Having to watch drunk Rachel commandeer that stage at the beach club for a second time is definitely more uncomfortable than funny. It’s a good precursor for what’s to come from Rachel for the rest of the day, but we’ll get to that in time. For now, Francesca has coaxed Rachel off the stage, and she’s soon passed out on a lounge chair. So Eddie and Rob go paddleboarding while Elizabeth, who also seems pretty buzzed by now, tries to convince James to propose to her.
It happens again at the bar, when James jokes that their marriage won’t last long, which hurts Elizabeth’s feelings. Everyone seems a bit on edge, and Rachel is awake again, so you know something is going to happen at this dinner. Rachel starts off yelling in the restaurant about why they can’t order, which you’d think she wouldn’t do as, you know, a chef? But she is still very drunk, and just as much of a mess as before, and pretty soon she’s talking bad about James to Elizabeth right in front of James. Pretty soon the whole table is talking about how Rachel is talking bad about James, and Rachel hasn’t stopped, either. When James says he won’t do dishes for her, she just says he didn’t do them well anyway. Usually, a comment like that would be pretty damn entertaining to me, but right now it’s just mean and annoying. Rachel crossed a line a while ago, and now there’s nothing fun about watching her dance on the other side.
Somehow, Elizabeth and Rachel strike some sort of bond among all this. They leave the table to keep talking over a cigarette — leaving everyone else to talk about them. James feels like Elizabeth isn’t being loyal to him, and he’s clearly right, even if Elizabeth is drunk. When they finally leave (big emphasis there, we’ve been at this beach club for too damn long), everyone piles into one van to avoid Rachel, except for Elizabeth, who’s too drunk to understand why James doesn’t want to go with her.
I could not be more ready to start a new day when this crew wakes up the next morning. It’s March 5, another day off, and all Rachel knows of the day before is that she drank a lot. Perfect! (Not.) Elizabeth doesn’t know what happened with her and James yesterday, either, until Eddie explains it to her in the crew mess. So she runs to apologize to James on deck, who seems fine with her today — until he tells us in a confessional, casually, that he doesn’t trust her now. He says he’s not going to talk to her about it because “what’s the point of causing drama?” which only seems like a recipe for more drama down the line. At least he understands how to be a reality TV cast member.
In other news, Izzy is finally seeing a doctor! She is still not feeling well, and Eddie has been trying to get her to go for a while, so hopefully she can figure out what’s up (and not give a doctor COVID in the process). Then it’s right back to the drama of the night before, when Rachel radios for help with some provisions and no one responds. This bothers Captain Lee, as unanswered radios do, so after they get the food on board, Eddie and Francesca go to the bridge to get him up to speed. Eddie is ready to spill about everything that happened with Rachel, calling her “toxic” when she drinks. Lee isn’t pleased, but says that with COVID happening, he’s not confident he’ll be able to get a new good chef — plus, he adds, Rachel is still a damn good chef! That’s all true and valid, but I still can’t believe that Rachel just isn’t going to experience any consequence for how she acted yesterday. And after the show made such a big deal out of it! Maybe it catches up to her later on, but it’s clearly not going to today.
And that’s not all for drama this morning, because James winks at Ashling in front of Elizabeth. Oh no!! Anyway, at least Izzy doesn’t have COVID-19 — just two kidney infections, a UTI, and strep throat. I’d say yay, but that’s still not a list worth celebrating! She’s going to take her medicine and go to bed and hopefully be able to work tomorrow.
Later that afternoon, Francesca walks in on Lee having some wine on the bridge, and stays for a glass and a chat. Rachel’s situation has clearly been weighing on Lee, and he tells Francesca that his youngest son recently died from an opioid overdose. Lee found his son dead, and wonders what would’ve happened if he’d been there earlier, and it’s all very heavy. “It’s hard to imagine that you can survive something like this,” he says in a confessional, over some sweet photos of him and his son. “Parents, we’re not designed to bury our children. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.”
