Although we’re still a week behind, Below Deck keeps going, because it is, unlike representative democracy, unstoppable.
Anyway, we’re back on the case and, so if you’d like to catch up on last week’s seagoing problematic decision-making adventures (Right over here!), you absolutely should. You should also eat any and all carbs you want for the serotonin boost and play your most soul-healing songs on repeat. Unless you see that one neighbor who kept saying he “just couldn’t stand Hillary’s voice” out, in which case you should switch to a mix of Pussy Riot and whatever hip-hop will make him the most uncomfortable.
Previously on Below Deck: Ben and Emily were twitterpated, but then Emily encouraged Ben to serve chewy conch over Kate’s advice and Kate was irked. We learned that Kyle’s girl Ashley back home is trans (and Sierra is a jerkwad who called him a queen), Nico and Kelley got into it over proper deckhanding and bosuning and bosun-critiquing, the deckhands got drunk and in trouble and then, because they have no learning curve whatsoever, Nico and Lauren got hammered in the Master Suite while Kyle just wanted to use it to master his nether bits. They were joined by Drunk Pantsless Ben, and somehow they knocked a panel in the master bathroom off the wall. Yikes.
It’s morning after the party that left Kyle’s date with Rosie Palmer unconsummated. Kyle is miserable because Ben was in his bed and snoring. Kyle tells Emily and she says “Rather you than me.” Kate walks in to roust Ben so she can clean the damn room. Also she thinks it would be nice if Ben made the crew some food. Ben make sure that Ben is getting up because Ben chooses to and they need to clean the room, not because Kate is the boss of him. Kate sees the damaged panel.
Kate asks Lauren if she knows what happened to the panel and Lauren says no. OK, either Lauren is lying here or this is the second time she’s gotten blackout drunk in a very short amount of time. This is maybe a thing where someone should step in.
Ben brings Emily a chai. She asks is Ben’s brother James is coming on board tonight. He’s excited that James likes Emily and that they’ll all go out tonight. Ben says it’s hard to get James’s approval for a girl because he’s seen a lot of them. Heh-heh.
Kate radios the deck crew to meet her in the master bathroom. This happens as Nico is laughing about how loaded they got last night, or at least the edit makes it look that way. Captain Lee hears the chatter and, knowing his crew, feels his spider senses tingling. Lee heads in to see what the hell. Later, we’ll need to think about the forensics of this. It’s been cut to look like Kate calls the deck crew, but Lee shows up instead. Which is weird, because why would nobody from the deck crew answer her call? So it’s possible that Kate also went to Captain Lee. Or maybe Lee pulled Kate aside to ask what the hell. Anyway, it’s an issue that will come up.
The broken panel in question houses the control for a $10,000 toilet. This is not good. Also it’s maybe not good that there is such a thing as a $10,000 toilet or such a thing as a market for a $10,000 toilet.
Just get the $8,000 model and skip the massage.
Kate, in response to Lee’s questioning, says that she knows the deck crew and Ben were in there. Lee says they should get all the deckhands together and Kate adds “and Ben.” Possibly because she thinks he should be held accountable because he ranks higher and possibly because she’s maybe not as thrilled with the romance playing out under her nose as she thought she would be.
Lee, chewing on an iron boat spar to keep his temper in check, summons Kate, Kelley, Kyle, Ben, Nico, and Lauren to the mess. If you’re wondering what is meant by the phrase “barely controlled rage,” this would be the one to watch. For serious, if you’re going to be drunk and stupid, stick to the easily hosed down hot tub. Lee informs them that the boat is not their personal fucking party palace. It is weird that they’re being so cavalier with it. Kelley is pissed that this happened while he was asleep. Ben, Nico, Lauren, and Kyle are confined to the crew area tonight. That blows for Kyle. He just wanted a sleep and a wank and actively discouraged the drinking in the Master Suite. And he wasn’t in the bathroom when the panel got broken.
