Hi! Nothing like leaving things until the very last minute, Below Deck is back tonight and we're gonna try a back to back! Rolling into my recap of Below Deck S8:E15 Don't Cry For Me Antigua after the break!
We're back on charter with some of my favourite guests; the Queen of Versailles herself: Jackie Siegel and husband David Siegel. There are a boatload of offspring aship, including a couple of teenagers determined to get loaded and shyly flirt with steward Ashling Lorger.
One of these kids takes offense to Ashling and deckhand James Hough refusing to serve his drunken arse any more booze OR let him get in the hot tub while schwasted and I find myself on the fence. They absolutely should have cut him off, he was showing all the signs of being well past intoxicated BUT. They have served adults in that condition, every charter. Dolores, anyone?
You remember Delores.
Ashling's worried she's messed up the tip for everyone with her buzzkill ways, but they were putting their own safety at risk, trying to swim at night and getting on the tender in the dark. Deloooooorrreeessssssss.
It'll be interesting to be see how indulgent the Sielgels are and if there will be any blowback in the morning for Ashling's cutting off their kiddos at the bar.
James likes Ashling's assertiveness! Even though he's been messing about with other steward Elizabeth Frankini, he tells Ashling she turned him on, she's adorable! She runs.
The staff is up nice and early the next morning, which is March 12, 2020, aka Pandemic Eve. Do you remember where you were / how you realised that COVID-19 was going to be an actual life-changing circumstance, not just another excuse to show Chinese people in masks on TV? For me it was March 13, when I got Dwight the pug and school shut down. The first inkling was when the NBA shut its doors; I remember messaging friends about it: we knew it was serious when millions of dollars didn't matter to billionaires all of a sudden.
ANYWAY, on My Seanna we've got a full charter to go, almost, let's get chef Rachel Hargrove focused on that beach picnic!
Remember beach picnics?
Bosun Eddie Lucas stumbles out of bed the same time as Primary Jackie, who is doing stretches on deck. I love early riser guests, you can get drunk on land; get up and look at the ocean, people!
Chief steward Francesca Rubi absolutely loathes one half of her staff. Elizabeth is just trying to stay out of the line of fire. It's not that Francesca is wrong, exactly, Elizabeth doesn't do everything she's supposed to or listen very well, but she is trying her hardest and the season is almost over. Just let it beeeeee, Fran. But no.
Elizabeth finds an ally, finally, in chef Rachel, who has jumped sides because of a run-in the previous day over a lunch order that left Primary Jackie carefully staring at air for a solid 25 minutes. It was absolutely Rachel's mistake, but was just a miscommunication which could have been avoided had Francesca known how to communicate.
Captain Lee Rosbach has been reading the news back home, there are almost a thousand cases of COVID-19 in the US at this point and 29 deaths. Thankfully, there hasn't been one case on the island yet, but we were all watching at that point, weren't we? Will Captain Lee's offhand comment "I don't think we're going to get stuck here" turn out to be as prophetic as it sounds?
Deckhand Rob FromCanada has been entertaining Primary Jackie while she does yoga, in between lipping off to his newly appointment manager Isabelle 'Izzy' Wouters. I have no idea what his problem is, but we've perfected that art of passive aggressive fighting here in Canada and Izzy is reaping allllll those rewards.
It's an awkward crew mess meeting between Elizabeth and James. He made a point of doing as little as possible on her birthday, including not saying happy birthday or giving her a kiss, which he gave her on every previous day he could.
James is a rhymes-with-smick.
He just didn't want any pressure, know what I mean? But if you can't say happy birthday: get bent. Please.
He doesn't tell her he's not interested in anything, remember how they were talking about getting married lo two days ago? She's smart, she'll figure it out!
Yes and as she's figuring it out and you decide you want to sneak one more eggplant parm into the loop, you'll just tell her she's overthinking things, right? Then go back to letting her figure it out.
I don't hate men, in fact, I'm a big big fan, but I hate THAT.
One of the teenagers from last night was much more lucid than Ashling gave him credit for, he remembers being lied to about the hot tub not being ready for use and who told him that. Francesca listens with dread, feeling the tip sliding away between her fingers and apologizes profusely.
Ashling is confidently explaining the night to Elizabeth in the crew mess; she's sure the boys were in a blackout. I mean, they should have been after half a bottle of Hennessey, but he's got great recall and the tip is shrinking by the word.
I'm just waiting to see how Francesca makes this Elizabeth's fault, even though she was off shift and in bed.
Francesca gets the rest of the story from Ashling, about Daniel jumping into the tender and trying to go swimming while extremely intoxicated, she relaxes slightly. It's a safety issue, the parents might actually side with them!
Rob and James set up the hated water slide as the rest of the guests make their way on deck for breakfast. Francesca and Ashling serve as Elizabeth cleans cabins and everyone packs for the picnic. Rachel's already mentioned the cooler bags twice and I'm already annoyed. Someone's going to have to hold my hand through this next 35 minutes.
I can't tell who's talking, but someone at the breakfast table says this about COVID: "I think it's the Democrats trying to mess up the next election for Trump."
By this time, there were already thousands of deaths in China and Italy. I would like to think of the Democrats as some kind of elite ninja strike force that could kill people in far away countries at will to juje up their chances at winning an election but that statement probably has a lot more to do with a very specific brand of American solipsism.
The guests literally finish one meal and get in a small boat to get to the next one. Where was this planning when those poor hungry kids from four charters ago were looking for Cheetos in the sofa, they were so hungry?
I don't think these guests even want to go to Stingray Island, everyone keeps complaining about how long it's going to take and how far away they are from beer.
It's just James, Elizabeth and Captain Lee on the superyacht now, she stumbles through some flirting but James has lost all interest. He's not only got a short attention span, he's also a coward so decides to just not say anything, at all, until he can run away.
