Below Deck Adventure Recap: Bland Ambition

Below Deck Adventure

Can’t A-Fjord to Lose
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

Below Deck Adventure

Can’t A-Fjord to Lose
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Vulture; Photo: Bravo

Okay, I’m just gonna say it: Faye is lazy. Well, maybe not lazy, but there has never been a chief stew who has asked for as much help from the deck crew as Faye. Sure, in the past we’ve seen a deckie swab a plate after an ornate dinner service or fill in when one of the stews was sick or fired. But it seems like every day Faye is like, “I need the boys to help. Can you come help? Why can’t you come help?” Why is it that every other chief stew can do the cabins and service and puke cleaning and guest flattery with two subordinates, but this is entirely out of Faye’s capabilities?

What’s even odder to me is that she is used to this. She thinks this is something that is owed to her. At the end of the episode, she confronts Lewis about him leaving a mess in the stew’s pantry and his staff’s laziness in general. “I ask once, just once, for you guys to chip in,” she tells him. Um, how is asking for help every minute of every day for the most mundane tasks “just once”? If that is how we count to one, then I have eaten my weight in Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Chunks exactly once. Faye thinks she is running the tightest ship in the shipping business, and meanwhile Kate Chastain is in South Florida cackling over her glass of Barefoot Chardonnay.

The episode starts with Faye being mad at the crew because they don’t want to show up to play her reindeer games in a field after the (annoyingly American) guests have paraglided down to the bottom. After calling the captain to throw a hissy fit, Lewis throws Nathan and Mike into a Sprinter van and shows up to lose tug-of-war to a bunch of half-drunk Walmart shoppers in a soggy field. (This is the same soggy field where Kasie plays hide-and-seek, but everyone can see her and no one is looking for her, so it’s more like crawl-and-annoy.) Faye blames their loss on her team being a bunch of Hobbits and, well, no lies detected.

At least they win at rounders, which is a game like baseball, but does anyone want to play? There are enough guests that they could have had an intramural scrimmage without getting the hot bodies from the motor yacht Mercury involved, but they don’t even put their drinks down. Maybe the primary’s friends just don’t think it’s fun for him to be super competitive and yell at them the whole time, so they need this team of paid friends to play these games.

When they go back to the boat, we finally get to see Lewis’s obstacle course that he spent the better part of the day putting together. It’s not an obstacle course at all, it’s one step up from the American Ninja Warrior Experience that you can have in the parking lot of a Lowe’s in eastern Pennsylvania. It’s four fenders strapped to their giant inflatable iceberg, which the guests and crew have to run across and scale. If the crew wins, they get $800, because nothing motivates the dancing monkeys you are paying to serve you like even more money to dance even harder.

Faye & Co. bust out a victory, but is it a victory for anyone? The iceberg then takes, like, four hours to put away. If it took four hours to set up as well, that is eight hours of work for about 20 minutes of fun time. That stupid iceberg is not worth it. Neither is the stupid slide on the side of the yacht. If I were ever to be allowed on this show (and I have been told no, because I would only want to eat junk food and flirt with the crew), this is what my preference sheet would look like:

No stupid slide/iceberg

No themed parties

No making the crew do silly things like play games or do a talent show

No dinner with the captain, whose job is hard enough without dealing with annoying drunk Americans

Unlimited Spindrift (preferably lemon but open to any flavors other than grapefruit and raspberry lime), peanut M&M’s, and Jungle Juice

As the crew is trying to put this iceberg where the sun don’t shine, Faye needs help doing cabins. Oriana can’t help because she’s doing service. Kasie is already plugging away. She calls for the boys and they say no because they are doing their own damn jobs and not hers. Faye, however, refuses to take any accountability for this. If she didn’t make everyone take hours out of their day for her stupid games, then the cabins could have been done, the boat vacuumed, the obstacle course done, and the iceberg put away. She says, “If they’d pull their fingers out of their asses, they could help us.” No. Wrong. Incorrect. Jeopardy! buzzer noise. This is not about crew laziness, this is about her lack of organization and communication about what she expected of the crew. This is not Lewis’s problem. Lewis’s problem is that he is a young man trapped in James Corden’s body.

Meanwhile, Kerry is upstairs enjoying Jess’s dinner with the guests. She served up linguini that is so fat its New Year’s resolution is to go keto. He needs the fuel, because the next day he has to parallel park a boat and then tell the crew that they all have a day off to go “canyoning,” which sounds like a TikTok trend that has to do with thongs. Better yet, they all have to wake up at 8 a.m. the next day to go freeze their asses off in water or some shit.

The next morning they board a boat called the Fjord Explorer, a dad joke so authentic it turned on Yellowstone and asked me when I’m going to get a real job already. They go to a canyon that looks beautiful, a deep gorge with a ribbon of Barbicide-blue water running through it. They’re all supposed to go zip-lining off the edge and drop down into the water. I mean, it looks gorgeous, but have you seen this water? It is colder than the eyes of a White Walker. It also looks acidic. It looks like if you dropped into it, it would burn all of your skin off and then your skeleton would just be bobbing there in the wilderness with a cloud of steam coming off it. No, ma’am. I do not blame Faye for not wanting to go in.

They are rewarded with dinner back on the boat, which seems like a slim reward. (Is this a COVID thing and they still can’t go to restaurants, or do restaurants just not exist in Norway? TBD.) Faye wants everyone to help clean up for their dinner, but Lewis and everyone else just stacks their dirties in the stew pantry, which throws Faye into a rage. Okay, Faye has been wrong about every single thing this entire season (including that haircut, which happened before filming), but she’s right about this. Yes, it is everyone’s day off, but she and her cohort will have to clean it up the next day. They are all a team. They should be working together. Just clear your own plate. It’s not that hard.

Speaking of hard, I think I’m softening on dreamboat Seth. This guy. Seriously. Who are these people who sign up to be deckhands when they used to be captains or bosuns? It’s a road to ruin. But Seth, a man who realistically thinks that he will one day be commanding a mission to Mars and most likely owns at least three NFTs, is a different case entirely. He is peeved that he’s on night duty, where he not only watches the boat, he folds the towels better than anyone else and does push-ups and Russian twists on the boat furniture. That is how you get abs, but that is also how you get annoying.

The next day he asks the captain what he thinks about Lewis as bosun and says that he would be better suited to lead the deck crew and finish off the rest of the season. My dude, there are only 12 episodes. We’ll barely even learn your name before you’re gone. Kerry, naturally, shuts this guy down and tells us in confessional that he should focus on the job he was hired for and prove himself there first. The balls on this guy. I’m surprised Lewis didn’t tie them to a fender and make an obstacle out of them.

After the crew’s big dinner, Seth is sitting in the hot tub with Lewis and asks about being the lead deckhand so that he can help with the rest of the crew. Again, this guy has been here for, like, three days, and the most impressive thing he’s done is a push-up with his feet on the fourth stair. Lewis tells him he’ll talk to Kerry about it. I imagine this is how the conversation will go:

“Seth wants to be lead deckhand.”



“Oooooooh. That’s a good one. Should I watch Kaleidoscope?”

Even Seth says he doesn’t care about being lead deckhand, a job that was entirely made up by Below Deck producers to give a little bit of tension and drama to the final days of the charter season. Seth says, “It’s just a stepping stone to the bosun job.” Sis. There are, like, two charters left. Just do your damn job and shut up. Faye keeps thinking that Seth is flirting with her and trying to get in her pants. I don’t see the evidence for that, but the way that both of them have no idea what is going on around them makes me think they are absolutely perfect for each other.

Below Deck Adventure Recap: Bland Ambition