'The Freak Comes Out' On Below Deck
Love or something like it's in the air, and a new Dick's in the bottom spot.
With the biggest Below Dick out of contention after a (borderline satirical) tirade about his hair, smarts, and veterans, it's time for someone new to fall out of grace.
An easygoing trip with everyone on their best behavior thanks to Trevor's absence and a huge tip, the current changes once we're thrust into the Bermuda Triangle of a romance between Lauren, Nico, and Emily.
So, who takes the biggest-Below Dick crown this week? Let's count down from first to worst:
- Captain Lee
Captain Lee knows what angles work best, so it's no surprise the episode sees him doing his signature moves and little else. You know the ones: issuing commands via radio, giving the crew their tip and then the night off, holding his chin in his hand, etc. The real highlight though is that it seems like he had a few (what does he even drink? I want to say scotch or whiskey, but it's probably rum) the same night as the crew. And what's better than a cranky, possibly hungover Captain Lee frustrated that he has to wake up early to meet a new crewmember? Nothing this week.
We meet the new deckhand for a second and understand him even less. "Green" with only a little experience from (I think) the British army to working on a trolley (?), he's accent is as thick as the beard Captain Lee immediately hates. Though it looks like he might have dislocated his shoulder his first day on the job, at least Kelley mentions his great work ethic beforehand. He even irons in his downtime!
(As a side-note: It's a shame to report that he falls into the spectrum of people with terrible tattoos that decide to try yachting. Seriously everyone, get your shit together.)
I'm as shocked as the next person about this low ranking. I sometimes think Ben gets a bad rap because there's something inherently smarmy about him and his delivery. Temperamental perfectionist and shameless flirt, Ben's been transitioning from cad to Mrs. Garrett quite nicely. Even last week's "outburst" -- which he apologized for almost immediately this week -- saw a softer, Gordon-Ramsay-after-a-Xanax-and-a-glass-of-Riesling version of him. Pouring his energy into his role on the ship and his new one on the show, it's a nice change of pace. But I'm also not complaining that it looks like it ends next week.
Like Ben, we're also seeing a softer side of Kate since Captain Lee sat everyone down and told them to start communicating. Reeling from her budding (long-distance) romance, it's also a nice change of pace (she let the stews go swimming on a break!!) that also thankfully looks like it ends next week when her girlfriend comes to visit. So while the give is her frequent sloppy hair issues before, during, and after work, the takeaway's been a little more fun. Literally; it's charming and nauseating that she made a poster using the men's waxing strips for the charter guests to take home.
It's a little gross that he's playing the "long" game to win Emily over. As shrewd a tactic as that might be, it also feels a little too much like the plot of some misguided romantic comedy. Which, in everyone's defense, is pretty much all reality TV -- so whatever. His motivations behind going after Lauren are a little questionable given that it might be part of his Master Plan to get Emily alone. The psychological warfare that is dating aside, I think he's a fundamentally good person. Though his comment that the problem with girls being that "girls catch feelings" was a little obnoxious, if not just because, yes Kelley, everyone's supposed to have feelings.
There's nothing overtly wrong with Lauren's actions this week. In fact, they're probably some sort of Below Deck benchmark in terms of keeping it cool under duress and not spontaneously combusting. The problem -- and this is a flimsy argument, I know that -- is that it took this long for her to realize she'd been Friend Zoned. And that sucks, but she knew it was coming. I'm neutral on her reaction.
On the one hand, it'd be great if she played into the reality TV aspect of it and it least confronted him about something. On the other hand, I'm kind of glad she didn't.
I realize that my problem with Emily is nitpicking. I also realize that what I think of as her faux-naiveté is what Nico and Kelley find so appealing. Try as the show might to position her as a deer in the headlights, I think she's smarter than that. In fact, I know she's smarter than that. I think she's just boring and indecisive. I don't doubt that she thought there was something going on between Lauren and Nico, but that's what makes her pseudo-entertaining of his advances so obnoxious and tone-deaf.
To be fair she handled herself well later on, channeling the rage she no doubt feels from being harassed by people at work and directing it at Nico, who awkwardly came into her room to tell her she's attractive and to try and kiss her, like a creep. Oh, and minus points for having wet hair that wasn't in a bun when the charter returned.
There's a brief stretch early in the episode when it almost seems like Sierra's going take this week's crown. Luckily, she gets over her issues with Ben fairly quickly, if not quick enough. Unfortunately, the problem is that she's so generally grating. From bright-eyed bushy-tailed talking heads in which she says maddening, contradictory things like "I'm thick-skinned, but I also need to be surrounded by positivity." The whole "maybe I should just leave" shtick capped off with a phone call home for positive reinforcement is so obvious. Minus additional points not helping steer Emily in some sort of direction; not helping steer Lauren in some sort of direction; also having wet hair when the charter returns; complaining so much; and, last and definitely not least, finding it so funny that Nico tried to kiss her and Emily and recapping for Lauren the next morning.
- The guests
From dietary restrictions to sexual harassment, the first charter is a pain in the ass. Not to mention they left the strangest, most annoying currency breakdown. Sure, it was $20,000; but who just happens to have a fraction of that amount in dollar bills? Kate called them "D-list Quentin Tarantino," and she isn't wrong. She might actually be grading on too big a curve.
Then there's the second charter, a family of WASPs that's surprisingly low-maintenance provided there's a bottle of Ketel One at arm's length. (Though the daughter's order of Captain Morgan and Sprite threw up several red flags, so let's watch that unfold.)
It's a shame that Nico falls into that specific brand of guy intent on dating the same girl over and over again. He's mentioned that Emily reminds him of his ex a few times now, which I remember because it's so strange. I understand having a "type," but it's something very different when it becomes trying to recreate something that no longer exists. It's creepy.
No, he's not the biggest Below Dick the show's ever seen. Not by a mile. But this episode doesn't do him any favors. I don't think he would consciously hurt Lauren, but it also says a lot about his character in that he can comment on their wonderful relationship without thinking she might be interested or view it in a different light. Basically he put her in the Friend Zone but never let her know it was the case.
And that sucks. Especially when he starts rabidly pursuing Emily in front of Lauren, sees Lauren's annoyed, and can't connect the dots. Yeah, yeah: boys will be boys; boys are dumb; blah, blah, blah. The real problem is when he (probably) goes dark from too much booze and Paranormal Activitys his way into Sierra's, and later, Emily's rooms for a goodnight kiss or blowjob or what have you. As vaguely understandable as it is insanely creepy, he's just the worst. Apologies and genuine remorse to all involved or not, he had a very bad week when everyone else just happened to be on their best behavior.
Congratulations Nico, you're the worst.