You thought that was the end of that argument between Francesca and Elizabeth? Oh, no. We’re treated to another 30 seconds of them talking over each other, and one of the only things I can make out is that Elizabeth is saying she didn’t sleep in the guest cabin. Which kind of misses the point of the whole thing. Telling your boss you just fucked in there doesn’t make anything better! Elizabeth leaves to call her energy healer, who I guess heals her energy or does something about the fourth dimension and dark matter. Captain Lee walks by that conversation looking just as confused as me.
In the morning, not much has changed on deck, where the boys are continuing to be patronizing toward Izzy. When Izzy tells James that, as her roommate, he ought to support her better, he says he’s like an erection: He’ll be hard in the morning but soften as the day goes on. At least it’s an on-brand metaphor. As the deck crew gets to washing the boat down, Francesca talks with Elizabeth about last night; we know these things are happening at the same time because we see James washing the window behind Elizabeth during their chat. Francesca tells Elizabeth she’s “disappointed” and that Elizabeth shouldn’t be surprised and to “stop talking back” and banishes her to the laundry room.
But this still isn’t over. Francesca is a crying mess afterward to the point where Ashling is comforting her in her room. Once she pulls herself together, she goes to the bridge to bring Captain Lee a coffee and promptly hit him with the news that Elizabeth and James slept in a guest cabin. “That’s a fucking no-no,” Lee promptly tells her. He calls Eddie in, and then James, whom Lee says he’ll fire if he does it again. (“Would I do it again, though? That’s the million-dollar question,” James says in a confessional afterward. “Yes, of course I would.”) When it comes time to decide Elizabeth’s fate, Francesca finally lays down the ultimatum we should’ve seen coming: Either Elizabeth leaves or she does. Lee doesn’t try to stop her and says they can let Elizabeth go as soon as he finds a replacement (which I don’t see happening given, you know, the whole pandemic thing! But more on that in a second).
Today is, among other things, Elizabeth’s 30th birthday! So far, Izzy has been reminding the crew, and she goes to Rachel to organize a cake. James, meanwhile, is saying he’ll do something, but he’s not Elizabeth’s boyfriend, so he’s not going to go out of his way. “He’s not?!” you, I, and everyone else watching this show ask at the same time. That’s going to make for a fun conversation with Elizabeth, because right now, she’s expecting something special from her, uh, good friend James by the end of the day.
Francesca is talking to Ashling again, and she’s crying again, and then Ashling’s crying again, and we haven’t even started charter seven! Ashling asks Francesca why they don’t just get rid of Elizabeth now and do the charter by themselves. As tantalizing as that may sound to Francesca, she knows these guests are going to be a handful and they’ll need, well, all hands on deck. So she’s keeping Elizabeth around for now.
And these guests are a handful from the start. The Queen of Versailles, Jackie Siegel, is back to Below Deck to try out Lee’s boat, this time with her husband, resort tycoon David Siegel. In case you missed them on Below Deck Med, these people are rich — they’re in the middle of building one of the biggest houses in the country! David, a simple man, turns down Champagne to stick with his foam cup of sweet tea, while his 19-year-old son lobbies for a glass. (The drinking age in Antigua, we learn, is indeed 18!) “Maybe my dad will buy this boat,” one of the Siegel sons half-jokes; “It’s nice to be rich, innit?” David later marvels. “I wonder what the poor people are doin’ today.”
These guests have boarded My Seanna on March 11, the day COVID-19 officially became a pandemic. It’s the day I bailed on a Best Coast concert and the last time I ate indoors, but hey, enjoy your yacht vacation! It feels a bit apt to be hearing about the heightening pandemic through the eyes of these rich people, who have already had to cancel their summer in Europe. David Jr. tells Ashling “the media is way out of proportion” on COVID; David Sr. will later compare COVID to the flu. (Did I mention this man is a staunch Trump supporter?)
