Hey!! Did you know Below Deck was back already??? Me either! I'll stop over-punctuating and get right to it, I heard a rumour that my (now second)-favourite chef is back! Rolling into my Below Deck S8:E01 There's No Place Like Home recap after the break!
So! All kinds of new people this season on Below Deck, but let's think about who hasn't changed: Skinny Kenny Rogers, aka Captain Lee Rosbach.
I wonder if he'll be the only OG aship, now that awesome former chief steward Kate Chastain has bailed. I absolutely do not blame her, what went on during Below Deck season 7 was a toxic, abusive nightmare joke of a work environment. Kate's always been salty, but funny with it and the gang of miscreants last year pushed everything onto another level that was just not okay. At all. You imagine traveling through the night for an hour in a car packed with a violent arsehole who repeatedly punches things a foot away from you because he's drunk and angry with you. Now imagine everyone else saying it's YOUR fault and you have to work with that arsehole again and all the people who agree it's your fault.
I shall miss Kate, but I'm very happy she's out of that bullshite and into something better: her being salty for Bravo directly without having to schlepp drinks for ignorant rich people.
WAIT! Eddie is back!! You remember bosun Eddie Lucas! Last we saw him, he was banging third steward Rocky/Raquel in the laundry room to get back at his cheating girlfriend! There may have been a sombrero involved.
Wow, he hasn't aged at ALL!
Has it only been 5 years? I could count the one million things that have changed in that five years but IT'S NOT ABOUT ME.
Francesca Rubi doesn't not believe in any watermarks ever, she's our new chief steward!
Hailing from...Australia? New Zealand? Say fish and chips!
Oh. So we don't have chef Ben Robinson back, but we do have a new chef, hai Rachel Hargrove! Why...are you shaking your tatas at us?
Because she believes in a hard delineation between work and play. Okay!
Deckhand James Hough may also be into a lot of play.
Awww why do they think that? For the record, I don't hate the player OR the game. It's very entertaining to be an old and watch the youngs pretend stuff means something.
Steward Elizabeth Frankini has branded herself as "mystical" which means she's going to be our hippy-dippy this season. There's always one.
They're usually blonde, which is probably lazy typecasting. One of the smartest women I know is blonde, but she can play it up, which makes her even smarter, really. Being underestimated is a gift.
This one compares herself to Prometheus, so.
Huh. Deckhand Avery Russel has got himself a glorious head of messy hair and Steve Nash's face, look at that!
Wait. He's exactly like Steve Nash. Do we know how old his kids are? Anyone?
We've got our Aesha Scott of the season for overt jokey sexuality in Isabelle (Izzy) Wouters.
I am only using that name because we just finished Below Deck Mediterranean but there's always been that one steward that makes boobs and fart jokes. I already mentioned Rocky/Raquel.
Deckhand Shane Coopersmith thinks he's fighting surfer stereotypes with this glorious mane of curls
But he's not really shocking everyone with his "environmentalist" reveal. I could smell the organic quinoa from here.
Huuhhhhhhhhh we get a little taste of what's ahead for the season, at one point chef Rachel clearly tells Captain Lee "go f*** yourself" so I'm guessing that's immediately before we see Ben again! I wondered how COVID-19 would affect this season, this comes up as well. Without any further ado, let's get to it!
Bosun Eddie Lucas is the first to arrive in Antigua at the ship "My Seanna" where Captain Lee Rosbach awaits, it's a big boat! With a suss name. Is it *your* Seanna if you rent it out to strangers?
Eddie's been working back in Baltimore docking tugs which probably means something to someone. We don't care, we want to know about the GIRLFRIEND.
Oh wow, I lied to you just then, Captain Lee is not on My Seanna waiting for Eddie as we expected. Eddie takes us on a boat tour through lots of gleaming wood then finally calls. Our Captain, My Captain is in the hospital. He fell in the shower and broke two ribs, he may even have to have surgery.
