No matter how much Bravo teased the end of this episode, when that drunk guest jumps off the boat and Lee cancels the charter not even 12 hours in, I still wasn’t prepared for just how shocking it would be. But to get to that part of the recap, we’ll have to sort through the deep mixed bag of a plot that is this episode. So pop that first bottle of Champagne — you’re going to need it.
It’s the morning after Elizabeth and James’s hot-tub rendezvous, and it takes Ashling precisely no time at all with Elizabeth to figure out what happened. Now, maybe that’s a testament to Ashling’s thirst for gossip, but I’d chalk it up more to Elizabeth being easier to read than a picture book. Yet this is far from the most important conversation Elizabeth has this morning. After she leaves the crew mess, she gets to work washing some dishes in the kitchen — but without telling Francesca, who assumes she’s late for work. Francesca finds Elizabeth, who explains that she has been working, but Francesca asks her to check in with her before she starts work in the morning. Which, sure, but after complaining about Elizabeth having no work ethic, you can’t be too mad at her for working! And that stew meeting turns out to be about Elizabeth being bumped back down to third and Francesca telling Elizabeth and Ashling they need to not let that affect their work. It all feels a bit awkward, as most of Francesca’s management interactions have been lately. I may have just assumed that, as the new chief stew, she would stick with the series for a while, but I’m starting to wonder if she’ll even come back after this season.
The morning is really a whirlwind of relationship “drama.” James tells Elizabeth he didn’t want her telling the others about them, which is understandable, especially after the first night. But he’s not that mad, because he says in a confessional that he would have told people had he been asked too. With that squared away, we move to the galley, where Rachel is on the phone with her boyfriend, Vincenzo. He travels between Italy and France for work, and she’s worrying about him and COVID, especially after Milan just got put under quarantine. (It’s February 29, the date of what was then thought to be the first known American COVID casualty, as we learned when Eddie was texting his mother earlier.) Then it’s off upstairs, where Rob is trying to flirt with Francesca, who’s “giving off steamy vibes.” That ends up being the title of the episode for reasons that are beyond me; it’s the only crumb of a Rob-Francesca development we get in this episode! Plus, what he says afterward is infinitely better: “I think she’s above my pay grade. She’s like a hot nun — like, you can look, but you can’t touch.”
And then, like clockwork, we’re back to James and Elizabeth. She lets slip to Izzy that she made out with James, and Izzy makes it pretty clear in her confessional that she’s not betting on them. Neither am I — and really, I’m already tired of hearing about it! It was one night, and hearing Elizabeth and James keep on blabbing about their tryst to everyone is a big plate of nothing as far as drama goes. Give me more action; then we can talk.
Francesca has another awkward meeting with Elizabeth about overhearing Elizabeth gossiping about her, which accomplishes precisely nothing. Captain Lee, though, gets in some playful banter with Rachel in the galley, which makes me believe he may actually be getting over her blowup. The day ends with James and Elizabeth having a little chat by the water at the back of the boat about moms and dogs and music. And they’re not all over each other; they actually talk! Maybe they’ll prove me wrong! James says his last girlfriend cheated on him and they broke up five years ago and he hasn’t been too trusting in relationships since, so maybe he’s due for a good one.
Izzy wakes up the next morning, March 1, feeling “like shit,” and all our minds go to the same place at the same time. Let’s run through her symptoms: sore throat, aches, everything “tastes like sick.” I’m no doctor, but that sure doesn’t not sound like the novel coronavirus! It’s all Izzy can talk about throughout the day, and I’m worried, especially after the “previously” intro reminded us that she has an autoimmune disorder. It seemed random 15 minutes ago, but those producers know what they’re doing!
There’s some sort of an issue with Captain Lee’s uniform and the laundry that I can’t really follow, but it seems to get resolved just in time for our guests to arrive. Charter five is a group of self-proclaimed “boat people,” which the crew is dreading because that’s code for “obnoxious.” Surely, they’re ready to drink right when they step onboard. That’s really all we learn off the bat, as it’s a fairly quick boarding and departure. That would make sense if the editors were rushing to Lee kicking off the guests by the end of the episode, but this one has also had a lot of filler. I’m just confused.
Pretty soon, the guests have hit their second bottle of Champagne, and we know that’s going to be trouble because of the nifty little counter popping up on the screen! Then we’re on to our next random story line, which involves Rachel putting her phone in … the freezer?? Like, I get it, you’re a busy yacht chef, but what?! And this is a problem because now she can’t get into her phone and see if her boyfriend can get a flight to France. Understandable, but also, what??
