Well, it’s Election Day, so no matter what happens when the polls close tonight, at least we have Below Deck to remind ourselves that things could always be worse. We could be adrift in the heart of the South Pacific drinking spiked coffee at 6 a.m. with Chandler, who runs his fishing trips like Trump the country — as someone who is totally unqualified for the job.
Fishing Gate continues this week when Ashton has to angrily rouse at sunrise to slap on his rash guard and assist Chandler on the fishing excursion. Ashton explains that he doesn’t like to fish, he likes to party, and fishing just doesn’t generate the same warm fuzzies for him as grinding on tan women at nightclubs. Neither he nor Chandler know how to fish, but it doesn’t really matter because the guests don’t either, they just want to take photos, and the more photos they take and the more activities they do, the more excuses they have to swap out their thong bikini bottoms throughout the day.
Chandler trails some lines off the boat and Ashton pours the guests coffee with Baileys. You know Ashton was made for this work because he can get up at the ass crack of dawn, angry, and serve the guests revolting alcoholic coffee drinks with a smile. When they don’t catch any fish, one of the guests says maybe they shouldn’t be going so fast and maybe they need live bait. Turns out Chandler’s about as good at catching fish as he is at making his coworkers like him.
Lee is mad when he learns Chandler secretly went fishing without telling him. He is so mad, in fact, that he refuses Josiah’s delivery of Adrian’s French toast. When Chandler pulls up, Lee is like, why didn’t you tell me you were going fishing? And Chandler says he didn’t say anything because he was in bed. Rhylee learns they didn’t catch any fish and feels smug and I frankly feel smug for her.
Chandler’s tour of incompetence continues when he helps Lee pull the anchor up and Lee calls him a dipshit. While the crew stuff the leftover French toast into their faces, Chandler dictates his plan for the beach picnic. Just minutes after getting yelled at by Lee for not telling him where he was going and then disappearing, he decides that the entire deck crew should disappear from the boat for lunch. Ross says if he were bosun, he wouldn’t have everyone off the boat, but again, as America’s political institutions and corporations in general make clear, the most qualified people are seldom the ones who get the top jobs.
Despite Caroline’s puffy foot drama, the interior crew is in good enough spirits to remark on the stunning view of Mo’orea and joke with Adrian about breast massages. The deck crew, on the other hand, has a fight on the back of the boat while organizing Instagram flamingo floats. Chandler asks Rhylee if they have enough drinking ice, and she says she didn’t have anything to do with the drinking ice, which causes Chandler to scold her for not going to check to see if they have enough drinking ice. Neither of them handled this moment particularly professionally, but I have to imagine that if Chandler asked his BAEs Ashton or Ross about the ice he wouldn’t have snapped at them if they said the same thing.
While the primary photographs his girlfriend’s ass for the thousandth time that day, the lunch setup begins. Chandler says it’s “exciting” to unfold tables and chairs with little reef sharks swimming around his calves. The guests pretend to be afraid of the sharks, even though they’re probably secretly excited by how good the sharks will look pictured alongside their be-thonged butts on Instagram. Rhylee gets in the water and swims with the sharks too, which she loves.
I’m happy for Rhylee in this moment, even though it’s a strong indicator that she or someone should have been back on the boat to help Lee with the ceaseless onslaught of yacht chores. I don’t know anything about working on a boat, but I’ve watched enough Below Deck to know that if you’re swimming in the beautiful sea and having fun, that probably means you should be on the deck, wiping a surface or tying down a tarp, in abject misery.
As the guests swim, Josiah risks exposure to the warm outside air and stingrays to set out Adrian’s Pinterest-on-steroids sushi boat. Chandler sees the rain move in and ponders the yacht being uncovered and the deck crew all being at the lunch. He still doesn’t rush back to help Captain Lee, now fuming that he’s realized no deckies are on hand to cover the cushions before the rain and the hot tub—which probably contains a film of semen by this point—is overflowing. Kate says Chandler is so incompetent that it’s like he’s trying to be bad at his job. Then she and Josiah merrily wash dishes in the surf before going back to the boat to help Caroline serve coconut water with a single raspberry, blueberry, and mint leaf, a request that flusters her more than the mystery disease rotting her foot.
Lee calls Chandler into his office to ask him why he keeps messing up, citing his decision not to send Rhylee on the fishing trip and the overflowing hot tub. Chandler proceeds to blame Ashton, and Lee throws it right back in his face by pointing out that his team’s work is still his responsibility.
Chandler leaves the meeting with the same conclusion he came to in the last episode, which is to micromanage even harder. I like how these people take these jobs on yachts and make those of us who stare at screens instead of islands and oceans all day wonder if we have life wrong, only to reassure us that even if we eat pizza in the subway for lunch with rats around our ankles, instead of gourmet sushi with exotic sea life at our feet, we don’t. These people deal with the same work bullshit we all do. They may not get the passive-aggressive post-dinner email, but they do have to share a home with their boss and the people they serve, which must feel like having Caroline’s foot infection in your soul.
After Chandler informs his team that he’s going to be even more of an incompetent monster to them, Rhylee complains to Ashton that Chandler sucks and Ross should be bosun. Ashton says he agrees with her. Above them, oblivious to the discord, the guests decorate themselves with twinkle lights and flower crowns and stuff themselves with foie gras. After dinner, the primary and his girlfriend go to the “crow’s nest” and have sex while Caroline, Adrian, and Kate watch on the security camera. Kate’s verdict is that the lady isn’t enjoying herself and is “definitely thirsty.” It took the sex for her to come to this conclusion?
We know it’s morning because in the next shot Adrian does an upward dog next to a crate of citrus fruit. The guests have their own can of whipped cream to squirt onto their breakfast, which wasn’t something we needed to see in the midst of Bravo so thoroughly documenting the primary’s sexual activity.
As Lee pulls into the dock to unload the guests, the primary photographs his girlfriend right in front of Lee’s window, and I’m embarrassed that they’re not more embarrassed. They finally leave to charge their phones, and Caroline returns to the doctor to see about her foot, which is now making charming popping sounds.
Caroline comes back to the boat to report to her entirely unsympathetic coworkers that she has to stay off her bad foot for two days. Chandler and Rhylee have an altercation over a bucket, and then Rhylee puts on a bedazzled T-shirt dress for dinner. At dinner, Ashton tells Chandler that Rhylee is about to lose it, and he should try to prevent that from happening rather than antagonize her. Chandler is basically like, well, I’m going to keep antagonizing her anyway because I’m a monster.
After they all get drunk they return to the boat where Caroline is padding around in her pajamas and Ashton decides to drink pale yellow mystery liquid from a glass pitcher. He then visits Rhylee’s bunk and she makes out with him for a bit before telling him to get lost. He wanders out saying he needs ice cream, as though he just took a wrong turn on Fool Around Avenue on the way to the freezer.
Kate is appalled to see Caroline out of the confines of the Russian nesting doll that serves as her bunk and forces her into a fancy guest cabin to rest. “I don’t deserve to be treated this way!” Caroline whines even though Kate just did her a huge favor. She no longer has to sleep like a sardine in the same can as Ashton and Rhylee getting handsy with each other. And she presumably won’t be able to hear Kate and Josiah talking shit about her late into the night, or smell the stench of rotting ramen wafting from their cabin.