Before we get into it, I want to include a warning that we’ll be talking about Natasha and Dave and what seem to be his abusive and controlling tendencies. This episode is dark, and I hope Bravo is ensuring Natasha’s physical and mental safety.
At the top of the episode, Natasha starts to crack. She confesses that she feels suffocated by Dave. Minutes later, Dave sends her a series of text messages — four, in fact. Of course, we don’t have time stamps, but it seems he sent them in quick succession. She is working, Dave! She doesn’t have time to think about whatever’s going on between you two and formulate a coherent response. There is a clear tension between the two of them, which only worsens when the group goes out on their night off.
Dave attempts to confront Natasha at group dinner (big mistake! Huge!) and follows her to the women’s bathroom, which is beyond deranged. He calls her out, insisting she literally can’t be around him anymore, and grills her on why she isn’t answering his texts. Natasha snaps at him: “We’re not in a fucking relationship, Dave!” She also rejects his theory that if she has time to read his texts, she has time to respond. “I should never have to feel like I have to answer to anyone,” she says before heading into the toilets.
We immediately get a confessional. Natasha doesn’t want a relationship with Dave, and the pressure of living together and working together is too much. She decides to head home early. It’s unclear if she told any of the other crew members, but I’d like to assume the camera operators and producers were aware and let the others know. Not before long, she receives an influx of texts from Dave demanding to know her whereabouts. Her phone keeps dinging as she moves her stuff out of their shared cabin and into an empty guest bed, where she sits alone. Dave’s texts are growing increasingly aggressive.
The rest of the group arrives home shortly after, which is when Dave discovers their room is empty. He fires off several texts to Natasha that I believe qualify as harassment. He threatens to tell everyone their “rotten” secret and blames her for bringing this on herself. He calls her a slut and sends a barrage of other abusive messages. Natasha texts Kyle and asks him to come to her in the double cabin so she can show him the messages. She’s freaked out, and she has every right to be.
Kyle tells Natasha that this shit is stopping now. He marches over to Storm (who is canoodling with Natalya), fills him in with the necessary information, and tells him to handle it. Then he goes back to Natasha and suggests they watch something funny. I would do anything for Kyle at this moment and agree with him when he says he isn’t taken aback by Dave’s behavior. Also, an honorable mention to Storm, who dutifully leaves the bed to corral Dave, then returns to tell Natalya he doesn’t agree with Dave but does agree with Natasha.
The next morning, we learn Dave doesn’t remember sending the texts. Is it possible for a red flag to get redder? Natasha pulls Natalya aside to let her know what went down and admits she thinks she’s responsible for all of this. This breaks my heart. It isn’t your fault, Natasha! Natalya rejects this outright and tells her she never deserves to be spoken to in that manner.
At some point, Dave starts crying alone in the bathroom. Upon hearing Dave’s audible sobs, Kevin asks if he’s okay. Dave answers that he’s having an anxiety attack. Once again, Kyle takes action (shout-out, Kyle). He fetches Captain Sandy and tells her it seems like Dave is having a deeply emotional time and it would help if she had a word with him.
Sandy suggests the two take a walk by the water, where Dave admits he sent Tasha a flurry of offensive texts the night before. “I was mean to her, and I shouldn’t have been mean to her,” he says.
Right away, Sandy says the two have to change cabins. No more roommates. I feel an instant wave of relief when I hear her say, “As a captain, I have to make sure Natasha feels safe. That’s more important than anything.” She tells Dave she’ll discuss this with Natasha and leaves him alone to sit with his thoughts.
In Natasha and Sandy’s conversation, Natasha is trying to protect Dave. She doesn’t show Sandy the actual messages. I have a feeling if she did, his ass would be grass. During their chat, I’m nervous that Natasha won’t actually say she wants to change cabins. She keeps defending him; plus, we already know she’s worried about his getting fired. Thank God, Sandy insists on a new bunking situation outright, and Natasha agrees.
I am pleasantly surprised when Sandy sits down with Dave again to reprimand him for his actions (“This is unacceptable onboard, and I need to know that everybody’s safe”) and warn him about his behavior. If he does this again, he’s fired. As the season progresses, I beg that Sandy, my interior A-team, and the deckies keep a watchful eye on Dave and Natasha. I don’t like what I’m seeing from him, and I’m worried Natasha will stay quiet to protect him.
This drama isn’t fun. It’s dark and sad and makes talking about the rest of the episode (Natalya and Kyle on loogies and toilet skid marks) feel inappropriate and weird. I don’t even want to get into Raygan’s firing except to point out that Sandy texts the new deckhand, “I am so excited that you’re coming back,” which brings only one name to the top of my mind: Malia.