Below Deck is not fucking around this week and I am so unbelievably here for it. I could sit on my couch with a bottle of wine and a bag of chips and watch this stuff until the wine and chips are gone and I am dead and ants come to carry away my trash and my body. Well, ants or Josiah — whoever comes first! It certainly won’t be Caroline.
We get right back into the Chandler drama with Lee in the wheelhouse where, with Kate as his witness, he fires Chandler. This moment brings me joy because it is dramatic but also sorrowful, since Chandler was bringing the dysfunction that a career-oriented show like this needs to be successful and keep us all interested for 15 hours of television. If Ashton is only going to have sex in a van with someone who may or may not understand English every nine episodes, we need attitude and incompetence for story arcs.
Anyway, Chandler says he’s relieved and Kate and Lee agree that he seems relieved so he goes to pack his bag and say bye to the crew. Rhylee tells him, “I’m sorry to see you go,” and then she tells us, “I’m pretty fucking happy to see Chandler go.” Caroline, who has a sinus infection now, says she is sad. Ross becomes bosun and accepts the job with the nonchalance of a competent man but we all know it can’t be long before he strands guests on an island without a dry bag full of necessary supplies.
Caroline requests another visit to the doctor, and upon her return, Kate banishes her to the crew mess to clean and do laundry. Instead of tackling these chores with the gusto of Josiah ironing Captain Lee’s underwear, she helps herself to a bowl of pistachio ice cream. When Kate sees this, she has feelings. It’s not unreasonable for Kate to expect Caroline to do her chores before she sits down to eat ice cream, because unlike computer jobs, she can’t keep all those white linens looking pristine whilst snuggled up to a delicious bowl of green dairy. But Caroline accuses her of “covertly abusing me all season.”
After night falls, Caroline pulls Ashton aside to unload because he’s all of a sudden the only one she can talk to. She calls Kate “a fucking bipolar bitch” and Ashton tells her to “keep trying” and “just come to peace with it.” This is advice?
After some nice B-roll of Ashton changing his shirt, the crew gathers in the mess in their going-out tops. Caroline still wears her uniform and Adrian, all sassy, is like, “You’re not coming?” And Caroline, with more confidence than she’s had all season, says she’s not and proceeds to address the group.
“I would like to give you all my two days’,” she says. Josiah and Kate look a bit stunned, because what a weird way to quit! Most people would tell their boss in private, and at least try to leave on a high note, but not Caroline, who’s determined to be felt-sorry for by these people. Kate tells Caroline she’s sorry she didn’t enjoy her time with them, and then she tells us that Caroline quitting in front of everyone has “unleashed” her fury.
They go out to some club or other to dance it all off while Caroline hangs back to throw old pizza crusts to stray dogs. Ashton is up to his usual lady-grinding antics and Rhylee, who the producers worked really hard to align romantically with Ashton, refuses to get dragged into this plot line. “Get you some Tahiti STDs,” she says. “I don’t care.” After Ashton finds a girl to leave the club with him who seems to speak some English but can’t seem to understand a word Rhylee says, they pile into the van where Rhylee asks Ashton what her name is (he has no answer). When they return to the dock, Ross tells Ashton, “Go do what you need to do.” Rhylee wishes the girl “good luck” and she goes, “Good luck for what?”
Ashton, who’s always been a great rule follower, refrains from bringing the nameless girl to the boat, as Below Deck cast members past have foolishly done, instead choosing to have sexual relations with her in an empty van. Did the producers book the van for that purpose? Did Ashton break into this van so they could do it? Ashton returns to the boat, his T-shirt stained with the dark soot of van sex.
The next morning, Josiah and Kate drag themselves out of bed to do laundry and wash dishes, but Caroline has decided not to join them. She had nightmares about Kate and Josiah and decided that she couldn’t even handle another two days of working with them. I feel badly that she was somewhat abused over her foot infection, but she is also super immature. Who doesn’t go to work because of a bad dream? What’s more, has anyone who’s ever had a dream had a GOOD one about their job?
Josiah sticks his head into Caroline’s cabin to ask her if she’s going to work because she does have two days left to finish. She tells him she’s decided not to finish the two days and he says she can’t do that. And she’s like, I sure can, get out of my cabin! And stays in bed pretending to sleep. Josiah, indignant, is like, “She gave us her two days’ notice, which isn’t a thing,” helpfully clearing up the audience’s burning question of whether or not two days is the standard quitting buffer in yacht work.
Josiah then goes to tell Kate about the altercation, prompting Kate to run to Caroline’s door and find it locked. “Who gave this nutcase a lock?” she says mostly for the purpose of Caroline being able to hear what she’s saying, which is mean. She shouts to Caroline that she has to be off the boat in an hour and asks “are you ever going to leave?”
Then, in a last-ditch attempt to force her off the boat, they blast dance music outside her door, which is just plain cruel. Ross finally turns off the music and goes into Caroline’s cabin where she cries. Ross says that what Kate and Josiah have done constitutes bullying, which is true, and Adrian, who hates Caroline, even says that he doesn’t agree with the way Kate “scares people.”
Before she leaves, Caroline, now an independent woman wearing her own tank top, goes to Captain Lee with a prepared speech that she delivers through tears. Lee seems to feel bad when he can see that other people feel bad. He said he had no idea that this drama was going on and will talk to Kate about it, but it’s also clear that Kate, as his favorite, won’t suffer real consequences for assaulting Caroline with dance music.
In the crew mess, Adrian — who is finally, blessedly serving up as much sass as he is edible foam — tells Ross he doesn’t want Rhylee near him, looking at him, or talking to him ever again because Rhylee scares him.
At the preference sheet meeting, Lee reveals that this season’s token yacht broker will be joining the next group of guests. The primary both manages wealth and — what do you know — yacht charters. The crew freaks out because these people will actually notice if the toilet paper points are even remotely askew and here they are, two crew members down.
Josiah and Kate do laundry late into the night, and the next morning Captain Lee asks Kate about Caroline. Lee says that when you know someone for a long time, there are moments when trust will be tested, and, as a way of illustrating this, Bravo flashes back to a time in a previous season where Kate denied arranging a throw in the shape of a penis on a guest’s bed.
Then the guests come aboard and the surviving crew members get busy mixing spicy margaritas and unrolling slides before they have to once again risk exposing their ineptitude by serving yet another meal on land. Kate arrives first, followed shortly by Adrian, who irks her when he says he thought everything would be set up by now and he can’t wait because his food is hot and his desserts are cold.
Adrian soon realizes the deck crew forgot the gas for his grill, so Ross has to turn around in the tender, which is embarrassingly loaded with guests, to retrieve it. One guest, who you’ll remember knows about yachts, is all, “YOU FORGOT THE GAS? NOT VERY PREPARED, ARE WE?”
They manage to pull off an actually stunning lunch and, seeing as we in New York are surrounded by the cold and gray skies and dead trees, I took comfort in noting that they were probably dining in a mist of mosquitos. And then we learn that Ross forgot to give them the dry bag containing insect repellant and ponchos.
Next week! Another glass-breaking stew moves onto the boat and Ashton literally risks his life for this shit.