A significant chunk of airtime this season has been devoted to dark nightclubs with strobe lights, captioned dialogue, and binge drinking that results in illogical emotional outbursts and even more illogical alter egos. Though we Below Deck viewers might like to consider ourselves just slightly above such classic reality television show ploys, we know after a nice large glass of sauvignon blanc that we’re obviously not.
But before we get to another blowout involving Ashton, who blames Rhylee and Kate for all the problems on the boat but has actually himself been the common denominator in these altercations, Kevin has to grill fish. The kitchen fan is still broken, causing young Master Pearson’s fresh yacht air to fill with smoke. Kate wonders why Kevin would choose to grill fish: “If I had a broken blender, I wouldn’t be pushing pina coladas.”
Outside, Brian and Ashton look at ropes tied to slides and/or sea pools. He blames Rhylee for a bad knot, even though we soon learn that it could very well have been Tanner, who also can’t tie knots and seems like he has the work ethic of a piece of deli meat.
Kevin presents his Greek feast to the guests, including lamb from New Zealand and even an almond cake. Master Pearson, who, according to his dad, “loves his fish,” was too hot to enjoy lunch. The mom’s lunch is ruined by it not being on the beach. And Grandma doesn’t like it because the lamb didn’t come with mint sauce, which, the dad says, “was one of the big things we wanted to see,” as though this is a dog show and they can’t believe the matted fur on the Bichon Frise.
Downstairs, a plotline begins developing around the maybe-end of Courtney and Brian’s boatmance. She asks him to find her watermelon Jolly Ranchers from the crew’s stash, then Kevin stomps down there and she runs back to her ironing board. Brian says as soon as any crew member appears during their interactions, she retreats, kind of like Ashton with a boat full of guests ready to suffer sea urchin punctures for the sake of eating mint sauce-less lamb on a beach.
Night falls and Captain Lee puts on his tux, because dinner is ‘20s-themed and he doesn’t trust his crew to sufficiently impress these people. If Captain Lee thinks his fashion statement is going to salvage a charter, you know this crew must not be performing up to his standards. To wit, Kate and Courtney dress the table with feather boas and agree it “looks like a brothel.”
The fan starts working in the kitchen because an engineer who doesn’t have to be on the show manages to fix it. Kevin talks about how he’s planned this meal to fit both the ‘20s theme and to please the children. First, he serves broccoli and spinach soup with feta foam on top. Master Pearson: “Laaaaame.”
Meanwhile, Ashton calls Tanner and Rhylee to a deck meeting so they can practice tying bowline knot, which a cursory Google search reveals is “the most useful knot in the world” and can be learned in a YouTube video lasting less than a minute. Yet 50 percent of the deck team were bad enough at tying it to have to sit down during the soup course to learn. Maybe the missed beach trip was the least of these guests’ problems all along.
Ashton senses Rhylee doesn’t want to practice tying knots and antagonizes her by asking if she has a problem with it. She says she doesn’t use this knot on a fishing boat. He gets angry and tells her to keep quiet and tie her knots, pointing his flashlight at her like a police officer arresting a drunk driver. As the steak course goes out, we cut to Ashton and Tanner gossiping about Rhylee’s bowline knot-tying abilities in the wheelhouse. Ashton is completely unconcerned with Tanner’s bowline knot shortcomings. As he complains about Rhylee, Tanner says, “When I do it, my thing gets, uhhh.”
Simone tells Courtney that she’s tired of Tanner telling her that he just wants to keep it casual because she’s not in love with him and wants him to leave her alone. This is the Simone we’ve been waiting for all season!
The next morning Tanner passes through the kitchen and Kevin asks how things are going with Simone. Tanner tells Kevin and Kate that he’s going to tell Simone their relationship is over — as though they have a relationship somewhere in the trash heap of their hookups that needs to be formally ended.
On deck, Brian tells Ashton that he heard about last night’s bowline drama, and he’d be fine with Ashton firing Rhylee and doing the rest of the season with three deckhands, “just putting it out there, hashtag sorry not sorry.”
