Below Deck Mediterranean: Step Off

Do you want to know the actually emergency and rescue that should have happened on this show? Someone saving Kiko from the undue wrath of Copter Sandy. Seeing that sweet, gentle spirit cry was almost too much to bear. I get that it’s reality television and that drama is always on the menu, not unlike beef cheeks when Leon’s in the galley, but come on. Do we really need to see a person so constantly harangued that he becomes a shell of himself?

Captain Sandy only seems to be able to effectively manage crew members that are exactly like her. Even the carrot and stick method across the board would be better than her “carrot and carrot” method for her clones, and her “stick and stick” method for those who don’t reside in the warmth of her favor. Is it creating buzz in the moment? Absolutely, but it’s short-sighted. If other viewers are anything like me, they won’t be tuning in next season to watch a bunch of suck-ups get praise heaped on them for walking and talking. All while those whose drum beats are set at 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4 are hovered over and being constantly told what let-downs they are. Enough of my ranting though. On with the show.

The rest of the crew are finishing up the boat turnover so that they can head out for an evening on the town before the next charter. Jess is still struggling with one-handed bed making but doing her best to push through. At the preference sheet meeting we learn that it will be a 4 day charter instead of three which puts extra pressure on the interior and on Kiko. The guests have a range of favorite foods including nachos, and trust that there will be more on that later. Kiko has decided to stay on the boat while his crewmates paint the town rojo. You can feel the pressure weighing on him and one can only hope that he can hold it together and knock these charter guests’ socks off.

This rent my heart in twain.

The crew are all dressed up and ready to go when Hannah tells Bugsy that she looks like one of her tables. I’d make a slight correction and say she looks like a bootleg Dorit Kemsley. Trying way too hard with the hairclips, in my opinion. They all head out to dinner and the main focus is on Jess and Rob whispering sweet nothings, and Bugsy and Alex’s awkward mumblings. After the meal they head off to a nightclub and Hannah is noticeably down. Kiko has been the person she’s bonded with most, and with Jess & Rob joined at the lips, she’s missing having a buddy to hang out with. Malia (who is no threat to Inspector Clouseau’s job) is sure that it’s because Bugsy came in to save the day during the last charter’s breakfast fiasco. You know who thinks other people’s moods can only derive from envy? Narcissists. Malia and Bugsy go on with their Us Vs. Them narrative and proceed to bash Kiko and Jessica as well. There is clearly a line being drawn in the sand, but I’m not sure that the three on the wrong side of it realize that it’s more than just Captain Sandy standing across from them.

Back at the yacht, Kiko shares how he plans to keep on fighting to prove himself and shares a sweet story about his parents building up a painting business only to have it be stolen away. The fact that they fought their way back are his inspiration to do the same. He heads to bed and the crew returns shortly after. Jess has a moment where she expressed that she feels like she manifested Rob in a list she made for her spiritual therapist. So far he has all of the qualities she was looking for. “So far” being the key phrase. Alex goes on a drunken ramble to Bugsy and longs for a breathalyzer that forces him to shut up when his BAC surpasses the limit for coherent speech.

The next morning before the guests arrive, Hannah sits down with Jess and Bugsy to make a game plan to support Kiko and to sort out the problem with missing laundry. Hannah’s exasperation is showing as she cuts Bugsy’s organizational idea off mid-sentence. Malia calls for a meeting with the exterior on the aft deck and Sandy all but sprints from the bridge to sit and observe it and give her thumbs up. If editing rang a bell every time she was somewhere she didn’t need to be, the show would turn into a musical. Malia gives the most basic common sense instructions and as Hannah steps out Sandy can’t help but fawn over how good Malia is. Good thing Sandy isn’t in charge of canonizations or we’d be forced to refer to her as Saint Malia from now on.

Like Santa…always watching, but without the gifts

Hannah inquires about what is missing from the exteriors crew uniforms and Malia either mistakenly or on purpose said that Jess told her that the interior isn’t doing crew uniforms or that they aren’t a priority. Mind you, Sandy is feet away. Apparently Bugsy has taught Malia a few bus driving lessons on the side. Jess is the hapless speed bump at the moment and Sandy informs Hannah that Jess needs to get it together by the end of charter or Hannah needs to replace her.