We can tell it’s lunchtime because one of the Siegel kids is whining about being “hangry.” Rachel is serving lamb chops and mahi-mahi and thought Francesca told her to make three orders of mahi-mahi, only to see four on the ticket. As she notices this, the producers give us a nice little zoom in on the ticket — which actually shows five orders of mahi-mahi! Rachel gives Ashling three mahi plates and tells her she’s working on “the last mahi-mahi,” but little does she know. Francesca soon realizes they’re another mahi short and tells Rachel, who instinctively does the sign of the cross before freaking out. She insists Francesca said four (three?) and it’s service’s fault, while Francesca insists it was all on the ticket and it’s Rachel’s fault. Oh, and by now Daniel wants another mahi-mahi too! Once all the fish is out, Francesca comes back to explain the ticket to Rachel, who notices that there were two orders for two guests on one line. And two orders of “mahi” on one line reads as … “mahi-mahi.” So, yeah, I’m with Rachel on this!
James has not, er, softened toward Izzy by the afternoon, and neither has Rob, so Izzy finally confronts them after they’re finished working for the day, asking if they “even care” that she’s lead now. “Izzy, it’s not like you just got promoted to captain. You just got promoted to lead shammie,” says Rob, who has really gone from zero to dick out of nowhere these last few episodes. The situation on deck is kind of left there for the episode, but I don’t see anything getting better without Eddie stepping in.
It’s a classic Italian dinner, and Captain Lee is invited! Although not for the best of reasons — earlier, while talking to David and Jackie, he learned they had also lost a child to a drug overdose, and they began to share their grieving experiences with each other. Lee was nervous to go to dinner with them, he’d told Eddie, because he worried things would get too heavy, but he also does want to talk with them more. Dinner begins with everyone enjoying Rachel’s homemade pasta and absolutely huge meatballs, but as the night goes on, Lee, David, and Jackie get to talking about their children. It’s a good, productive conversation that gets just about everyone at the table a bit emotional until Lee leaves to collect himself.
I’m really glad Lee got to meet the Siegels and have this moment, and I do hope it helped him. That said, it’s a pretty jarring tonal shift to go from that to Izzy, Rob, and James making Elizabeth a birthday cake! Rachel didn’t have time to make a cake for Elizabeth, and James sure as hell hasn’t been thinking about it, so Izzy has suggested they make a fairy-bread cake. For the unfamiliar, fairy bread is an Australian “dessert” of buttered bread topped with sprinkles, which means Elizabeth’s “cake” is a stack of bread with butter and sprinkles in between, topped with some chocolate syrup. It looks disgusting and I kind of want a bite.
Elizabeth loves her cake, but then she’s talking in her confessional about how all she wants from James is a birthday kiss, and I’m sad again because no matter how bad of a crew member Elizabeth is, she should get to hope for a bit more than that from her boatmantic partner! When her shift is over, Elizabeth goes to tell James about her “really shitty day,” and James just kind of stands there, washing dishes, like he’s never talked to this woman one-on-one in his life. So she says good night and just … leaves, without anything. And she’s mad! At this rate, James isn’t getting another chance to sleep with her in a guest cabin.
Pretty soon, the only people up are David Jr. and Daniel, enjoying free-flowing alcohol while Ashling works the bar. Pretty soon, Daniel, the younger one, has drunk about two-thirds of a bottle of Hennessy. Then he’s making his way down to the swim platform — but unlike Delores, he doesn’t want to jump in; he just wants to drive the tender boat. Still, not the best idea! Ashling takes him back inside, and while David goes to bed, Daniel wants to get in the hot tub. Ashling decides to tell him it’s not working in a ploy to keep him safe, but he goes up and notices that it’s fine. Luckily, he’s too drunk to decide to just get in, and instead goes back down to beg Ashling for another drink. But Daniel is talking nonsense at this point, so Ashling is cutting him off and he’s going to bed. Ashling’s worried he’ll be mad she lied to him about the hot tub; I don’t think he’ll remember half of it tomorrow.
This episode left some loose ends that look to give next episode a lot of potential (which this season desperately needs if it wants to end on a high note). Rachel and Francesca will butt heads, Elizabeth will ask James to put a label on it, Francesca and Captain Lee will deliver Elizabeth her fate, and everyone will keep worrying about COVID. And there’ll be stingrays!
• “Stitches get snitches.” —James
• While Elizabeth turned 30, David Siegel is 82. And one of his sons is 19!
• It’s worth noting that Jackie is facing a lawsuit by her former chef alleging she sexually harassed him. It was filed after the Siegels’ appearance on the show, so I’m not saying they should’ve cut this charter out entirely — but God, we’ve got to get some better people on this show.
• At dinner, a friend of the Siegels is shocked to learn that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have COVID. Remember when we were so naïve?