Is it just me or is this season of Below Deck moving like Abbi when she has to roll up a slide? We’re now five episodes in and it’s time for the season to stop feeling like it’s on Benadryl. I’m talking fights without apologies. Bloody Marys made with ketchup. Better yet: those nachos Mila made on the last season of Below Deck Mediterranean. A really dry chicken breast at the very least!
The biggest drama this season has come from digestive issues, to which we’ve been exposed more than all previous seasons combined. This week, both Abbi and Tanner are puking into a toilet, only in Abbi’s case it’s her own fault, which is why Ashton is so mad at her when she finally manages to drag herself out of bed, apply makeup, and get to deck. I know she’s on TV, but showing up late with that much eyeliner isn’t exactly a way to relay the message that, yeah, you might be late but you did rush once you decided to leave your bed. Ashton points out that he was at work by nine, “as hard as it was.” I know they got trashed the night before, but since when is it hard to get to work by nine when your commute is a staircase? Abbi’s response to this: “Rules are not my forte.” I would be willing to bet based on the few hours of footage of Abbi I’ve seen that she’s the kind of person who regularly misses flights.
Inside the boat, Kate tells Courtney she and Brian looked flirty last night and asks if she’s into him. Courtney says she doesn’t choose partners based on looks and she’s trying to “overlook” Brian’s perfect Instagram body. Makes one of us.
At the preference sheet meeting, we learn the next primary is a doctor from Boston who is “addicted to chartering boats,” like this is the financial and logistical equivalent of ordering an impulse PSL. She’s coming with a squad of boisterous ladies and warns they are “big drinkers” who “normally run out of alcohol.” The want both a tasting menu the first night and a taste of Captain Lee’s presence (hubba) at the table the second night. Captain Lee, still bitter about Fishgate 2019, is now in a full-on feud with Kevin, which would be more amusing if Kevin was terrible at his job. But actually, none of the guests have seemed dissatisfied with Kevin’s food? Captain Lee is just being petty, which is great — this is why we’re all here — but it’s not going to sustain the season unless Kevin starts serving frozen dinners. He tells Kevin these guests, who have pretty much explained they plan to be so drunk they wouldn’t know a flamingo from a pigeon, will probably really value presentation. Kevin asks him how his presentation was during the last charter, and Lee says he “wasn’t impressed” and “they should be sittin’ there in their underwear.”
Kate goes looking for a lighter and Tanner gives her one from the tender, which he and Abbi may or may not be cleaning. He says his aborted date with Kate was “awkward” and, as though this gives him the upper hand in the situation, “I just wanted to sleep with her.” There’s something so symbolic about Kate walking away on that freshly wiped yacht deck with Tanner down below her in a tiny boat, with Abbi and a mop, standing barefoot in a film of dirty water.
Abbi goes to eat lunch by herself and texts with her boyfriend Patrick. Then she goes upstairs and tells Simone and Courtney she’s engaged. Simone and Courtney look at her like she’s a bad home renovation. She describes how, two years into their relationship, her boyfriend just told her over text that he loved her, and then they agreed to get married. Courtney: “My eyes are rolling all the way off the boat.”
At night Kevin calls one of his sisters to complain about work. He asks if he should leave, like this whole work thing is just optional for him. His sister motivates him to stay, and he spends the next morning studying pictures of soup on an iPad.
Meanwhile, Tanner is sick and throws up in the bathroom while saying “Jiminy Cricket.” He drags himself to the deck team meeting, where Abbi tells everyone the story of how she got engaged, as though this is relevant to the day’s work of wiping the boat and breaking davits. Ashton is in complete disbelief because he spent a recent night or two trying to hook up with her on the bunny pad. Smart boss move in 2019, Ashton.
The guests arrive squealing in flurry of caftans. Tanner hoists a piece of their luggage onto the boat and goes, “Jesus Christmas.” I know Kate said she would probably sleep with him, but really? I’m afraid to know what bizarre slang from 80 years ago comes out of his mouth during sex.
The guests enjoy a lunch of gnocchi, talk about Ashton’s figure, and then agree that one of the rocks jutting out of the sea looks like “a shaft.” Abbi, instead of listening to her radio or setting up the swim platform like Ashton told her to, hangs back to make sure the guests know she’s also from Boston – eeeeEEEEE!!!!
While Kevin stresses out over his ten-course dinner, Abbi and Brian have to pull up the slide, which prompts Abbi to complain about it, since on sailboats you don’t have to deal with slides or trampolines or clear kayaks.
Lee hovers over Kevin in the kitchen just to make him sweat, which he probably does into his vat of Bloody Mary jello pods. The guests love this palate cleanser along with every other course, but Courtney is right when she says ten courses is too many. No one remembers more than one or two courses from any tasting menu. And besides, after this meal all they’re going to remember is how, when the food finally ran out, Ashton performed a shirtless seduction and pressed one of the guest’s faces into his crotch. (“For me,” Ashton says of the stripping, “it’s just something that comes naturally.”)
Brian goes inside to flirt with Courtney while Ashton visits the aft deck that Brian should have been mopping. Ashton moves some tarps around while he confronts Brian, who whines and says he’s been working “really, really hard.” I don’t know anything about boats but it seems like 70–90 percent of the job is remembering to do all the small but simple chores that you’re required to do. It’s not that any of them are hard, but almost no one who sets out to work on yachts (or at least Below Deck yachts) can remember all of the things, which is why they’re so bad at this. So Brian may feel like he’s doing all the physical labor his well-toned muscles were hired to do, but he’s still falling short if he’s forgetting which tarp to pack up or which surface to wipe or which guest to grease down for the slide at any given moment. The next morning, Ashton apologizes to Brian, totally ruining what was a perfectly enjoyable garden-variety Bravo spat.
Tanner is still sick and wishes he could just sit around and watch cartoons today but knows in yachting there are no sick days unless your foot has just nearly been severed by a tow line, which isn’t an accident Abbi has yet managed to cause. Then Ashton has another staff meeting to tell his team to be more detail-oriented, which is a criticism that’s really leveled at Abbi, who still can’t even work her radio. After the meeting, she tells Tanner and Brian that she’s unhappy because she doesn’t like the vibe.
Courtney overhears Abbi’s complaining and gossips about it with Kate, who concludes, astutely, that Abbi is “just a brat.” To wit: One of the closing scenes is of Abbi and Brian setting up the slide, except instead of Abbi doing anything she’s just standing there with an arm sort of out, observing as Brian struggles to maneuver the slide. He tells her to do something with the line, but instead of doing the thing, she does nothing. He tells her she’s not doing her job — which is true! She says she needs to go get her sneakers and sighs loudly as soon as she’s within earshot of Simone to ensure that Simone rushes over to her to ask what’s wrong. Simone tells her to quit, which I have to believe has something to do with Simone also finding her annoying.
Next week: Tanner is still vomiting, Abbi is still crying, and Captain Lee is giddy as hell when the guests recoil at Kevin’s beef tongue. Speaking of tongue, I think Ashton also kisses Kate?!