Previously: Ben sent Emily a knee-staggering arrangement of flowers that someone stole from the side entrances of a charity ball; Kyle told the crew about Ashley, his girl back home, and then invited Ashley for a visit; Kate was annoyed because she thought Emily was interfering with Ben’s job; Dean the Difficult Guest didn’t like Ben’s broth, and Kelley screwed up and left guests waiting on the beach and had to call Lee for rescue.
We’re back with Nico on the beach waiting for Kelley, who’s at a faraway dock in a boat with no keys. Dean the Difficult Guest, on the beach with Nico, is ready to go home. Captain Lee takes an inflatable tender boat out to deal with this dipshittery while Kate rolls her eyes at the situation and Nico realizes that he’s the one who has the boat keys that would be useful to Kelley right now. Ben stresses out over last night’s screw-up, and Kate opens all the alcohol in the universe in preparation for the return of Dean and friends.
Lee brings the guests, abs flying, back in the inflatable and then heads out for Kelley.
At about the same time (according to the edit), Nico arrives at the dock with the tender keys, so Lee doesn’t need to rescue Kelley anymore, but that’s a bit of a moot point. Captain Lee takes over the full-sized non-inflatable tender because he is tired of the choppier ride of the inflatable and also of the unrelenting comedy mix-ups. Nico wishes Kelley hadn’t called Lee at all, but we’ve been through the math of the timing of this operation like 80 times now. With Dean the Difficult Guest waiting on the beach and getting exponentially pissier, Kelley was right to sacrifice his own dignity and get help as quickly as possible. This whole incident and the dramatic tension it created means that Dean the Difficult Guest is definitely getting asked back again, so we in the viewing audience and the customer service industry in general will also be making sacrifices. Can we please stop pushing the idea that being demanding and rude with people who are required to be nice to you is in any way adorable?
Kate tells Sierra to keep the wine glasses full, especially Dean’s, and suggests that Ben start plating lunch. Kate’s strategy is to keep this batch of guests agreeably trashed from this point on. It has some merit. Lee returns again, and Lauren says he’s not a happy cappy. Lee goes up to placate Dean, who seems surprisingly good-humored about it. Kelley finally arrives too, saying today is the day he will die.
On the upside, the guests love the lunch. Sierra says the best way to get the guests happy is drinks and food: oldest trick in the book.
Back in the galley, Ben fumbles with Emily’s flowers as he tries to move them to a spot that keeps them in view but does not blot out the sun.
Kate’s eyes roll so hard the earth wobbles on its axis for a minute.
Lee calls Kelley and Nico up to the wheelhouse. He says what he’d like to do is “rip [Kelley’s] fucking head off,” but then Lee swallows his rage and says that he doesn’t want to say something he’ll regret. I think the most underrated plotline of the season is Lee’s gradual descent into just using the F-word as much as he feels like it on camera. He may find it ungallant, but I think it has saved him an ulcer. We’ve been led to expect a firing or a giant punishment, but what happens is Lee says Nico is now senior deckhand, which will give Kelley some relief and Nico some authority and responsibility. Captain Lee thinks Nico will step up and answer the call. I don’t know how this would have teleported the keys from Nico to Kelley this afternoon, but OK.
Lee asks if they have any questions, because if they do, that’s another thing they can cram. Nico and Kelley are dismissed.
Nico is happy at his promotion. He says he’s been busting ass. Lauren seems psyched for him too and says they have to celebrate. NO, LAUREN, NO. Every time you drink you get blackout drunk and hurl crucial parts of the engines into the hot tub.
Kyle is psyched because Ashley is coming and could be on the island already. He also sympathizes with Kelley getting busted. Kyle makes the excellent point that the guests were stuck drinking champagne in one of the world’s most beautiful snorkeling spots, not “in the subway in New York getting pissed on.” We should all adopt little reality checks like this.
Ben prepares for a tour de force. He’s going to make it up and show Dean what he can do. Emily offers cocktails. Kate says Dean expects naughty blanket folds from her, so she makes, um, two intersecting letter Vs.
