So, could you think about anything else all week, other than what was on the other side of that “to be continued”? I sure could. In fact, I barely thought about Hannah’s fate since the end of last episode, except to dread however it’d be edited into the most drama possible on the next episode. So it’s worth noting, from the outset, that what Captain Sandy and Below Deck: Med are doing here is in terrible taste. The editing ahead of the confrontation blows up Hannah’s anxiety attack so that we’ll believe Sandy when she says she’s nervous about Hannah being on the boat with “everything that’s been going on” with her. But the thing is, I already believe Sandy. She starts her meeting with Hannah saying, “I have to do a disciplinary action” and “I want to follow the protocol,” but for all her talk about maritime law, she’s uniquely focused on how Hannah’s anxiety — which Hannah has dealt with for years! — worries her. Sandy has clients, she says. But you know who knows about clients? The chief stew she fired at the beginning of this episode.
For the record: Hannah did a dumb thing. Not telling Sandy about her Valium, and not having her prescription available on board (in another country!), was against the rules, no matter how mature Hannah had been about administering her own medicine. (I do hate that Hannah lied on screen about having not taken a Valium since she’d been on board; I equally hate how these editors so smugly pulled up a clip of her taking her Valium pack into the bathroom like the whole thing was a murder scene.) That said, Sandy — and her lead cop, Malia — didn’t need to blow this up into a full-scale drug bust. Couldn’t she have asked Hannah about her prescription or about calling her prescribing doctor, taken the Valium pills into her care, reprimanded Hannah, and gone on with getting ready for charter? And before you mention the “pot pen,” it was just CBD!
But Sandy had to, so Hannah leaves, not without her Valium. She’s not talking to anyone on her way to call her boyfriend, Josh, on the dock — except for the camera crew following her, who she tells, “Oh my fucking god, we can go up and down all day, boys,” reminding us that we’re losing a true star. Eventually, Sandy, the last person Hannah wants to see right now, comes out to remind Hannah that, aside from the law, “I personally don’t want to drive the boat to sea with how you’ve been lately.” As Hannah tries to reply, Sandy adds, “I don’t want to get into it.” But if you come out to remind your longtime chief stew that you wouldn’t want to work with her even if you didn’t have to fire her, and then tell her you don’t want to discuss what you just brought up, it really begs the question: What the fuck? They argue all the way back to the boat, as Sandy tries to tell Hannah that she didn’t want to let her go this way, but the damage is already done.
On board, word is getting around that Hannah may have quit, and Hannah surely doesn’t want to explain herself to everybody. She says goodbye to Jess, who says she’s worried about working under Bugsy. She also says bye to Rob and Alex, the only other two people on this boat she likes. She doesn’t say bye to Malia, “a snake” by her assessment, but Malia is busy anyway, stammering to Captain Sandy after Sandy tells her that she fired Hannah, trying to act like she didn’t know exactly what was going to happen.
Hannah’s last confessional is a sendoff for the ages. “This is how it ends?” she asks, shocked. But when she says yachting is a series of highs and lows, and the show runs through some of hers (high: her dream team last season, low: every chef who wasn’t Kiko), you can really tell that Hannah’s enjoyed her time yachting, even if she was ready to leave. “I’m done with the heart attack,” she says, later adding, “I think that this next chapter of my book is going to be so much better.” I hope she’s found the steady life she was looking for right now, especially during quarantine and especially as she prepares to have her baby with Josh. So here’s to Hannah: a true Bravo star, a great leader with the right team, a bitingly honest commentator, and the glue that held Below Deck: Med together. I hope she and Kiko got wasted together before the pandemic happened.
The crew, then, has to get ready for charter without Hannah. Rob makes a pact for no one else to leave (Pete clearly didn’t listen); Jess says she’ll have to get fired to go; Bugsy tells Sandy she’ll step up to chief stew (because what else can she do?); Tom complains about the boat being unorganized as he takes in provisions; Malia tells Sandy about the time she had to get permission to take Benadryl on a boat after having an allergic reaction; Sandy implores her crew to Say No to Drugs; Alex is there for the ride.
