Like Captain Lee is going to find a chef in the middle of high season in Antigua! No, I don’t actually know what finding a chef in the middle of high season in Antigua entails, but I’m trusting Lee on this one, and if he’s not confident, I’m not either. The crew is gossipping about their replacement chef (never mind a replacement deckhand, too!) and James is joking that if worse comes to worst, he’ll just make beans on toast. Needless to say, it’s quite a predicament to be in three hours before a charter.
Who’s that walking toward the My Seanna? Is it Ben Robinson here to save us? Nope, it’s our new deckhand Rob, who just happens to look like Ben with sunglasses on. And once he takes those sunglasses off, let me tell you: Rob is a cutie! Francesca, a woman of taste, sees it too. Eddie, on the other hand, is just excited to have someone with experience, since Rob has worked on some sailboats.
Okay, okay, now who’s that walking toward the My Seanna? None other than Rachel, back just 12 hours after her big exit. You should have heard how loudly I gasped, even if I did have a feeling she’d come back. Rachel blames her blowup on missing her boyfriend and “not knowing the severity of coronavirus,” and girl — if you’re worried about coronavirus, you don’t want to be gallivanting around the Caribbean, cycling through a new group of guests every few days! Just you wait! She goes up to the bridge to beg Captain Lee for her job back, and I cannot express how disappointed I am that Lee doesn’t take his sunglasses off so we can see his reaction. As mad as Lee is at Rachel, he makes it pretty clear to her and us that this really is his only option — so she’s back, with a lot to prove. Plus, to drive home the point that Chefs Are Just Moody Like This, we get some great throwbacks from Leon and Ben.
Francesca and Eddie tell us in their confessionals that while they’re happy to have a chef, they’re also mad at Rachel for leaving in the first place. Eddie goes as far as saying Rachel didn’t deserve to get her job back, which: Where would you have found a chef hours before charter? Sure, Rachel may have taken it a bit too far in actually leaving for the night and throwing the crew into temporary disarray, but also, of course she came back! And doesn’t it count for anything that she realized she was wrong and came back at all, rather than leaving the crew high and dry?
Anyway, back to business: Let’s talk more about Rob. He’s a Canadian exploration geologist, which means when he’s not on boats, he searches for gold. But in like, a cute nerdy way, I tell myself, off very little evidence, not a nerdy nerdy way. “I come from a long line of pirates and hookers, and it was what I was meant to be,” he tells us (referring to the pirate part, of course). I, for one, cannot take my eyes off him when he’s on screen.
Elton John and the Charter from Hell have arrived, ready for their tasting menus and lobsters and tea parties and unicorn floats. And it’s already looking like an uphill battle based on how much Elton John (okay, his name is Bryan) has to say about every little thing that happens on this damn boat! Plus, he has that godawful “I’m the Primary” shirt. At least we get a good departure from the dock, thanks in part to new boy Rob, who indeed knows his shit. [Swoon]
Okay, I take back what I said about these guests, because they are so easily impressed by the service and Rachel’s lunch of scallops, prawns, and truffle pasta. But Rachel can’t even revel in her win, because she has to move right on to prepping the guests’ eight-course Mardi Gras-themed dinner. She’s “not a fan” of Mardi Gras — in her words, “I’m not showing my tits.” (Just think of the commentary we would’ve lost if she left for good!)
I, on the other hand, am not a fan of this Mardi Gras party, which is tacky as hell. That’s not just thanks to Francesca’s Party City chic, but the guests’ gaudy outfits, which toe the line between knockoff Studio 54 and trippy children’s movie. But hey, if you’re going to pay the charter fee, I guess you get to play dress-up on the yacht. Rachel’s food, however, is decidedly not tacky. She serves, in rapid succession, oysters, a gazpacho, tomato concasse (whatever that is!), smoked sausage (served with smoke inside a jar!), steak, gumbo and succotash, crawdads, and king cake. The guests love every single bit of it, and if you don’t believe me, just watch the looks on Bryan’s face. Lucky for Rachel, Lee hears Francesca telling her how the guests loved the meal over the radio. “Good,” he says.