Lauren tells Emily that Nico just got promoted to bosun, which absolutely did not happen. LAUREN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Are you drunk right now? (OK, I rewound because what the hell? What happened was Nico said he got a promotion and did not clarify, and Lauren made a bit of a leap. However, it does seem like it should have occurred to her that that captain would probably make an announcement if their bosun was no longer their bosun.) Emily tells Ben, who tells Lauren again. Meanwhile, Kelley speculates to Kyle that Nico might make a good bosun in a couple of years. Dean sees his towels. He’s not big on Vs in general, so he doesn’t react much.
Ben looks for walnuts. Emily knows where they are. Ben is doing a tasting menu, which involves a succession of tricky dishes. Kate knows Ben is trying to scramble back from his screw-up with the broth last night, and so has very little sympathy for him.
Kelley and Kyle polish the table together. I know that many readers are hoping this is a euphemism, but it isn’t. Kate asks Emily to get the tasting menu from Ben because he won’t flip out if Emily asks him. Emily catches all the nuances of that and interviews that Kate is pricklier with her now. The meal will consist of six courses! Ben loves Emily’s handwriting as she takes it down. Kate does say that Ben is knocking it out of the park with six courses.
Kelley apologizes to Dean for the mix-up. Dean, who is a dick to customer service people and has been rewarded for this by being repeatedly being put on television, tells Kelley he wants a singing apology because that would be “fun.” Kelley tells Dean to go fuck himself and empties the bilge water over his head. No, of course he doesn’t. Kelley grimaces and agrees to this completely unreasonable thing. Jesus, Bravo producers. Service people aren’t dancing puppets.
Emily and Sierra are giggling together in the kitchen and doing counter balancing tricks when Kate walks in. She mentions that there are guests on the boat who want things and sends the stews off to start the master bedroom before dinner service. Kate says they’re either taking advantage of her leniency or being “slackadaisical.”
Nico doesn’t want to perform a shirtless apology song, and of course he doesn’t, BECAUSE HE IS A HUMAN BEING WHO SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO MAINTAIN SOME BASIC HUMAN DIGNITY.
Ben sends out snails for dinner first, then foie gras. I like how you can’t tell from these dishes if this is an above-and-beyond gourmet meal apology or sly passive-aggression. Either way, the guests seem happy.
Kyle used to be a street performer, so he helps write the sorry song. He rhymes “we know it’s our fault” with “lock your problems in a vault.” Meanwhile, the diners get lobster and bacon! And lamb tenderloin! Ben is on fire. (Not literally.) Kate interviews that Ben should do something on this level every night that they have guests. She’s in a bit of a mood. The guests are really happy. So is Emily. Ben says Emily was amazing and she’s given him a lot of confidence. He also seems to praise Emily’s teamwork and not Kate’s.
Lauren paints the boys’ chests with green latex paint for the sorry song.
There’s a lot I want to know about the Bravo producers’ decision-making process and goading for this sequence. What alternate plans were rejected?
Ben wants advice from Kate on how to preserve the Jolly Floral Giant bouquet. Kate says she doesn’t like Ben mixing business and pleasure and she doesn’t like seeing Ben’s “true colors.” Kate. You set this up! Did you truly not think about what might happen if your plan worked? Ben puts the flowers in the walk-in cooler because he wants them to be fresh for Emily. Oh, Ben.
The deckies arrive at the table for their song. They sing with a far greater level of enthusiasm and polish than this deserves. (Which is still not much.) Lauren holds flash cards with the lyrics and the boys flash their chests.
Dean says they went above and beyond. Yes, they did. How about not asking for above and beyond in the first place? Yikes, latex paint is tough to get off abs.
Ben approaches Kelley to commiserate, saying Lauren told him that Kelley was demoted. (Do we believe that such fundamentally juicy and incorrect information could survive so long on a boat this small? Fine.) Kelley clarifies everyone’s true rank and says Lauren talks too much. Bravo gets a little unfair here. They cut in footage of Lauren talking, yes, but in most of those cases, she was helping someone else process an incident they were upset about. Reframing that as gossip sucks.