Ahhhhhhhhh, Captain Lee, how awful! I'm sad that he seems embarrassed about the nature of his fall but I bet most of us have experienced this kind of tumble and were lucky enough to not have hurt ourselves badly.
Captain Lee directs Eddie for next steps just as chief steward Francesca Rubi arrives. Elizabeth Frankini and Avery Russell next, the gang is almost all here! James and Izzy, everyone comes in and I guess I don't have to re-list them all.
Shane is last to arrive, he settles in with the interior crew for Francesca's meeting, shouldn't he be outside with the crew? Polishing stainless or whatever they do out there? He figures out the Get Out vibe and wanders around looking for his people, he's never been on a boat larger than 150 feet. Jeebus wept.
Just in case you don't know what that means: Shane knows nothing about yachting but probably quite a lot about sailing. He should probably have applied to Below Deck Sailing Yacht instead with his just-graduated-Berkley-bum.
Of COURSE he's an environmentalist.
Speaking of hippy-dippy, we get a montage of Elizabeth doing picturesque yoga poses on beaches and complimenting her boss.
Izzy mimics sexual positions while making guest beds and is rewarded by a face full of bidet water because sometimes the universe listens to me.
James and Avery are already comparing notes on the women on the ship, James is there to work a little and party a lot.
I'd go on about the sexism involved with being happy there are "fit girls" on the boat and everything associated with their comments but then I'm watching and recapping a show where a grown woman just pretended she was having sex on camera for laughs.
Oh my bad, chef Rachel is the last to arrive, aside from Captain Lee (one hopes). She's had a shite week, her purse was stolen and if you've ever lost a wallet or purse, you know how long all of that takes and how frustrating it is. She's feeling off her game.
Provisions arrive as she's tearing apart the galley, there's not much time for set up. Throw it all together! I'm searching for signs that she would crater and I'm not seeing them. I mean, she hasn't cooked anything yet but she's been in the industry for 14 years and knows how to make things work.
Still no Captain Lee but we have a LOT of groceries. And condoms! 240 condoms! (I bet Bravo ordered those)
Captain Lee arrives as the rest of the provisions are unloaded, there is a metric tonne of food Rachel is going to have to find space for.
The good news is that Captain Lee's ribs only hurt when he moves or breathes. Whew!
Later that night Captain Lee calls everyone for a crew meeting in the Skylounge to introduce himself and lay down the law. We meet the less-camera-friendly Engineering Team who will be actually working: hai guys!
Captain Lee gets right to the rules about crew conduct, the most important being: don't embarrass me OR the boat. At least he's got his foot down after last year's disastrous in-fighting.
I mean, he always did.
Rule 2: KEEP YOUR RADIO ON.
Captain Lee pulls Francesca for a chat, I totally cringed when he presented her with a fancy mug and after she admired it: let her know that's what he wanted his morning coffee in.
Can you ever imagine Captain Sandy Yawn doing something like that? Nevair.
I guess he hasn't needed to train a chief steward for awhile, has he? He had Kate for at least 6 seasons and probably more!
After a lengthy discussion about exactly how he likes things, he hands her back his pants. They're not ironed correctly because that's a thing.
After everything's been cleaning for awhile, Captain Lee interrupts Eddie smelling.his.bed.
To come to the wheelhouse for our first pre-charter preference sheet meeting of Below Deck season 8 woooooo!!!
Seriously Eddie, what?
Who's our first Primary Charter Guest of the year? I'm glad you asked! Welcome back Charley Walters! He's been on three times but I only remember twice because I missed an entire season that one time. Like this time almost, but I was reminded when I was only three behind! Wooooooo thank you, Reminder!
Charley and his boyfriend Carlos Pantoja can be a handful, but they're always fun and apparently frequent flyers of a type. Joining our happy couple are Lexy Clark and Shenarra Goode (guessing at spelling, could only see half!), we've got vegan, we've got keto; these are PR people so of course we've got trends as lifestyles.
