Welcome back to another week of Below Deck, maties. It turns out, this week is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. That’s right, the one where Captain Lee Rosbach gets mad. Last week’s episode ended with James Hough and Elizabeth Frankini finally getting down and dirty in the hot tub. And this week picks up the following morning, which is a full turnaround day for the next charter.
And would you be surprised to learn that Liz has trouble keeping her fling with James to herself? The stew immediately spills the beans to Ashling Lorger and Rob Phillips. We’re talking the moment she arrives on deck. Like, before poor James is even awake or has had time to put clothes on. So by the time he shows up for work, the rumor mill is already in full swing about his escapades the night before. (Naturally, none of this stops Francesca Rubi from finding reasons to criticize Elizabeth’s work first thing in the morning. This despite claiming she doesn’t want “any animosity” in her department, but alas…)
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.
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.