"A Hard Day's Night" offers overdue catharsis for the story of Lexi, while showcasing Captain Sandy's sometimes erratic management style.
- - It's good to see Lloyd standing up for himself and the rest of the crew, even if it comes after almost suffering a panic attack.
- - Katie finally demonstrates some decisive leadership — although she may live to regret it.
- - Lexi's lashing out, even if precipitated by Mathew's low key antagonism, have jeopardized crew morale for far too long.
At the end of “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls,” Lexi left the crew of the Lady Michelle to figure out how to salvage their night out after repeatedly insulting chef Mathew, who, though he was as much an instigator in their conflict, at least didn’t suggest that she “should have been aborted.” Rather than actually heading back to the ship, however, she merely disappeared to the bathroom, and then picked up her half of the argument as soon as she returned. But it’s not until after Mzi, Courtney and even the typically mild-mannered Lloyd confront Lexi that Katie assumes her role as chief stew and tells her to shut up.
The crew divides into two vans for the drive back to the boat, where Lexi’s growing army of enemies talks trash about her, while Malia attempts to make some observations about the way that the stew alienates herself from everyone else, and suggestions how to avoid making the situation worse in the future. Back at the Lady Michelle, Lexi retires to her cabin to connect with a friend while everyone else sizes up the damage done. Katie and Malia have an honest conversation about the fact that Mathew and Lexi cannot work together, and decide to make Captain Sandy make the decision of who gets fired. Lexi calls her mother and makes the sweeping declaration that everyone in the crew should be fired for insubordination, although it’s questionable if she knows what exactly that word means.
The next morning, Delaney makes her departure and Katie apprises Captain Sandy of what occurred the previous evening. Malia gathers the deck crew and offers them the opportunity to share any feelings they may have; Lloyd somewhat unexpectedly leads the charge, reminding her (and the audience) that he escaped a toxic work environment from his past, but memories of it trigger him when he gets caught in the middle of a shouting match like the one between Mathew and Lexi. After Captain Sandy gets the skinny on the fight, she sits down with Katie, Lexi and Mathew, and asks them each to offer their perspective on what happened and why. Sandy doesn’t seem inclined to fire Lexi — especially after Lexi tells her that Mathew said he would issue an ultimatum between her and him — but after speaking with Malia and Courtney, she finally seems to see how poisonous Lexi’s presence has become to the rest of the crew.
Sandy apologetically but justifiably fires Lexi. She encourages Katie and Malia to speak to her as she packs her belongings, but Lexi rebukes both of them — also justifiably. In fact, she refuses to acknowledge any of the crew as she leaves, but Malia tries to help with her bags anyway, and they exchange a tenuous hug as she says goodbye. The rest of the day is devoted to preparing the boat for its next charter, and speculating about whether Katie will bring back Delaney or soldier on with just two stews. She chooses to take on the last two charters with just Courtney as backup, and Sandy seems satisfied by her confident explanation — and her promise that their clients will not feel the absence.
With three hours to go until the guests arrive, David helps bring provisions on the boat and the limp from his leg injury alerts Sandy. She simmers for a few minutes until David prepares to use a harness to clean the exterior of the boat, and then reads the riot act to both him and Malia for failing to notify their captain. Sandy is right, but there are some shades of grey in this incident; if David insisted that he is fine, and perhaps more importantly, his job performance isn’t significantly affected, then Malia did not behave wildly irresponsibly in failing to report his injury. But Sandy’s trust was broken, and she loses her temper at Malia when she somewhat foolishly tries to further explain her behavior.
Watching this episode underscores how Sandy’s management style can be inconsistent — supporting Lexi against the admonitions of the rest of the crew and then unloading on Malia. But this volatility also feels like a bit of a release, if for the audience more than the crew, after the tumultuous ups and downs that Lexi’s presence on the boat has created throughout the season.
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