Morning! Kate goes to the walk-in fridge to get cheese and is poked by fiddly bits of the gargantuan urn of dying flowers that Ben is hellbent on preserving. Kate could not be more annoyed by the flowers or by the romance.
Ashley is coming! Lauren says she’s never met a transgender person. (That you know of, hon.) Kyle is worried that Ashley will find out about his big terrible date with Sierra. Kyle and Kate need to take a remedial planning seminar called Thinking about Future Events That Your Actions Might Cause. Kyle tells Lauren that Ashley said “If anything happens, just tell me, so I don’t look like an asshole,” which does not sound like a resounding endorsement of dating around, but it also doesn’t sound like someone who’s expecting perfect fidelity.
Kate says Dean hasn’t been happy with her blanket folds, so he needs a big D. Oh, Kate. You’re old enough to know that a big D doesn’t solve anything on its own. Kate says it should be the biggest D Dean has ever seen, and Sierra suggests giving the D a nice curve. Well, yes, aesthetics are important.
Ben tells Emily, while making her a special poached egg, that Nico is not, in fact, the bosun. Kelley confirms that and goes to tell Lauren to watch what she says. Lauren apologizes, and they’re off to do the windows.
Kyle asks Lee if he can smash his work out and knock off early to see Ashley. Lee says yes, but no overnights. Dang. Ashley is flying from England to the Caribbean for no overnights. I hope she at least gets a business class ticket and a day on the beach.
Lauren talks to a sleepy Nico and says that Kelley is being sensitive about rank, which he isn’t. He’s being sensitive about a false rumor going around that he got demoted below one of his crew. That’s a legit thing to be annoyed about. Lauren tells Nico not to worry, and that no one but Kelley really cares about rank. LAUREN.
Kate is so tired of the flowers being in her way and also of them escalating to leaving stains on things. (And of Ben being genuinely enamored of Emily, and of Ben trusting Emily’s judgment over Kate’s…) She says that Ben gave them to Emily, but is still acting like they’re his.
Raise anchor! Let’s go!
There is a D with a massive dong on Dean’s bed.
It’s a hell of a blanket fold. Ben puts the flowers back in the walk-in. Good lord. Kate is provoked. Ben says he wants Emily “to enjoy them without guests on the boat.” That makes zero sense. None. Ben tells Emily to ignore Kate’s crazy. Emily feels in the middle.
The guesties take hilarious shirtless photos with Captain Lee. Well done, guesties! Nico does a good job with the docking. Better than he did before? Kate tells Emily that Ben is being crazy about the flowers.
Time for guests to go! Dean feels the need to be a nitpicky dick, then switches to giving praise, which he always does. At least he tips well. Which is a good thing! But does not make up for deliberately treating people badly in the first place. Get some therapy, Dean. Kelley suspects that Lee will say they don’t deserve the tip during the meeting. Well, you did accidentally abandon the guests on the beach, so, yes, perhaps brace yourself for such a statement. Lee does say it’s not their best effort. There is one last charter to go. One last charter! We’re so close now.
The tip works out to $2,350 each. OK, yes, that is a whole lot of money. But hey, Bravo, let’s maybe stop promoting the idea that there is a point where enough money makes it OK to be awful to other people. Particularly those that have to smile at your shittiness to keep their jobs.
Lee says they have 24 hours to flip the boat for the last charter. The deckies work hard to get Kyle off-shift so he can meet his girl. Aww. Emily wonders to Sierra if she should stop dating Ben. She likes where they are, but doesn’t want to get serious. Emily is also astute enough to realize that Ben is being a teensy bit irrational about the flowers and doesn’t know that he’s being unreasonable. Sierra wonders if that turns Emily off, and she says yes, kind of.