As Elizabeth and Izzy are cleaning up the deck, Elizabeth starts talking about how she can’t please Francesca, only for Francesca to walk in, again. Francesca doesn’t hear as much of it this time, but still, it’s not exactly the best thing to be happening for Elizabeth right now! Neither is forgetting to take some of the party decorations down after staying up till 1:45 a.m. to clean. (To be fair, though, there was a lot of confetti.) Now, while Francesca has every right to be mad about the decorations being up, I don’t get why she’s mad about Elizabeth staying up to clean. She had work to do! Maybe she should’ve stayed up longer to finish the job! Elizabeth, meanwhile, adds this to her list of Reasons Why Francesca Is the Worst Chief Stew Ever.
Rachel has made French toast for breakfast, and even sent some to Captain Lee, who says it could be the best he’s ever had. Go Rachel! But Lee can’t enjoy his French toast for too long, because Eddie and his deck crew have put up the slide partially backward, or something like that. So Eddie has to jump (well, fall) down onto the slide to fix something, and before we know it, Captain Lee has swung over to the other side of the railing too to help. “I got this, Jesus Christ,” he says to a protesting Eddie. But Lee survives and the slide gets fixed, so what more could we really want, right?
The guests want a low country boil for lunch, so Rachel makes the most seafood you’ve ever seen served to six people, and the guests love it yet again. I don’t want to speak too soon, but Rachel’s performance so far this charter has been simply flawless. At this point, I’m sure Captain Lee doesn’t know why he ever didn’t want her to come back. She has even made rose marshmallows for s’mores during the guests’ evening beach picnic. Homemade rose-flavored marshmallows!
That bonfire beach picnic is going just as smoothly until Elizabeth realizes she didn’t bring enough rosé champagne, the only thing these men appear to drink. Thankfully, she’s able to stall and Eddie is able to jet back to the boat, but Francesca is not pleased to be standing on the dock, holding a bag full of three wine bottles for her stew who should’ve thought about that. She’s also not pleased to hear that Ashling changed the bedding in all the suites, at Elizabeth’s request, after Francesca told Elizabeth that only the primary had requested new sheets.
So when they get a break in their work, Francesca and Ashling decide to go down the slide (with Lee’s approval), and they’ve earned it! But Elizabeth hears this over the radio and finds a way to feel bent out of shape about it, like it signifies that Francesca is playing favorites with Ashling and not that, you know, Ashling is on the boat with her right now and Elizabeth is not. As Eddie quells Elizabeth’s worries by telling her how Captain Lee said he wanted her to make it through the season, Francesca is back in the bridge, listing off Elizabeth’s latest offenses for Lee and begging for a new stew. Lee honestly seems a bit over it all at this point, and definitely not eager to replace yet another crew member, so he tells Francesca to try to work with Elizabeth some more. If nothing else, it’s surely going to make for more good TV, right?
• Having new people join the crew has been fun this season because they tend to know a bit more about how the pandemic is going. “They said that the outbreak is going to be bad in the U.S.,” Eddie says to Rob while they’re discussing COVID, before launching into a not bad Trump impression.
• Here’s lesbian icon Izzy after tasting some of Rachel’s food from the Mardi Gras dinner: “That girl is so good with her hands in the kitchen — like, if she was a lesbian, I’d be wanting some of that! Down there. She’s good with these [moves fingers].”
• By the time Rob tries to flirt with Francesca as she’s setting a table, I have officially melted into a puddle. “My specialty is usually epithermal gold systems, so when it comes to flirting with girls, I am hopeless,” he says. Aw!
• When Elizabeth tells her New York lawyer father about her problems with her chief stew, he has the most New York lawyer response: “Tell chief stew I like beef stew!”