Below Deck: Mediterranean Recap: Sandy’s Hit List

It’s a hard time to be a Kiko fan. First, he offends me as a vegetarian by making an unimpressive vegan menu and complaining about it all the while. And on that same charter, he majorly messed up a dinner and breakfast for the non-vegans too, leading Captain Sandy to have a Captain Sandy Meeting with him and say she’ll fire him if he doesn’t get it together next charter. (Poor Kiko tears up during his confessional afterward, because he still doesn’t want to disappoint Sandy.) And on top of it all, he has a girlfriend, which I still haven’t gotten over?? Kiko comes into this episode in desperate need of some redemption — and leaves in the same place.

But before we get to another charter, we’re going out tonight! Except for Kiko, who needs to get back in his zone, so he stays back to prep his kitchen and drink red wine and play guitar (*swoon*). Hannah seems dejected without her friend Kiko on their night out, so she just sits at Tito’s (which must’ve struck a deal with this show yet seems entirely un-notable) and mopes. Rob and Jess have another good night, after which Jess says Rob is exactly the sort of man she described to her spiritual therapist recently, and they get handsy in Rob’s bunk underneath a sleeping Kiko. Bugsy goes out looking as accessorized as one of her tables, Hannah notes, and spends the night flirting with Alex, who broke his vow to stop drinking as soon as their server took orders at dinner. Back on the boat, before bed, he tells Bugsy what every girl wants to hear:

“I actually, I, I respect you a lot. And honestly, like, I think you’re absolute awesome person. I don’t — okay. I appreciate, like, thank you for giving me, like, I, I’m actually very, like — you get things, you ride with it, you’re whatever. Like, end of the day, you might not care, you might care, whatever. I, I, Imma have a hard time explaining right, so like — keep it as work, see you in the morning.”

Well said! In the morning, the news isn’t about what Rob and Jess did or where things stand between Bugsy and Alex. It’s about Jess misplacing and forgetting laundry. Sandy catches wind of Jess’s laundry issues when she overhears Hannah talking to Malia about it on deck, where she was just sitting and watching her deck crew have a meeting. (I supported her giving the crew a talking-to after the last charter, but sitting and watching them intimidatingly doesn’t seem like it’ll solve anything!) This leads her to tell Hannah that Jess needs to straighten out this charter, or Sandy Will Find Another third stew. Meaning there’s a slight chance that Bugsy will be running all of interior on her own next charter!

Hannah talks to Jess and Jess talks to Malia, and I don’t know how to feel about it all because, even though laundry has been one of Jess’s only responsibilities for the last charter, she has a point: “I’m the third, I’m like the little bitch, I’m not supposed to think of all these things,” as she says in a confessional. Malia agrees that it’s not all Jess’s fault and eventually tells her that part of it falls on Hannah, which is correct. But if Jess seemed a bit checked out talking about the laundry during all of this, Hannah has been even more checked out since she heard that Kiko was on thin ice.

Lucky for Hannah, it’s a four-day charter, which she assures us will be a special sort of hell. Our primaries are Sean and Crystal Foote: icons from the moment they walk down the dock, smiling and dressed to the nines. Sean works in finance and music and real estate and makes a lot of money, but seems nice because he’s having an anniversary dinner for some of his friends the first night of charter. They also want two themed dinners (casino and ’90s hip-hop) and a day trip to an old city in Spain. They like foods including beef, fried chicken, and nachos, according to their preference sheet, but as Crystal clarifies to Kiko shortly after boarding, it’s a bit more complicated. They don’t want vegetables, but they don’t want gluten either (??); some of them don’t like meat, others don’t like seafood. So for lunch, Kiko makes steaks and paella, which the guests love. Sandy is less impressed, saying the steaks looked “terrible” after Kiko served them with the sauce on top rather than on the side. To be fair, they did not look pretty, but if they tasted good! The guests invite Captain Sandy to dinner, which I’m sure Kiko is excited about (not).

It’s an uneventful afternoon — yes, even with that rescue, which ends up being way less of a big deal than this episode’s teaser would have you believe. A Jet Ski turns over due to the high swell, and one of the people on it can’t swim, so Malia does her job and jumps in to save her. I’m glad everyone’s safe and I’m glad Malia continues to be the best worker on this boat.

