Rhylee makes her glorious return to Below Deck this week, which is long overdue because this season’s drama has mostly amounted to butt sounds behind closed bathroom doors. When Captain Lee tells Ashton that his new team member is someone he knows — Rhylee — he inhales through his nose as though, if only he were free to exert his anger on something, he’d go rip the slide in two with brute strength.
The pirate-fetishizing guests are still on the boat. Before breakfast, Kate tells Courtney to make them more Jell-O shots. At breakfast, they cheers to “getting booty.” Of all the odious people who have made the decision to pay to appear on Below Deck, these people are probably the textbook archetype of someone who would charter a megayacht for half off in exchange for surrendering their personal brands to Bravo producers. They think their pirate day is clever, like completing the New York Times crossword puzzle, and to everyone else watching this on a moderate amount of wine, they look like they’re reliving their 6-year-old birthday parties with the disturbing additions of sexual maturity and lemon-lime Gatorade.
Kevin, who seems to have a thing for being mean to women, has decided to spend this episode tearing down Kate and says that she “understands food being served through a Burger King window.” As though his steaks and family-style sides served to people who are drunk enough to mistake this yacht for a drive-through require that much more nuance and specialized planning?
Rhylee finally comes aboard, neck pillow dangling from her knapsack, and heads straight to Captain Lee in the wheelhouse. Ashton walks in next, and Rhylee starts cackling like Ursula the sea witch. In her confessional, she wears a hefty gold anchor necklace that could, I’m quite certain, siphon the libido out of Ashton, leaving him beautiful yet devoid of his signature character trait. Rhylee then meets Tanner and Brian. Brian tells her that Abbi decided to leave the boat, opening the job to Rhylee. Rhylee decides, like everyone else on the boat, that Brian is sexy.
Before anyone gets carried away with sexual fantasies about Brian, the editors cut to a shot of the primary, shirtless in sherbet-orange-colored shorts with a fake parrot strapped to his shoulder and a sunburn two shades darker than it was the day before, directing more verbal harassment at Simone with Useless Kevin as his audience. He says stuff like, “Chef, me and Simone are gonna go SHARK DIVING HAHA!” Kevin admits that he finds this disturbing, but instead of trying to help Simone, he decides to “stay six feet away from it.”
The guests then order iced coffee from Simone, who has to ask Courtney in the lower ironing chambers how to prepare it. She nervously asks if she has to put the espresso in the blender. Courtney is like, no, you … pour espresso over ice. These guests are so drunk Simone could probably make it hot and put a frozen fish in it without anyone knowing the difference. When Simone returns to deliver the iced coffee, Ashton’s crush Shailey has her cover-up off and is grinding on the primary with her peculiar swimsuit, which I can only describe as a full-coverage one-piece consisting of nipple pasties and a thong back.
The primary has wandered onto the deck to work on his skin cancer, and ends up making Rhylee carry him around. At the lunch table, the primary dumps ice water on his female friends. Kate decides the primary is “drunk and creepy” and switches Courtney and Simone to spare Simone from further harassment. The guests, whose vocabulary is limited to Instagram captions, take more shots and toast to “being lit.”
After lunch, Kate sends the guests, who have seemed to do nothing today but wander the boat drunkenly inflicting horror on the crew, on a “sunset sail” on the tender. This puts Ashton in close proximity with guest Shailey, who’s all, “It’s pirate day, you could tie me up. [Mouth-breathes.]” Ashton says that he hasn’t been “planting his seeds in the right places” this charter season, referring to his failed attempts to seduce Courtney and his disturbing make-out with Kate, but that if he has sex with Shailey he’ll lose his job, which “fucking sucks.” He manages not to turn pirate day into Fifty Shades night and refrains from more intense flirtation.
Back on the boat, the guests put on shirts and different shorts and go to dinner, which is for some reason now a cowboy theme? “This is very county fair,” remarks Courtney, who might need to leave her yachting career to work as my tablescape critic. Lee has to join them at the dinner, which means lots of high fives and saying things like, “You’re the epitome of lit.”
