Meet Bugsy: She’ll be your new second stew. She’s a peppy, 20-something South African, previously a chief stew on a private and charter yacht, who can decorate a table like nobody’s business. Maybe you know her from season two, when she exposed Hannah for messaging with charter guests and said she should be chief stew instead. Maybe you don’t, in which case: 1) You should go back and watch the wonderful Below Deck: Med season two (I promise there’s more than the “you’ve been a lousy chief stew” clip they’ve shown every episode this season), because 2) You won’t really meet Christine “Bugsy” Drake this episode.
You will find out what everyone else thinks about Bugsy. Malia is so excited to have her best friend back aboard, running to greet her during a thunderstorm. Hannah, not so much — she went in for the handshake when Bugsy went in for the hug — although she’s excited to have someone to take over table décor. (Bugsy, for her part, has won first place in some table-scape competition, because those things exist in some circle of the world. I’m glad she’s found what makes her happy.) Sandy is glad to have a second stew who takes initiative, especially after the dead weight of Lara. Jess is nervous about having such a motivated colleague, although she’s glad Hannah doesn’t like her, because “Hannah needs a best friend.” And Pink-Slipped Pete is glad to meet Bugsy after following her on Instagram before she came aboard — which clearly flustered her, considering she introduced herself with, “Hi, I’m Pete, I’m not Pete, you’re Pete!”
Bugsy’s arrival is the event of the morning, aside from Pete’s constipation. But soon enough, our guests arrive, and they’re the sort of guests we’ve waited two charters for. We’ve leveled up from picky entrepreneurs and D-list celebrities to the obnoxious, rich (but not too) trash who keep this show alive. This charter’s offender is a financial consultant who’s obsessed with his dog and bringing a group of seven friends aboard in lieu of their usual Vegas weekend. He wants water sports, a beach picnic, and a six-course meal for his whole party. And his name is Justin Thornton, a name that will echo in your ears for the rest of the episode after he introduces himself by first and last name to every crew member. (He doesn’t wear the name well, if I may say.)
The guests just want things, as guests like this do. Before Justin Thornton comes aboard, he wants a nanny for his dog Scout, who sadly (and I really mean it, since I would’ve wanted to see this) isn’t allowed on the yacht. He wants to be able to head back ashore at any time to visit his dog if he misses him. That shouldn’t be a problem today, since it’s still storming and we won’t be able to head out on the water anytime soon. The guests want a table at some club named Tito’s — presumably not after the vodka, although it might as well be, because they also want vodka shots before lunch.
And they want oysters. Specifically Justin Thornton’s friend Leon, who sounds like he stumbled onto the boat off a Scorsese set and insists that he put oysters on his preference sheet. It’s after lunch, and they’re playing poker at a table that Alex, who paid for college by playing poker, is running since they can’t leave dock and it’s pouring. So Leon asks Hannah for some oysters, presumably to go with the cigars, because this man was meant to be an extra in The Sopranos. When Hannah says they don’t have oysters, because he didn’t ask for them, he replies, “I guess you guys didn’t read it correctly, but that’s all right, I know it’s a lot for you,” and even I’m livid. You shouldn’t be a dick to the crew any day, but as one of the primary’s seven friends? Yeah, no. Hannah brings him his preference sheet to show him that he didn’t ask for oysters, and he concedes, “maybe I made a mistake.” So Kiko makes Leon some mussels he doesn’t deserve, and right after lunch at that.
Everything else goes well for the day until the guests leave for the club around 11:30 p.m. “I’m not staying on this boat any longer,” one of them says, unaware of the sort of trip they signed up for. They go to Tito’s, which looks the same as every club we’ve ever seen on this show, and stay until 3 a.m. Poor Hannah has been staying up awaiting their call (which comes from her friend Leon) so she can call them a car back to the boat. And when they get back, the party isn’t over — they’ve brought four friends back and continue drinking on the boat for another two hours or so. Hannah and Alex bring out some of the bigger bottles of wine I’ve seen in my life, and they also drink vodka from the bottle and Corona beers and eat some charcuterie. I wonder if I’ll see them walk tomorrow. Hannah, meanwhile, looks like she’s wondering why she even went back for this season in the first place. The guests seem to go to bed around 5 a.m., while Hannah clocks out at 6:30, by which point she is spiritually exhausted.
