Below Deck Recap: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Below Deck

Don’t Cry For Me Antigua
Season 8 Episode 15
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

Below Deck

Don’t Cry For Me Antigua
Season 8 Episode 15
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Bravo

For some reason, we’re back to listening to a drunk Daniel Siegel rant and complain, even though we watched him go to bed at the end of last episode. The same scene plays out again, cut with a confessional from Ashling about how she’s “worried” about getting in trouble — nay, getting the entire crew in trouble. Girl! You just kept a drunk kid from going to the hot tub! Francesca loves you! You’re fine! “The crew is whack, bro,” Daniel says as he goes to his room for the night. After a bit of James flirting with Ashling, we’re done for the night too.

“Yesterday was like the worst day ever!” Elizabeth tells us in the morning. She thinks “a frickin stranger” would’ve given her a birthday kiss yesterday — not like yesterday, March 11, 2020, was the first day of a frickin’ pandemic! Pair that with our second glorious confessional of the morning, from Rachel. “Shit rolls downhill — we know exactly where it’s coming from,” she says, getting straight to the point of her disagreement with Francesca yesterday. It feels like everyone’s at their wit’s end with someone: Rachel with Francesca, Elizabeth with James and Francesca, Francesca with everyone, Izzy with James and Rob, Rob with Izzy. Bravo’s announcement that next week will be the finale all but confirms that this is our last charter (more on that later), and it’s honestly hard to imagine how these people could work together for two more whole charters.

James’s side of the whole Elizabeth thing is that he’s a mere 26-year-old, “in the prime of my life,” and he can’t be bothered to settle down for a 30-year-old. It’s like Elizabeth having a birthday was a turn-off for him — a birthday he knew was happening! James says Elizabeth is “smart enough to know what’s going on,” but clearly she’s not, and he’s honestly getting a bit weird about not telling her that he’s not in for something serious.

The true star of the morning is Daniel Siegel, awake and ready to complain to whoever will listen about how the crew cut him off and lied to him about the hot tub and made him feel like he “wasn’t welcome.” (Does he still sound a bit drunk to anyone else?) Francesca happens to walk by during one of these complaints, and asks Ashling, who adds that Daniel conveniently forgot to mention that he was so drunk he wanted to drive the tender. “We almost had Delores 2.0,” Ashling tells Francesca, and Bravo rolls a clip that they’ll be getting mileage out of for years. Of course Francesca is team Ashling, and that pretty much settles this, no matter how much Daniel keeps going on about it.

The Siegels are going to see some stingrays and have a beach picnic, even if Daniel is going to whine about how he’s seen stingrays before. Really, this recap could’ve just been a list of things Daniel complained about this episode. But alas, Daniel isn’t the only one doing the complaining, and in the galley, Rachel is mad about how no one’s helping her pack the food for the picnic. We see too many scenes when people ask if certain things are packed to the point where you just know they’re going to forget something.

Among those staying behind from the beach picnic are Elizabeth and James, for work’s sake and definitely not plot’s. Elizabeth tries to talk to James about being disappointed about her birthday, but he’s not receptive. She does manage to get in trouble with Captain Lee for talking with James and not cleaning the dishes in the galley. “Maybe her energy is broken again,” Lee figures.

Because David Siegel is a man of no taste, Rachel is making hot dogs along with tuna for the beach picnic. But no one packed the ketchup, after Rachel talked with Francesca about it that morning. It’s hard to tell from that conversation who was supposed to bring it, but what is clear is this is another straw on Rachel’s back. Luckily, Izzy is able to commandeer some ketchup from the concession stand at the stingray park and the guests are none the wiser. “Oh my god, hot dogs!” David exclaims upon seeing the lunch spread. This man paid tens of thousands of dollars for hot dogs.

The only thing that happens before dinner is Izzy goes to Eddie for advice on Rob, and Eddie basically tells Izzy to just ask Rob why he’s being such a dick. I, for one, don’t see that ending well, but Eddie assures us that if Rob and James don’t straighten up, he “can make their life a living hell.”