Lee brings Kelley and Kate up top for a more private conversation and says he wants everyone in bed early and does not wish to see any swinging dicks tonight. Heh. Lee tells Kelley to enforce the curfew and knows that he won’t be liked for it and deal with that. Kate says Lee is angrier than she’s never seen him. She isn’t sure if she’s in trouble or not.
Nico says Kate can go fuck herself for telling Captain Lee. Ben wonders if he thinks Kate framed them. Nico says no, but he blames her for telling the captain. Lauren drops in “We weren’t in the toilet,” which, wow. Obviously Bravo edits stuff, but that sure as hell looked like it happened when they were drunk off their asses and playing grabass in the bathroom. Either the story editors are playing fast and loose or that was some very problematic drinking. Ben says that panel must have “just popped out,” which is either a pretty pathetic defense or evidence that one of them has burgeoning telekinetic powers. I hope it’s Lauren. She’s been getting zero screen time.
Lee warns Kate and Kelley that if he sees someone out after curfew he will be flipping his shit. Kelley gives the deckhands a 10:00 curfew and tells them that laughing about the incident is not the most helpful thing to do at this time. Nico is enraged at being given a curfew. Kate tells the stews to tell her if they see the deckies in the guest cabins in the future. Kate walks away and Ben immediately undermines her, saying that Emily wouldn’t do that to him, right?
Nico bitches to Lauren that he doesn’t want Kelley to talk to him like that. Which is weird because Kelley wasn’t a jerk about it at all. He just delivered information that Nico didn’t want to hear in a terse manner. Nico interviews that at first Kelley was too soft and now he’s too harsh. I think it’s more that at first Kelley was too soft and now Nico is actually experiencing consequences for his actions.
Kate asks Ben what he’s going to do about not being able to leave the boat when his brother is here. Ben has creatively interpreted his confinement to crew areas to mean he can’t go to guest cabins, but he can leave the boat when he feels like it. Ben wonders if Kate ratted them out and says a lot of people thinks she did. Eh. That’s debatable. Regardless of how her talk with Lee came about, Kate didn’t have a ton of options. She couldn’t hide the fact that a major feature of the master suite was broken. She could have lied and said she didn’t know who was in there, yes. But then she’d be lying to her boss and also potentially setting her own innocent stews up for a group punishment if no one came forward. And she’s the one who gave Kyle permission to spend the night in there, and that would have come out pretty quickly in response to Lee’s questions. Also? Some of the people who are expecting Kate to lie to protect them are the same people who were jerks to her during the last drunken night, so it’s tough to blame Kate if she doesn’t throw her back into this.
Lee shows up to make it clear that “confined to crew areas” means confined to the boat. Ben explains to Lee that his brother is here, but Lee doesn’t apply punishments selectively. Ben asks if he can bring James on board to say goodbye.
Emily and Sierra talk about what went down and they’re so glad they weren’t up there.
Nico is being pissy and says Kelley shouldn’t talk to him like that. Again, Kelley didn’t really do anything. He didn’t even really raise his voice. Nico is being a baby who can’t handle being disciplined. YOU BROKE PART OF THE SHIP THAT YOU LIVE AND WORK ON. The only one who should be angry about this is Kyle, who was just trying to get some special alone time and a good night’s sleep.
Kelly and Nico start yelling at each other. Kelley brings up how much he gets chewed out by Lee, which a questionable point, and also that he is Nico’s fucking boss, which is a better one. Kelley is not great at throwing his weight around – he doesn’t sound firm or confident when he does it. More like a high school kid who has to tell the float-decorating team that for real, the Screaming Eagle needs to be decorated with the proper Screaming Eagle epaulets and pants or he’s gotta cancel the pizza party.
Time for the pre-meeting for charter number 8! The primary is Dean Slover, a past charter guest who is Bravo-famous for being a dick to the crew on previous episodes, so of course Bravo keeps positively reinforcing that behavior by inviting him back for more Caribbean cruises and television exposure. In the most famous incident, he called Kate bitchy to her face – and in front of other guests – so instead of making a towel animal on his bed, she made a towel penis.
She claims to this day that it was a rocket. Team Kate all the way on that one. She says that now they’re buds. Ben knows Dean is “very particular” and is probably wishing for a gluten-free guest instead.
