Wow, the season premiere of Below Deck Mediterranean was an unmitigated disaster, huh? Captain Sandy Yawn readily admitted she pretty much failed on the first night of the season. Like, we’re talking falling flat on her face (much to the delight of many a viewer, I would presume). The weather was terrible. Chef Mathew Shea jumped ship at the first sign of stress. Therefore, the food, cooked by the rest of the crew, was atrocious. (Shout-out to the commenters who reminded me that Malia White played sous chef all season last year. That ability to help in the kitchen must’ve gone overboard with Tom Checketts…) The demanding guests were unforgiving. The whole thing really couldn’t have gone worse.
So now the main question is…can the crew right the proverbial ship? Or will it sink before the season’s even left the dock? In the aftermath of that terrible dinner, the answer to that question is uncertain. The guests got sloshed in order to choke down the food they were served. And although primary Terez is still throwing a tantrum in her cabin, everyone else seems to be in a (drunkenly) decent mood. One of the guests even insists on making chief stew Katie Flood do an “airplane” like a six-year-old. That seems like it would cross a line about appropriate treatment of the crew, but anything to save the tip, I guess?
It’s a matter of some debate whether the series of events leading up to Tom Checketts working on the same yacht as his then girlfriend Malia White were circumstantial or premeditated. Both Tom and Malia worked in the industry and hadn’t seen each other in some time. Tom just happened to be available when Captain Sandy Yawn fired Kiko Lorran, and was her first choice in replacing gentle Kiko, who was fired in the middle of dinner service and generally humiliated.
But as it turned out, just having Tom on board wasn’t enough. Malia wanted to switch cabins and put two warring egos into one confined space. When Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier refused to room with Bugsy Drake, Malia reported Hannah’s valium and CBD pen to Captain Sandy, though she had prior knowledge of these items. Sandy fired Hannah, promoted Bugsy, and Malia got easy access to Tom. Sandy even announced the new bunking arrangement over the radio.
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.
The biggest cast shake-up on Below Deck Mediterranean happened last season when OG Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier was fired. Captain Sandy Yawn, at the behest of “maritime” law terminated Hannah for failing to register her prescriptions medications. Bosun Malia White found valium and a CBD pen in Hannah’s belongings, then waited for a perfect opportunity to report them to Captain Sandy. Bugsy Drake, who returned to fill in as second stew, replaced Hannah.
Now, with Season 6 to premiere shortly, fans are anticipating what to expect from a new Chief Stew. Hannah was with the show since it premiered, and what would we do without our chain-smoking, underwhelming table-setting, job-hating Hannah? Love her or hate her, she was a show staple. Much like Kate Chastain on Below Deck.
You can take Hannah Ferrier off the yacht, but you can’t take the snark out of the girl. The former Below Deck Mediterranean Chief Stew was terminated after five seasons on the show for alleged valium and CBD use during charter. While fans were divided on whether the termination was warranted or not, most agree that Bosun Malia White manipulated the situation by reporting Hannah’s prescriptions only when she wanted to change bunk arrangements.
But Malia was not the only one with whom Hannah had unresolved issues. Bugsy Drake was reinstated as second stew shortly before Hannah’s departure. The two did not get along after working together on a prior season, and Hannah’s guard was up the whole time. And finally there’s Captain Sandy Yawn. Sandy not only fired Hannah and promoted Bugsy, but terrorized her tablescaping and management style for years. Some fans speculated that the three colluded to depose Hannah’s reign as OG Chief Stew. During the Season Five Reunion, Hannah sipped from a “I Need A Valium” mug. Nothing was resolved from that confrontation, and based on her new business venture, it’s clear that Hannah is not over it yet.
The crew that lasted until the end of Below Deck Mediterranean Season 5 seemed a bit hastily put together. Captain Sandy Yawn was grasping at straws at one point in the season to fill the chief stew and chef positions. Bugsy Drake took over for Hannah Ferrier, but it was unclear whether she was coming back for another season. Chef Tom Checketts was not suited for yacht life, as evidenced by his ego-driven rages. And now that he is no longer dating Malia White, he has no reason to be slumming it without a sous-chef on the high seas.
Then there is always a re-shuffle when it comes to deck hands and the interior staff, so it was inevitable that viewers would be introduced a whole lineup of new people. Why have anyone on screen past their shelf-life when you can bring in new characters and new dramas? But does anyone that’s not in a management position even want to come back for more? Based on the turnover each season, it doesn’t seem so.
Last season on Below Deck Mediterranean, viewers were inundated with dysfunctional boat romances. Bosun Malia White had to placate her then boyfriend Tom Checketts whenever things didn’t work out in the galley. Their relationship dynamic was all about Malia managing his ego and poor problem solving abilities. Then there was Jessica More and Robert Westergaard. They met on board and were an item for a hot minute before arguments and jealousy took hold.
But there was one coupling that fans were rooting for. It never really took off during the season, but watching deck hand Alex Radcliffe trying to woo Bugsy Drake was endearing to say the least. He adored her, but ultimately got friend-zoned. They are still friends and communicate often on social media, which raised hopes that some feelings could be rekindled. So now that Bugsy is promoting her new book, The Art of Tablescaping: Deck Out Your Table with the Queen of Theme, she also offered an update on where she and Alex stand currently.
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 transpired was nothing less than an infantile display of public humiliation and accusations, helmed by Captain Sandy. She seemed to almost compete with returning Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier while Bosun Malia White was able to whine her way out of situations that didn’t benefit her career. Hannah left the series after a disturbing sequence of events, but it’s apparently not over. Recently the Captain took a rather unnecessary shot at Hannah, but this time former co-worker and barrette aficionado Bugsy Drake is stepping in.