Welcome back to Below Deck, where we are not disengaging, at least if our name is Jake. After last week left us on the cliffhanger that Jake, who’s shown his ass to the whole crew, let multiple people touch it, and kissed multiple crew members (at once!), is engaged, we don’t return to that night after he drunkenly dropped that bomb. Instead, it’s the next morning, and like me, the crew members are doing some recapping. Eddie is telling Fraser about the fallout with his girlfriend over Heather, Heather is telling Rachel how hungover she is, and Rayna is telling Jess, of course, that Jake is engaged. Heather really is hungover, too — she comes to her team meeting in sunglasses and tells her crew to “pray for no puking.” Fraser is just happy to see a “naughty little bitch” like her finally loosening up.
Over on deck, Rayna gets us some answers about Jake. He’s non-monogamous for starts, but that’s not the surprise here. It’s that Paris, Jake’s fiancée, is a friend who needs a British passport and one who he describes as “not my girlfriend.” “We’re nowhere near ready for marriage,” he says in a confessional. Let’s cross our fingers that British immigration authorities aren’t watching! Jake adds that his not-girlfriend “understands what I’m like, and she knows I’m gonna be doing all of this crazy shit.” Rayna still doesn’t, though, and wonders why Jake wouldn’t tell her about this before they made out. I might guess it’s because she wouldn’t have made out with him if she knew!
Speaking of marriage, Rachel tells Fraser in the galley she thought she and Vincenzo were going to get married before they had some sort of a falling out. “I’m happier now that I’m by myself,” she says in a confessional. “Like, when I was with him, I put his needs and everything else before mine.” Eddie is telling the deck crew about his relationship, too — namely, that his girlfriend is “batshit.” He adds in a confessional that they’re still trying to build trust in their new relationship. “So, this is how my life is gonna be. Okay,” he says uncertainly. Poor Eddie’s girlfriend, if she’s watching this. The whole crew, too, is talking about Wes and Jess, who I’ve decided need to become a couple because of their rhyming names. Wes tells Rayna he doesn’t “do that on boats” but would fuck Jess; Eddie, Fraser, and Heather gossip about the budding relationship’s chances in the crew mess; Rayna declares, to no one, “Jess needs some dick.”
Rayna’s not the only one worried about Jess. Fraser has noticed that she’s “pure misery,” as he tells Heather, after setting up cabins with Jess earlier in the day. So Heather pulls Jess aside at the end of the day to see what’s up. Jess says she’s doing okay and lets Heather know that her grandmother had a medical procedure done earlier in the day, which has her a bit shaken up. The conversation doesn’t throw Jess off after she said she wanted to go through the day normally and not let the news affect her work, and that’s all enough for Heather.
The next morning, Jess puts on a smile and chooses to be happy and not “a miserable shit.” She’s positively amped when talking to Heather in the laundry room, hoping to quell all of her boss’s doubts about her work. And it seems to work! At least she’s starting the morning better than her fellow stew Fraser, who’s lost his radio — a horrific prospect on one of Captain Lee’s boats.
What a charter we are in for! The primary guests are, improbably, friends: Jeremy, who looks to be a normal middle-aged guy, and Ronnie, who’s turning 75 and has “been tan since the ’60s,” along with their families. And those families, by the way, include Ronnie’s wife, Jodi, who is bad at hiding her crush on Captain Lee, and Jeremy’s son Alexander, who arrives with the tip money handcuffed to his arm and describes himself as “the mini primary.” “This is not the group that you would think you’d see together,” Lee observes. After a bit of worry, Captain Lee clears the tight dock, and charter No. 3 is off.
The guests enjoy their chicken Cobb salad for lunch, and more importantly, the children enjoy their chicken tenders with fries. (One of the best parts of a charter with kids onboard: seeing how the chef fares making food for them!) Otherwise, the most notable development of the afternoon is that Fraser, after multiple frazzled hours, finally finds his radio in a storage compartment underneath the laundry room that I didn’t even know existed.
The guests’ casino night (another one of those things I don’t understand why so many people want on a boat) goes off without a hitch, and then it’s time for dinner: a five-course Italian meal from the expert herself, Rachel. It’s one of my favorite meals I’ve seen from Rachel, from the tomato bisque to the quattro funghi pasta (homemade, of course!) to the dessert trio of panna cotta, tiramisu, and macarons. The guests love it as well, heaping praise on Rachel nearly every course. “You’re a freak of nature!” Jodi tells her. “My mother told me I broke her uterus,” Rachel replies, in perfect form. But Jodi still has her eyes on Captain Lee above anyone else, making him uncomfortable with her flirting during dinner and even trying to follow him into his room after.
Among the crew, Jess has become hot gossip. Heather is mad that she didn’t finish while cleaning cabins and that she tried to explain it away by blaming the guests; she relays this to Fraser, who’s become a bit of a confidant since their rough start. Fraser later tells Jake and Eddie, on a smoke break, that Jess is “like the weather,” after Eddie says it’s a matter of time before someone on the crew becomes an issue.
What an apt bit of foreshadowing, because after a relaxed night, the next morning is all about the weather. Specifically, the wind that has been plaguing the deck crew so far this charter. Throughout this episode, Jake has continued to butt heads with the deck crew — but at the same time, after he took Eddie’s advice and taught Rayna how to drop anchor, it did seem like things were getting better. Then, this morning, some cushions fall overboard as the boat is leaving the anchorage. Chief officer Jon is able to get them with the tender, but Captain Lee is pissed and has no problem relaying that to Eddie. He doesn’t buy that the deck team needed more time to secure the furniture, so now Eddie is mad that his team is making him look bad. “The hammer needs to drop,” Lee says, “and it’s up to Eddie to make that happen.” The last we see of this episode, Eddie is doing just that, laying into his crew with a level of anger we’ve rarely, if ever, seen from him. But, spoiler: It doesn’t work, because the whole freakin’ floating platform goes flying off the boat next episode!
• My compliments to the (newly Emmy-nominated!) editors for two amazingly juxtaposed moments in this episode: (1) cutting from Rayna saying “Jess needs some dick” to Jess yelling “Fuck me!” in the laundry room, and (2) cutting from Stacie, Jeremy’s wife, saying that all of Rachel’s food “is just made with love and passion” to Rachel saying “suck my fucking clit!” while plating pasta.
• Fraser tells Jake he came out to his mum … after they heard a news story on the radio about someone murdering and eating people (?), and she said she’d still love him if he ate people (?!?). Sweet, I guess.
• Fraser also used to be a nanny, so he gets stuck looking after Jeremy’s children for a bit. “But to be honest, I don’t like kids,” he says. “The way they eat, the sounds. They’re just a bit gross.”
• The next time Eddie’s girlfriend calls, his immediate answer is, “Hey, I’m sorry about last night, sweetie.”
• Rachel has the most Rachel story about how she got into cooking, which she recounts to Wes: “I was actually about 18, ’cause I ran my mouth as a bartender, and the boys in the kitchen were like, ‘Hey, smart ass, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?’ And I said, ‘Fucking watch me.’ And that was it.”
• Rachel to Heather, as she’s about to shower: “I don’t care if you come in, but you’re gonna be scarred for life. ‘I saw Rachel’s bits and snagglepuss!’”
• Maybe we need a recurring Captain Lee–ism of the week? This episode’s, about the deck crew: “These guys could fuck up a two-car funeral.”
• I’m preemptively ready to give next week’s episode five stars based on it featuring: (1) Jake flirting with Heather, (2) Jake and Fraser going skinny-dipping (!), and (3) Jake and Fraser making out in the back of a crew van (!!!).