A few weeks ago, I noticed a through line in many of the TV shows I’ve enjoyed recently. From Elite to Drag Race to Bridgerton, I love a show that regularly elicits a good loud, gay gasp. This episode of Below Deck rises to that occasion — hell, I even gasped when Elizabeth’s ironing board randomly collapsed! And it picks up right at one of the season’s most gasp-worthy moments: Captain Lee telling these charter guests he’s going to kick them off after one of them got too drunk at dinner and dove into the water. We see Delores out of the water, telling her friends she “was told I could go swimming.” Lee quickly cuts her off: “No you weren’t.” He is mad mad, and says they’re leaving right away in the morning. The guests are shocked, the crew is shocked, and yes, I’m still shocked.
Lee is so put off by this that he’s worried Delores is going to climb out of bed and jump in the water again, so he’s making the crew keep watch by her room. That seems a little, uh, overboard, and everyone else seems to agree, but he is the captain. A still-sick Izzy wakes up after going to bed early at the worst possible time and gets the first shift. That leaves the, uh, door open (these puns are just falling into my lap, I swear!) for Izzy’s roommate James to bring Elizabeth in for a quick “cuddle” while Izzy is out of the room. When Izzy gets back, there’s some serious movement going on under those sheets, and she’s rightfully a bit shaken up. So she goes to Elizabeth’s bed to get some sleep, before Elizabeth eventually switches back with her. Bear in mind Izzy is still sick, possibly with COVID, while she’s playing musical beds!
The next morning, Lee has a change of heart. He’s open to just kicking Delores off and letting the rest of the guests finish the charter, because, as he puts it, “she’s the only fuckup.” Not only does it make sense, it also gives the crew a chance at a tip and us something to watch. The primaries are more than ready to part ways with their so-called friend, regardless of Delores’s final pleas. So that’s that! But not quite. As our trusty second engineer Zack takes her back to shore, she jokes about jumping in again, and then actually does it! Reader, I gasped! Everyone sees it happen, or comes outside right as they hear about it, and everyone is still shocked. Who is this woman?? “I’ve never been a big ‘I told you so’ kind of person,” Lee tells us, “but, yep. Called that one right.” Wherever Delores stayed as she waited for her friends to finish their charter, I hope it had a pool. And a lifeguard.
Aside from Delores, the talk of the crew this morning is Izzy walking in on James and Elizabeth. Everyone is grossed out, except for Francesca, who saw another opportunity to be mad at Elizabeth and took it. (Not that she shouldn’t have, either!) She talks to Eddie about it in the galley, for some reason, and wants to go right to Captain Lee about it all. Now that’s a little much, as Eddie calmly explains to Francesca. Instead, they’ll have a meeting with James and Elizabeth and hash it out there.
Poor Izzy is tired on deck, and the tension between her and James is making things even more awkward for an already-awkward Rob. But Izzy is going to work through the sickness because she gets to ride horses with the guests today. As you can already expect, she was a horse girl, so much that she helped pay for a lease on a horse by working at McDonald’s when she was a teen. Aw!
Izzy being tired isn’t the only problem on deck this afternoon. One of the guests can’t manage to stop her Jet Ski, despite James’s repeated instructions, causing her to brush up against the back of the boat and knock off a mirror. James and Rob worry about the incident, but Eddie seems okay after he hears it was just a mirror and the guest, aptly named Karen, was at fault. “Of course it was fucking Karen,” Eddie says. Meanwhile, the horseback riding looks fun and pretty and everything it should be.
Eddie and Francesca’s meeting with James and Elizabeth illustrates how much better Eddie is at handling personnel issues than Francesca. He’s calm and focused on what happens next, rather than relitigating the night before. This isn’t to say Francesca is a bad manager — many of her concerns about Elizabeth are valid, and I’m not going to fault her for being strict on a freaking super-yacht. But this whole situation definitely benefited from Eddie’s presence.
There’s been so much going on, we haven’t even gotten to talk food! (To be fair, we didn’t see the guests have lunch today.) Dinner is a seafood extravaganza, and Rachel is wildly excited, both to cook all the seafood and say the word “extravaganza” in an Italian accent. The guests decide to invite Lee again to turn over a new leaf, and he attends after everything, because that’s just what Captain Lee does. There’s shrimp, lobster, conch fritters, and presumably many other types of sea creatures, and everyone is duly impressed. “Jesus Christ. I’ve never seen so many dead lobster in one spot,” Lee says. “This seafood extravaganza has definitely got the vaganza.”