Kevin has told Kate that he wants the men to serve the steaks and the women to serve the sides, which makes Kate angry because she doesn’t want to be “made into a side piece.” To her credit, rather than stewing on it and having a drunken fight with him later, she confronts Kevin about it immediately after the dinner and tells him he made her feel like shit. Kevin, who has no soul, looks at her like she’s the primary’s sunburn.
The next morning the primary wanders the deck shirtless again with another neon drink. Lee begs the gods not to let him into his wheelhouse, but he toddles in anyway. Yet the editors reserve the truly ominous music for the scene of Ashton going to look at Brian’s leg, which is double in girth, hot to the touch, and causing excruciating pain.
The primary’s next stop is Kevin’s kitchen, where a predetermined breakfast menu is obviously in the midst of being prepared. He asks for a chicken stir-fry with specific vegetables. Kevin stares at him the way Ashton stared at Lee when he informed him that Rhylee would be returning to the boat. When he hands it to Courtney he says, “I hope his face burns off.”
After the breakfast stir-fry, the guests finally leave. The primary hugs Simone — probably the kind of hug where she tried to only touch shoulders and he was pressing the full length of his body against hers — and says, “Aren’t you glad you met me?” He walks off the boat, leaving the crew with a bad tip, stupid pirate decorations, and probably a lot of really sticky surfaces. This means Brian can finally see a doctor, who comes to the obvious conclusion that his knee is infected (Captain Lee: “The thought that it might be an infection never entered my mind”), and gives him a shot of antibiotics in his butt.
At the tip meeting, Lee acknowledges that those people were really horrible: “I think I would rather have someone pull me through a knot hole in the fence by my dick.” Can someone turn that quote into a florid Captain Lee needlepoint? Will buy on Etsy.
The crew gets ready to go out, and since Kevin is incapable of having normal social interactions with women, he makes espresso Martinis for only the men. They go to dinner and we enjoy the first great fight of the season. It starts when Kate asks Kevin to order appetizers. Despite being asked as the chef who’s expected to make more surprising choices than non-chefs, he orders chicken satay. Rhylee interrupts to ask if he can order something Paleo, like the prawns. Instead of just doing it, which would have been easy, he plunges headfirst into an altercation. He mocks her by asking her if she wants a salad. The subtext to this remark: You are a woman, all women are on diets, and women on diets all love salad. She says she doesn’t want salad; she wants sugarless meat because she wants to “drink my weight in calories.” After all that pirate nonsense, who wouldn’t?
Kevin becomes incredibly offended by Rhylee’s request and says he’s not her personal chef, as though she asked him to cook her Paleo prawns and bring them back to the beach. Tanner, high off whatever bro rapport they developed in the van on the way there, sides with Kevin, further upsetting Rhylee.
Tanner and Kevin retreat to the beach, where Kevin obsesses over the argument and shouts “Eat a dick!” at the moon. Kevin returns to the table, where Rhylee addresses him as “chef,” which makes him mad because he doesn’t like to be called that. They order shots and Kevin, who thinks he’s so clever, shouts, “Paleo shots!”
It’s about now that Simone interjects an astute observation, which is that Kevin has been a dick to the women all season, and she’s glad Rhylee is finally calling him on his shit.
Then Ashton, Tanner, and Courtney go to the beach to talk about Rhylee behind her back. Ashton says he’s not going to let Rhylee ruin their “happy family.” Simone and Rhylee walk over, and Ashton and Rhylee have a blowout about general “drama.” He blames the ruined evening on her, even though Kevin started it.
“The person who acts out the most is the person who looks like an idiot,” he tells her as he walks away. She’s like, don’t walk away, now waving her flip-flops angrily. Ashton says, “You’re a joke,” which is a mean thing to say to your employee. Rhylee says Ashton doesn’t even want to talk about the problem. Tanner, who should have backed away into the palm trees like Homer into a bush, goes, “He’s not the problem.” Rhylee then jabs Tanner’s personal space with her flip-flops and says, “Shut the fuck up, who are you?” It’s a great question. Who is Tanner, and what value has he added this season?
Ashton, who can’t resist the very drama he accuses Rhylee of creating, says, “This is Tanner and he belongs in our fucking crew.” Rhylee replies, “Where do I belong, Ashton?” And he says, “You belong on a fucking fishing boat in Alaska!”
Honestly, Bravo, why isn’t that a spinoff yet?