What’s the saying? As one ship docks, another sets sail? In the Bravoverse, that can only mean one thing: as the mizzen and main are furled on Below Deck Sailing Yacht, it’s time for Season 6 of Below Deck Mediterranean! The good news? We’re back in Croatia! Which longtime fans will remember as the setting for Season 2 — widely regarded as probably the show’s most iconic season ever. (Though this particular recapper is also partial to Season 3’s adventures on the Italian coast…)
The bad news? You may not be happy with some of Bravo’s casting decisions. Because, yes, both Captain Sandy Yawn and Malia White are back. Frankly, it’s just a baffling decision that makes absolutely no sense to me. Especially when you consider how much backlash they received from fans over how terribly they handled all the drama that went down with Hannah Ferrier. On one hand, I never expected Captain Sandy to go anywhere. But why on God’s blue ocean bring Malia back for another season as bosun? If we needed a familiar face to fill the void left by Hannah — and for the record, we do — why not keep Bugsy Drake as chief stew? Or promote Alex Radcliffe and make him bosun? Or better yet, both! Because I’m pretty confident that no one (and I mean no one) was asking for another season of Malia.
Below Deck Mediterranean introduced our first look at a female yacht captain, Sandy Yawn. She was a leader in a predominantly male industry and provided an optimistic look towards putting a crack in the glass ceiling. When Season 5 announced a crew with women in the high-ranking positions, many viewers saw this as a potentially groundbreaking effort and a nod towards, for lack of a better term, female empowerment. Then filming began and it all went to shit.
What do you do when you hate your second stew? There’s no denying the tension in the interior has been building for several charters now. And this week, all of that drama finally starts coming to a head. So if you’re Francesca Rubi, that means making a blatant power play to reassert your control over Elizabeth Frankini. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last eight seasons of Below Deck, it’s that the chief stew always demands respect and deference. And she’ll get it by laying down an iron fist. (Miss you, Kate Chastain!)
Last week’s episode ended with Francesca complaining once again to Captain Lee Rosbach about her underling. Because at this point, there’s nothing Elizabeth could do that Chess won’t find some issue with. I say that recognizing that Elizabeth has certainly made mistakes this season. But I can’t help but root for the underdog in this feud, and Francesca hasn’t exactly been a supportive boss. Last week, Captain Lee warned her that finding a new stew could bring a whole other rash of problems. So instead, she decides she’d rather keep Elizabeth on the boat and punish her another way.
Anyone need a Valium? Truly, I don’t know how you could’ve gotten through Part 2 of the Below Deck Mediterranean reunion without anxiety. Or at the very least a substantial headache. Because as much as Hannah Ferrier‘s firing (rightfully) angered fans, I never want to hear the words “maritime law” again. Except, sorry, you’ll probably be forced to hear them a whole bunch in this last and final recap of the season.
The first half of Part 2 of the reunion all revolves around the drama between Hannah and Captain Sandy Yawn. Was Hannah’s vape pen for CBD or THC? The chief stew claims it was CBD for anxiety; the manufacturer claims it matches their THC pen. Ok, that doesn’t stop Hannah from insisting you can put whatever oil you want in the pen, and doubling down that it was CBD. Jessica More jumps in to add that she also had a CBD pen on board, which promptly sets Sandy off. But what’s the captain going to do? Fire her? And really, does anyone even care anymore at this point?
Raise the anchor because it’s reunion time, yachties! The entire Below Deck Mediterranean crew is back and dressed in their best whites to hash out a season’s worth of drama on the high seas. Well, most of them, anyway. And just like most Bravo reunions these days, this year’s proceedings will be entirely virtual. Though this time around, the decision is just as likely to be about logistics, what with the entire cast spread out around the world.
Captain Sandy Yawn seems to be only one landlocked, stuck at her apartment in Colorado with the protective foam corners still stuck on the frame of the artwork behind her head. Meanwhile, Hannah Ferrier is eight months pregnant in Australia, where she filmed the reunion at four a.m. The rest of the crew is scattered everywhere from London (Malia White) and Long Island (Alex Radcliffe, who’s blessedly shirtless in the opening montage) to the islands of the Bahamas (Bugsy Drake) and Martinique (Kiko Lorran). Meanwhile Rob Westergaard and Jessica More are both in Florida, but definitely not together.
This is it, yachties. Congratulations. We’ve done it. We’ve reached the end of this seemingly never-ending charter season on Below Deck Mediterranean. Is it just me, or has it been the longest season in Below Deck history? (It has. I just checked.) And with a two-part virtual reunion to go, we’re not technically done yet, but as they say on the high seas, a finale is a finale is a finale. (Do they say that though?)
Maybe the season just felt extra long coming after the first season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht, which I actually quite enjoyed. Maybe the near-constant cast turnover made it feel like the season never got its sea legs. Or perhaps it was the combination of Tom Checketts‘ spoiled brat tantrums mixed with Rob Westergaard and Jessica More‘s confusing relationship drama that dragged the season on and on. Yeah, it was definitely that.
As I sat down for this week’s episode of Below Deck Mediterranean, I had one distinctly iconic Bravo-ism flash through my mind. “Please don’t let it be about Tom.” I just couldn’t handle the thought of having to sit through another week of Chef Tom Checketts‘ temper tantrums and histrionics taking center stage. I’ve ranted about them. I’ve railed against them. I’ve written about them ad naseum for what feels like the entire back half of the season now. And the Bravo gods seemed to hear my plaintive cries because, for the first time in Bravo history, it wasn’t about Tom.
Instead, we were treated to a full hour of Jessica More and Rob Westergaard‘s boatmance completely unraveling in the space of a single day. We’ve known since the pair’s first appearances on Watch What Happens Live that this was coming. But as the season inched toward its end, I was starting to wonder when we’d see the sinking of the ship rather than just the iceberg from 100 miles away. Err, kilometers? Knots? Whatever the unit of distance between ships and icebergs is to complete this apt metaphor for the couple’s doomed love affair.
Bad news, yachties. If you thought Chef Tom Checketts‘ temper tantrum last week was the worst we’d see of him this season, would you believe me if I said it’s about to get worse? Or better, depending on your appreciation for drama in the Below Deck Mediterranean galley. Either way, you’re in for a disappointment. Or is it a treat?
Last week’s episode ended (once again) with Tom mid-fit. Remember? Quick refresher: the final charter of the season was about to start. The high-maintenance mom squad of guests decided to arrive an hour early. Now everyone’s frazzled and rushing. But no one more so than Tom. Because (also once again) there’s a problem with the provisions. Or, the quality of them, rather. Something about too-warm fish being replaced with frozen fish? Considering this recapper originally hails from the (landlocked) Mountain West with a strong aversion to seafood, I’m not the one to be asking about the qualifications of decent halibut.