the time everyone heads to bed, it’s unclear what will happen the following day. Holy matrimony is officially up in the air, people. Bright and early the next morning, the mood has quieted to an angry simmer. The tension during breakfast is palpable. The groom is overcompensating with jokes while the bride sits silently, brooding over her eggs Benedict. Finally, Katie‘s forced to break the ice and ask if the crew’s planning a wedding. The couple tersely agrees to a sunset ceremony.