And we're back! Just in time for another episode of Below Deck where we find out if our lovely crew has caught the 'Rona. It feels like watching a trainwreck in reverse, we know what's going to happen but we can't stop a single thing from happening. Rolling into my recap of Below Deck S8:E12 Blue Skies and UTIs after the break.
We have more urgent concerns than COVID-19 right now on March 4, 2020 on Below Deck. We've got chef Rachel Hargrove drunk and determined to embarrass the entire crew of My Seanna during their beachside resort day. She talked her way onto the stage, she's got the microphone but chief steward Francesca Rubi has moved to block.
Who knows, Rachel could be an excellent singer and we may be missing out on the show of a lifetime, but given I'm pretty sure she remembers slightly less than her name: I'm willing to roll the dice.
Get off the stage, Hargrove, you're drunk!
Five minutes after Francesca drags Rachel off the stage, our chef is passed out and the rest of the crew is at play. Deckhand James Hough has been flirting with steward Elizabeth Frankini, they have been all over each other in a familiar way. Does anyone remember Rob and Jess from Below Deck Med?
Because Elizabeth just suggested that James propose to her.
It would be the "culmination" of her life if you did that, James!
Is...there some kind of reality show bingo where people are constantly trying to up the stakes of what they do on camera? Just because Rob and Jess dropped the L word after two weeks, it's no need to go running off to the altar after one snog and 17 minutes in heaven.
She pushes it to the next level during supper, getting angry with James for joking about the marriage she's decided they're having. Rachel calls JAMES a douche, missing Psycho Von ElizabethPants's mooning on about getting married.
Oh no. Oh no. We're suddenly at Social Nuclear Stage 6 without even a blip by Embarrassing Drunk Crew. Rachel complains to Elizabeth, she's mad Elizabeth is f*****g James because he's a "piece of shit." James is approximately 2 and a half feet away, he asks that Rachel please not talk about him but Rachel does whatever she wants when she's drinking, which is...whenever she's not cooking.
I would take Canadian chef Mark and his boring food any second now, thanks.
James is understandably upset, but with Elizabeth too. Why didn't she have his back and support him? I mean, especially since they're affianced, as far as she's concerned.
Rachel is literally flipping James the bird as he walks up to the cabstand to head home, Elizabeth can't believe he won't ride home with her and...Rachel.
I don't think I'm intoxicated enough to understand any single one of these life choices.
The next day is going to be busy, good thing Rachel is hung to the nuts! I had wondered if she was in a blackout, seems she doesn't remember anything, so...
Back to our real problem aboard: deckhand Isabelle 'Izzy' Wouters has been plagued by a mysterious array of symptoms: sore throat, fever, extreme tiredness and a couple of other things. Even though her boss bosun Eddie Lucas knows about COVID-19, nobody was on the lookout for it beyond travel and China yet.
Captain Lee Rosbach took the step of isolating Izzy from the rest of the crew and putting her in a guest room for a night, but then she went to the beach party with everyone so she feels super tired again. I'm quite concerned as Izzy has an immune disorder, that's especially bad if it is COVID.
Eddie finally talks Izzy into seeing a doctor and she's off. Elizabeth hears how pissed James was at her not defending him; she tries to mend fences but his guard is back up.
(I have no idea how her insistence on marrying him after one snog wasn't a red flag but here we are.)
Rachel gets back from provisioning on her own, radioing for assistance and receiving exactly zero response from the crew. Captain Lee haaaaaates it when anyone doesn't answer the radio, he calls Eddie to answer, then calls Eddie and Francesca up to the bridge for a chat.
What's going on? Oh nothing, just one of the key personnel on board becomes extremely irritating while under the influence, sure, lets everyone BUT Rachel learn how to deal with it. With COVID, Captain Lee knows his chances of finding anyone else are extremely slim, he wants to once again stick with the devil he knows.
James comes into the crew mess where steward Ashling Lorger and Elizabeth are hanging out; he winks and blows a kiss at ASHLING.
Everyone is confused.
Izzy's back from the doctor, but we're on our way to the best part of the show: the Pre-Charter Preference Sheet Meeting so we can't talk now! Okay, we'll make time, turns out Izzy has a double kidney infection, a UTI and strep throat but NOT COVID!
That's another fun thing about COVID, every single ache and pain has to be COVID, right? Especially once they opened up the symptoms list to include things like tiredness and headaches, I mean. I will say that they did a skillful job of storying us along as far as her symptoms matching the main COVID signifiers. I'm glad it's not that (if it's for sure not that) particularly because she is immune-compromised.
On to the Preference Sheet Meeting! Who're our guests this week Captain Lee?? Chris and Erika Heule from Friendswood, TX. Is that a place or a state of mind? I guess two things can be true. They will be joined by their son Sam and his wife Lindsay Raspberry. Awwwww but mostly we have a teacup Yorkie named Gigi! So CUTE!
Captain Lee is in a pensive mood after the meeting. He invites Francesca to join him for a glass of wine on the bridge. What they've been saying about Rachel is hitting close to home for him. His youngest son died a year ago from an opioid overdose. Ah it's difficult to watch him struggle to deal with this reality, he found his son and if he'd just gone over earlier...I wish we could save people.
Onward to guest arrival, which is just slightly after Ashling comes down with a dodgy tummy.
Lookit the puppy!!
I like all animals, truly, even ones that don't like me, but I have a special place in my heart for dogs and cats. Gigi even has her own little square of AstroTurf for a bathroom.
I didn't catch guest Justin's last name but he's already decided he must have Ashling for his own. At least I think he meant Ashling, he didn't get her name, just the accent. It could be her fellow Aus Francesca!
James and deckhand Rob clean up on deck, they're great pals. James walks behind Rob carrying most of the weight of a shared rope saying supportive things like "you can really take a load."
Rachel's also got a bad tummy, she and Ashling both go for a nap while Francesca tries not to panic. She would be full on once she realised that Elizabeth is feeling like she has a UTI.
Ahhh it is Ashling that Justin likes and she likes him back! If only they weren't separated by the immutable Maritime Law of Thou Shalt Not Shag Charter Guests. It's like Romeo and Juliet with more trucker hats, really.
The guests have a great time on the water. Justin acquits himself well and many adult beverages are consumed in the Antigua sun. Dinner is going to be western-themed, somehow this means surf and turf, not TexMex or barbecue, but what do I know? I'm Canadian.
Rachel is mostly focused on keeping her insides from becoming outsides.
The guests love the supper, they're super chill even with Captain Lee joining them. They go to bed right away after not much talk, how different is this than the last set of charter guests (DELORES)?
Wooooowwww I have to say, Francesca has a bad opinion of Elizabeth and nothing is going to dissuade her from it. When she gets Elizabeth's 4 am text that she's struggling with a UTI, she accuses her of taking advantage of everyone else being sick. I mean. She accepted what everyone else said at face value, why not Elizabeth?
When pressed, Elizabeth asks for antibiotics, so Francesca asks Captain Lee to get a doctor on board.
I love that Primary Erika is up very early with Gigi, I am also a morning person and I hate it when guests waste time on their luxury vacation. You can sleep and drink later! Soak up that Antigua!
Ahhhh James has completely withdrawn after he felt that lack of support from Elizabeth. He's giving her the cold shoulder AND talking about hitting on women on Instagram in front of her. It's very immature and disrespectful, Elizabeth is upset as well she should be. This is why you shouldn't have proposed, Liz, you can't househusband a fkboi.
That's where we leave it for tonight, sorry that took so long to get out! It's been...a year so far. Cheers, everyone! Until next time.