Our guests are Isaac and Ashley Martinez, along with some family and friends, to celebrate 100,000 users on the app Isaac now runs, which was started by his father. (Dad is on board too, and we’ll talk about him soon.) Isaac greets everyone with “a pleasure” and loves a Tito’s vodka with soda and lime. In the leadup to lunch, the crew is scrambling without Hannah: Bugsy gives the tour and shows Jess how to make an espresso martini, Tom makes like 20 dishes for a lunch, Malia helps Tom plate. The guests love the food — sea bass, osso bucco, veal, oh my! — although Dad worries Sandy when he mentions that he doesn’t usually like veal. (And who serves veal for lunch, anyway?)
That afternoon, the guests swim and fall off their jetskis and jump right off the side of the boat. And Dad walks around asking the crew if they’re married or dating people, like a totally normal guest! He also asks for whiskey in the middle of the Spanish afternoon sun, and as much as I love whiskey, this is deranged. Drink a Tito’s and soda with lime like everyone else! What is even more deranged is asking Bugsy to take the footlong dildo you had laying on the deck back to your room. Ashley, meanwhile, asks Bugsy for a chocolate cake at dinner that night for the 100,000 users celebration. She relays this to Tom, who is thrown for a loop because, well, it’s a whole cake!
Tom spends the evening making a cake with more anger than any one cake should have in it, and also being mad about not having an oyster knife, which is apparently a necessary kitchen tool. He’s so busy that he goes to complain to Malia, then says no to kisses before he goes back to work (which is kind of a shitty thing to do after your girlfriend just listened to you complain!). We officially have a Mad Chef again — unbeknownst to Bugsy, who just praised Tom in a confessional for being so calm in the kitchen. He stayed calm, though, when Dad stopped by the kitchen to interrupt his work and tell a completely indiscernible joke about English people.
Tom may not be our complete savior just yet. During the first course (preceded by an amuse-bouche of a discussion about everyone’s boobs at the table, in case you forgot these were tech bros), the guests complain about shells being in their oysters. “I didn’t fucking appreciate that, okay,” one of them says, and I momentarily flash back to Leon, our oyster-loving Sopranos castaway from the third charter. When she finds out Tom can’t do more oyster plates, Bugsy leads them toward the next course, of lobster tails — which the guests also complain about, saying they’re raw. In Tom’s defense, he butter-poached them, so they’re actually fully cooked. It’s one of my favorite sort of moments, showing that these guests who say they have Taste actually don’t have such refined palates after all. Bugsy asks Tom to cook the lobster some more, and he blows up, complaining that he looks like a fool now. Malia, who for some reason is always lurking in her boyfriend’s kitchen, takes him into a closet to talk as Tom says he has “way too much self-respect to do this.” Boy, just you wait. Bugsy sits outside listening in confused horror.
The episode ends with a quick teaser of the rest of the season, showing us the moments they can finally show us now that we know Hannah has left. More shocking than anything else is the revelation that there are eight more episodes left of this cursed season! And that the replacement second stew sure sounds a lot like Aesha from season four. But if anyone’s going to put Captain Sandy in her place with eight episodes to go, I’m betting on the person who shaded Sandy on the crew’s last night out.
• While Sandy is worrying about Hannah OD’ing on her five-milligram Valium prescription, Hannah really says the quiet part out loud: “Apparently you can get fired for having anxiety attacks!”
• Hannah’s firing kind of reminds me of when I worked at a summer camp: Half the staff had drugs, everyone knew except for leadership, it was always a dumb reason to get fired and the rest of the staff regarded you as a martyr on your way out. Working on a charter yacht is basically being summer camp staff for adults, right?
• Jess’s dog is named Bugsy too, because he bugs everyone.
• The Wellington has a cigar lounge, I learn on Bugsy’s tour of the boat.
• I could’ve done without watching Dad leave his room naked to throw the dildo into someone else’s room.