Below Deck Recap: Tanner Needs to Stop Talking

Below Deck

12 Seconds in Heaven
Season 7 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Below Deck

12 Seconds in Heaven
Season 7 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: Bravo

The once-peaceful beach bordering the Phen Restaurant in Thailand has been overtaken by the alcohol-soaked cast of Below Deck. In this episode, we witness the gripping conclusion of the altercation that began when Rhylee asked Kevin to order “Paleo.” The group has split into two gender-based factions: Team Rhylee includes all the women, who have known that Kevin is horrible all along and are glad to see Rhylee tell him so, and the men, who live in 1999 and assume that a woman’s anger and food choices are fair game for mockery.

This being Bravo, a fight that starts about carbs will inevitably become a fight about fighting. There’s some blather about Rhylee’s anger and Ashton being “fucking done,” but the winning sad-sack moment comes when we witness Tanner sitting in his button-down at the dinner table smoking a cigarette, alone. “God you’re so lost, I feel so sorry for you,” he tells Rhylee. Rhylee, who regards Tanner like a scabies mite, tells him to go fuck himself, and leaves him alone to sweat through his shirt in his plastic chair. He tells Kate he’s bummed because dinners had been “nondramatic” pre-Rhylee. But Kate says that, actually, Kevin has always been a dick at dinner; you just never noticed because you’re a dense man and he directs his nastiness at women.

They continue drinking. Kevin is so wasted that his whole body begins to droop over the bar, like a sloth during its weekly trip to the forest floor to defecate. Tanner wanders around, his shirt now so saturated with sweat that half of it is a darker shade of blue. He finally finds a toilet, where he barfs at length, stopping only to say “jiminy.” When he’s done, he finds Simone and tells her he “wants to hook up with [her] so bad.” She makes out with him, disturbingly, minutes post-barf. Then they all get into vans and ride back to the boat flopped over, like flowers that have died.

Back at the boat, Courtney visits Brian, whose knee is now rotting. Simone and Tanner clutch neon drinks and make out in the crew mess before going to bed together. The next morning Tanner says he blacked out the night before, and is “surprised” to find himself with Simone. Romantic!

Meanwhile, Captain Lee visits the crew quarters in his white exercise top. Ashton teaches Tanner how to Swiffer the deck and they gossip about his “sleepover.” Rhylee approaches to ask Ashton what to do and he sends her to de-tarp the furniture.

Ashton admits that he doesn’t “personally like Rhylee,” but politely apologizes to her anyway. Rhylee also apologizes to Ashton, and they hug each other. Later, Kevin pulls Rhylee aside to apologize. And they’re decent apologies, too, which annoys me because I thought the season was going to coast by on everyone’s mutual outright hatred of one another, not an attempt to mute said hatred.

Captain Lee delights in announcing their next charter is the “hump charter,” a group of six moms who “need a girls’ trip.” Kate is relieved to have a group of drunk middle-aged women on the boat, and just tickles herself and Captain Lee when she says, “I don’t see any dicks in this group.”

Tanner finds Simone in the crew mess and they make out while she’s folding, which quickly segues to them in bed together and Simone moaning. The next day she reports feeling “very happy” and “warm inside,” which is a comment we all have to choose not to read into.

Captain Lee checks on Brian and sends him to the hospital, since that butt injection may have been sexy but doesn’t seem to have done much good medically. After Brian leaves the guests shriek their way aboard in the usual rush of jewel tones, tie-dye, and statement sleeves. They tour the boat, and one says, “I better watch my red-wine intake on these white couches.”

Simone has to slice lemons for the bar. If you pay attention to the few seconds the editors give to this task, you’ll notice that she doesn’t cut the lemons so much as saw at them with fear, like she’s chopping down a tree with a saw. When Kate goes to use the lemons, she realizes they’re thin and floppy and useless, and says, “It’s like if Helen Keller cut an orange.”