It’s all guys this trip. Everyone’s preferences are Dean’s preferences, they want fireworks, and they want to visit the Baths at Virgin Gorda. That last one is a really good call.
Kyle buttonholes Kelley and says that the 10:00 curfew after already being confined to crew areas is “double jeopardy,” by which he really means two punishments. Nico is still mad that Kelley was short when he told them about the curfew and bitches extensively about it to Lauren. Based purely on her silence and her face, I think Lauren is maybe over her crush on Nico.
Kate talks to the deckies and says she didn’t rat them out and wasn’t going to mention them to the captain. Obviously we’re in a heavy edit and we’ll never know, but the point that supports her argument is that she didn’t go straight to Lee when she saw the panel – she radioed for the deckies to come meet her there. There would be no reason for her to do that after talking to Lee because the problem would be his and Kelley’s. Nico, who is still being a pissy adolescent, says Kate is the root of all evil on the boat.
James, via instant message, agrees to meet Ben on the boat at 9:00.
At 9:45, we see an obedient Lauren in bed and Kelley bunking down. Kyle chats with Ben, who is waiting for James to show. What the hell, James? Kyle worries that Ben is confined to quarters in 15 minutes, but Ben is quite certain that the captain will be OK with this. Wow, Ben really does live in a bubble where he assumes that anything he doesn’t want to deal with can’t possibly really apply to him.
James finally shows. Lee, up and ready to pull the spine out of anyone who breaks curfew, says he’ll give this another 15 minutes or so. Kate sits anxiously on the next sofa. James hangs out with Ben while Emily cleans glasses. He loves having him there. He also is really not dealing with the restrictions he’s been given, thinking he’s playing the loopholes. I think Ben’s upper-class assumptions are showing. At 10:53, Ben is serving James and Emily (the ship’s) caviar in the crew mess and also the ship’s wine and whiskey. Lee is not having this. He counts down to the exact moment when he’s been more than reasonable and then calls Ben aside. He says he wants James gone and Ben asleep. Ben says that given his rank and rapport with Lee, he thought he’d get more slack (BEN. HE SPECIFICALLY SAID THERE WOULD NOT BE SLACK), but he does obey the direct order immediately. He kisses Emily goodnight.
In the morning, Nico says he respects Kelley and feels bad for yelling at him. He doesn’t want drama for the rest of the season and thinks they need to get over it. Kate tells the stews that they need to be perfect for this guest. Something about Sierra’s face suggests that she hasn’t fully taken this caution in.
Kelley says Nico is too valuable to fire even though he has growing to do.
The guests arrive. Lauren says they’re gorgeous. And gay. Time for another freaking boat tour! Kate and Dean are besties now. In a way, she likes his style: He expects perfection and that’s what she’s always trying for. Kate shows off the $10,000 toilet. WHY DO WE HAVE THIS TOUR EVERY TIME? This way lies madness. Also, I’m really disappointed that Bravo didn’t rig the panel to just fall off while they were in there.
In the galley, Ben spills egg yolk everywhere. He’s nervous. Kate says Ben has trouble with Dean because Dean holds Ben accountable and no one else does. For their apps, Ben serves egg salad with caviar. The guests say it’s “eggs with eggs” and Ben’s sense of humor is too fried for him to be able to get it.
Ben prepares chicken, lamenting the idea of life without butter. Dean makes a “so-so” gesture. Lee radios Kelley to suggest that it’s time to put out the toys and slide. We’ve already established that it drives Lee up the walls when he has to tell Kelley to do things instead of Kelley anticipating the guests’ needs, so we’re off to a blazing start.
Dean meets with Ben to say he wasn’t thrilled to see him when he came on board (See? He’s a dick.) …but that lunch was amazing. There is no normal-person reason whatsoever to say anything other than “lunch was amazing.” He’s just doing that to push Ben off-balance and make him feel threatened so that Ben will be relieved and grateful for normal praise. So Dean is using narcissistic abuser tactics with the crew. How charming.
