Below Deck Mediterranean
Last week’s episode left off with Captain Sandy confronting the deck crew about their disrespect to Malia, namely via Pete calling her “sweetheart.” Between then and now, Bravo effectively cut ties with Pete for an extremely racist and sexist Instagram post. Surprise, surprise. But “cut” may not be the right word there, considering it doesn’t seem like much of that actually happened to this week’s episode. Pete was bound to still be a presence on The Wellington — he’s in a senior position, along with one of our more talkative crew members — but Bravo promised to “minimize his appearance for subsequent episodes.” If you’d only watched this cut of the episode and hadn’t heard anything else, you’d have no idea about Pete. The man still shows up in the opening credits!
It feels like, instead of cutting him out, Below Deck: Med has seized on now having a de facto villain. The meeting with Sandy is over as soon as the episode starts, and the boys go back to the deck to work. Pete quickly puts on his detective hat to figure out who Sandy was talking about. He asks Rob, and then he asks Malia, who’s rightfully shocked. “You don’t know?” she asks Pete, who actually has the nerve to say no. He blames it on his upbringing, as “a little country boy from Virginia.” That excuse rings especially hollow now — chase it with Pete saying that “everybody just needs to do their job.”
Roy Jr., Ulf, and friends are going to some cathedral during the day, meaning the crew gets to set up their first picnic, with only two-thirds of their stew team. Kiko hasn’t done a picnic before — Brazilians just go to bars, he says, but I think that’s a little different — so he’s making a quiche, which doesn’t quite impress the captain conveniently standing in his kitchen doorway. During setup, we get some of the picnic drama we’ve come to expect when Pete struggles to open the table, then breaks some glass. The table gets set up (even with some tiny decorations, if only Sandy could see!) and the guests eat, until it starts pouring and everything gets whisked away. It all happens too quickly for it to be made into a plot point. The bigger issue is when Malia cuts herself taking the trash from the picnic, because someone didn’t throw the glass away right. Wonder if Pete would know who.
Back on board, Rob pulls Malia aside to say he’s feeling “misunderstood.” She reassures him that he’s been respectful and the meeting wasn’t about him, but he’s still a bit confused, and now I’m misunderstanding him. Later, our other two deck crew members are covering the furniture because it’s raining — until Pete asks Malia if they need to, and Malia says no, so Pete tells Alex to not only stop, but take the covers off. “I’m not here to make sense, I’m here to do what she says,” Pete says, in case you have any sympathy left for this man.
It’s around this point when I start wondering what “minimize his appearance” means to Bravo. Shortly after, we see another scene of Pete playing with Roy Jr.’s kids, paired with a confessional about how Pete couldn’t see his son after he was born because Pete got bacterial meningitis. What otherwise would’ve been a redeeming moment for Pete now just raises a bunch of questions: Couldn’t this have been cut for other filler? And if this stayed in, what did they cut? Some of Pete’s other scenes in this episode have moved the plot, and I’m glad they’re not cutting story just because this guy sucks. But Bravo’s handling of Pete so far is much more light-handed than other recent instances of reality shows editing around problematic cast members — like VH1, which cut Sherry Pie’s confessionals from Drag Race season 12 when she was accused of sexual manipulation, or MTV, which only showed the back of Alex’s head once on the midseason premiere of Siesta Key after his own social media racism resurfaced. With likely over a dozen episodes of the season left, let’s hope Bravo gets its sea legs under it in terms of re-editing around Pete.
Back on board: All the strain on interior is changing Hannah’s feelings toward Jessica, which really felt like only a matter of time. First, she comes back late from a break, then, she’s missing part of her uniform. She also asks if a fish knife is a steak knife, but that’s just Jess being Jess. (Also, could you pick a “fish knife” out of a lineup?) While we’re being disappointed in everyone, Kiko makes his moqueca again for the guests, which worries Sandy. She doesn’t want a repeat of season two Adam, who wasn’t pushing himself in the kitchen; to me it sounds more like Below Deck season three’s chef Leon and his beef cheeks. But (1) Kiko’s on time for once (but the guests are late), (2) These people will be impressed by any meal, and (3) It’s only the second damn charter! Cut my man some slack, he made an eight-item tapas menu last night and a picnic today.
The next morning, Sandy sees that the laundry room is a wreck, and tells Jessica it needs to be fixed. Jessica blames Lara a bit, until she admits in her confessional that, like Lara, she doesn’t enjoy laundry much either. On her old boat, she asked guests to reuse towels in the name of eco-friendliness, so she wouldn’t have to clean them as often. “My mom calls me lazy, I think I’m smart,” she says, and I have to give it to her — maybe I underestimated her brains! But I have to take it right back away from her when Hannah goes into Jessica’s room and finds the missing part of her uniform balled up somewhere on her bed.
The guests finally get a morning on the water, before the winds get bad and they have to go back to dock. Everyone’s worried about this huge boat making it into its space, which I imagine will happen every charter, but of course, they make it. And with that, charter two is on the books.
Roy Jr. tips a good €19,000, and everyone forgets how hard it was to be down a stew when they get their bigger share of $1,845 each. They quickly remember again, though, when Captain Sandy shares some news: Bugsy, previous season two coworker of Hannah and Malia, will be returning as second stew to finish out the season. How convenient that she was free! I want a framed still of Hannah’s shocked face. If you’ll recall, Bugsy worked well with chef Adam where Hannah didn’t, made great table decorations, and told Hannah she was “a lousy chief stew.” She’s now a chief herself, Sandy says, and she’ll be dropping back down to second to help out her old crew. On top of it all, she’s great friends with Malia, the other department head and Hannah’s roommate. I don’t see what could go wrong here.
The crew goes on a pretty standard night out, where Pete and Alex try to pick up girls while Jessica tries to pick up Rob. The real action comes back on the boat, where Jessica asks if she can cuddle with Rob — after her friend Alex told others she couldn’t make the first move. Rob’s roommate Kiko tries to walk in and sees them kissing, which he of course tells everyone else. And who wouldn’t? There’s a bit of confusion going around about Rob’s girlfriend, though, as he hasn’t mentioned to anyone else that they’re open.
As the episode ends, a brunette Bugsy walks onto the boat, greeted by an excited Malia and an indifferent Hannah. Here’s to hoping she’s the savior this show needs right now, to take the focus off Pete and inject some much-needed drama after an episode that felt like a second plate of moqueca.
Next week, our charter guests look to be a group of grown frat boys who want to drink, eat oysters, bring girls back onto the boat, and make my poor Kiko’s life difficult.
• Baby Roy (Roy III?) makes me melt with an amazing performance of “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
• Hannah is having a bit of fun with kids on board the boat. It’s like “mother training,” says the now-expecting mother. One caveat: “At the same time, they’re really dirty.”
• Ulf gets to talking about Ace of Base at dinner, and seemingly hours later, lands on the realization that Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are following in Ace of Base’s footsteps. “His ego might be a little inflated,” Hannah says, and this music journalist agrees.
• Roy Jr. is such an easygoing guest that, on his last morning, he asks for scrambled eggs for him, his wife, and their two kids, “so it’s easy.” But come on, you’re on a charter yacht: This is your time to dream big! Omelettes and eggs benedict!
• After Hannah finds out Bugsy is returning, she just lies on the concrete of the dock. Later, she gets in bed in the middle of the day to watch a leadership video. “It’s really, really important to surround yourself with a team of individuals that you trust,” the video tells Hannah, who says in next episode’s preview that she won’t trust Bugsy.