Ashley arrives! She leaps into Kyle’s arms and then meets everyone in rapid succession. In an interview, Sierra puts on a false-concern bitchface and says she feels for Ashley because she’s in a relationship with the sketchy Kyle. Emily says Ashley’s look is “classic Manchester.” She elaborates that this is eyelashes, hair extensions, fake nails…
Absolutely lovely, Emily hastens to assure us, but a typical girl from Manchester. I believe that is the most shade Emily has thrown all season.
Ashley comes to chat in the galley because Kyle is still working. She talks about meeting Kyle as Kyle was getting clotheslined by a bouncer. Kate likes Ashley’s sass. Ben catches Emily cleaning and suggests a date. She counters with the suggestion of going out with the whole crew because they don’t have much time left in the season. Uh-oh. Ben is shocked and can’t imagine why Emily would want to hang out with anyone else.
Nico and Lauren drink again because that is what they do. For chrissakes, take up whittling or Dungeons & Dragons or something. Kyle primps for Ashley. Ben pushes Emily to take a break with him. Wow, there are not many people on this boat who read and accept Emily’s signals. Ashley and Kyle head out and Emily agrees to a break with Ben. Ben interviews that he’s in settle-down mode and Emily is a young pup. But he’s willing to give it a shot.
Kyle and Ashley drink and Kyle, like a complete glonking idiot, brings up how Sierra was a jerk to him and thereby brings up his date with her. KYLE. Think about the future events that your actions might cause. On the other hand, it’s going to be on TV, so he might as well come clean. Kyle wants Ashley to sympathize about Sierra calling him a queen, but she’s stuck on the part where Kyle is her boyfriend, and he asked another woman out on a date. Kyle says he misinterpreted Ashley’s “if you’re going to bang someone else, let me know” instructions. She says he’s an asshole, and she was telling him to cut her loose if something happened, not giving him a free pass. In the previews, this was made to look like a dangerous relationship moment, but they’re laughing about it in the next shot. Kyle says he’s not used to someone caring about him and what he does.
In a lightning-fast shot, Kate says she sees Leon through her binoculars. Leon is an old nemesis. If you want to see Kate full-on furious at a chef, that is the season to watch.
Ben is at the watering hole and frets waiting for Emily. He has ordered champagne, which is an elegant choice of Define the Relationship fuel. Ben says they had a nice thing and Emily wonders if they don’t still. Ben asks to lay things out. Emily says she’s having fun but maybe isn’t ready for a big relationship thing. She wants more like a friendship with some occasional kissing. Ben lies that he’s enjoying this and not thinking of the future. Um.
Emily says she likes how Ben is spontaneous and lives in the moment. Ben kisses Emily. And then he tries on her glasses. He asks her to stay in a hotel with him. Nonsexually. Just watching a movie from two twin beds. The hell, Ben? Emily thinks it over and says yes.
Ashley tells Kyle about her upcoming doctor’s appointment to continue with her transition. She needs someone to be there to take care of her after surgery and she wants Kyle to be that person. He’s afraid of the responsibility. Ashley thinks Kyle is scared of having to look after her and says not to be there if he doesn’t want to be. That’s not really it. Kyle is worried he’ll screw up the relationship somehow and Ashley won’t really want him to be that person for her. He says he’ll be with her every step of the way during the process and he wants to be. That’s what Ashley needed to hear, and it’s what they both want, so I’m glad they got that shaken out. (Except apparently not, because they’ve now broken up.)
Ben puts the flowers in the freezer. Kate video chats with Ro. Kyle says goodbye to Ashley. She says “I’ll see you in a couple of days,” so maybe she’s sticking around until his charter ends. Ben and Emily head off to a hotel called Maria’s by the Sea. He has a huge duffel. Ben, what are you doing? He says he’s seizing the moment.
Next week: Models! Emily ignores radio calls. Ben and Kate laugh and say they hate each other. Sierra finally hits her limit as Kate declares that there will be no breaks. The deckies go back to their Kate-is-the-devil theorizing. Can it really be the final charter? Let’s hold hands and work through this together.