Emily loves it that there are no women on this charter and thus no lipstick to scrub off. Kate goes on break and asks Emily to stay on guest service, but Emily and Ben go back to their conversation.
The guests play on the slide and with the toys and in the chickenshit pool. Nico wins some of my affections back by describing them, abs-wise, as the cast of 300.
The guests are done playing and need a drink, but no one is there. Lee, ever watchful, radios because someone needs service. But Emily and Ben are giggling and miss it. Lee radios for Kate directly and Kate, curled up with a book, radios Emily, who misses it. Kate comes off break to take care of it herself. She is not amused.
Kelley goes to shore to pick up the fireworks Kate ordered for the guests. Ben ordered flowers for Emily and asks Kelley to grab them while he’s on shore.
More cocktails and snacks! Kate grouses in the kitchen about being pulled off break and is annoyed that Emily didn’t take care of it. Ben wonders if Emily was supposed to just stand in front of them all day. Kind of, yeah. That’s the impression I got. Ben interviews that Emily is the best second stew Kate has ever had and is annoyed that Kate is blaming him and Emily for the incident. (There is no indication of where Sierra was during the incident. She’s almost nonexistent in this episode. Either she’s super boring this week or the editors are putting the hammer down after last week’s slur.)
Lee is annoyed to see Kelley bringing Emily’s birthday flowers on board, partly because they have nothing to do with the guests and partly because, as Lee accurately points out, the bouquet is so large that it looks like a funeral arrangement.
I would also have accepted a prize for winning a horserace. Or an arrangement for a horse funeral. It’s really damn big. Fortunately, Lee’s irritation over the flowers is immediately overshadowed by his exasperation at seeing Kelley slam the tender into the bow of the Valor immediately after Lee shouts “Watch the bow, please!” Oof.
Kate is laser-focused on setting up the Chinese New Year dinner party. (Were any of you silently terrified that there would be lightly racist aspects to this theme? Me too.) She asks Emily to go up and see if the guests are OK.
Lee is annoyed about the giant flowers and the tender crash says he might need to shake things up. He interviews that he gave a second chance to Kelley and hasn’t seen improvement.
Emily talks to Lauren and is worried that Kate is behaving differently toward her. Emily is a functioning adult, so she asks Kate calmly and directly if she is annoyed. Kate says she’s frustrated that the captain had to call over the radio for service while she was on break. Kate then destroys this almost A+ airing of feelings and conflict resolution by lying that she’s fine with the fact that she came up and took care of it. Emily is smart enough to know that this is a lie.
Dinner! Ben has prepared softshell crab and “Asian guacamole.” The guests love it.
Ben next sends out a stuffed shrimp and duck hot noodle soup. Oh, no, the guests have turned. They say it’s difficult to eat and not very flavorful.
Kate goes back to the galley for some duck sauce or something that Ben can whip up and put in the broth. Ben says he’s never had a guest not like a dish. (I don’t think that’s true. We saw footage of a past Dean guest who found plastic in her food.) Ben walks up as the guests are throwing shade and saying that a proper Asian broth is something that takes years to learn. Ben offers to make the guests anything else right now and they say no. Ben removes the dish. Ouch.
…But back in the kitchen, Ben tastes the broth and says they’re right. (Ben doesn’t taste his dishes before they go out? Has no one at Bravo slipped him screeners of Top Chef?) Ben says he put ice into the broth to stop the shrimp from cooking and that diluted it. While Ben is covering himself in sackcloth and ashes and flagellating himself with a barbed cat o’ nine tails, the Sierra spill like a pint of broth in the indoor dining area as the stews are clearing. The stews are less angsty than Ben, and even Kate is laughing as they rush to clean it up. Nico tries to talk Ben down and Kate suggests they should focus on dessert.
Kelley and Kyle talk about what’s up with his summons from the captain. Kelley says he won’t know until he meets with the captain tomorrow, but he’s guessing it’s not good.
