Previously: All the dudes were after Emily, Kate was with a girl and Ben had a heartache issue with that, Trevor got fired (So boringly fired!), the new charter had young women who liked cocktails a whole lot, and Kyle the new deckhand had an incomprehensible accent and may have already dislocated his shoulder.
It’s still the first day of the charter. The nice (but drunk) blended family is ready to get into the newly set-up chickenshit pool, but Kyle has just dislocated his shoulder. That was a cliffhanger last week, but Lauren just heads over and pops it right back in. And Kyle is used to dislocations, so he says they don’t hurt anymore. Yet another anticlimax. What are you doing to us, Below Deck? You were a thing of goblinesque story editing magic for a few episodes and now you have become an advent calendar filled with sweater lint.
Kate and Ben discuss the guests. Kate says they’re nice and Ben calls the primary a touch of class. I think they are a true relief after the last bunch. I totally feel that from my time in the service industry. I’ll take drunks over jerks all day long as long as they’re cheerful, easygoing drunks.
The deckhands drop two of the girls into an inflatable dinghy for a tow by the mysterious Barry the first officer, and then they get dumped into the water. Captain Lee radios that they just dunked the guests right over a reef, which feels like something Barry should have had in mind. That’s a lot of dumb. There’s a struggle with picking them up with some waves and the rescue boat going crazy close to one at speed…
…but then Nico dives in to help and then they’re being pulled out and they’re fine.
Also they seem close to shore in some shots, but not in others. I feel like the footage of this has been fudged a lot for some excitement. One of the girls cut herself on the rocks but says she’s cool. Nico interviews that they were two feet from braining her with the boat. I hope the guests still have a sense of humor about that now that it has aired. Nico is on top of the fact that they need to tend to the cut carefully and disinfect it because seawater.
Captain Lee is pissed. He does not care for injuries to the passengers, and says that any time a passenger gets hurt, the crew is at fault there.
Lee tries to roust Kate and Emily, who are both on break, and Sierra, who is working nowhere near her radio. This is not helping Captain Lee’s mood. Sierra apologizes for flaking, which also does not help Lee’s mood. Lee tells Sierra to whip up some painkillers. She asks how many, and he suggests she think about how many guests they have and get one for each of them. Then I think he walks away to bite on a leather strap and punch a heavy bag until the frustration subsides.
Lee comes back and Sierra has a bottle of pills – actual pain killers. He patiently explains that no, a “painkiller” is a popular drink in the Virgin Islands. (We’ll cut Sierra some slack on that one – this is her first charter season, so she might legit not have known that. On the other hand, she has certainly seen some bar menus since she’s started.)
Sierra is pretty much just futzing around with the blender while peering at a book of drink recipes, so Lee finally steps in and makes them.
(Rum, coconut cream, OJ, and pineapple juice, and a little nutmeg on top. And then more rum, because you are ON VACATION, goddammit. Painkillers are not a respectable cocktail, but no one cares.)
Lee also calls Kelley, who is also nowhere near his radio. What is wrong with everyone all of a sudden? When the other charter guests left did they just relax so hard that they completely lost their game? Or is this the teeniest bit ginned up?
Kelley’s radio is in the crew mess all alone and it looks like other crew members are there while Lee is calling for him and no one even moves to alert Kelley. I call fake. That’s an easy sound to drop in over a picture of a silent walkie. Finally, after what looks like some gadding about in his cabin, Kelley picks it up and tells Lee he was in the bathroom. Given the editing shenanigans, there’s no way to know if that’s true. Lee says Kelley needs to take his radio to the bathroom from now on and he also needs to clear the aft deck. They’re going to move someplace where the guests can have water time fun without getting flayed.
Kelley interviews that Lee is up his ass and bitches to Nico with same complaint.
Ben fills Kate in on what happened over her break. He jokes to Kate that the main issue is his crème brulée setting properly and jokes that a couple of guests nearly died, no big deal.
Time to leave! Nico explains how carefully you have to pull the anchor up because it can really damage the boat. The deckhands seem to be sucking hard at it. Lauren’s hand signals are terrible. Lee is not amused. This is a little weird. We were complimenting the whole deck crew and their experience just a few episodes ago. What are we supposed to think has changed?
Kelley tries to flirt with Emily. Kelley interviews that Emily’s body language shows that they have a lot of sexual tension. The editing department wins my heart back by cutting to shots of Emily turning into the actual physical embodiment of boredom.
