Is it hot in here, or is Below Deck just overserving emotionally vulnerable statement-necklace aficionados in Thailand?
Yes, the best seafaring show of all time is back on Bravo and, in tribute to Brandy, we missed the first three episodes. Not much happened until Brandy flopped into our lives anyway, so don’t worry, but to briefly recap:
Ashton is back as bosun, and his team consists of his twin, Brian, who is from South African and is fabricated from beef jerky; Tanner, who talks each episode about wanting to have sex with Kate while also pointing out that she’s his version of old; and Abbi, who comes from sailboats and whose long curly hair is practically begging to be terrifyingly ensnared.
Inside the boat, Kate is back, along with Courtney, who I love and who prefers to eat oysters rather than serve them, hates ironing, and is vocally disinterested in males fabricated from beef jerky; and Simone, who is one of the few black women in this industry and who also has her shit remarkably together, along with legitimately good off-boat fashion sense. The chef is a newbie named Kevin who likes long socks, the smell of his own farts, and eating his boss’s fish.
The episode opens with the conclusion to last week’s cliffhanger of Brandy, who was flailing and moaning in the sand in a way that was alarming, being loaded into the Valor’s clear kayak to be floated to the dingy, to then be ferried to the yacht. Ashton carries Brandy to her bed, where Captain Lee strokes her hair while they wait for a doctor to arrive. Captain Lee has seen life-threatening situations on boats before, and that’s why, you see, one can’t hesitate to call for help. Which is a good thing at this particular moment, because Abbi ties up the dingy with her wild hair down and flapping around the ropes.
While Brandy may or may not be dying of alcohol and sun poisoning, her friends stay on the beach and ask Kate to take their picture. When they get back to the boat at their leisure they can’t believe Captain Lee has sought medical attention. “You think it’s that bad?” one of them says, her face so sunburned I think my skin blistered when a subsequent scene pictured them relaxing in a bubbling hot tub.
Tanner and Kate clean up the beach together, and Tanner tells us, “Kate is like your friend’s aunt. She’s sexy and beautiful.” You guys: Kate is 36.
In the galley Kevin peels cucumbers with extra gusto since he messed up the previous evening’s requested “seafood extravaganza” by serving what may as well have been a frozen fish filet from Safeway but made fancy with jarred garlic paste.
Lee complains again to Ashton about Abbi having her hair down. Ashton relays the message once more to Abbi, who says she gave Brandy her last elastic, which is unfathomable because isn’t it 100 degrees and humid in Thailand? Did she not add their port to her weather app before leaving for this show? Who enjoys wearing hair that long and thick down in this weather and travels with such a limited number of hair elastics?!
Dr. Chukiat arrives and he and Brandy have the following exchange:
Dr. Chukiat: You have been drinking?
Brandy: Just champagne.
Dr. Chukiat: For how many days have you been drinking?
Brandy: Like two weeks.
Dr. Chukiat: You should drink a lot of juice now. Okay?
Back on deck, Brian breaks a boring piece of equipment called a “davit” (not everything can be a clear kayak) while trying to put the slide away. I have no idea what a davit is, but Lee is angry because apparently it costs $60,000. He blames Ashton while Abbi, who goes by “Abs,” which should really be Ashton and Brian’s shared nickname, complains about the onerous physical labor of having to change uniforms.
Lee calls Kevin into the galley to have words with him about his rude treatment of Simone, which Kate complained to him about. Lee takes Kate’s complaints seriously because he trusts her but also because they’re real-life land friends, which is a fact Kevin, who really isn’t all that bright, could have easily learned and used to his advantage before boarding the boat. He walks out of the wheelhouse before Lee is done talking to him, presumably to get back to cooking his meal, which he describes as “Thai street food, but on a classy level.” Great thing to say on television!
After a course of shrimp heads, Kevin has a main planned of banana leaf-wrapped mahi mahi. As he plates, he unwraps one of the fish packets and shoves the fish into his mouth, not realizing that he now is short a main course. He decides not to give Captain Lee any fish, and serves him some garnishes in a bowl instead. Lee was angry going into the dinner, and now he’s hangry.
After dinner, Kate, who knows Tanner wants to bed her, tells Courtney she thinks Brian is hot. Courtney tries to dissuade her of this notion by accurately predicting that Brian is the kind of person who posts mirror selfies from the gym on Instagram. This doesn’t work for Courtney, who “likes something squishy.”
You know the editors are having extra Halloween week fun because at 12:20 a.m., when Courtney is up cleaning by herself, Brandy slides into the frame to a sound effect out of a horror movie. She’s wearing lace-paneled pants, a cleavage-y bikini top under an open Seinfeld puffy shirt, and a statement necklace. She hunts Courtney down and asks for champagne, which makes Courtney so uncomfortable she hunts down Kate to ask her what to do. They promise a mimosa and serve her orange juice and sparkling water instead. A few hours later, it’s the morning shift, and Brandy is the first person to ask Simone for anything, which is, of course, champagne.
After poaching some eggs, Kevin springs up to Lee’s office to talk about dinner. Lee is driving the boat and has the entire conversation while looking out the window instead of facing Kevin, which offends Kevin. Lee scolds Kevin for not giving him any fish and not being prepared for Brandy to flop onto the deck in search of her own fish course.
In one of Below Deck’s most disturbing scenes, Helen, the primary’s wife who seemed like she wanted to have sex with Adrienne last season, comes into the galley with a velvet satchel labeled PULCHRA (link NSFW), which seems to be a brand that makes overpriced 50 Shades of Grey Halloween costumes. She offers it to Kevin as a gift along with her card explaining that inside are pearls and she wants him to wear them with nothing else and send her a selfie. Kevin opens the bag when she’s out of site, pulls out a string of pearls and thong underwear, and goes, “That is to set a vagina in.”
The guests leave a pretty good tip and Helen walks off the boat carrying a Birkin bag with something furry slung over it. (And no, it wasn’t her husband’s body hair.) At the tip meeting, Lee tells the crew that the deck team did well and the interior did well, saying nothing about Kevin’s food, which makes Kevin angry. He takes his anger out on deck, where he helps Ashton wipe jet skis and Brandy’s kayak. This is the first time I’ve noticed that he enjoys wearing dark socks pulled up to his midcalf, which would look cool if he were at a Vetements runway show. Which he is decidedly not.
Courtney asks Kate about her date with Tanner, and Kate says she had no idea it was a date and that she thought they were just going to drink wine together at a bar at the same time that everyone else was drinking wine. Instead of suffering through one another’s company at a restaurant and then a nightclub, they just go to a nightclub. Both Brian and Ashton try to flirt with Courtney, which results in Brian switching shirts with the bartender and Ashton saying to her, “Tell me what your two most flaws are.”
Abbi is so drunk she falls knees first onto the dock and gets right back up without complaining because all she can maybe feel are her tastebuds. She scours the galley for sausage and leftovers and eats them by herself before passing out in her bunk.
The next morning, Lee curses a map while the crew goes about their crew stuff: folding towels, spraying hoses, reminiscing about things they did nine hours ago. Except Abbi, who is too hungover to do anything but lie under her hair and occasionally sip water. Simone goes to check on her and Abbi says she “tried” but “can’t” get up. Ashton realizes Abbi is nowhere to be seen and starts looking for her. Tanner informs Ashton that Abbi texted to say she doesn’t know if she’ll be up by 9 and she needs a toilet nearby. Ashton is mad because his one rule was to be to work on time after a night out — and Abbi already broke it. Well, maybe he should have had at least one more rule, which was not to break the davit.
Next week: a bunch of ladies are coming!