But I can’t get on Rachel for this, of course, because when she says, “Let’s talk about today’s lunch,” a few minutes later, I’m enraptured. It’s fresh Caribbean mahi-mahi, for the record, along with some pineapple rice and a salad. And white wine, of course, after these guests finished off their third bottle of Champagne before lunch. After they’re finished, Eddie comes to talk to them about activities, and they bombard him with demands: not just the horseback riding and water sports they’ve asked for but a beach picnic and shopping in town and even Captain Lee at dinner! For now, some limoncello and Champagne keep them entertained while Eddie and Francesca talk to Lee about what the hell to do with the guests.
It shapes up to be an afternoon of Jet Skis and drinking. Rachel’s phone thaws, which reminds us how superfluous and random that story line was. Elizabeth and James’s flirtationship pops back up too, but in the form of Ashling blabbing about it to Rachel and Francesca (separately), which I’ll allow. Who knew she had such an appetite for gossip? Izzy, meanwhile, tried to work through being sick, but Eddie sends her down early — which is definitely for the best if she has COVID, because she doesn’t need to be out there breathing on everyone else! On the phone with her sister, she starts to worry about her Guillain-Barré syndrome, and I’m worried too. Izzy got paralyzed from the disorder before, and that would be a shitty, scary way for her to end this season. (But, as if it needs to be pointed out, Izzy seems to be fine now, per Instagram, so that’s good!)
Dinner is going to be a Gatsby party, one of the tackier and stupider theme parties that pops up on this show. “But what is Great Gatsby?” Rachel asks, which is also my thought exactly. From a menu perspective, it means absolutely nothing! Liquor up and go wild, I guess, as if these guests need any help with that! Not to mention it’s just super-overdone. I cannot wait to party when the pandemic is over, but I will still think twice about RSVP’ing to any sort of “Roaring ’20s”–themed event.
Rachel cooks an amazing dinner anyway because it’s just what she does. The first course is a tomato tartlet, followed by an Italian scampi for the second, which is one of the more stunning plates I’ve seen from her. It’s around then that Delores gets a bit messy, burping at the table and making weird sexual innuendos that kind of amount to her coming on to Captain Lee? (The guests have gone through five bottles of Champagne, and she has also had white wine at lunch, some sort of vodka drink before dinner, and now red wine, plus whatever the cameras didn’t catch.) It’s uncomfortable, sure, but I can’t act like it’s not funny, too. “Can I talk about the elephant in the room? I don’t think we’ve seen our captain in the water naked yet,” she says. Ah yes, the thing everyone was wondering about at this fine dinner; that happens all the time on boats!
But that can’t ruin Rachel’s dinner, which also includes a sweet-potato-tater-tots waffle with pork and bourbon maple syrup, along with chocolate mousse and cake for dessert. Lee cannot leave that table soon enough after dessert, but as we already know, he won’t be gone for long. Delores leaves the table too, saying she’s going to the hot tub — she’s been talking about getting in the water all night — but then we find her down on the deck, right next to the water. Her friend and Francesca try to talk her down, and out of nowhere, there’s Captain Lee, also telling Delores no. But that doesn’t work, and after Delores asks for some peas to feed the fish (what??), she just dives in, dress and all. She looks to be swimming okay, but she’s also shit-faced and it’s nighttime, all of which makes for a clear safety hazard. As Lee angrily tries to reason with Delores (and keep everyone else from coming in after her), James can’t hide his look of surprise. And this is damn entertaining! We really haven’t seen anything like it before! I worried the shock value would be gone after Bravo beat this event to death in the trailers, but nope. I am eating it up.
When Delores doesn’t make any attempt to get out of the water, Captain Lee puts his foot down and ends the guests’ charter. He goes to talk to the rest of the guests and then, presumably, to turn this boat around. He is irate as ever. “I don’t want to be responsible for somebody that is that reckless with their own life,” he says in a confessional. “I don’t need the liability. This fucking charter’s over. These assholes are going back to the fucking dock. Get your fucking shit, and get the fuck off my boat.”
• Ashling says she thinks Izzy may be a little put off by Elizabeth and James because Izzy has a crush on James. Little does she know!
• According to her friends, Delores lives on a boat, which just leaves me with more questions. For one, obviously, how has this woman not drowned or been eaten by sharks already? But more important, if you live on a boat, why would you take your vacation on another boat??
• If Izzy has COVID, it’s clearly not the final blow to the season — we just got a midseason preview last episode, and there are events and whole charters we haven’t seen yet. That gives way to a bigger worry: Is the My Seanna going to unknowingly become a superspreader event?