Malia is on cloud nine as she reminds everyone that her boyfriend Tom is coming to visit in four days. I don’t believe in coincidences and a chef coming at the exact time another chef is being given an ultimatum is too big of one to swallow. The only thing I’ve yet to determine is how many people are in on the set-up by production. Playing with people’s lives and livelihoods for sport is an all too common thing with Bravo and it’s bordering on sadism.

Hannah meets up with Jess to discuss the dirty laundry that was aired within earshot of Sandy and Jess denies that she ever said that. Hannah, not unlike most messengers, then gets shot…figuratively speaking , of course, in the form of Jess’s confessional. Jess feels like as third stew, none of this should be her responsibility and Hannah should be sorting it out. She does go and talk to Malia who deftly flips it back on the interior, and then more specifically on Hannah. Maybe because I’m an avid conspiracy theorist I can’t get out of my own way on this one, but it sure seems like a multi-front attack to me.

The guests arrive and they seem like a fun bunch, but Kiko is already on edge when Crystal (one of the primaries) says she wants to meet up with him to make sure that the food is “copacetic.” During the sit down Kiko tells them he’s going to work off of their preference sheets because everyone wants something different and the mood lightens immensely as they cheer him on. The guests seem to really enjoy their lunch and when Sandy walks up with her complaint notebook, they have no entries for her. For most captains, that would be a good thing, but Sandy decides to make one up on her own and criticizes the meat being served with the gravy on it. Nevermind the fact that Kiko put the gravy on it because it wasn’t served quickly enough and he didn’t want it to get cold.

Define emergency.

After lunch it’s time for water sports and the much anticipated emergency rescue. Only it’s neither an emergency nor a rescue by any definition I’m aware of. Yes the clients flipped the jet ski, but no one was pinned, or flailing in the ocean and fighting to keep from sinking. They were bobbing up and down gently in their life vests, the tender was nearby and so was the trampoline. Basically it was an overly dramatic response to the situation by Malia, and rather than mock her for it they transformed it into a moment of heroism. The editors apparently have the same favorites as Sandy.

Captain Sandy joins the guests for the anniversary dinner they requested on the first night and she steals a sneak peak at the table. She radios Bugsy to say how beautiful it is and also so that everyone else can hear. Jessica slides in an “at least somebody does something right,” and the looks on Hannah and Kiko’s faces show that if they got a tenth of the praise for doing their jobs that Bugsy and Malia do, we might be watching an entirely different show. The guests are completely happy with the dinner, so once again Sandy has to come up with something to complain about. Her new tactic is to complain about how the food looks. It’s not at super yacht levels in her opinion. Interesting considering that the guests also raved about the presentation, especially regarding the tiramisu.

A new day dawns and after breakfast Bugsy and Alex escort the guests into town via tram for some shopping and sightseeing. There were several awkward but cute moments where the group good-naturedly teased and hinted at a relationship between Bugsy and Alex. Alex even snuck in a cheek kiss that caused the group to break into cheers.

This is nacho best dish, Kiko.

Dinner that night is Vegas themed and Kiko, never having been there, has to Google for menu ideas. Hannah shares some of the dishes she’s had and thinks it should be more finger foods than a sit-down meal. This is where the meal goes off the rails. Hannah’s literal food experience isn’t the same as what is expected on a yacht. There are ways to upscale menu items and re-imagine them in a fancier way. Whether it’s Kiko’s unfamiliarity that causes the miss or Hannah’s perceived certainty that this is the direction to go is up in the air, but it’s a mess. The nachos, while requested, are only a teeny improvement over Mila’s. People want a smooth melted cheese, not a stuck together version that looks like you made it to eat on a couch over a paper plate.

Malia said she wouldn’t serve them. Bugsy ended up serving them and Hannah claims to never have seen the finished product. Bugsy also refuses to put out the chocolate domino brownies, but at that point I would’ve have likely been throwing anything I could on the table to distract from it. The guests are displeased with all of the fried food and the kindest thing they had to say aside from that it was tasty was that it looked like a kid’s birthday party.

Sandy is elated to finally have something to grouse about so she can release the Sword of Damocles that’s been hanging above Kiko’s head. Kiko beats her to the punch when she described the previous night’s food as crew food and tells her he respects her opinion and he’ll leave. She has to slow her roll when her bluff is called on Vegas night and says “Let’s just get through the charter.” The writing is on the wall, folks, and to say this ended on a sour note is an understatement.

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