overnights

Below Deck Recap: Who Is Brent?

Below Deck

Let Them Eat Chicken!
Season 6 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating *****

Below Deck

Let Them Eat Chicken!
Season 6 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo

First, let’s join in a virtual prayer circle and thank the heavens that Ashton emerges from his very serious and scary accident alive. If it wasn’t clear why Captain Lee is so concerned about safety this whole time, it sure is now! Also, let’s acknowledge that without Brent, the camera guy, who is not a yachting professional (!), Ashton might not have survived.

This episode opens with an explanation about what exactly happened to Ashton. He was standing on the wrong side of the ropes used to tow the tender behind the mother ship, and the rope got twisted around his leg as the tender was let out behind the big boat. This dragged him underwater, as the rope tightened around his ankle. It is an extremely scary accident.

Rhylee, as this is happening, calls into the radio “man overboard” like this is any old remark on any old day and she’s just doing her usual complaining. She stands there, empty-handed, staring out to sea, as Brent — the camera guy with no yachting experience — puts his camera down and unwraps the rope from the cleat to give Ashton some slack so his foot doesn’t get severed and he doesn’t bleed out into the Tahitian blue and actually die. Brent — who unfairly was never interviewed or presented to the audience as the bona-fide hero that he is — somehow was the only person on the back of the boat who knew what to do in this situation, which really blew my mind. I thought these people, even if they are reality-television cast members, understood basic tenets of how boats work? But maybe not! Maybe Rhylee, for all her bravado and chest-thumping about running her own fishing boat in Alaska and slaying all those halibut, in that moment simply proved herself thoroughly unsuitable for any responsibility on any boat at all. As for Tyler, self-professed adrenaline junkie and human exclamation point, where the hell was he? And Ross, where you at, bro? Maybe it’s Brent who should be bosun!

Anyway, thanks to this Brent, Ashton frees himself from the line and surfaces, managing to swim to the tender which he then must drive behind the boat by himself with his injured leg until they reach their next anchorage. Lee is just about in tears as he describes this incident in his confessional, thinking about how if Ashton had died he’d have to call his parents and tell them it was his fault their son is dead. Lee has his own kids, he says, he doesn’t want to make that call. As touching as this interview is, now all I can think about is who Captain Lee’s kids are and what patterns they like on their shirts.

The guests clutch their linen-clad chests as this whole incident unfolds and then spend the entire morning talking about it. Because what else would they discuss, Tory Burch? The foods of the lower class to which they do not belong? Adrian notes it’s up to the crew to distract them from the drama of the morning, “and that starts with lunch.” And so he sets about using a tiny squeeze-bottle to adorn his flank steak with some jazzy sauce-squirts.

Meanwhile, Ashton limps to his cabin where he lies on the floor and elevates his ankle while his colleagues pop by to pay respects. Ross comes and hugs him, then Adrian, then Lee. Then Laura, who can’t believe the tender was being towed instead of driven but reasons there are “a lot of fucking corners being cut around here.” But where was Brent! Where was Ashton’s crying-happy hug with Brent? Who is Brent? It is the question that will puzzle reality-television historians for centuries. I need his biography distilled into a ten-second sound bite, and I need it now. I need his tears!

The guests Jet Ski while Adrian tells Kate what Laura said about how corners are being cut on this boat, which puts Kate in a fantastic mood. A French-speaking doctor comes onto the boat to examine Ashton, determines his leg isn’t broken, and gives him some painkillers. Meanwhile, Laura does turndowns and complains about how “mundane” her job is as the third stew. She says she hasn’t had to turn down a bed in years but figures it doesn’t matter how poorly she does it because the bar on this boat is so low. She’s not exactly wrong — it is a vessel where the reality-television crew is more effective than the actual staff.

Probably because he did surf and turf for lunch, Adrian decides to serve the guests chicken for dinner, and they are displeased. It’s fancy oven-poached chicken that’s stuffed with things and has a green vegetable placed diagonally across it all elegant-like, but, still, they are mad. “Chicken is for poor people!” cries a woman wearing a tight blue tank-dress covered in sequins the size of silver dollars. They have no idea where Adrian got the idea to serve them chicken because no one put chicken on their preference sheet. Kate says, yeah, Adrian probably shouldn’t have served them chicken, but it does look amazing, and also, “Don’t be assholes.”

Elsewhere on the boat, Tyler and Ross discuss Tyler’s first day, which for some reason becomes an opportunity for Tyler to tell us that he started an insurance agency when he was 21 and [deep mocking man voice] “crushed it but I just knew I didn’t wanna be in the corporate world because I live off adrenaline.”

Kate checks Laura’s turndown work and determines it’s crap while Laura ends the day with a plank in her cabin. Adrian, who’s such an awesome shit-stirrer now, goes to Laura and tells her Kate was unsatisfied with the turndown service. She complains about having to do bitch work, and he tells her that her job is bitch work — “just advice for your integration.” Slay, Adrian. Slay.

The next morning, over the coffee maker, Kate says to Laura, “Have you ever done turndowns before? In your life?” And then proceeds to explain to Laura that she really should have put water next to the beds, and even three-star hotels do that, and what is this, a Motel 6? Over to Laura: “I thought we weren’t caring. I thought that was the vibe. Honestly.”

Then Captain Lee has to drive the boat somewhere else, which means the tender has to be dragged behind them again, which means someone could die. Rhylee is once more at the back of the boat amidst all the lines when the tender gets dragged out, and refuses Ross’s orders to clear the area, after Lee very specifically ordered Ross not to let people back there when the tender goes out. Lee sees Rhylee standing at the back of the boat during this process, and calls Ross and Rhylee up to yell at them. Ross and Rhylee leave and yell at each other. The guests, who are living for the crew’s trauma and drama, crane their necks to hear the argument. Ross decides to let her win so he can get on with his day without further embarrassment.

Adrian makes “duo of fish” for lunch along with a carrot cake in the shape of a breast. Kate and Josiah begrudgingly decorate for it and Kate observes, “Who celebrates their birthday? Unless they’re a CHILD?” And I agree. Turning 40-something with a cake and balloons and a party is immature and sad. Curl up on the couch with a bottle of wine and Bridget Jones’s Diary 2 like the rest of us.

Ashton is now well enough to drag himself out of his room to hit on Laura in the laundry room. He tells us that he’s “played an interesting game with Laura.” Oh, have you Ashton, what’s that? “Let the seeds simmer, let them grow.” I, too, enjoy a good simmered seed.

Then, for some reason, the editors cut in Tyler to tell us that he used to be a firefighter and got engaged to his high-school sweetheart at age 21 — which was also the age he started his adrenaline-lacking insurance business, hmmm — but it didn’t work out because she wanted him to be a construction worker but he wanted to “do fire.” [Grunting/chest slapping.]

The next day, Tyler calls Rhylee hot when she shows him stuff about how the ropes work. Why Rhylee is being tasked with showing another crew member how ropes work is beyond the beyond! After the tip meeting, Lee calls the crew into one of the boat’s living rooms to watch footage of Ashton’s accident. He accuses Rhylee of being “barely audible” when she called “man overboard” into the radio. He tears up again.

And then the episode crashes into a montage of the rest of the season, in which Rhylee and Tyler bang, Laura yells at Kate, and people fall off Jet Skis. So, in case you were wondering if safety would be an ongoing issue, there you go.

Below Deck Recap: Who Is Brent?