Lauren needs to have a talk with Kelley about only seeing what you want to see.
Kyle is working on Sierra so hard. He asks if her name is Sierra like in the phonetic alphabet. (As in “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie…”) He thinks Sierra is stunning He loves the name Sierra Storm and thinks it certainly implies big excitement is on the way when a woman has a name like that. He’s pretty direct in his flirting. Honestly, it comes off as less awkward and creepy than Kelley’s does to me. He’s upfront about the fact that he likes her and doesn’t seem to be trying to immediately maneuver her into bed. In other words, he seems to be flirting like a confident and reasonable grown-up (though, again, a very direct one). Sierra interviews that she understands about 89% of what Kyle says.
Kate is impressed and a little alarmed at how much and how quickly the guests are drinking. (Also, they seem to be mixing different alcohols and a ton of sweet cocktails. That plus all the sunshine sounds to me like they’re headed for some wicked hangovers. The parents don’t seem to be offering any wise advice about this at all.) Kate is also texting Ro, her girlfriend, a ton. She has her phone with her in the kitchen and it seems to be a pretty constant distraction. Ben does not like Kate texting on the job. Or at least he doesn’t like her texting on the job with someone who is not Ben.
They drop anchor. Ben is finishing and dropping crème brulée. Kate is so excited for her girlfriend Ro to meet Ben. Ben is less filled with delighted anticipation than Kate seems to think. He asks if Ro is really six feet tall. Yup! Oh, good, Ben thinks. How nice.
Kate is excited for the guests’ requested white dinner party. She loves themes and crafts, so she’s thinking and Alice in Wonderland white rabbit party. Sierra is so into this plan and Ben is so not. He occupies himself by turning the crème brulée pots by micro-degrees.
A guest is on an elliptical on the windy deck. It looks challenging. Also she may be trashed.
Kyle and Kelley clean the boat’s waterline. (Let’s give Kelley credit for this: This is a job that deck hands have bitched about in previous seasons. Kelley could probably hand it off, but he seems to have no problem with jumping into the water to scrub the boat. On the other hand, we don’t know what the others are doing.) Kyle asks Kelley about Sierra. Kelley can see that Kyle is really interested and wonders how long it will take Kyle to know how crazy Sierra is. (This is interesting. We’ve seen all the men and Kate talk about Sierra being nuts, but other than her meltdown for not being praised enough one night, we haven’t really directly seen her be all that crazy. What are the crew seeing that we keep missing?) Kyle says he’s going to make a real move on Sierra by next charter and also refers to condoms as “Wellingtons.”
I withdraw my assessment of Kyle as an adult flirter.
It’s 6:00. The guests talk about hiccups as “hiccemups” maybe will take naps and/or have a bunch more drinks. Ben is annoyed because he thinks he’ll start losing guests before they get to serve his dinner.
The deckhands are folding the pool back up. Kelley says he and Kyle are hitting it off and wonders if Nico and Lauren are OK. Kelley interviews that Nico and Lauren were so close that they were a bit of a closed circle, and he wasn’t a part of that. I can see that feeling a little lonely, but then again he was their boss. That’s probably appropriate.
Kate is still love-texting. Ben slams around the kitchen in a symphony of pissiness and threatens to take an Ambien to get Kate’s attention. Only he doesn’t get it. He’s satisfyingly crabby. I don’t wish ill for Ben – I like him a lot. But he has been a fairly aloof presence on the show, and he and Kate do have a fond love-annoyance chemistry. It’s interesting to watch him work out his feelings when someone has happily pulled away from him when he was expecting to keep things on his own comfortable terms.
Kyle says he’s too old to say he has a crush on someone, but he does think Sierra is “a bit of alright.” I don’t have a sense of whether that Britishism is disrespectful in any way. Assuming that it’s not, I do kind of admire the fact that Kyle is so straightforward about his interest. As long as he respects Sierra’s boundaries, I like his what’s-there-to-be-ashamed-of? mindset. Lauren basically runs straight to Sierra to tell her that Kyle thinks she’s gorgeous. Sierra is flattered. She interviews that a lot of yachting guys look and act the same. She says Kyle is refreshing because he’s more rugged. We may have a Love Boat situation.
