New Kids on the Dock
Caroline wakes up in the Bed Bath & Beyond floor display serving as a guest cabin. Shooed in here by Kate, away from the confines of her bunk with the joyous Rhylee, she was supposed to have a calming place to rest her infected foot. However, Caroline is mad that what she had perceived as her free agency to choose her place of slumber has been cruelly snatched away. I don’t know why she’s mad that she’s forced to sleep in a nice, soft bed for the night instead of being forced to sleep beneath Rhylee in her designated servant’s matchbox. She doesn’t have to hear Rhylee fooling around with Ashton, or wake up and hear Kate and Josiah chewing Cheetos while insulting her.
Kate is in her day uniform with two giant steamed shrimp hanging from her ears when Caroline walks in on her and Josiah ironing. Caroline overhears Kate musing about whether she might be faking her injury, which sends her on a downward spiral of feeling sorry for herself. She can’t believe Kate suggested she might be faking it when her foot looks quite obviously like a potato, but Kate says she’s just annoyed that Caroline can’t even do her job with a non-potato foot.
At the preference sheet meeting, we learn the next guests are ten picky eaters, including two children. The 4-year-old loves both still and sparkling water and would probably pack foie gras terrines for lunch if his parents knew what foie gras was. These guests seem like the kind of people who boastfully attempt to act out of their class and taste levels, while in actuality they would be happy with a bucket of pretzel nuggets from the local mall’s Auntie Anne’s.
A case of Red Bull and a dead pig are hauled aboard, the toilet paper folded into points, and then the guests arrive in a tapestry of neon pastels. They are a walking Vera Bradley duffel bag, in both appearance and personality. Kate wraps the kids in life vests per Captain Lee’s orders, and takes everyone on a tour of the boat, during which the dad helpfully notes, “It’s like a house!” Yes, a house with a Chandler living in the basement.
Pearson is the 4-year-old who likes his steak medium and his water sparkly. His parents brag about how their kids don’t eat chicken fingers — they eat the same food as they do! When they sit down to lunch, Pearson beats a decorative starfish with a knife before his mom takes it away and he’s presented with a chicken salad with vegetables, which he refuses to eat.
Adrian, who’s stressed about cooking for people who only eat a small selection of different foods, is then subjected to Caroline, who dodders into the kitchen to complain about Kate and Josiah. Adrian says Caroline’s problem is she takes everything too seriously and always has complaints that only maybe Rhylee is interested in, and accuses her of bringing the vibe down for the whole boat. This is someone who lives in a snow globe of Zen, whose food is inspired by the cloud of godless spirituality that must envelope his man-bun at all times. So when Caroline bulldozes through that cloud with her complaints and her twitching, everything is thrown off, and suddenly the meat is dry and the truffle foam depresses as an extension of Adrian’s carefully cultivated vibe.
While Caroline and Josiah have a spat about table décor for the guests’ “white party,” because this is the year 2000, Ashton and Ross bemoan the problems with “communication” on the boat. This conversation has happened a million times now and is so office-worker and boring. Unless Lee is talking about eating a shit sandwich, I’m no longer interested in hearing live Slack conversations about corporate-sounding nonsense.
At dinner, the little girl, Tiernan, tells her mom she doesn’t like the Vichyssoise with truffle foam, and her mom says she doesn’t have to eat it. Adrian fishes meat out of a pot and works on decorating it while the guests stuff themselves with bread and complain about having to wait.
When the mains come out, the guests are nasty: “It’s a little dry;” “My mahi was disgusting;” “It’s a two out of ten.” Kate notes that the lady who complained about her steak “took down even the garnish” and decides not to tell Adrian what they said about the food. She knows he’s stressed out and had an off night and isn’t concerned. Caroline, who may be fuming from his lack of interest in her complaining earlier, decides to tell him they thought the meat was dry.
As Adrian sweeps the kitchen, he tells Caroline he knows she’s miserable, but says not to project her misery onto him, and I feel Adrian’s cloud of Zen enveloping me like a warm blanket, because I’m so happy we can count on him to bring, if not juicy steaks, then juicy drama to this stupendous program.
The next morning, Caroline scuttles about the galley trying to make coffee—which you’d think would fluster her less than an order of coconut water with individual pieces of fruit floating in it — but of course it doesn’t, because she doesn’t know how to make any drinks! I’m not even sure she knows how to make a glass of water. She asks Adrian where the sugar is, but he doesn’t answer because he has to focus on gluten-free banana bread instead of speaking to her.
After breakfast, the idiocy begins to unfold that leads to one of Captain Lee’s best-ever outbursts. The deck team has to help the guests with an excursion to shore to swim with stingrays. How hard can that be, right? Fill boat with towels and drinks, add guests, pilot them to shore, and then pilot them back. But things can’t be simple for Chandler, because then he might be able to perform the basic tasks he’s supposed to perform. Instead of preparing for the stingray thing, Chandler has the crew running around taking out Jet-skis and slides. The guests won’t be on the boat to use them and they don’t have time to both take all this crap out and pack towels, but Chandler insists on it. Lee looms above on the deck, in silent judgment of the incompetence. He says his previous feedback to Chandler “went in one side and out the other without hitting any obstructions.” Perhaps when Chandler is done with this show he can find a job in the Trump Administration.
Adrian stuffs the guests with fish and quinoa and then they’re off to the stingrays sans Chandler, who doesn’t feel like bothering with the excursion. The deck crew forgets to provide the guests with towels and water, and the primary calls Kate in distress. This forces the end of Chandler’s masturbation session, and he hurries back to work, expressing disbelief that the guests were left without water and towels. But it’s totally his fault, because he wasn’t there, and he keeps saying he’s going to micromanage but never even macromanages. Kate and Josiah make fancy piña coladas to foist upon the guests after they’ve braved the perilous journey back to the boat at the hands of the deck crew.
“If anyone besides me, Josiah, and Adrian could do something to make the guests enjoy Tahiti, that’d be great,” says Kate. This is the perfect comment, because of course people like this can’t just enjoy being in the spectacularly beautiful place that is Tahiti — they need their asses wiped for them and infused quinoa spooned into their faces to have a chance at enjoying anything.
Kate tells Lee the guests aren’t happy, and he descends into a downward spiral of fury. When he passes Kate in full rage and she asks him if he wants dinner, he replies: “No. I’m gonna eat somebody’s ASS for dinner.” He calls the deck crew into his office and tells them he is “fucking pissed” and that deck crews don’t get any worse than this one. He promises changes will be made, but before we can learn what they are, the episode ends and we cut to scenes from next week’s episode, where, somehow, things mange to get even worse. The guests will not only be left knee-deep in shark-infested waters, shivering without so much as a washcloth for warmth, but also, someone will break glass on the boat — where, mind you, you’re literally not allowed to wear shoes! — fail to clean it up, and leave the children (the children!) to step in it, and bleed from their feet. Cool job, Chandler!