overnights

Below Deck Recap: Ashton Should Replace Chandler as Bosun

Below Deck

Naked Smoothies
Season 6 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****

Below Deck

Naked Smoothies
Season 6 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo

With last episode’s drunken night behind us, the sun has risen over Tahiti once more, beckoning the hopelessly farmer-tanned bodies of the deck crew forth from their bunks, only to be greeted by resident buzzkill Chandler. Chandler is the kind of boss who shows up to work early, not to do work and be useful and exhibit talent, but to make other people feel less adequate. Not that anyone on his team does feel less than Chandler. They all have giant egos, sure, but also, Chandler is truly no better than them at doing boat chores.

Here’s the thing people like Chandler make me really wonder about this show: Is it really that hard to take people out on a boat for two days and serve them a piece of veal here and there? Kate is running her to-do list meetings from her bed, hungover, in last night’s earrings, Cheeto crumbs in her hair and ramen crusts forming on her shelf, and her team is notably more functional than Chandler’s.

That said, the interior trio has plenty of its own drama. “I’m completely over this two-faced bullshit with Kate and Josiah,” Caroline says after she’s woken up with her foot all puffy, like she’s part-Michelin Man. She visits Kate and Josiah, who are cowering under a throw blanket, to say she heard them shit-talking her last night. Kate’s all, “What did I say? I was drunk.” Josiah is too stunned to be caught with his hair down to say a word. Then Caroline leaves, and Kate, who just doesn’t care, is like, “That was weird.” Because, as one of the two perennial cast members on this show, she knows she’s the béchamel sauce holding this macaroni and cheese together, whereas Caroline is the novelty addition that just happened to be lying around in the fridge. This season it’s bacon, next season it’s day-old lobster meat, and it doesn’t matter to Kate who comes and goes. She’s Captain Lee’s favorite, and as long as she refrains from throwing strawberry syrup in the guests’ faces, she’ll be fine.

When Kate finally crawls out of her bed, Rhylee attacks her for not cleaning up the crew mess. Kate is like, I am too busy wiping wannabe Instagram influencer asses for a living and I’m not doing that now or ever. This leads Rhylee to attack Kate on the radio for not staying busy enough when she jokes with Ashton about his looking like a dangling slice of sex while he’s washing the windows.

As Adrian lays duck skin and brie on a pizza for his personal lunch, Ashton approaches Rhylee on deck to tell her that her life will be easier in the long run if she can refrain from attacking Kate. This fires up Rhylee, who declares that she won’t be spoken to “in that manner.” Which, yes, I get it, but Kate isn’t, like, a random person on the plane with an over-reclined seat — she’s a tangential boss!

Captain Lee makes like a Kardashian on Instagram and reclines, shirtless, onto a set of gold brocade cushions, while the rest of the crew continues to ready the boat for the horny, newly moneyed, Instagram-obsessed nightmares set to board the boat the next day. They eat Chinese takeout for lunch and Caroline returns from the doctor to report that her foot is infected, which is just a thing that happens in Tahiti. Kate: “Gross.”

As Rhylee reflects on how far she’s fallen, from running her own boat in Alaska to cleaning up Kate’s cornflake bowls, Ashton bonds with Adrian as he gleefully hacks away at a pile of raw chickens. Adrian says he used to work in his dad’s BBQ restaurant and was fat.

Ashton tells Ross and Chandler it blows his mind that Adrian doesn’t plan his meals in advance. Chandler says, “It’s like the deck crew. Har-har!” And he’s the only one laughing, because he’s too solipsistic to realize that it’s his fault that their work isn’t planned out and therefore suffers. He then holds his deck team meeting, in which he natters on about incredibly irrelevant information such as that the forthcoming guests “just want to soak in the Tahitian culture.” He ends with, “I’m gonna grab a quick bite. Y’all wanna keep grindin’?” Like, no? His team feels confused, and Chandler, who is about as useful as a piece of decorative coral, blames them for his own weaknesses.

“Look at that mega yacht, it’s ridiculous!” the primary proclaims as he approaches the boat. I thought their behavior with their phones was bad, but his use of the term “mega yacht” in conversation may, in fact, be worse. As soon as they walk aboard they start Instagramming: themselves; each other; the boat. It is horrifying. They practically Instagram the contents of the toilet.

While Caroline tells the guests all about her infected foot, Chandler gets mad at Rhylee for dragging a fender. Ashton says that he gets that Chandler dislikes Rhylee but that he shouldn’t let that cloud his judgement as bosun. Ashton, perhaps the only member of the crew with a shred of maturity, should be bosun.

Chandler then decides it’s time to unroll the slide, but tells Rhylee to take a break before they do so since she doesn’t know how to do it. Because Chandler fancies himself the Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting of inflatable slides: the only one who can solve the equation! Except successfully unrolling a slide is not tantamount to winning the Fields Medal, and he should have shown her how he likes the slide deployed instead of exiling her to the garbage bin serving as the crew mess.

After Caroline struggles to serve the guests tequila shots, Kate says she doesn’t care about Caroline’s foot or her feelings, that the boat is big, and she needs a third stew. Case in point: the primary naked in his room and ordering fruit smoothies, a request so urgent he couldn’t even throw some brocade décor over his junk. Kate struggles to make the shots, admitting they taste terrible along the way, but throws them on a tray with a giant napkin and a flower, and they end up looking like the kind of thing you’d happily spend $13 for on a beach in Miami.

Chandler’s incompetence is once again explored in a scene in which Lee gets mad at him for communicating with his team on a different radio channel. Chandler is all, “I didn’t want to clog the radio.” And Lee is all, “I don’t want to die in case of emergency because you decided to use a different channel.”

Chandler then holes away in the crew mess to eat his feelings. Caroline asks him for a favor and he says no, that he will not be bothered to help her and has to take a nap. Caroline is understandably mad, and Chandler says, “Live a day in the life of a deckhand,” which puts Caroline in an even worse mood, causing her to snap at Ashton when she has to iron the guests’ evening wear in the repulsive crew mess. This confuses me, because there has to be a better place to iron white gowns than the tiny, filthy dining hall? To Caroline’s credit, she apologizes to Ashton — right before exposing his shirtless body to the “juicy” used condom festering on the nightstand of the master bedroom.

Kate, in a valiant effort to create Instagram moments for the guests beyond their own faces, decorates shirtless Ashton in Tahitian foliage so he can carry dinner plates to the guests and create a spectacle. Turns out, they are, in fact, only interested in their own faces, and his glorious, slippery body goes mostly awkwardly ignored and un-photographed.

The episode ends with more Rhylee drama. The guests want to go fishing — I guess because standing next to a large dead fish makes a statement on social media? — and Chandler has to assign crew members to handle the excursion. Rhylee would be the obvious choice. “None of these fuckheads know how to fish,” she says. Which is true! Nor does anyone want to get up at 6 a.m. and actually do it besides her. But Chandler, in keeping with his dickheadedness, tells Ashton he must go. The episode concludes with everyone feeling disgruntled, except the resident fish, who now surely won’t be slain at the hands of these travesties of human beings.

Below Deck Recap: Ashton Should Replace Chandler as Bosun