What’s the most dire way to kick off a charter? Oh, I’d say without a deckhand. Or better yet, without a chef! And that’s exactly the predicament the Below Deck gang finds themselves in following Shane Coopersmith‘s firing and Rachel Hargrove walking off the boat. One of those exits was entirely expected. The other was absolutely not. But either way, they both leave Captain Lee Rosbach down two crew members and scrambling just hours before the season’s fourth charter.
For obvious reasons, this is a terrible position to be stuck in. Because, sure, you may be able to get through a single charter with one less deckhand. But there’s no way any yacht survives without a chef. Who’s going to make the food? Unlike other seasons in the Below Deck universe, there’s no stew-turned-secret chef to miraculously step up and save the day. And the morning of the charter, Lee can’t even seem to get the yacht staffing agency on the line for help.
Many viewers weren’t so sure about this season of Below Deck. The loss of Kate Chastain in the role of chief stewardess certainly has shaken things up. Newest chief stew, Francesca Rubi surely has her own way. She seems, like, *fine* at her job, but she really doesn’t bring any interest. Say what you will about her, but at least Kate brought some intrigue. And we always knew what she was thinking.
Maybe some viewers enjoy the level, balanced, blah that Francesa is bringing. There’s certainly enough other chaos to go around, after all. Yet somehow, in all the insanity, Francesca decides to shoot her shot to have second stew, Elizabeth Frankini, fired. Is she serious? Of course the answer was a firm “maybe, but not now” from Captain Lee Rosbach. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any less engaging in stew-land.
Finally! I’ve been waiting all season for something to finally happen on Below Deck. And we finally got an episode filled with drama, nearly from start to finish. We had upheaval in the crew. The coronavirus pandemic started creeping its way into the Caribbean. World War II-era warfare erupted thanks to toxic fumes! And a rogue preference sheet sent one crew member over the edge. Needless to say, it was a lot. And most of all it was great.
Last week’s Below Deck ended on a cliffhanger with Shane Coopersmith getting called into a meeting with Captain Lee Rosbach and Eddie Lucas. And this week, the hapless deckhand lasts about five seconds into the episode. That’s right; the sun has gone down on Sunshine. And strangely, Shane seems utterly blindsided by being fired. Like, he didn’t see this coming at all, you guys. Which is bizarre, considering all the napping. And waking up late. And leaving the laz door open all night. And…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Shall I go on?
Sometimes the drama on Below Deck happens on the upper decks. Of course, we get emotionally invested in sunshine Shane Coopersmith longevity on the job, or whether Elizabeth Frankini will ever impress her chief stew Francesca Rubi. But charter guests can stand on their own in terms of bad decision making and infamous reality TV moments.
Recall the group of twenty-somethings who were treated to a yacht vacation by the parents. They behaved exactly as one would expect with lots of drinking, demands, and demands for drinks. Not a memorable group, but one questionable decision is bringing them back from obscurity to answer for it.
How do you solve a problem like Shane Coopersmith? Unfortunately for Eddie Lucas, Below Deck is not The Sound of Music. A super yacht is not an Austrian nunnery. And you can’t just ship off the crew’s problem child to nanny for some Caribbean version of the Von Trapp family whose seven children are desperately in need of a new governess. (Though in this analogy, Captain Lee Rosbach would be the crew’s indomitable Mother Abbess. And what any Bravoholic wouldn’t give to hear the Stud of the Sea belt out “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from aboard the bridge. To push the limits of the analogy even further, what song would our sweet, bright-eyed Sunshine sing as he leaves My Seanna? Why, “I Have Confidence,” of course.)
But like I said, this isn’t The Sound of Music, no matter how many striking similarities in disposition Shane may have to Maria Von Trapp. Which, now that I’m thinking of it, are many. But while Maria eventually grew to inspire countless generations of regional theaters across the world, I don’t think anyone will be writing a Below Deck musical anytime soon. At least not one with the flailing junior deckhand as the hero. Week after week, Shane’s mistakes have been piling up. And it looks like his time aboard My Seanna may finally be coming to a close.
Watching Izzy Wouters blossom on the deck team has been like viewing the formation of a diamond. Since moving out of interior service on Below Deck, Izzy has stood out on her team. She is very competent and professional, looks out for her colleagues, and has a hilarious personality too.
If it seemed like Izzy and chief stew Francesca Rubi were about to but heads, bosun Eddie Lucas is encouraging and appreciative of her. If only “sunshine” crew member Shane Coopersmith could evoke the same feelings. And while Izzy’s transformation could be the simple result of better skill placement, it is important to have good management.
Is anyone out there starting to feel like this season of Below Deck is perpetually stuck in first gear? For the first couple episodes, I chalked it up to a new crew. After all, we didn’t have Kate Chastain as our fearless leader to get things going. Plus, Captain Lee Rosbach spent almost the entire first episode in the hospital. For the first time, our real fearless leader arrived on My Seanna hobbling and, well, fragile. As a result, everything felt hesitant and uncertain. But at a certain point, you expect everyone to get their sea legs under them and get the show moving. Right?
However, that hasn’t really happened yet. As a result, we’re five episodes deep into the season, and everyone’s insecurities are running rampant on this boat. Captain Lee may be recovering, but the only crew member who really jumped in and dealt with her insecurity was Izzy Wouters. And look at her now! All it took was a change from interior to deck crew and she’s thriving on board. Most of the others? Not so much…
Kate Chastain, queen of the “bitchy resting face,” never shed a tear while on the job. The Below Deck alum went through six seasons without losing her cool. She was good at her job, and handled stress well. Kate was a prime example of the perfect chief stew. Her interior crew were not always on the same wavelength. We’ve seen many tears, and emotional breakdowns over the years. Understandably so. It’s a tough job in a non-stop environment that you literally cannot escape.
So it does show true mettle when a stew can handle the pressure without losing their composure. Chief stew Francesca Rubi cracked on the first charter. Izzy Wouters wisely chose to leave the environment altogether in favor of working on deck. Third Stew Ashling Lorger joined the team on charter two. And after being thrown into the fray with no downtime, she broke down on her first night.