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'Below Deck Med' 6.17 Review: Nothing Comes Over Easy

Mathew once again proves to be a volatile, insecure person as the latest season of 'Below Deck Med' comes to a close.

Katie, Lloyd, Malia, Mzi and Courtney visit a Croatian winery as a reward for working hard throughout 'Below Deck Mediterranean' Season 6.
(Image: © Bravo)

Our Verdict

The finale encapsulates all of the drama that's happened and provides a fitting closure for one of the most tumultuous seasons the show has ever had.

For

  • - It is undeniable that the remaining crew members have truly bonded throughout the season, and that's vividly clear as it comes to a close.

Against

  • - It may produce great TV drama to cast insecure, unpredictable people like Mathew on reality series, but it's probably not healthy for people to watch.

Halfway through the final charter of Below Deck Mediterranean season 6, the wheels are starting to fall off for the crew of the Lady Michelle: chef Mathew barely makes it through breakfast without having a complete breakdown, Katie is working without a break, there’s a picnic on land planned and the ship is starting to drift from its position. After spending several episodes reiterating her confidence in deciding to complete the season one stew down, Katie finally begins to recognize the challenges that she had laid out for herself, even as Malia’s team has comfortably settled into a flow where everyone is working together harmoniously.

After Malia sets up the picnic in a “600-year-old prison,” she retrieves the guests and brings them over for lunch. Katie soon joins them while Malia works with Lloyd, Mzi and David to weigh anchor before the boat is dragged into waters that are too shallow. Lloyd eventually disconnects the floating dock and pilots it behind the ship with a jet ski while the rest of the members of the deck crew skillfully perform the tasks needed to get the boat into a safer place. Both Malia and David have become very supportive of Mzi as the resident “greenie” throughout the season, and he’s proved to be reliable, hard-working and conscientious.

In the interior, however, Katie is rapidly reaching her breaking point. The guests haven’t been unreasonably demanding, but they’ve also been much more difficult than their predecessors; suffice it to say that many of the problems the crew face would be resolved or at least alleviated with one or two more crew members — even if one of them was Delaney. At the same time, Mathew has become pathetically needy, seeking Katie’s input on every choice for every meal. As she works a shift that grows longer by the minute, she doesn’t have the energy to coddle his ego and tells him repeatedly she does not care and for him to figure things out.

Lloyd proposes that the deck crew make Malia a thank-you card for all of her support, but while he’s working on it on the boat’s one computer, she interrupts to remind him there are tasks to be done on the deck. Despite this mild scolding, she recommends him for a job to Marten, one of the Lady Michelle’s engineers, to help with the ship’s crossing out of Croatia. Marten offers Lloyd the job and it appears that the young boatsman’s future is on more solid ground than he’d feared when he experienced a panic attack ahead of the final charter.

After rebuffing Mathew earlier while he was in his insecurity spiral, Katie apologizes to him for being grumpy and that seems to relieve his feelings of anxiety and embolden him to finish the season on a positive note. Nevertheless, she ends up working for 20.5 hours straight when the guests stay up until 4:00 a.m. playing cards and asking for beverages while they do so. Again, I’m not sure this is unreasonable behavior if you’ve spent several thousands of dollars on a boat charter where it’s reasonable to expect to have every want or need accommodated, but it certainly weighs on Katie as her marathon shift winds on.

Courtney makes her best effort to mix Bloody Marys and other cocktails for the guests the following morning while Mathew prepares a decidedly more simple breakfast than the previous morning by offering only French toast. Katie gets a few hours’ sleep while Captain Sandy heads back to dock at Sibenik, the port they called home throughout the season. After arriving at port and the guests disembark, Sandy instructs the crew to meet in the salon for the tip meeting — their final of the season. She earnestly pays compliments to Katie, Mathew and tearfully to Malia, the latter of whom she has mentored for several seasons, before announcing the final gratuity: $20,000, or $1,818 per person. In case you happen to be wondering whether working on a boat for a season is worth the pain and drama, Sandy reveals that the crew collectively earned $132,385 in tips — pretty good for 10-12 people for seven weeks (above and beyond their wages).

After the crew cleans up the ship, Sandy suggests inviting Luca the replacement chef, who they did not use and therefore hung out alone for four or five weeks, over to the Lady Michelle for a drink and an introduction. To be clear, the season is over. He will not be working, much less taking over for Mathew. But Mathew is one of the more immature people ever to be in a position of real responsibility on a reality show, so of course he becomes insanely insecure when Luca joins them briefly for a beer. It’s honestly one of the most pathetic displays in this show’s history.

Sandy joins the crew for dinner at the same site where earlier in the season Courtney and Mzi ate it while drunk. She begins a series of compliments and gestures of appreciation that rapidly spread around the table, but she leaves before things can deteriorate too badly; Mathew, for his part, attempts to remain sober so that he won’t make another embarrassing display of antagonism after doing so on almost every other crew night out. The remainder of the crew heads back to the Lady Michelle to celebrate on board with a proper display of embarrassing drunkenness. Crew members attempt to ride the lazy susan on the table in the crew mess, for example. But after everyone else goes to bed, Malia actually spends some real time cleaning up so that they can leave the ship easily and effortlessly in the morning.

On the final morning, crew members shuffle up to say goodbye to Sandy, expressing their appreciation for a season that, well, almost everyone got through, but that they got through despite plenty of conflicts and of course the existential threat of COVID. From there, they depart for “Split,” the housing the crew collectively rented for a comedown or celebration after the season. The show’s producers ask what went on during that time and no one will speak, but one suspects that the possibilities are more interesting than the realities.

After 16 weeks, the most important thing to say about Below Deck Mediterranean is that the show made it, sometimes awkwardly, to a finish line that was not necessarily certain it would reach. The structure of the show was often unwieldy and it too frequently erred too heavily on one side of the divide that has defined the show since its inception between interpersonal drama and workplace tedium. But season 6 feels to some extent like an essential throat-clearing exercise that the show’s fans possibly had to experience so it, and they, could move forward. That said, who knows when things will full return to a semblance of normalcy; but this show remains one of the best reality series on TV, and even if this season wasn’t great, it tapped into enough of the things that make it essential watching for so many.