Below Deck: Delusions of Grandeur and Just Plain Delusional

Well, we’ve reached the penultimate episode and the ultimate examples of delusions of grandeur and plain ol’ delusions. The show opened as always by giving us a refresher on what the next generation of entitled young adults looks like. Half a bottle of Hennessey is apparently not up to young master Siegel’s vacation standard. Why am I not surprised? The only think less shocking was James acting like a total tool and flirting with Ashling about her sternness being a turn on. Ugh.

The next morning the drunk punk had total recall when it came to his high jinks as he tattled about Ashling lying about the hot tub draining and being forced to go to bed. It makes me wonder if Ashton and Rachel’s blackout excuses for their bad behavior are all bunk? Although Hennessey Head did conveniently leave out the part where he and his brother jumped in the tender. Maybe there’s a strange alcohol fueled phenomenon that allows you to remember everyone’s behavior but your own? I found Jackie and David’s lack of concern with their child’s consumption more than a little off-putting. Pretty sure there’s a reason why 70 year old johnsons have difficulty working. It was probably to ensure men couldn’t help conceive kids they weren’t willing to parent. I guess partial blame needs to fall on the shoulders of the creator of Viagra.

Getting back to the crew, I’m going to say right off that Francesca had some not-so-great moments this episode. Watching Jackie wander around and not even be greeted until she stumbled across Rob wasn’t close to five star. I’ve had housekeepers at a HoJo show me more attention. Elizabeth is just as culpable because she was content to grouse with Rachel about their mutual contempt for Francesca rather that checking on the Queen. By the seventh charter we can usually expect to see the crew gelling into a team and working like a well-oiled piece of machinery. Instead this season we’re stuck with four teams of 2. While it’s great that they all have a buddy to confide in, it makes for an uncomfortable tenseness for the viewers.

Nothing like waking up to an empty boat at the start of a pandemic. Zero stars.

Then in a whole different realm of discomfort we have James. I’m guessing that math wasn’t his strong suit in primary school. Somehow his pea-sized brain has sussed out that Elizabeth (who is exactly 2 days older than she was when he happily partook in guest cabin debauchery with her) is now too old to be relatable to him. Um, Einstein, you’re two days older as well. I’m not a huge fan of Elizabeth’s lack of work ethic, but as a human in general, she deserves way better.

Tension between Rachel and Francesca ratchets up as they are preparing for a visit to Stingray City and a picnic on shore. It started with Rachel requesting more cooler bags first from Francesca and then from Ashling and never getting any. Her frustration turned into passive aggressive hyperbole as she snarked about doing what she could to make sure the food didn’t rot. With a line of stainless refrigerators right behind her, I’m sure there was a solution to be had, but then she wouldn’t be able to add to her growing Francesca-isn’t-as-good-as-Kate list. Blowing out someone else’s light doesn’t make yours shine any brighter. That adage applies to Francesca as well though because I’m tired of hearing about Elizabeth’s faults. Once makes us aware, twice emphasizes it, but non-stop griping is as annoying as watching Liz screw up.

All the gear was finally packed up and everyone headed ashore except for Elizabeth, James, and Captain Lee. While I get sending your best workers to make sure the shore excursion goes smoothly, I’m not sure it was all that wise to leave behind the two that think the boat is their oyster. Almost immediately they sat down at the bar to have a chat about how hard it was for Elizabeth to not celebrate her birthday. I loved that all Captain Lee had to do was enter the room for James to realize he was busted, but Liz wasn’t that quick and said she wanted to continue chatting in a bit within earshot of Cap. Even James groaned at that.

When the sink is overfilled, it’s not the time to chat and chill.

As Captain Lee wandered through the galley he saw a sink full of pots and pans that could be washed while Elizabeth folded one lone towel in the crew mess. The bridge blinders are off and he has seen for himself what Francesca has been complaining about for several charters now. He surmised in a confessional that her energy must be broken again, before directing her to clean them.

Daniel the d-bag continued his entitled whining as the guests were shuttled via van to their destination. He complained about not really caring about stingrays and griped about the poor planning and it not feeling luxurious. He better hope his daddy invests in a pharmaceutical company that invents a grow-the-heck-up pill, because no one with half a spoonful of brains is going to invest in him in his current state of brattitude.

Equally delusional was Elizabeth who while currently in the dog house thought it was perfectly appropriate to ask the Captain if she could go down the slide. He didn’t even look up as he replied that she could if her work was done. In Liz’s mind that translated into immediately put on your bikini and go flaunt yourself in front of the guy who is clearly not that into you. Perhaps the crystal that activates her third eye slipped out of her swim top while she was doing her best Rocky sans mermaid tail impression. She’s most certainly closed off to all of the energy the rest of us are picking up on.