Captain Lee spots a galley full of dirty dishes as Elizabeth gets caught up on laundry, he can't believe it. Is that really so bad? If she didn't do the laundry, you'd complain about that, right? Elizabeth is never going to win with this management crew that's decided she's useless. And mocking her.
Elizabeth washes the dishes as directed by Captain Lee then tentatively asks him if she can go down the slide on her break. He says she can if she gets her stuff done...but she still for sure gets a break so I don't know what the point of that was.
The guests finally make it to Stingray Island as Elizabeth heads down the slide, woooo! The stingrays are beautiful, but I can't not think of Steve Irwin, don't swim over top of them!! I think it's Primary Jackie who says she heard stingrays are softer than a vagina and...who first thought of checking that out?
Rachel and crew are hard at work getting food prepared for when the guests get back, there's an inflated Versace lounger to be blown up!
There's an argument about condiments: I shit you not. For real, the guests want things like hot dogs so Rachel reminded Francesca to bring some and Fran forgot, then tried to blame it on Rachel. ROLL TAPE.
Izzy goes and borrows some, crisis averted, right? Wrong. They're gonna drag this out for the rest of this whole episode.
It does end well, though, the guests are full and ocean-logged and ready to relax back on My Seanna. Izzy takes Eddie aside after, just as Rob did earlier to complain that she was micromanaging him. She needs direction on how to handle Rob's behaviour and allow me to share my insight into the typical Canadian progressive dude.
- For sure he doesn't think he's doing anything wrong, he's just doing the work equivalent of telling her to "calm down"
- For sure he doesn't think it has anything to do with Izzy being a woman
- For sure he doesn't think he has any issue with having a woman for a boss
- If she'd just calm down, everything would be fine
I almost miss the exaggerated nature of how sexism/misogyny plays out in other countries coughUSAcough, because you can see it! It's right there! When someone calls you a little lady and suggests you may be too emotional to look at things clearly, you don't even have to get out a magnifying glass to spot that type of bias. Most men I know aren't even aware that their perspectives are slightly askew, ten Canadian Tire dollars says Rob isn't either.
Eddie tells Izzy to talk to Rob once again, if he doesn't shape up Eddie will take care of it. After all, disrespecting Izzy is disrespecting him, so
The guests invite Captain Lee to supper, I hope it's less emotionally exhausting than it was the last time they dined together. Dayyyyumm the Queen of Versailles went all out!
I love that she goes around and gives all the ladies crowns so they can be princesses. Lots of people like to be the only sparklers, she's a light.
Elizabeth is down in the dark, in the crew mess with James trying to get some cuddles. When that fails, she asks how he's feeling and good for her! He asks her if she believes in long distance relationships, she counters with: "how do you feel about crazy decisions?"
His face tells us he feels this:
Whatever he says, ALERT ALERT ALERT is written allllllll over himself.
Her schedule is pretty open for the next year, she tells him over and over and over, one time in front of Ashling. When she says he hopes he's not hiding from her.
Ah Elizabeth. You insisting on James marrying you was only cute and funny BEFORE he broke off a piece. Now it's crazy and desperate.
There are one million dishes for washing, thankfully every single crew member not seated is crammed into the Stew Pantry instead of the galley where most of the dishes are just sitting and getting crusty.
Elizabeth slowly, slowly dries a wineglass while pushing James once more for a solid declaration: does he think he can tell her what they are? They are Uncomfortable and Ruing The Day, that's what they are.
Francesca interrupts to tell Elizabeth to go to bed, which really only slows down her wineglass drying. Francesca stands outside the stew pantry and listens for a minute, then barges back in and yells at Elizabeth to go to bed. Jaaaaysus. They're not unruly toddlers, Francesca! They're adults, one doesn't even work for you!
A very chill evening ends with no more drama, everyone goes the bed early. When Francesca gets up and finds that Elizabeth has set the table beautifully, she complains that she didn't do that right either. Too much silverware.
That's right: too.much.silverware. I do see that Francesca is legitimately frustrated, though. She has set up a plan for things, Elizabeth doesn't do them right but still expects praise while others fix it properly.
That's it, it's the last day of my favourite primary this year. I will miss you, Queen of Versailles!
A smooth ride to Five Harbors and a successful docking later, we're saying goodbye to our midwestern gang of lovely rich people. Primary Jackie says this was the best vacation she ever had with her husband, awwww! I think the trip on Below Deck Mediterranean was a girl's trip, so she diplomatically sidestepped a comparison. I hope her husband treats her well. What's in the envelope, Primary David??
I will guess $25,000 because I think everyone but the two boys were ecstatic.
Oh. $18,000. $1,500 each. Well. It's not...bad.
Captain Lee wants Francesca and Rachel to work on their communication; he'll also be communicating with Francesca alone on the bridge just shortly. I wonder if that means Elizabeth's replacement has arrived or if Captain Lee has decided to let Francesca work shorthanded. Francesca almost skips to the bridge, whispering "Last day for you, Elizabeth" under her breath.
Izzy cleans the deck by herself; the other two deckhands are deliberately ignoring her radio calls and playing a breath-holding game.
Captain Lee tells Francesca that he has a replacement, but with COVID, he can't guarantee they'll make it in time. Can Francesca live with that? She can and she WILL, damnit! She's been trying to fire Elizabeth this entire time and she will not be dissuaded.
Captain Lee calls Elizabeth up to the bridge and without much further ado: Elizabeth is let go. That's where we leave it BUT. Next week (okay, airing tonight) is the season finale, which means that COVID finally landed and we did not get two more charters out of this season of Below Deck. Let's find out what's really going down next time, for the last time this year. Cheers, y'all. Stay safe.