Below Deck: Catch 22 Crew

Somehow, despite watching twice, I missed a line from Captain Lee on last week’s episode that bears repeating. With everything going wrong for him this season, from bruised ribs and losing Avery at the very start to being left high and dry by a tantrum-throwing chef, he mused that he must have kicked Buddha’s cat in a previous life. I’m starting to believe him. The show opens with him trying to get a replacement chef late in the season and he repeatedly gets the, “Hang up and try again” lady. I hope that it’s a computer generated voice and not a real person, or people probably hate her as soon as she opens her mouth to speak. He tossed his phone in frustration because if he can’t find a chef, he’ll be forced to cancel the charter. While that would definitely put the “reality” in reality television, it’s hard to make show out of polishing rails and organizing silverware no one is going to be using.

While the crew all muses over replacement woes, the lesser problem is solved three hours before the charter is set to begin. We meet Shane’s replacement Rob, who is (so far) the perfect combination of awkward, funny, and knowledgeable enough about boats not to be a second anchor that they have to drag along behind them. His experience has been on sailing yachts…perhaps a crossover potential to BD’s sister franchise? Eddie’s just thrilled to have someone who isn’t Shane, and I can’t say that I blame him.

A little less than two and a half hours before the charter guests arrive, guess who saunters back up the gangplank? No need to guess, really, if you listened to the podcast. Rachel is back and appearing awfully smiley and confident for someone who should have her tail between her legs like any pup worth its salt who shredded a couch or crapped indoors on a Persian rug. She did mention on her way to the bridge that it was up to the Captain if she returned or not, but this had all of the vibes of a detente that was reached off camera and is now being filmed for our viewing pleasure with half of the emotion and drama that actually occurred.

How can you not love a quote like, “I come from a long line of pirates and hookers.”

On the bridge, Rachel did the formalities of an apology while Captain Lee stared through his blue-mirrored sunglasses and said very little. He agreed to let her back aboard while admitting in a confessional that a part of him wished he could have left her swinging in the wind. We were then subjected to a montage of chef fits from charters past, but last I checked only Ben has ever made a return appearance. Leon has been banished to the Isle of Beef Cheeks, and Ben never walked off and left them hanging. Cap is stuck between a rock and a rock though. The Catch 22 of needing a chef and the only available one being the one that just told you to have carnal relations with yourself. I wasn’t happy about it, but I understood it. There’s no denying she makes great food. Better that guests’ stomachs be filled than the owner’s bank account emptied by way of refund checks. Plus no guests would mean no tip, which hurts the rest of the crew too.

While Rachel tries to quickly pull together a menu, Francesca fills in the interior on what the guests are expecting. After going through the list of planned meals she excused Ashling and had yet another one-on-one with Elizabeth. While it underscores Francesca’s point about her expectations versus what Elizabeth delivers, I really need production to stop filming these. Elizabeth clearly isn’t listening, and I no longer want to either. It’s boring, and redundant, and boring. It would be more entertaining to see a “Please Stand By While Francesca Gives Directions That Elizabeth Will Promise To Achieve And Then Promptly Forget” graphic.

Provisions arrive and shortly thereafter, so do the guests. I will never understand wearing suit jackets with shorts, but fashion has never been my forte’. The guests are over-the-top, but much more pleasant that the preference sheets led us to believe. Although, for the record, it’s pronounced pluh-BEE-an not PLEEB-ian. If you’re going to act above someone at least sound smart while doing it.

Lunch went well and it’s onto jet-skiing and blown-up rainbow unicorns named Deborah and Bruno. The guests seem to be having a fantastic time and for all of the drama that last week presented, this week it’s smooth yachting. The dinner was Mardi Gras themed and Rachel served up what looks like an amazing eight course meal topped of with a homemade King Cake for dessert. I didn’t see anyone choke on the plastic baby hidden inside, so either she forgot it, or didn’t trust that they’d not inhale it like they did with the other dishes.

Nothing screams class and opulence quite like blow up rainbow unicorns.

Since Izzy moved to the exterior, I’ve pretty much been ride or die for her. She still rocks in that department, but her defense and backing of Elizabeth is wearing on me. You can like someone and let them vent, but adding fuel to a blazing fire is unnecessary. She and Elizabeth were in fact talking about Francesca when Francesca unknowingly walked into the conversation. Francesca wasn’t assuming anything. I’d also wager that if Elizabeth’s failures in service reflected poorly on Izzy rather than Francesca, Izzy wouldn’t be quite so thrilled with Liz either, regardless of how sweet and harmless she can appear.

Liz of the crystal bra clan stayed up until 1:45 am and still managed not to remember to take down the Mardi Gras lights and decorations. She did remember to start off the next morning with affirmations and a smoky quartz though, so negativity should bounce right off of her like bullets hitting Wonder Woman’s bracelets. Apparently instructions bounce off too, because instead of only changing the sheets in the master, she changed all of them, giving Ashling piles of more laundry to do than necessary.

While the guests enjoyed Rachel’s french toast special, the exterior began the slide set-up. Unfortunately for them it was upside down and they didn’t realize it until it was partially inflated. Nothing sounds less fun than trying to turn a 400 pound slide one hundred and eighty degrees. Eddie jumped down and made a pretty decent landing on one of the legs, but struggled to jump for one of the lines. Then Captain Lee proved that he’s got some Spiderman game as he climbed over the rail to lend a hand. He did need to shout his magic words of choice to engage those powers though, but what would an episode of BD be without Cap shouting “GD?”

SpiderLee, SpiderLee, does whatever to help Eddie.

There’s nothing like water sports to work up an appetite and Rachel went over-the-top with her low country boil. Lobsters and clams, all beautifully presented. She was definitely making sure that if the guests had any complaints, that they wouldn’t be about the food or a lack of it. What may have been lacking in her verbal apology has been compensated for by going above and beyond with the menus.

Francesca put Elizabeth in charge of the beach bonfire and I haven’t decided if it was a way to allow Liz to prove herself, or a Machiavellian attempt at setting her up to fail. If it was the latter, then Chess is an evil genius, because Elizabeth only brought one bottle of rose’ for eight guests. Instead of accepting the blame for what was clearly her mistake, she resorted yet again to victimhood when she whined about how much Francesca was going to love that Elizabeth messed up. I don’t know about you, but were I a chief stew, I wouldn’t love knowing my guests were waiting for Eddie to make a roundtrip to the boat to get champagne that should’ve already been there.

The sun set on this episode with Francesca and Captain Lee discussing whether the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t when it comes to replacing Elizabeth. From the previews it doesn’t look like the ax is going to fall, but we will be treated to a trip to what appears to be a donkey sanctuary. As if there haven’t been enough asses this season. Hope to see you then!

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