Below Deck has always been cavalier about plotlines including guest-on-crew sexual harassment, and that same courtesy has now been extended to Josiah. This episode was our chance to learn a little more about the show’s first male stew, who has presided over the season as an expert commentator, casting witty asides in his delicious British monotone from a box seat while Rhylee and her brethren scrap about on the field below. But now we learn that Josiah isn’t so different from the rest of us (albeit with much better hair): He doesn’t want to be exploited wearing gold lamé from American Apparel’s 2008 garbage bin on national television at the behest of a group of people whose idea of fun is turning a three-course dinner on a $60 million dollar yacht into a “gold party.”
I’m not sure if the same is true of Laura, who opens the episode hungover from the night before, declaring, “I need water in my life.” Rhylee and Tyler wake up in her bed and she scolds him for his “full-on makeout” with a girl at the nightclub. Tyler casts the sheet aside and rolls on top of her, his ass bared to the cabin cam like the edgy and dangerous individual he is. Ashton bumbles around the boat unable to remember what happened with him and Laura the night before. He sets about “investigating,” which consists of him asking Laura if she’s mad at him and suspecting she’s lying when she says she’s not.
Laura complains to Kate about how Ashton was grinding on other ladies the night before. Ashton goes to Ross to fact-check Laura’s claims, but in that way you do when you’re 22 and you’re smug about how cRaZy your night was. Ross tells him he was “a slut” and then they go to bro out over some window washing.
At that evening’s preference sheet meeting, Kate remembers incoming primary Charley, who previously tortured the crew when they were stuck at the dock due to inclement weather in the Caribbean, as not being a primary but having a “primary personality.” He has asked for a potpourri of nonsense, including “all-gold” and “wig” parties, along with “all healthy food,” “no sugar,” and “no meat on the bone.”
Speaking of bones, Rhylee and Laura watch the sunset while Rhylee goes, “My vagina hurts!” She says she and Tyler had sex five times the night before because “he stays hard.”
The next morning, Adrian’s sad, sugar-free food arrives and Tyler and Rhylee Thylee resume flirting whilst cleaning. “This is why I like Rhylee,” Tyler says. “We flirt all day at work, have sex, I can kiss other girls at the club, and she still doesn’t hate me. I’m gonna marry this girl. [Grunting.]” I bet she hates him at the reunion.
Ashton, still “investigating” his standing with Laura, turns to frenemy Adrian in the kitchen. Adrian says he told Laura that Ashton likes women and that Laura became concerned she’d just be another notch on Ashton’s bedpost. Ashton decides not to show Adrian that this bothers him because he doesn’t want to give Adrian the satisfaction. He says he really likes Laura, but Adrian is like, you wouldn’t be hitting on other women in front of her if you really liked her. And maybe he knows this because he knows that he wouldn’t be trying to sleep with her as the side dish to his relationship with his girlfriend if he really liked either of them, too.
The guests come aboard in a flurry of scoop necks and firm pectorals. Kate tours them around the boat and one goes, “This is the nicest yacht bathroom I’ve seen.” Which is a sentence you can’t unhear. Josiah then has to make tequila shots with the guests gathered round, cheering for his hair. He tells us that this archetype of person told him he looked fat in his tank top in gymnastics class. While Josiah frets, the primary and his peanut gallery talk about him behind his back. “He’s definitely on the team, you guys,” the primary says. “I don’t think so,” his freeloaders say. “I’ve got good ’dar,” the primary replies. Which is another sentence you can’t unhear.
Then the wind picks up and the swells make My Seanna their bitch, causing bottles of red wine and vodka to spill out of cabinets and break all over the floor, creating a mess and yet another safety hazard. I find it insane that the boat doesn’t have cabinets that lock better than that? Like, I can keep my baby from opening a kitchen drawer with something I bought from Amazon, but this boat with its vast stores of fragile glass stuff can’t control a bottle of wine?
When they get to their parking spot the water is calm enough to serve lunch. The guests are hangry but spirited enough to go: “Talk about the first time you touched a dick!” Each wears at least one necklace.
They stuff down Adrian’s duo of lobster, but are still “starving.” Because Adrian, true to their demands to be served like tiny birds, didn’t give them the kind of food that would absorb one vodka tonic, much less eight vodka tonics. They start whining that they want mozzarella sticks like third-graders. Adrian makes them steak. They send back the steak. They demand A1 steak sauce. Honestly, Adrian should serve them nothing but frozen tortellini and jarred Prego the rest of the trip and go find someone other than Laura to use his open relationship on. These guests don’t want fancy food or fancy stuff, they want heavily laminated menus with pictures of hamburgers, they want the ambiance of a Chili’s, they want mudslides. And they will complain just as much about all that stuff as they will whatever the crew does for them, so why should they even bother trying?
After lunch, everyone has to prepare for the “gold party.” The prelude to this awful event is a charter guest passing out on his toilet and Kate insisting that he be moved because he could fall and hit his head on the hideous high-contrast marble. Fortunately, he comes to before the crew have to move him, and manages to apply his own tight gold pants to his figure before going to the dinner table, where the primary sits with flash tats on his face.
The guests want Josiah to wear a gold lamé Speedo, which mortifies him. Kate suggests he wear it with a gold lamé T-shirt, and he acquiesces. This whole thing is bad, because the guests have clearly targeted Josiah as a person to exploit in a somewhat sexual way, and he doesn’t want to be exploited. It’s not Ashton throwing on a loincloth and gracing the guests with his physique in jest when Kate needs a performer; it’s a determined attempt to strip Josiah of his uniform and his dignity. And because he’s the kind of person who does his job, and because he knows their tips could depend on his willingness to be humiliated, he does it. And as soon as he’s wandering the boat in this outfit, Lee calls him “Goldfinger” and everyone on the crew remarks about his large penis, fully justifying his mortification.
After lots of encouragement, Josiah works up the nerve to march his absurd outfit out to the hot tub where he serves the guests shots. While they cheer, he feebly attempts to explain to the primary that one is “dairy-free.” He poses for a photo with these wingnuts before escaping to clothe himself.
The next morning, the guests, who have been drinking vodka for hours even though it’s still morning, decide to ride the Jet Skis, resulting in yet another terrifying incident. Ross gives them a safety briefing about a kill cord, which would turn the Jet Ski off should they happen to fall off the vehicle. They ride off on the Jet Skis like maniacs, and one pair of guests promptly flops right off, leaving the Jet Ski to skid seemingly at full speed around the boat without a driver.
We don’t know how this happens because the episode ends, but we hear Rhylee call into the radio that two men are off the Jet Ski and the Jet Ski is in motion. And so we are left wondering if this wayward Ski will crash into an overwater bungalow or devastate a rare section of thriving coral reef or kill any people. Things have always worked out fine on this show, but what if this time it’s not fine?! And now we have to all endure the agony of having this question rattle around in our brains until next week.