Thank you, producers of Below Deck Mediterranean, for finally revealing the deep emotional frailty cast members must possess in order to appear on this fine program. This episode was full of bright, white farmer tans, but was also dark, as the crew traded happy sails along seaside towns that may or may not be the iconic village of Positano — who can tell! — for a catamaran of despair propelled by the winds of misery and anxiety sweeping this show into the second half of a wonderfully eventful season.
Hannah is distressed because she’s dating someone young and good-looking who may not be able to wipe a window or unroll an inflatable slide but seems to really love her for who she is. Kasey is distressed because Joao chose Brooke, even after she appeared before him in the night wearing butt-skimming cutoffs and a crop top. Colin is distressed because he likes Brooke, who loves Awful Joao, leaving us all with the uncomfortable visual of a young man with a headband and blue reflective shades spiraling into depression in broad daylight. And Joao is distressed because of Zimbabwe, and unbeknownst to him, having to live with his atrocious personality in general.
We open where we left off last week, with Conrad and Hannah running around throwing wine at each other (?) and Joao and Brooke making out within a thicket of liquor bottles. “I feel like an idiot for having the slightest bit of faith in him,” a stunned Kasey says of Joao. I can’t believe it took her this long to get to this point but YAS GIRL. He is a walking MRA Twitter account.
While a stunned and forlorn Colin wipes off a bottle of white wine in the crew mess, Joao and Brooke start spooning under a duvet on the deck. Joao tells her, “Up until we just hooked up, it was so much of a yin and yang in my mind, but once I commit, that’s different.” He speaks about women like he’s choosing a cookie from the free-food table at the office. “Oh, I couldn’t decide if I was feeling the oatmeal raisin or the snickerdoodle, but now that I’m at my desk with the oatmeal raisin, I’m ever so slightly more content than I was before.”
Brooke admits, “I do tend to be drawn to people who are players and womanizers.” Which is a socially acceptable way of saying she’s attracted to misogynists.
The next morning, after they rinse the boat for a little bit, Colin asks Joao if he was “smooching” Brooke last night and if she was into it. Joao says yes and that he and Brooke are “similar,” and he likes her because she doesn’t judge him. Colin looks down at his purple washcloth like Bambi just died in his arms.
Before the crew can take their day off on the catamaran, Adam has to empty his onion drawer so he can control himself around the next charter guest, Kenny, who he fed spite onions to last season. He even discards a root or two of ginger for good measure.
Joao changes into a tank top and Hannah puts on a crocheted bathing suit and sheer ankle-length vest that make her look like a Nasty Gal catalogue outtake. Brooke wears a one-piece that looks like the wallpaper in your aunt’s powder room. And Kasey wears a black bikini top and what may have been the same cutoffs she’d hoped would seduce Joao the night before.
On the boat, Hannah tells Brooke that she doesn’t want anything to do with her so long as she’s with Joao, which is a bitchy stance I 110 percent support. Brooke says that if she had a problem with Conrad she’d keep her mouth shut and wait in the wings for Hannah if he ever broke her heart. This is why women need frenemies like Hannah. Dating Joao is like parasailing with a single string of dental floss instead of rope and wondering why no one warned you before you went flying into a roof. Here, at least Hannah is warning her, even if she can’t see it and won’t listen.
When they reach the cliff, Kasey talks to Adam, Conrad, and Hannah about Joao leading her on before making out with Brooke, and Hannah, who’s probably five glasses of wine deep at this point, declares, “That’s like a douchebag move, like from a douchebag, like maybe he’s a douchebag.” There’s a shot of Joao hanging off the back of Brooke’s paddleboard, literally dragging her down like the dead weight he is.
After Jamie obtains a plastic dick for dispensing vodka directly into mouths, everyone changes for dinner, and Hannah starts talking within earshot of Brooke about how disgusted she is by her budding romance with Joao. Joao calls Hannah “fake,” but actually Hannah is the realest of the bunch because you know exactly where she stands at all times. Predictably bitchy, yes, but if you’re confused about how she feels about anyone dating Joao at this point, you have the Bravo-watching comprehension of a pigeon.
Hannah also wants to talk extensively with her boyfriend, Conrad, about Brooke dating Joao, and Conrad tries to get her to stop talking about it because he “doesn’t know why she’s obsessing” over it. Earth to wee Conrad: The whole point of having a bona fide boyfriend is so that women have someone to unabashedly be their pettiest selves around. This sends Hannah into a rage, which at first I was like, “So immature!” but then could admit that it’s exactly the kind of thing I would do at that stage of the boatmance.
When Conrad and Adam dress poor Colin up in his sleep, Hannah shouts, “Conrad, get my Alexander McQueen handbag off there.” Her label-dropping is getting a little out of control for this show. If I wanted to see 30-year-olds brag about their purses I’d be looking at Instagram.
Joao and Brooke go back to the deck to kiss and give him yet another forum to talk at length about Zimbabwe: “Like, the economy’s fucked but the pride that I have in my country, people don’t have,” he says. “Everyone’s like, you love it, but you’ve been held ransom before, armed robberies — they beat the crap out of my mom when she was two months pregnant.” He continues, “The guy had a gun to my head and his words were, ‘Be careful I will shoot you.’” Then he goes into his toilet to cry while Colin pours the last crumbs of a can of Pringles into his mouth.
Brooke eventually goes to look for Joao, finds him weeping in the bathroom, and he says, “I never talk about it, that’s all.” I’ve been taking literal notes on every episode and I can confirm that half of them are Joao talking about Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Hannah starts having an anxiety attack, which begins with her arguing with Conrad in his bunk, continues over cigarettes on the dock, and still doesn’t end when she goes into his and Adam’s room at 4 a.m. The next morning, she and Conrad are sitting next to one another in the breakfast nook and he’s chewing and burping and having a grand old time, and she’s looking straight ahead like she’s watching Kasey put her handbag collection in the washing machine. Instead of working, she spends the day in bed twitching and dry-heaving until Sandy calls her into the wheelhouse to ask where she’s been. Hannah starts crying and walks downstairs to her bunk without offering an explanation. Sandy runs after her asking if she has food poisoning. Hannah’s like, it’s not food poisoning — it’s love poisoning!
At long last, Kenny rolls up wearing a black-and-red outfit with bright-red loafers that looks like a “red room of pain” Halloween costume in a bag. Adam, who, along with Jamie, didn’t have an emotional breakdown this episode, puts some cold cuts on a plate. And Brooke reveals that she has no idea what Positano looks like. The girl is on Instagram — how does she not know???
Coming up on the rest of this season: Hannah and Conrad piss Sandy off yet again and Joao snaps “a dickie.” Which I would assume is just his version of a selfie.