It’s another morning, and Izzy is up and at it! She may be a bit constipated from her meds, but she can finally work again. Except Ashling is now feeling bad, with some sort of stomach bug. And so is Rachel! Maybe they both ate something bad at the beach club?
We finally, once again, have guests! Chris owns a pipeline maintenance company in Texas and is on board with his wife, their friends, and their dog. A dog! And unlike The Wellington, My Seanna allows animals aboard, so the crew is prepared with a two-foot-by-two-foot square of Astroturf. Immediately, this group trades their champagne for Blue Moons and Trulys, which has me screaming internally a bit. You’re on a superyacht! The Whispering Angel should be flowing!
That’s the thing about these guests: So far this episode, they’re boring. They’re on board because guests are central to this show’s premise, and don’t get much more screen time than necessary. So they play on the water toys and lounge and drink all afternoon, as Below Deck guests do. The real story is happening inside, where Elizabeth now thinks she has a UTI too, while Ashling and Rachel are feeling worse. But Francesca doesn’t know about Elizabeth yet, so she’s still pestering her about laundry, as she does.
Dinner is at 7:30, and Captain Lee is invited, as he learns 15 minutes before. It’s a cowboy party, because of course it is. At least Francesca has toned down her table setting, for once! (Maybe because all she knows about Texas is ranch dressing, root beer, and sheriffs.) The guests enjoy a spread of canapes and learn what canapes are in the process, before sitting down for a Texas-sized entrée plate. There’s steak, there’s lobster, there’s mac and cheese, there’s cornbread. There’s not much interesting conversation at dinner, but that doesn’t matter, because these guests love it and are too full for dessert.
Everyone goes to bed shortly after, save for James and Elizabeth, who have a short chat by the hot tub. Again, he’s okay with her to her face, but talking all about emotional baggage in his confessionals. If he’s not going to actually talk with her about this, it’s going to get old quick. But Elizabeth also has problems of her own — she’s waking up peeing and drinking water in the middle of the night because of her UTI, and even texts Francesca that she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to work.
By some miracle of math, it is March 8, and we may have covered the most days in a single Below Deck episode ever. (If we started on March 4, today should be March 7, but I’d guess production had a day off somewhere in between.) Francesca wakes up to Elizabeth’s text and is immediately put off, because the other sick crew members are working through it but Elizabeth wants to rest. Sure, she sees it as classic Elizabeth behavior (“just taking advantage of the situation”), but come on! You don’t know what the girl is going through! But Francesca goes to talk to Elizabeth in bed anyway, promises her antibiotics, and says she can stay down until breakfast at 9 a.m.
When Francesca brings Lee his breakfast, she mentions Elizabeth and Ashling and Rachel, and Lee gives her the okay to get a doctor on board to get everyone figured out. The doctor might also want to check on Elizabeth’s heart, after James mentions the “fit birds” he’s seeing on Rob’s Instagram during their break. Granted, that’s not something you say in front of the girl you’re in a boatmance with, even if it is a very James thing to say in general! So we end the episode on that silly, unsatisfying note. I’m hoping Dr. Williams can fix this show’s sense of narrative direction next week.
• While watching the sunset at the beach club, Rob remembers his “best bud” who died a few years ago and used to howl at sunsets. “Don’t take life for granted. Life is a beautiful adventure and we’re meant to experience it the way it happens,” he says. “Everyone is out there on your own Finding Nemo mission, and you lose people, and everything that happens creates a lesson for us to learn and grow from. You can’t always get riled up over something. Sometimes you need to just keep your shoes off, have a beer, toes in the water. Keep life fresh.” I’m not crying, you’re crying.
• There is someone named Justin on this charter who the girls think is cute? As a fellow Justin, let me say I don’t get what the fuss is about.
• The best part of this episode, by far, is Rachel imitating the noises in her stomach.
• James on his friendship with Rob: “Rob’s my boy. He’s not taking the job too seriously, he’s got the same personality, the same banter, and it just works. God, it sounds like I’m in love with him.” No kidding!