Kate thinks dinner at 9:00 is great because the guests are sort of passed out, as how could they not be? She interviews that Ben wants her to dictate to the guests when to eat, which should be when Ben feels like cooking. She, on the other hand, thinks that since they are paying ruinous amounts of money for this vacation, the guests should get to choose when they eat. It’s tough to argue with her logic. The table setting for the white party looks great, with themed “Eat me” and “Drink me” notes all around the table. We have shots of Ben sitting idly in a huff.
Kyle says a thing that even the captioner cannot understand about the deckhand duty list. It seems to be about checking things off when they’re done.
The deckhands have a lighthearted conversation with each other about dialects while Captain Lee watches, pissed. It’s not clear what specific thing isn’t getting done that he’s pissed about. He thinks they’re not on the ball.
The guests find the notes-and-roses trail that tells them they’ll be dining at 9:00. They seem game but a little weirded out by it.
Kate checks in with Ben at 8:30 and he immediately gets angry, complaining that he didn’t know that dinner was at 9:00. The editors are on Team Kate and cut in helpful time-stamped footage of Kate telling him that very thing at 6:00. Ben yells that he should have had that information three hours ago, not knowing that he is being betrayed by footage of his own past self. Ben bitches about Kate texting and letting the passengers nap and having helpful second and third stews, but she knows him too well and she’s already gone.
Sierra and Emily have bunny ears on for the white rabbit dinner. They love it. The guests love the table setting.
Ben bitches as he flips some sort of mold out. I think it’s rice? Also Ben is angry at the stews for being happy and at Kate for having a life. How much of this is staged?
The food comes out to the table and the guests love it. At the end of the meal, Ben is still cranky even though it all looks like it went over very well. They guests even love the crème brulée, in spite of the fact that crème brulée has the exact texture of sweetened dishes of mucus and we all know it. Back in the kitchen, Ben bitches to Lauren about Kate and Ro’s texting frequency.
At 10:15, the deckhands clean and Kelley lets them know they need to bear down a little more because Captain Lee has really not been impressed of late. The guests hie their cheerful drunk asses to the hot tub. Kelley tried being topless around Emily, who totally knows that he finds reasons to be topless around her. This behavior, Emily interviews, fills her with a crushing ennui. Finally, the primaries turn in at 10:30, but the young’uns stay up and try not to pass out in the hot tub and die.
Kate video chats with Ro. She interviews that she’s never made so much time for someone she’s dated before. Ro says that she can’t come this weekend. Aww. Kate stiff-upper-lips it.
Finally, everyone sleeps.
Bright and early, Emily greets Captain Lee, who is already pissed that no one else is up and the windows are all salty. Ben cooks as Emily accidentally dumps a box of cereal that she didn’t realize had already been opened. Ben says he enjoys Emily’s presence, and seems to do so in a no-strings-attached way.
Lee calls Kelley and wonders why the hell the windows aren’t clean. Kelley says the dirt is on interior and that’s the stews’ problem. That is the wrong answer. Lee says OK, let’s go downstairs look at the fucking salt on the windows and see if that’s on the inside. Kelley, who was just telling us how great he is at reading subtle body language cues, decides that right now is the perfect time to tell Lee that he thinks the stews are getting special treatment instead of saying “OK, I’ll take care of that right now.” Kelley says Lee is terrified of Kate and won’t pick on her. Long story short, Kelley tells the deckies to hit the windows.
Emily is gentle with the guests, this morning . They are wretchedly hung over, but honestly not as incapacitated as they should be, given the sheer amount and variety of alcohol they consumed.
Kyle flirts with Sierra and jokes about getting married. Kyle does not believe in wasting time.
Lee gives Kelley another talk to explain what’s wrong with the deck crew and let him know where he’s frustrated. They don’t seem to be reaching each other. Also Lauren is doing anchor by herself today. She’s frustrated and nervous because she’s not experienced at doing anchor alone. Lee hates her hand signals and doesn’t know how to interpret them.
Nico knows that Lauren getting everything wrong, but can’t go in and help her. She’s pissed and feels that she was thrown under the bus and it wasn’t fair. I think Lee was trying to drive home the point was that Kelley hasn’t been fully training his deck crew, but I’m not sure. I wish Lee would say it directly. He should get some pointers from Kyle.
Lauren accuses Kelley of not having her back. Kelley says he does so have Lauren’s back because Lee was in his face about her not doing anything this morning and he fought back. And you can see how well that worked out for everyone. Kelley interviews that he has not let shit roll downhill onto his deckhands, but that means he’s bearing the brunt of it. Lauren is so upset that she starts to cry and Kelley goes in to hug her. We still need some forthright communication about what Lee wants out of the deckhands and how they can give it to him.