At some point during cleanup, Elizabeth complains about her feet hurting, so Francesca says to take a break, but Elizabeth says she’ll keep working, but then later decides to take that break without telling Francesca, who is annoyed Elizabeth left and tells her that when she gets back. It’s another one of Francesca’s silly management moments that really doesn’t move the needle on anything. Later, Francesca finds herself washing dishes alongside Rob, who cannot make conversation for the life of him. I hope these two get another chance — and that Rob comes out of his shell around Francesca like he has around James!
The next morning, Izzy is feeling worse than ever. After Dr. Eddie analyzes her symptoms — sore throat, congestion, exhaustion — he prescribes rest and takes her off work for the day. Signs keep pointing toward COVID, to the point where I get nervous every time I see Izzy within six feet of someone else. Captain Lee tells Eddie he wants Izzy isolated in a guest cabin, which also makes me nervous. She’s already shared the room with James for the past few nights after getting sick, not to mention that stint in Elizabeth and Ashling’s room, and now we’re moving her again?? It’s a wonder what the pandemic has taught us about infectious disease spread. “We know it’s more than likely not coronavirus because there is one case of coronavirus on the island,” Lee explains, rather confidently, as I shout “That! You! Know! Of!” at the screen. (And Izzy’s cough does not sound great.)
After a breakfast of lobster eggs Benedict and a fairly seamless docking, even with Izzy down, the guests depart and thank the crew for salvaging their trip. They tip precisely $16,790, or $1,400 a person, which does feel a bit low, especially after the involved meals and activities. Rachel wonders if Delores was supposed to chip in, as do I. And after everything the crew has been through, Captain Lee is generously giving them tomorrow off, to go to a beach club for the day.
But first the crew has to get through tonight, and James is taking Elizabeth on a date! While I’m not the biggest fan of boatmances, I do love a proper crew date because it’s such young love: You ask your supervisors (parents) for permission to go, your friends help you get dressed up, and everyone’s talking about it while you’re gone. James’s invite to drinks has turned into Long Island iced teas and dinner at some restaurant on the island, but Elizabeth seems to be enjoying herself all the same. They talk about food and life and it’s all pretty boring, but they seem to enjoy themselves. The youthful shenanigans are continuing apace onboard, too, where the rest of the crew is drinking and playing truth or dare. You just have to see Eddie acting like a goat on the bow.
Things get more chaotic as the night goes on. Elizabeth and James sneak into a guest cabin and you know exactly why, while a plastered Rachel pours herself a hearty glass of vodka before somehow stumbling to bed. Usually I’d break paragraphs to go to the next morning, but the night and the morning seem to blur together for Rachel, who walks out in sunglasses and with what seems to be a fresh cup of vodka. “I don’t get hangovers!” she excitedly explains in a confessional. “Don’t be jealous. I might look like shit, but I don’t feel like shit … ‘cause I’m still drunk from the night before.” And there it is! By the time the crew leaves for the beach, Rachel is most definitely drunk, screaming and running toward a van that no one else wants to share with her.
“I’m zigzagging, y’all,” Rachel says as she walks to their spot at the beach club. The rest of the crew has barely started drinking and she really is this sloshed! She’s showing no signs of stopping, either, claiming Izzy’s espresso martini. (She’s still not feeling well, and I get that she doesn’t want to be left out of the fun, but laying down and watching everyone else play on the beach can’t be that much better.) Not too long after, Rachel is lying down and just screaming. Yes, it’s pretty entertaining, but we’ve also seen her have moments like these enough to where you can’t not worry about her drinking. But next episode looks to reckon with that, so for now we’ll watch her try to upstage the band at the beach club — literally walking onstage and trying to sing with them. It’s totally embarrassing for her and the rest of the crew, and really, what says White Woman Gets Too Drunk in the Caribbean more than asking the band to play “Walking After Midnight”?
Next episode, we’ll find out if Francesca and Izzy can get Rachel off that stage and see just how widely disease has spread on the My Seanna.
• Rachel, on deck to watch Delores after she jumped in again: “Aw man, I’m gonna burn my bacon!”
• The guests mention something called a Yacht Stalker app, which I guess tells you about other yachts that are nearby. And that’s fun to them, somehow?
• Rob is enjoying his friendship with James because, as he explains, one of his brothers once zipped him in a suitcase and left him in a park. Poor Rob! Although, I’m not the only one picking up on some homoerotic notes in this new friendship right? Is this just how straight men are?
• “How far I’ve come,” Eddie marvels after his meeting with James and Elizabeth. “Now giving advice about hooking up on a yacht, where a few years ago, I was hooking up on a yacht.”