Master Pearson and the personal crew members he calls parents get ready to leave the boat. When they leave, the lady who Chandler dropped on the rock last time says, “Thank you. I didn’t trip this time!” The dad compliments Kevin. The mom still isn’t happy because they didn’t get to go to the beach. They leave $16,500, and the crew is pissed, even though, as Kate points out, “Considering the boat was filled with smoke for the day and Ashton canceled the beach party they probably dogged us a grand alone.” She forgot that no one laundered Master Pearson’s stinky life jacket.
Next we get dueling scenes of Kate and Brian getting ready for their date. Brian gleefully asks Ashton to get off early to take Courtney out. Courtney tells Kate she’s grumpy that she has to leave at 5 and has nothing to wear, even though we’ve definitely seen this girl put on Instagram influencer outfits for each of their nights out.
Then there’s a seemingly boring but important moment of Ashton calling his mom, with whom things have been complicated since his parents got divorced when he was 5 years old. His mom asks him how things are going and if “the other lady” is being okay with him. Ashton says not really, and she tells him not to “go overboard” later.
Brian and Courtney’s date commences as Tanner has his big “I love the sound of my own voice” talk with Simone. Brian can tell Courtney isn’t in high spirits, even though he hired a golf cart to take them to a bar so she wouldn’t have to walk. She says of course she’s in a bad mood, she didn’t have time to dry her hair. At the bar, she orders a Negroni Sbagliato, which is a Negroni with sparkling wine instead of gin. This being Thailand, she gets a regular Negroni, which she doesn’t send back, even though she is definitely a sender-backer. She and Brian sit there sighing at one another.
Back on deck, Tanner tells Simone, “I just want to run something by you… I think we’re on different lengths and stuff? Different mind waves?” Simone says no, they’re on the “same mind wave.”
Then Tanner, who has an allergy to listening when women speak, says, “It’s more like there’s two weeks left and I think I’m just — it’s unfair for me to lead you on and be an asshole…” Simone says it’s fine, because she doesn’t want to spend any more of her life talking to Tanner.
Tanner replies, “There’s two weeks left here in Thailand, though, and I’m trying to have some fun, ya know?” Yes, Tanner, all of America knows that you want to grind up on as many women in this country as possible, ideally including Simone, before you leave. Simone says repeatedly that she doesn’t begrudge him.
Tanner ends the conversation by telling her, as though she needed to hear this from him, “You’re mature.”
Simone looks extra hot that night to make Tanner feel bad. They go to a huge nightclub full of strobe lights and techno music that makes your shoes feel sticky on your clean floors just looking at it. Simone dances with Rhylee, prompting Kate to tell Tanner she’s the hottest girl there and he’s an idiot. Tanner, whose creepiness knows no limits, tells Kate she’s who he wanted to hook up with all along. Kate tells him he’s a 25-year-old kid, and he attempts to assert his maturity by telling her he’s actually 26. He exits the conversation by saying, “I gotta go. This is my song.”
They pile into cabs to go back to the boat, and Ashton is so drunk he falls into his seat like a dead body. He tries to kiss Kate, which disgusts Kate for the second time. The second of Kate and Ashton’s insane fights unfolds during the drive home. Kate tells Ashton he put his tongue down her throat a few minutes ago. Ashton, who has forgotten this, says, “You should be so lucky.” Which is a really Rush Limbaugh way to respond.
They then start laughing about Tanner’s mom. Kate, who doesn’t know that Tanner’s mom tells him lovingly not to impregnate prostitutes, tries to steer the conversation somewhere else, and asks Ashton with no malice, how about your mom? This makes Ashton so furious that he starts punching his van window and shouting at Kate.
Kate confronts Ashton about his outburst while he forages for drunk food in the crew mess. Ashton says they make fun of Tanner’s mom “on a daily that Tanner is comfortable with,” and, “That is my crew that I fucking manage.”
The whole thing devolves into Ashton slamming Kate for her bad attitude and thinking she’s better than everyone, which makes her grin. Ashton gets Tanner to say that Kate gets away with more than most people on this crew. She tells them to go find another chief stew and decides to “gracefully” leave the boat. Rhylee reminds her she “can’t gracefully do shit right now,” but she walks off anyway, telling the cameras and the producer not to follow her.
In a very cruel editing move, this episode is to be continued.