Below Deck – Banes and Blessings

This episode was filled with both banes and blessings for me. Considering I’m a fan of balance (with occasional personality vertigo) I’m all in on this kind of episode.

The Pollyanna in me wants to start with a blessing, so first off Rachel showed some problem-solving skills that are nice to see in a chef. For breakfast after the friendship brawl the night before, she promotes a little sweetness with a Special of the Day for Francesca to push. And who can say no to French toast? Except vegans and keto dieters of course. Maybe we just didn’t see her make those dietary friendly versions of the dish, but it was nice to see her turn her omelette meltdown into a positive. I’m sure Shane would have been happy to know the brioche didn’t go to waste either, that is if he wasn’t preoccupied with predicting the weather as it falls on him.

The first bane presented itself while Captain Lee was deftly docking the ship in less than desirable conditions. I had zero doubt in his ability. He’s proven his skill repeatedly over the years, but as he put it…he was in full pucker effect. He knew what he was in for and asked for radio silence from the interior. Both Rachel and Elizabeth missed the verbal memo and that is not okay. A helpful hint from a pro-viewer and BD devotee…if the Captain is speaking and you miss it, find out what he said from someone who was paying attention. He’s a man of few words, so when he does talk…pretend like he’s E.F. Hutton and listen. When both of the ladies broke radio silence, I was more worried about Cap’s blood pressure than his ribs.

I think Captain Lee might have a swear word or two to throw in front of Jolly Harbour

Blessing number two came in the form of us not having to see Charley & Friends anymore this season. I know a lot of people seemed to lighten up on him once they saw he left a $25,000 tip. Granted, that’s an amazing tip, but it’s situations like that, in my opinion, that allow people to think that their bad behavior is okay. Money doesn’t make entitlement go away, it fuels it. We’ve seen it used in both the cases of Epstein and Weinstein, and while Charley is nowhere near as foul as them nor are his faults as egregious, it’s an all too common theme among people with means. I hope Charley was sincere when he tweeted that he saw some behaviors in himself that he needs to work on. If so, that will be another blessing.

Izzy gets her wish granted by Captain Lee and gets moved to the exterior team. From what little we’ve gotten to see so far while Eddie was giving his team lessons, she’s already miles ahead of Shane. I have a feeling it’s going to be put up or shut up time for Sunshine. There are things that Eddie and Cap are forced to let slide when they’re a person down, but that’s not the case anymore. I’m no psychic, but I’m seeing visions of a plane ticket out of Dodge if Shane doesn’t rise to the challenge.

Francesca seemed extra tense about when Izzy’s replacement would arrive, but Captain Lee assured her he wouldn’t be leaving her understaffed for long. Hannah and Jess proved it could be done with two short term, and so did Bugsy and Jess. I’ll try to be fair though and realize that BDM hadn’t aired yet when they filmed this season, and blame her lack of trust on her frazzled first charter.

Fear not, Francesca. You’re new stew is on the way!

The next charter guests are still TBD when it comes to being a bane or a blessing. The rhyming primary names are giving me bad vibes though. They’re extra rich twenty-somethings, and if they’re self-made, that’s pretty impressive. If they’re trust fund babies then it could spell out yet another train wreck charter. The funniest part of the preference sheet meeting for me came from Eddie when he got to jokingly throw in an “Okay, Boomer” to Captain Lee when he called the Gen Z-ers “Millennials.” The Z-er’s aren’t earning much favor with me by asking for sushi served off of a naked woman for the first night. Ugh.

The crew’s night out was unbelievably unremarkable and I’m not hating it. They went back to the boat by ten pm. I’ll take a nice dinner with astrology banter over a drunken bosun punching a window any day of the week and twice on Mondays. James wasn’t happy about it, but James thinks he’s on holiday and not there to do a job. Follow Eddie’s advice, young Padawan. You’ll thank him for it later.

The next morning Shane got out of the bed on the wrong foot. He was supposed to be on deck by 8am, but instead he’s brushing his teeth in front of a map and then at the sink. I’m all for dental hygeine, but we all saw him and Eddie awaken at the same time and Eddie had zero trouble getting his hustle on.

Showing off his dental hygiene skills to the whole world…or a map of it, anyway.

Izzy isn’t the only one granted a wish this episode. Francesca gets hers as Ashling arrives to cover the third stew position. She’s also an Aussie like Francesca and even after a 30 hour trip and lost baggage, she’s still bright and bubbly. She’s got a year of experience under her belt, so she’s not totally green and will hopefully be a great asset to the interior.

The guests arrive and in true Boomer (and X-er) fashion, both Captain Lee and I have the same reaction. We both own clothes older than them. For Captain Lee it’s ties, for me it’s my high school sweatshirt. In fact, these guests are all younger than my kids which suddenly makes me hunch over and start worrying about osteoporosis. The key to their hearts seem like an easy fix though. Scads of jello shots and the Wi-Fi password.

Shane proves to be about as efficient at forecasting as a weather rock. The sarcasm hill that he was offended by with Eddie is not the one I’d personally pick to die on, but to each his own. Nothing is more off-putting to me than someone who can’t be self-deprecating or take a joke. He’s not going to be ingratiating himself with Eddie or the rest of the crew with that kind of attitude. He do well to take Eddie’s advice and listen more than he talks.

Still more efficient than Shane.

Watching him flub the line throwing as they try to dock the tender after they pick up the sushi model is painful. He really seems like a fish out of water in this gig. Those visions I spoke of earlier are becoming clearer and seem on the verge of manifesting. How Eddie kept his cool is beyond any of my personal abilities. I really think he’s redeeming himself this season. Mature Eddie is much more palatable than the Rocky version.

Now we come to the biggest bane of the entire episode for me. Naked sushi. Firstly….ewww. We slough off 40,000 dead skin cells a day. That’s just nasty. Second, it’s yet another degradation of a fellow human that might even be worse than the budgie smuggler incident. James seems to have forgotten that he’s not being paid to ogle, and the whole spectacle is lost on these jello-shot infused guests.

We witnessed a mini-meltdown from Ashling when she found out she was due to be up early after she had stayed up to organize laundry. I don’t hold it against her at all though. 30 hours of travel is exhausting and she just put in a full day on top of it. Hopefully they can work it out so she can get some rest. I’m betting that Francesca having just been through the wringer herself might make her empathetic to Ashling’s plight.

After seeing the preview, it might just get worse before it gets better, but keep the faith people, it’s still early days. Hope to see you next week!

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