The guests say they feel like Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The two who nearly ended up drinking in Davy Jones’s Locker see Nico cleaning and say that he was the one who jumped in to rescue them. We’re back at home port. The deckhands hop out to get supplies. And Lauren fills Nico in on her confrontation with Kelley. Looks like Nico and Lauren are a team again. Time for the guests to leave, even though one wants to fit in one last drink.
The primary thanks Nico for the valor in jumping in for a rescue. In his interview, Nico calls himself Valorman.
Crew mess and tip time! Nico is praised for jumping in and Lee says it’s good to have Kyle on board. Now critiques: Have your frigging radios on. The tip comes out to $1350 each. Kate says it was like a really good one-night stand.
First some bad news: The slide is here. The deckhands hate slides. They take like 15 years to set up and then the guests take like three slides and get bored and then they have to spend 30 years putting everything away. Apparently the Chickenshit Pool is not generating enough drama.
Now the good news: Tomorrow the crew will have a private resort day. Tonight they’re not to go off the boat. The deckhands scrub windows and look hard for salt.
Morning! Time to play! The other deckies and stews watch Kelley work out on a closed-circuit feed and lightly mock him, making manly grunting noises in time to his presses. Kyle sees that Kelley is really working his shoulders and drops into the character of a future Kelley who is incredibly good at waving. He’s growing on me, that Kyle.
Kelley and Kyle walk out onto the dock just as Ro walks up. Ben is talking amiably to Kate, little knowing how his day will change. Nico says Ro is super hot and is mad that she’s a lesbian. Nico will be channeling a lot of the generally expected straight-boy commentary about ladies who like ladies. Nico calls Kate in. She’s so happy to see Ro and SO ANGRY BECAUSE SHE IS A LADY WHO LIKES THINGS TO BE PERFECT AND THUS SHE DOES NOT LIKE SURPRISES. Kate wanted to be put together when Ro showed up, not all casual for a beach day. (Kate looks great, by the way, but that isn’t her point.)
And, honestly, this is a weirdly dickish move. Kate and Ro had planned to see each other today, and then instead of just doing that, Ro lied that she couldn’t and then showed up as a weird surprise for no reason. I know this is a new relationship, but what was the point of that? And wouldn’t she be just a little keyed into the fact that Kate likes to have a solid, controlled, orderly plan by now?
Nico is a fan of watching ladies kiss.
Ro kisses Kate maybe a little more than Kate is comfortable with right in front of everybody. Ben interviews that he’s nervous, because of course Ro knows he has a history with Kate. Kate surrenders to the PDA because she’s so glad to see Ro. She says she just can’t help it, but it looks more like she’s not crazy about kissing in public but doesn’t know how to draw that line with Ro without seeming like she doesn’t want to see her. I think Ro has been to the Kelley School of Subtle Body Language Interpretation.
Kelley asks Sierra about Emily. Sierra gently dissuades him, but she does it so gently that Kelley doesn’t listen. He thinks that keeping after Emily is a good plan.
Ro meets Ben, who doesn’t like that she’s wearing black in the Caribbean and says she looks like she crawled out of a fallout shelter in Moscow.
It’s a good line, but falls a little flat because Ben is so determined to find things he dislikes about Ro.
Sierra and Emily talk on the way to the resort. Remember how we established that everyone on a boat knows your business? Sierra says Ben is in love with Kate and sometimes you don’t realize it until you see the other person with someone else. Sierra may be cray, but she has at least picked up on that. Ben may not be in love, exactly, but he’s not ready for Kate to be in love with someone else.
Ro and Kate confer and Kate is fairly open about the fact that she went through a bunch of emotions about being surprised and anger was one of them. That’s actually pretty impressive that Kate could say that clearly, but in a fairly non-confrontational way. And yet we know how their relationship ended, so apparently that was not enough.
Sierra fills Emily in on Kelly asking about her and Emily is completely turned off that Kelley would go to Sierra to put a good word in. Both Kelley and Nico actually had shots with her and managed to blow it. They arrive at the Scrub Island resort. Waterslide! Trampoline! Kate and Ro kissing!
They swim and play at the bottom of the waterslide and Kelley keeps picking up Emily. He says he likes to pick up Emily and likes tiny girls in general so he can be their manly protector.