Jackie Siegel has pulled out her Queen of Versailles sash and tiaras for the whole crew, and that sash is giving me flashbacks to when she surprised her stepson with sex dolls during her Med appearance. Dinner is “Thai versus American steakhouse,” and Rachel is doing it all family style to avoid more mahi mixups. While everyone else is busy with service, James and Elizabeth are having another chat in the crew mess. James says he’s been too busy to kiss Elizabeth (well, give her “more than a hug”), which is a blatant lie because James is the horniest person on this boat. Elizabeth starts talking about afterward and “crazy decisions” and traveling somewhere, and you can tell James isn’t into it at all. Give a raise to the editor who added the “March 12” card when we cut away from Elizabeth’s travel plans!

Even I am stressed at the amount of dishes piling up in the galley, so now Elizabeth and James are coming up to help. Well, to stand around and act like they’re washing dishes while Elizabeth continues to ask James about their relationship. Elizabeth wants James to tell her what they are, and James can’t, and then James says he doesn’t usually talk about this until three months(!) into a relationship, all to Elizabeth’s dismay. But it’s not a very productive conversation, because Francesca comes in to make sure they’re working and send Elizabeth down for the night. But Elizabeth keeps trying to talk, and Francesca hears it all, so she has to come back in and break them apart like a literal parent to make sure Elizabeth can finish cleaning and get to bed. And Elizabeth has the nerve to tell her that this was “an important conversation.” During work!

Precisely three things happen the next morning: Elizabeth sets the table with one set of forks too many, Rachel serves amazing French toast, and Daniel gets in one last complaint about how hard packing is. As the Siegels leave, Jackie says this was the best vacation “ever,” and David gives Lee one fat envelope. But we soon learn that their best vacation ever was only worth an $18,000 tip, not even the highest of the season! Aren’t these people rich?

Lee then takes Francesca to the galley to talk about Elizabeth’s fate. Francesca is adamant about firing her, even if Lee’s replacement stew can’t get there in time for charter eight due to covid restrictions. And Lee isn’t stopping her, now that he’s seen a bit more of Elizabeth’s work ethic too. So they call Elizabeth in and Francesca gives her the news, to which she reacts with a series of increasingly shocked, almost fake expressions. Like this:

Francesca: Um, I think every charter I’ve really had to work, and I’m continually putting energy …
Elizabeth: [tilts head]
Francesca: … and checking up on you. And we’ve had numerous chats about this, but sleeping in the guest cabin was sort of like, you know, the final straw for me.
Elizabeth: [puts hand to chest] [gasps] [clutches necklace] Um …
Francesca: We’ve come to, sort of, a decision.
Elizabeth: [shakes head once]
Francesca: We’re going to have to let you go.
Elizabeth: [shocked, looking around] What?!

And we’re left with that bit of perfect theater! The crew is going into this finale without knowing it’ll be the finale, since by the way everyone is talking about it, they’re planning on an eighth (and ninth) charter. I’m already dreading the finale episode, though, for all the loose ends it’s going to leave. Not James telling Elizabeth he doesn’t want a relationship, because Elizabeth’s firing is probably going to be his out there, but Izzy’s ongoing issues with Rob and Rachel’s with Francesca. I guess they’ll just end? It’s going to be hard for this show to convince us this crew got a proper ending next episode, but then again, I guess covid did that for a lot of things in our lives 11 months ago. Art (about life) imitates life.


• Some political insights on the coronavirus from our Trump supporting Queen of Versailles: “I think it’s the Democrats blowing it out of proportion to mess up the election for Trump.”

• On the drive to the stingrays, Daniel says, “Dad, you could buy Sea World if you want, why do we have to spend two hours in a car?” Do people actually talk like this?!

• Eddie thinks Elizabeth would name her kid something like “Crystal Goodvibes,” and that kid would have a high chance of becoming a stripper.

• As the Siegels leave, Daniel asks his dad if they can hire Elizabeth to replace their flight attendant. I’m sure Francesca and Lee would’ve happily let her leave with them!

Below Deck Recap: Why Can’t We Be Friends?