I live for the Below Deck Mediterranean cast’s land style, the incoherent clothes they wear when they have a night off to fight with one another at dinner and are at the mercy of their own tastes. One day Hannah looks like she’s walked out of the pages of a Nasty Gal catalog and the next she’s wearing a black blazer and plum lipstick like she’s about to sell you eye cream at Nordstrom. João alternates between the tees and jeans of a wannabe Abercrombie model and the dress shirts of Express for Men. But Brooke might be the most all over the place this season, alternating between trend du jour ruffled blouses and the oversized cream felt vest and olive top of a woman whose Friday nights involve a babysitter and one too many appletinis. Only this week, she’s accessorized her night look with Hannah’s “Ralph Laurens” a.k.a. earrings, which nearly fall off the balcony at dinner, causing Hannah to react as though João were dangling Conrad her cigarettes off the ledge.
Brooke’s lover João calls Hannah “materialistic,” and Hannah gets angry, even though her boyfriend Conrad, whom she’s in a real enough relationship with to travel with to Prague after this season tapes, has in past episodes also called her materialistic. João says he called her materialistic because he was “being honest.” Which is exactly the kind of excuse a sociopath would use.
João then launches into another monologue about the hardship he faced growing up in Zimbabwe, where he was held ransom and his dad worked with tractors. Hannah has a mini sob story of her own about how she started working at 13, and says if João sat down and had a real conversation with her, he’d know she used to be poor too. The truth is Hannah would sooner transport Bloody Mary ingredients for drunk charter guests in her Alexander McQueen handbag than sit down for any length of time one-on-one with João.
Brooke tries to change the subject by asking what Hannah and Conrad will do in Prague? Everyone knows the real answer is “break up,” but Hannah replies, “Things like not be insulted, not get called names.” Somehow dinner concludes without anyone wearing anyone else’s Aperol spritz, and everyone but Brooke and João take a van back to the boat. In the van, Hannah says João should “go back to Africa.”
João and Brooke remain on the balcony where he insists Hannah is materialistic, while Brooke asks if he was really flirting with Kasey earlier, as Hannah reported when they were doing their hair earlier. Instead of saying “no” like a normal person, he says he didn’t do anything he wouldn’t have done in front of Brooke. In a terrible moment of desperation, Brooke begs João for reassurance that he won’t hurt her like others have in the past, and in an even more terrible moment, João responds simply: “Mmkay.”
Back at the boat, Hannah puts on her more comfortable nighttime arguing clothes, and gets mad at Conrad for not picking a fight with João after he insulted her at dinner. Conrad, who picks fights with João all the time, says he can’t just go picking fights with Joao, and that “not everything has to be a scene.” Which, you dodo, of course it does! This is a TV show!
João returns to the boat and the crew uses the security cameras streaming in the crew mess to ooh and ahh over Hannah and Conrad angrily smoking cigarettes in entirely separate places. Finally we cut to Adam for some analysis of the situation: “She knows she’s materialistic. She doesn’t wanna hear it. I don’t like hearing I’m a dick. I know I’m a dick.”
The next day, things can only get worse when a motivational speaker gets on board to torture the crew and all of us with aphorisms and the general belief that others are interested in what he has to say. Take Hannah, who is subjected to a conversation in which he says, “God is love, right?” In this brief moment you can see why Hannah waits on people for a living, because she smirks and responds, “That’s what I think,” like João just admitted that he’s a walking MRA Twitter feed.
While Conrad and the rest of the deck crew carry overstuffed handbags to their designated rooms, João mansplains to one of the guests where Zimbabwe is on a map. João also tells the guests how poor he was growing up in Zimbabwe, and some other stuff about Zimbabwe, and still more facts about João in Zimbabwe.
In the kitchen, Adam is making Thai food, because Thai food has coconut milk which satisfies people who would rather eat sawdust than a hamburger (until, that is, they’re four espresso martinis deep).
Since the seas are choppy, Captain Sandy can’t take the guests out, which means they have to visit a castle. The deck crew stuff the guests into the tender with a cooler of beer, and right before they leave one of the guests, remembering he’s owed “silver service” or whatever it was that Kasey lied about, asks for a Bloody Mary. Hannah runs to gather all the necessary ingredients for a made-from-scratch bloody mary — celery salt! Worcestershire sauce! Celery sticks! — and forgets the vodka. Her takeaway is that she forgot the vodka because she needs to take more breaks because she’s simply working too hard to remember things.
At lunch, the primary claims that saying a blessing before eating “actually changes the molecules in the food.” This may be his way of taking credit for Adam’s Thai food, which is such a hit that one of the guests remarks, “He’s not even Asian. This is amazing.”
João takes it upon himself to sit and converse with the guests. Conrad notices and flies into a rage. Now, I trust Colin, even when he says João is good at his job, which suggests Conrad is looking for faults in João’s performance — which is understandable because João is an asshole. Conrad sees João sitting and talking to a guest on the monitor in the crew mess. He gets mad, probably because he’s too socially awkward to mansplain anything about his own homeland to anyone, even Hannah. “You’ve got a ninth guest,” he sasses to Adam, who replies, “Oh, that’s cute.”
João goes to ask Captain Sandy if it’s okay for him to chat with the guests and Sandy says of course he should “engage” with them. Only it’s not like he just pops into the wheelhouse while she’s working; he bangs down the door of her bedroom and barges in while she’s in bed watching TV. I couldn’t tell what she was watching but it might have been Bravo? Which would only make me love Captain Sandy more, that she’s the kind of woman whose idea of relaxation is whatever’s on Bravo and a nice fluffy hotel-style duvet.
Later, Brooke complains about Hannah, whom she believes is punishing her with extra chores because she’s fooling around with João (fact). While Brooke is creating an elaborate and amazingly non-hideous bedscape with flowers for the primary, Hannah eats Adam’s bananas Foster and muses about how much weight she’s gained. Adam, good friend that he is, says that some of Hannah’s weight has surely gone to her boobs, and asks what gender her self-proclaimed food baby is.
After dinner, Brooke and João are whispering sweet nothings to each other, which for them means complaining about Hannah. Brooke says she does all the chores and Hannah does nothing but forage for ham in the fridge and text. João tells her she should definitely say something to Hannah, whom he describes as a “manipulator,” even though João is the manipulator by telling Brooke to pick a fight with her boss.
Brooke, who we well know by this point is prone to making truly horrible decisions, goes to Hannah and accuses her to her face of doing no work and forcing her and Kasey to do all the chores. Hannah says she sometimes does laundry and provisions. Brooke says provisions only take 20 minutes. Hannah says she’s been doing this job for eight years, which is practically as old as Conrad and Kasey combined, and, “I’ve earned my rank, mine is to boss you around, and yours is to shut the fuck up and do the dishes.” Which is always the excuse abusive bosses use for treating their subordinates badly — “I had to do this and suffer so you have to do this and suffer, too.”
Next week, we’ll get to enjoy some of the same old fighting and some exciting new stuff! Like Conrad wearing his white shirt under a sweater and the crew joining a sharing circle with an egotistical primary who thinks what he has to say actually affects people’s lives beyond profoundly annoying them. Woo!