This week’s Pete villain moment comes when the deck crew is preparing to leave dock the next day, since the wind has finally gotten to a manageable speed. He releases the wrong ground line, then says that Malia told him to (it sounds like she did not), then gives some attitude to Captain Sandy over the radio. They end up unable to leave the dock anyway — Jess told a guest she could go for a walk along the port, because of course Jess did, and by the time they come back to pick her up, the wind is too high again. But Malia confronts Pete about his comments afterward, and he claims he never gave Captain Sandy attitude. Man, do you really want to pick this fight? There are cameras here! His one confessional for this week involves him criticizing Malia as a boss, saying, “She has to have the last word every time.” Sure.
One of my favorite parts of this episode is Malia’s passing conversations with Alex and Rob. After trying to resolve the conflict with Pete, it seems like she’s let her guard down around the rest of the crew and is trying to get to know them. Early in the episode, she’s comparing notes about the crew with Alex: Pete hates her, Rob is in his shell, Alex is the one she feels closest to. She later praises Rob for his initiative, and when he asks what he can be doing to better help her, she reminds him that he has a higher license than Pete, which is the first I’m hearing of this. If Pete gets demoted like she’s threatened, it sounds like she’s found her guy. And after her Pete situation, she’s talking to Rob again, after Pete complained to him about Malia. Rob’s dishing on Pete, she’s dishing on Pete, it’s a good time all around.
Since they can’t go out again, the guests — who, yes, survived last night — are going to have their beach picnic at a nearby cove and play with the water toys there. But Justin Thornton wants to bring his dog along, so the dog sitter brings him back- and they put him in a doggie life jacket. They get to the beach, and somehow their friends get there too. Hannah — who also survived last night — sets up a 12-person picnic, but before long, the beach calls Sandy and says they can’t have glass or a tent. Hannah quickly takes down the tent and pours wine from the huge bottles into water bottles, but Justin Thornton and his friends say they don’t want to stay on the beach if they don’t have shade. So Hannah puts everything away and sends them all back.
It’s a great example of the problem of this episode: It promises drama everywhere but can’t sustain it anywhere. Hannah was “up shit creek without a paddle” when they had to take down the tent at the beach, until the guests decided to just leave anyway. Leon wanted his oysters, but he couldn’t stand against Hannah’s receipts in the form of his pref sheet. The guests brought random people back and stayed up until 5, but everything got cleaned up, and the next day you wouldn’t have even known it happened. Pete talked back to Sandy and Malia reprimanded him, but the rest of the talking happened behind their backs. And most shockingly, Bugsy faded into the background of her grand return. We close with Hannah telling Kiko the guests’ guests will be coming for dinner so he’ll have to make six courses for 12 people. With a side of drama too, please.
• Pete is texting Lara early in the charter, and it’s illicit. “I want you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” he tells her.
• I regret to report that I might think one of Justin Thornton’s friends is hot. The jury’s still out, though, so I’ll update you next week.
• Over dinner, Justin Thornton and his friends talk about just going to Vegas next weekend anyway, but one of them can’t, because she has to fly to Japan for a birthday. I wonder how they’re all doing right now.
• To help prep for a 12-person picnic, Captain Sandy — Kiko’s biggest critic — joins her chef in the kitchen. “Do you think I should toast the bread?” she asks while making sandwiches. Maybe this’ll help her cut our lover chef some slack.
• Jess likes that Rob “has like intellect, abs, pretty face,” while Rob says Jess “is hyperintelligent, as well.” I imagine they were discussing literature and philosophy in Rob’s bed the other night.