He does not seem to have thought about whether Emily wants one of those. Ben and Ro talk. Ro laughs like The Nanny. It’s… Uninhibited, but might be a dealbreaker for me were I in Kate’s shoes. Ben says he hears Ro’s laugh over Skype on the boat all the time. He means “and Jesus Adenoid Christ, I don’t know how Kate can stand it,” but he spins it and says that he and Ro both have robust laughs. He is so full of resentment, but at least he’s still working on being polite. Kate and Ro go back to kissing, with Kate as a more enthusiastic participant now. Ben watches pretty obviously, even behind his sunglasses. He is having a wash of feelings that he does not care for.
Kyle says he hadn’t realized that Kate was bi – he correctly identifies and refers to bisexuality in a grown-up, cosmopolitan way that Bravo has mostly not achieved – and says it’s really nice that Kate has a girlfriend. He seems sincere and it’s sweet moment. 100 points to Kyle.
Kelley, still thinking he has game, gets Emily to put sunscreen on her and then pretty much lies down on her. She’s on a lounger and he pretty much settles down on her legs with his face all but resting in her crotch.
It’s way too much and she’s clearly uncomfortable. Kelley says it’s all about these subtle, small signals he’s sending and soon he’ll sweep her off her feet. I don’t know how, short of shoving Kelley off and setting him on fire, Emily could be sending bigger signals that she is not interested. Maybe if she had semaphore flags? So basically Kelley is ruining Emily’s day by making her uncomfortable and trapping her in her chair and he thinks this is going to get him so crazy laid. See, fellas? This just one reason why actually paying attention to the woman you’re pursuing is a good idea. The other reason is that THIS IS A DICK MOVE. He’s forcing Emily to either sit there and accept physical contact she doesn’t want or make a big deal about it with the people she works with. Who are also the people she lives with and socializes with. See why Emily is in a bad position? She either gets to accept a ruined day and no peace or be the stuck-up bitch who makes a big deal out of nothing.
One day Emily will become a caped vigilante. She will patrol the world’s nightclubs, peeling off people who take advantage of others’ politeness and stomping on the insteps of invaders of personal space.
Speaking of not reading a woman’s signals, Ro watches the other stews on the water trampoline and tells Kate to do some cheerleading moves. Kate is retired from cheering. Kyle and Sierra dip into the well of Sierra’s nutballery. For some reason, they’re talking about the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. Sierra is convinced that the story is that Christ turned the loaves into fishes. Kyle, boggled by this, patiently explains that no, he turned the loaves into more loaves and the fishes into more fishes. Sierra sticks to her extremely incorrect guns, saying she went to eight years of Catholic school. I think Sierra’s parents are about to get some tuition fees back. Kyle and Sierra are both Catholic, so Kyle says they’re practically married. Pump the brakes, Kyle! Kyle interviews that Sierra is crazy, like stab-him-one-day crazy, but he doesn’t seem phased by that. Kyle tells Sierra that she’s stunning and Sierra says he’s cool. Kyle asks for clarification on what she means by cool, because Kyle does not do bashful dancing around with these things.
Kelley says Kyle is a romantic – the British version of Kelley himself – which is the only thing that’s been said today that is more wrong than Sierra’s assertion about the loaves and the fishes. Kyle interviews that Sierra is crazy enough to cut your dick off with a butter knife one night. That’s two members who have said that Sierra is unbalanced enough to do something in the stabby family. And they are able to discern this about a woman who is objectively quite attractive with whom they have not slept yet. That’s impressive. Either Sierra is getting a seriously bad rap or the editors have been working around and hiding a whole lot of crazy to save up something really special for us.
Kate and Ro retire to the ladies room for some more private (but still mic’ed) making out. Or possibly for some reunion sex, which is heavily implied, but even in the sanctuary of the restroom, that seems a little farfetched while wired for sound with the whole crew right there. Kate, in an interview, notes that Ro was a professional athlete and praises her athlete’s commitment to physical endurance and performance. Ben needs a swim.
Next week: It’s Valentine’s Day! Sierra accepts a date with Kyle! Kelley fails to read Emily’s signals in spite of the fact that she is using telegraphs, referee signs, and the fire beacons of Rohan! Emily says Kelley makes her uncomfortable, and the deckhands keep screwing up!
Yes, of course I’ll meet you back here. Your subtle body language tells me you can’t wait.