After swimming with the stingrays and comparing their softness to lady bits (um, yuck) it’s picnic time. The Siegels eat more like the middle class than the uppercrust though and hot dogs are on the menu. What’s missing, however, are the po’ folk condiments like ketchup and mustard. Rachel can’t be bothered with such peasantry and insisted that it was Francesca’s job to bring those while she was going to bring the fancier kinds. Francesca’s tired of the buck being passed and Rachel not admitting when she’s wrong. On first viewing I sided with Rachel because I thought she had only said she was bringing the kraut. However, my eagle-eared friend TiF pointed out that it was in fact Francesca’s Aussie accent saying that Rachel would be bringing the ketchup and honeys. I, unlike Rachel, never mind being shown where I was wrong. Good catch, TiF!

Still faster than Elizabeth

With set-up incomplete the Siegels mingled with the tortoises and Izzy saved us from the Condiment Conflict by borrowing some from a food stand nearby. After feeding the tortoises, the family enjoyed their picnic and were ready to start back to the boat. Even though Francesca can’t seem to find a way to please Rachel, Ash found the key to her friendship by belching. Somehow burps and flatulence seem more like a way to make an eight year old boy happy, but to each their own.

Back on the boat tensions continue as Rachel attempted to explain her vision for silver service/family style, and Francesca was having none of it and cut her off. Not the smartest way to de-escalate tension in my book, Chess. Diffuse rather than ignite, and all will be right. Unless you and Ash have cooking degrees I don’t know about, you need to make the best of it. It’s almost the end of the season.

Izzy had a chat with Eddie in the lazarette about how to iron things out with Rob and his passive aggressiveness. The seemingly shy, quirky guy we first met has been body-snatched and in his place is an arrogant, mouthy jerk who seems to be averse to answering to a female lead deckhand. Eddie gave Izzy some sound advice, and I liked the fact that he allowed her to fix it to earn the respect instead of handling it himself and making her look weak or unable to resolve the conflict. His redemption season is still going strong in my eyes.

What’s not going strong is the communication between the interior and the chef. The Siegels requested a second dinner with the Captain and while Francesca communicated it to Captain Lee over the radio, she never directly addressed Rachel. Poor form indeed, which continued when she advised Cap that the guests were seated and yet again said nothing to Rachel. Rachel has valid beefs with Francesca’s performance, but not acknowledging her own missteps and projecting those as well onto Francesca makes it difficult to be on her side for long. Jackie lightened the mood by wearing a Queen of Versailles beauty pagent-ish sash and donning tiaras on the stews and on Rachel. This is one time that her delusions of grandeur were welcomed by me. Anything to cut the tension.

The Queen and her Princesses. Still wonder why delusional is in the title?

Elizabeth’s delusions are not quite as endearing. Instead of working on the cabins she was sitting with James and trying to figure out where they stand as a couple. That snowballed into her not being able to do the dishes that were piling up in the pantry because she had to finish the cabins first which had James, Eddie, and Rob all taking turns helping out in the galley. When she finally did finish the cabins, of course it would be James who was in the pantry and again the focus was more on where they were emotionally instead of what she should be doing physically…aka her job. Francesca pretty much lost it on her and at that point I didn’t blame her.

The next morning things didn’t go much better as Elizabeth put out salad forks at breakfast. Not the biggest of deals, but just one more thing to add to her list of screw ups. Then she topped it off with breaking radio silence while docking. Last night on Watch What Happens Live as Andy pointed out her many errors, she pointed out that she also did things well. Somehow she doesn’t get that the doing things well part is her job, and you get paid for that. You don’t get trophies. Despite her interruption they docked the boat safely and it was time to send off the Siegels. None too soon if you ask me, as my pretentious brat tolerance level had maxed out.

At the tip meeting, I wasn’t surprised at the lowish tip. Jackie did the same thing on her Below Deck Med trip. Rich people don’t stay rich by spending it. Unless it’s on a ridiculously huge house that even Jeff Lewis won’t touch…but I digress. Following the tip meeting Captain Lee asked Francesca to join him in the bridge. I’m not sure what the other crew members thought it was about, but many of us at home have been waiting for this moment. Francesca finally got to tell Elizabeth she was fired and the shock on her face makes me think she’s never faced a consequence for her actions in her life. Completely and utterly gobsmacked. Next week is the finale, so whether Elizabeth actually has to leave before the season ends due to Covid is the only thing we’re left hanging on to find out. I hope you’ll join me for the finale!

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