The show offers a few unexpected moments of grace for a crew that has struggle to stick together this season.
- ⛴️ The way that the crew rallies around Lloyd is one of the sweetest moments in the show's history.
- ⛴️ Malia and Mzi's conversation about race in the yachting industry touches on some important social issues she show doesn't often address.
- ⛴️ Sandy has been entirely too nice this season; even with a raging pandemic, these volatile crew members deserve more hell than she gives them.
- ⛴️ Katie's get-along, go-along attitude is paving the way for some hurt feelings from Courtney, and major confrontation with Lexi.
This post contains spoilers for Below Deck Mediterranean.
Check out our last review here.
Yachting, and especially superyachting, seems like a delicate balancing act. Too many strong personalities will cause a crew to capsize, but even one disruptor can make a charter season a bumpy ride. In “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” the members of the Lady Michelle crew attempt to regain their collective footing after an explosive night off the boat — and their latest charter guest, Athena, isn’t making that easy. But the one thing that Below Deck (in all of its iterations) has taught viewers is that being nimble and responsive is the skeleton key to charter success, and Katie is working too hard trying to reconcile her best laid plans and the expectations of a guest who, fairly or not, demands to be catered to right then and there.
“The way things are usually done” is almost always the first ingredient in a recipe for disaster, and rather than serving Athena and the guests who are ready for dinner, Katie intends, or wants, to wait until all of the guests are at the table, per protocol. But even if the courses of chef Mathew’s meal dribble out with an unhurried irregularity, his food thankfully tastes good enough that the guests don’t mind too much. Meanwhile, Lexi remains on service — admittedly, to the enjoyment of the guests — while Courtney languishes on laundry in the belly of the boat, and after Lexi’s abusive display with, well, everyone, Courtney perhaps appropriately has some feelings about Katie’s decision to assign stations according to rewards and punishments that she believes should be reversed.
Among the deck crew, Lloyd gets assigned overnight watch, but leaves the bridge to help when wind kicks up — a no-no especially in the case of inclement weather, but Sandy lets him off with a warning, and quite frankly, he’s been so diligent so far that he deserves a little leniency. He, David and Mzi credit Malia for offering true leadership, giving them opportunities and feedback that allows them to grow and feel like part of a team. Malia, on the other hand, dreads the conversation she thinks may be inevitably coming with the lovestruck David, because she is decidedly not interested in him but wants to maintain the right level of kindness and professionalism while letting him down.
The next day, Athena once again prevails upon Mathew to deliver top-shelf food services to the rest of her guests that she will micromanage, including the decoration of two cakes. To be fair, both of the cakes are firmly grade-school level, despite Courtney’s assistance with the signage and icing, so when Athena confesses that she is “disappointed,” it’s one of the rare occasions where you see her point. But when her guests are happy with them — and everyone who tastes them agrees they’re delicious — Athena’s criticisms melt away. Nevertheless, it’s during this entire time that Mathew’s been regretfully counting down the minutes until the end of the charter, when he expects to be terminated; he hopes just to make amends by helping Sandy out, but seeks forgiveness from the rest of the crew and quite frankly spends entirely too much time talking about leaving.
In the twist that everyone saw coming, Sandy decides to keep him around; recognizing that she is happy with his cooking, but not his mercurial attitudes, she announces to the entire boat that he will stay with then until the end of the season. (“But if he walks off the boat again,” she says, “I’ll drown him.”) Athena’s tip for the crew underwhelms them slightly, at just $15,000, or approximately $1250 apiece. But Mathew further buys goodwill with his crewmates by buying them dinner on their night out, before all return to the main salon for a proper celebration of another completed charter.
If the evening starts with another private display of emotion from Courtney, whose name was forgotten by Athena while Lexi got a shout-out for turning things around, the crew settles into an unexpectedly serious conversation at dinner as Mzi talks about some of the extra hurdles he faces as a person of color in an industry that tends to be extremely white. Lloyd joins in as well in a prelude to later revelations about himself that have been simmering since the start of the season, but everyone remains in good spirits on the way back to the boat as the fellows confess their crushes and both Mathew and Lexi exercise some self-control in order to prevent a repeat of the previous crew’s night out.
Drunken carousing ensues once again, as does a sweet but painfully awkward romantic overture from David towards Malia. She turns him down cold while Katie and Lloyd offer their running commentary about the duo from across the room; but Lloyd seemingly inexplicably breaks down in tears, eventually revealing that he’s bisexual and has become overwhelmed by the kindness of his current crew in stark relief with the cruelty of his previous one. Malia and David interrupt their conversation to comfort Lloyd, and everyone ends up rallying around the young crewman in one of the sweetest displays of camaraderie and support in the history of Below Deck.
A preview for next week’s show hints at a return to more drama, but “Can’t Fight This Feeling” delivered a welcome dollop of kindness at a moment in the season when sniping and negativity and drama seemed to weigh down the show like, uh, an anchor. Even if some of Sandy’s kindness seems poised to backfire on her, at least for this week, the captain was able to successfully right the ship — and quite frankly it was just the kind of navigation audiences needed.
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