Rachel is overweeningly confident so I will assume she will go down in flames in 36 hours.
Everyone goes to bed late but wakes up early, slowly, groggily. Rachel is wearing a pair of camel-toe shorts that cause her to floss because okay!
I kind of like her. She's well-trained and knowledgeable. I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do. It's distracting in that she looks like a funhouse version of actress Missi Pyle.
Shane meditates on the bow while Captain Lee wonders WTF aloud and the rest of the deck crew work their collective asses off in front of him.
Captain Lee ordered his breakfast from Francesca; she assigned the task to Izzy who is taking over 20 minutes to execute even though it's literally multigrain Cheerios and coffee.
32 minutes. Cereal with bananas and a cup of coffee on the side.
James has inexplicably rolled up his shorts so they resemble baggy underwear, we don't know why but the women love it! Wooooo! He does have very muscular thighs, if you're into that sort of thing. We never do find out the scoop, but learn that he hasn't gone this long without a wank since he was 14.
30 minutes out, so we're abandoning squeeging ceilings and getting into our dress whites, woooo! Guests are heyah!!
Woooooo and we get our first boat tour of My Seanna!
Shay, one of the guests, is already all over adorable James, who probably does pretty well with the ladies, right? He's got great eyes and works out constantly, as long as he's not talking he'd be fine.
I know Captain Lee is excited to have a familiar face back leading the deck crew but Eddie...is not really a leader. He seems to be letting Avery run his guys and he's exactly as I remember: flustered and distracted 100% of the time. He leads our first de-docking of the season but he does not impress.
Izzy is the slowest stew I can remember, already the guests are bitching about not having drinks now that the de-docking is over. Francesca offers more champagne just as Izzy shows up with the espresso shots. She makes martinis and heads out to talk to the chef, already the guests are out of beverages and mad about it.
This is going to be a long three days for Francesca but I kind of need her to care more.
Primary Charley takes drink orders while a clueless Izzy practices drinks and Elizabeth unpacks everyone's shit. Next thing you know, he's behind the bar, Izzy is fetching sunscreen and Francesca is slowly, slowly pulling dishes for dinner. What the everlovin
7 star service does not have the primary charter guest behind the bar making drinks while the second stew slowllllly grabs sunscreen.
Basically, Izzy is useless / not a good fit for the Interior and if she thinks Francesca is extra AF...she's so very lucky she didn't ever work under Kate Chastain.
Everyone is super busy, but deckhand Shane has time to replace all the plastic straws with paper ones he carries with him at all times.
He's...on a superyacht. Is there anything more carbon indefensible than this? A jet?
Then he stands behind the bar slowly cutting the paper straws in half, one by one. Eddie asks him what he's doing then jets off again with a "save the turtles" because Eddie is not a good manager. The rest of the deck crew is hard at work putting out all the water toys, Shane doesn't have time for that! He's saving the planet! He's Making America (and Antigua, I guess) Green Again!
The guests LOVE the lunch that Rachel has cooked; everything about it has redeemed this charter so far. They change after lunch and head out on the water toys.
Eddie doesn't even know his days of smooth sailing are already over. Avery gets a text from his mom, his grandma is dying. He decides to leave immediately.
I'm so sorry, Avery.
The guests continue having an obnoxious good time, jet skiing around their fellow guests swimming in the water. By that I mean guests who have been pushed into the water unwillingly by other guests. Even Eddie ends up in the water and he is not happy about it.
These are people in their 30s and 40s, you guys. Lest you think this is a bunch of drunken 20 year olds.
These are also people who say things like "Tortilla chips. How original" when brought snack food after their jetski playtime.
We're out to a crazy montage of the season, which I'm wondering is of truncated duration thanks to COVID-19. I don't know if you can hate something inanimate, but I loathe the coronavirus. What a mess. So many people lost.
I'm not ending on that note, forget THAT, all the best everyone, sorry I'm so late, enjoy! Cheers!