Stewardess Elizabeth Frankini’s firing from Below Deck went from a possibility to an inevitability after she and deckhand James Hough slept in a guest cabin without permission on January 26’s episode. Due to staffing issues at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, though, chief stew Francesca Rubi couldn’t fire Frankini until after the next charter, on February 15’s episode — which would end up being the finale, after the final two groups of guests canceled due to concerns about pandemic safety. So there was still much to be hashed out regarding Frankini’s firing on the special February 22 episode of Watch What Happens Live that doubled as the Below Deck season-eight reunion. When asked about her perceived negativity toward Frankini, chief stew Rubi claimed her comments were “not mean, they’re just directional.” Frankini then went on to claim Rubi and stewardess Ashling Lorger “were bullies in the end.” “I think that a lot of things could’ve been said more straightforward to my face, if you, especially Ash, had an issue with me,” Frankini said. To Rubi, though, the real bullies were the crew members talking about her behind her back. “But you know, I don’t think that I was a bully in any way,” she added.
Frankini also took issue with Lorger, calling her “a lost cause,” during a Watch What Happens Live game where Cohen specifically asked if Frankini was a lost cause. “You’re just not cut for yachting, Elizabeth,” Lorger added during the reunion. “Just being open and honest.” Frankini replied, “I do have captains and chief stewardesses that I’ve worked with in the past who would differ from your opinion, so.” As for this season’s captain? “I think Chess was right about her,” Captain Lee Rosbach said. “I think there were just too many issues that actually happened. I think you excel at what you really like to do and you enjoy doing, and I’m not sure that Liz really enjoys being a yachtie.” While she thanked Rosbach, Liz replied that he had a “biased” view of her.
This being Bravo, the reunion didn’t end without one final bombshell. Rosbach had said on the show that he had a replacement stew arranged, and Cohen revealed it was season six’s star stew Josiah Carter. “He was literally waiting at the airport ready to go,” Cohen said. “Si is extremely capable, he knows what needs to be done, he observes what needs to be done,” Rosbach said of the plan. “His anticipation of guests’ needs is remarkable, and that’s what it takes.” So can we get Carter back for season nine, then?