Kate brings up some apple strudel for dessert and the guests are happy again. And then fireworks happen! Kate heads back into the galley and maybe exaggerates their enthusiasm for the dessert just a touch to make Ben feel better – she says they love the strudel so much that it’s just as exciting as the fireworks.
Ben says the night was harrowing, but Emily alleviates it.
Lauren passes the news to Nico that there may be a deckhand shakeup tomorrow and Kelley is worried. Nico is surprised. He interviews that Kelley hasn’t done anything so bad as to deserve demotion or firing.
Ben sets up Emily’s birthday flowers.
Kate attributes Ben’s screw up at dinner to flirting with Emily instead of to his nervousness over having the most difficult guest in creation on board. It’s a bit of a reach, but Kate is carrying over her annoyance from earlier. She snaps at Ben when he wants a flower consultation, saying she doesn’t want any part of his dating life anymore. Well, you set them up, Kate, so think ahead next time. Ben says that Kate is a dark cloud, but she won’t be spoiling his mood.
Morning! Sierra (I think) left a note and put some balloons and streamers and toilet paper up for Emily’s birthday. That’s good that Sierra is thinking about making life pleasant for someone else. Then Emily finds her
war memorial bouquet and is delighted. But does not know where to put it.
Lee calls Kelley to the wheelhouse. Lee interviews that it’s not the mess-up, it’s the recovery, implying that Kelley’s recoveries have not been spectacular. He tells Kelley that he didn’t feel yesterday was a good day, and crashing the tender into the boat was pretty fucking lame. Lee says Kelley is not where Lee wants him to be and Kelley has one more chance to step up.
Kelley is to escort Dean to the Baths with Nico. Seriously, go to the Baths at Virgin Gorda if you can. They’re so gorgeous that your brain gets happy.
Emily is thrilled with her flowers and rushes to kiss Ben. Lee appears like the specter of Doom and suggests putting the Edward Gorey set piece anywhere but in a guest area.
Kelley and Nico prep snorkel gear for Virgin Gorda and predict a good day. Never predict a good day if you even suspect you are on a reality TV show.
Ben tells Emily that Kate was annoyed and blamed their relationship for her having to come off break. Well, it did look like Ben and Emily were giggling in the kitchen when it all went down. The guests take one of those open-air bus taxis to the baths. It’s long ride, so Dean doesn’t want to take a taxi ride back to the boat because he is too precious. Also? Dean announces that he does not wish to take another taxi ride by saying “Homey don’t play that.”
He’s going to send Kelley back on the taxi with their stuff and then Kelley will bring the tender boat around so the guests can swim to that. High maintenance, but OK, not terribly unreasonable. I’m surprised they didn’t go by boat in the first place. Anyway, the Baths are gorgeous.
Kyle talks to Ashley back home. She’s going through a hard time right now because she’s going through hormone treatments and that’s messing with her emotions. Kyle wants Ashley to come and see him. Wow, Bravo is really shelling out for pump-up-the-drama plane tickets. Below Deck must be making them truckloads of cash.
Back at the Baths, Kelley and Nico pack up and make up. Kelley says he doesn’t hold grudges. Nico is glad that he and Kelley can fight and then be OK with each other.
Kelley takes all the guests’ gear away in the taxi. He gets all the way back and then realizes he has Nico’s radio and Nico has the keys to the tender. That means he can make the guests wait through two 40-minute taxi rides, or he can call Lee for help. Uh oh.
Kelley asks Lee to bring an even smaller boat out to pick up Nico and the guests and then get him the keys. (There are no spare keys for the tender?) Kate cannot believe the sheer magnitude of stupidity. Lee is disappointed and pissed. But he also recognizes that making the guests wait even longer would be the worst course of action here, so off he goes to rescue his guests who have been abandoned on the beach and also his bosun.
Next time: Ashley comes out to visit and is very much not OK with Kyle taking Sierra on a date. Dean is pissed because he was stranded on the beach and also because he’s Dean, and Emily’s Triffid flowers are in the way, which means that Kate is pissed at Emily and Ben and there is trouble in Paradise.
Yes, I’ll see you there. We’re all in this together now. Of course I’ll see you there.