Bugsy decorates another pretty table for dinner, and Sandy’s impressed, which bothers Hannah even though it is a win for interior. Kiko is nervous to cook for Sandy because, if you haven’t heard by now, he is rustic and she wants fancy. But his meal goes over well! Even if his gratin looked like shit, he redeemed himself with those cinnamon spoon outlines on the tiramisu plates, and managed everyone’s protein preferences pretty well. But Sandy looks ready to go in when one of the guests says he would’ve preferred sea bass instead of chicken. At the end of the night, she tells him it was “delicious” and that the guests thought it was “great,” but in a confessional, she says she wished it was “more of a superyacht-style dinner.” And how will that happen if you don’t tell him?

In the morning, the things that are supposed to happen happen! Kiko makes a wonderfully large breakfast, including a quiche, and Jess decorates a Bugsy-approved table with some cute elephants. And when I say that the things that are supposed to happen happen, that includes Bugsy and Alex accompanying the guests on their day trip to Sóller, where the guests promptly ask if they’re dating. They say no, of course, but seem to enjoy themselves while leading the guests around, like that fun pair of camp counselors. Alex buys Bugsy a hat from the hat store, Bugsy accidentally calls the outing “a perfect date” in her confessional, and Alex even kisses Bugsy on the cheek for a photo! It takes a lot for me to love a crew couple — Rob and Jess haven’t crossed that threshold yet — but I’m fully onboard with Alex and Bugsy, two of the nicer, more competent people on this boat.

A normal episode would’ve ended around this point, but we get a supersized episode this week — and rightfully titled, considering all the fried food that Kiko is about to serve these guests for their Vegas night. This thing’s been happening on this charter, where Hannah consults with Kiko about the menus and tells him what to change, since she’s more experienced and doesn’t want the only person she can tolerate to get fired. And for the casino dinner, which is of course going to be a bunch of finger foods, Hannah tells Kiko to swap in truffle fries and nachos for his planned shrimp cocktail and bruschetta. That’s what she eats in Vegas, she tells him — which leads me to wonder about this otherwise somewhat-classy chief stew’s tastes, considering bruschetta and shrimp sound … fine for an adult Vegas party! Better than nachos, anyway, which I’m surprised Hannah would even suggest after Mila’s slop last season.

Kiko’s nachos barely look better: Malia is hesitant to even send them out, and the guests barely touch them. Otherwise, it’s fried chicken, fried fish, and french fries. Kiko might as well serve Tums for dessert, because there’s no way the guests are going to feel great after this. They compare the dinner to “a kid’s birthday party,” and I feel bad because they’re once again impeccably dressed and having to eat this. They don’t want to make it a big deal to Sandy — later, they toast “to great service!” — but you can be sure Sandy is going to make it a big deal. Particularly the nachos: She asks Bugsy why she served them, and when Bugsy says she felt like she couldn’t say no as a second stew, Sandy goes to Hannah. When she asks, “You didn’t serve Mila’s nachos, why’d you serve those?” I gasp. The real target, though, is Kiko, who says he did what Hannah said, but Sandy will have none of it. I just love how many people are involved in this! Not only does Sandy (rightfully) criticize this meal, she (unrightfully) brings up last night’s dinner, which she’s now calling “crew food.” Kiko is offering to leave, telling Sandy she can fire him right there, but she says they need to finish the charter.

I’m left hoping Kiko somehow saves his ass, because I do like the guy — but more than that, I’m starting to get annoyed with how Sandy sees her crew as dispensable. Sure, Ben and Bugsy can bail you out on TV, but the point of this show starts to get lost when it’s a revolving door of crew members, rather than people who we get to know and who can build relationships and carry plot arcs. But I have hope for Kiko yet based on next episode’s teaser, which shows Malia calling Sandy out about how she’s been managing Kiko and the guests applauding him after dinner.

• Malia’s yacht-chef boyfriend is visiting after this charter! “It’ll be very refreshing to have a conversation with an intelligent male,” she says.

• “I’m gonna be home soon and then we can go back to a normal life,” Hannah tells her boyfriend on the phone, like she’s trapped aboard the Wellington against her will. At this point, she’s sure acting like it!

• Nothing makes me happier than watching Bugsy interact with guests. She just has a natural gift for it — these guests have already nicknamed her “Bugalicious.”

• Alex and Rob are going to dress as Chippendale dancers for a party later on this charter, which I just can’t wait to see.

Below Deck: Mediterranean Recap: Sandy’s Hit List

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