On deck, Tanner tells Ashton all about the sexual things he and Simone did the night before. He says he went down on her but only got “like a 12-second hand job” and has “blue balls up the yin yang right now.” I do not support Ashton’s next joke but it is one of the more clever things he’s probably ever said: “Maybe Kate’s right, maybe Simone isn’t so great at service.”

Rhylee appears, Tanner repeats what he told Ashton, and Rhylee goes, “Why would you tell me that?” This is the right question to ask, but Rhylee seems more upset that Simone just told her they “cuddled” instead of providing a full recap of the sexual acts performed and the length of each.

The guests invite Captain Lee to dinner and tell him he can “wear whatever.” You can see in Lee’s smile lines that he’s already fantasizing about which floral shirt to have Courtney poorly iron for the occasion.

In the kitchen, Kevin asks Courtney what he should make for dinner. It’s a white party so make something white, she says. Kevin finds this suggestion to be insightful and impressive and credits Courtney with having a palate, unlike Kate, who he says is “not a foodie at all.” He might be right — when I went to lunch with Kate and Captain Lee in Fort Lauderdale, she ordered chicken tenders and fries, which she shared with her dog — but I’m not sure this materially affects her abilities as a server. After all, he’s the chef who serves canned crab meat!

Captain Lee calls Brian, who reports that he’s doing better, he just had to have his knee cut open and the infected flesh cut out, you know, casual knee stuff. He’ll be fine onboard, he just can’t get it wet or lift anything heavy, he says, as the editors cut to a shot of Ashton squatting with a perfectly straight back and lifting a piece of furniture with his pulsating thigh muscles. Brian returns to the boat with his knee in a bandage but, remarkably, walks normally. The editors play music like he’s about to get married. He hugs Courtney, who goes, “Have you showered?”

The guests have a beach picnic and Kevin decides to make sushi. Clearly, he never makes sushi because he made the kind where it’s a fat disc of rice with an M&M-size piece of fish inside. He excuses his poor sushi-making abilities by explaining that it’s a good meal for people who are drinking a lot and need a lining of rice in their stomachs.

After dropping off the guests at the beach, Ashton says the tide is going down, which is a problem because the guests will have to walk through a coral reef filled with sea urchins when he picks them up. He brings water shoes for the guests to wear on their wade back to the tender, but this being a group who couldn’t manage to keep themselves upright on a log for a group photo, one steps on a sea urchin anyway. Ashton radios Lee to tell him this happened, and instead of freaking out he just goes, “Roger that.”

While the injured guest soaks her foot in a bucket of vinegar, two women stop in the wheelhouse to flirt with Captain Lee. They find him shirtless in his dark bedchamber, but rather than leave, they stand in the doorway and shriek about his body.

A few Elizabeth and James dresses, a tiara, and an espresso Martini later, we’re at dinner, and the women are so drunk they’re in constant swaying motion, like roly-poly toys. Kevin serves them a fried oyster with aïoli and they love it because they’re drunk, so of course they do. Then comes chicken parm, which he tries to make sound fancier than it is by noting the use of lemon zest and pine nuts. Things said to Lee: “We just want everyone to party with us.” “I had a bad Botox job — can you tell?” “Arrrr I’m a pirate.” And, “I don’t fit into a category.”

One guest gets bored and wanders into the kitchen to ask if she can help serve dessert. She proceeds to almost stack one plate directly on top of the other. Simone witnesses this wondrous scene and fumes because she wanted to do service and Kate wouldn’t let her, but she allowed a GUEST to carry a dish to the table? Finally, Simone’s frustration at not being put on service becomes interesting.

After dinner, Rhylee tells Kate that Simone, who has gone to her bathroom allegedly to cry, seemed flustered. When Simone comes out, Kate asks her what’s going on. She says she wants to be on service. Kate says Simone is bad at service and tells her, “I’m not sure you’re a great second stew,” citing as an example Simone going to her bathroom to allegedly cry. She also tells Simone that she’s made the whole interior look bad. Well, not nearly as bad as Kevin or Tanner or Ashton have made themselves look this entire time.

Next week: The fighting gets so bad even Kate cries.

Below Deck Recap: Tanner Needs to Stop Talking