Part 2 of Below Deck's seventh-season reunion really gets to the meat of some of the issues of the charter season... and yet, it doesn't quite, as the sincerity of apologies is questioned, Captain Lee doesn't provide a satisfying rationale for exiting the set mid-taping, and one yachtie (who still isn't happy with that term) actually makes the rookie mistake of trying to blame the editing.
But there's still some good intel in this second half of the reunion, so if you're too busy unpacking from your Presidents' Day Apres Ski fan cruise (remember that show?) to watch the last Below Deck of Season 7, we've got your "high"lights.
Guys: Ashton takes "full responsibility" for everything! The overall impression I get is that he's mostly bummed out that he's getting dragged all over social media for acting a misogynist fool, not that he's actually sorry, or really understands what he did wrong (as Kate and Rhylee point out a number of times, he often tries to rationalize behavior that in the previous breath he claims he has no memory of). Ashton proudly announces that he's quit drinking, the better to reflect on his poor behavior, but Andy skeptically notes that it isn't a development of very long standing -- Ashton just stopped drinking "in January," i.e., probably after a New Year's bout of problematic behavior -- and it's Ashton's announcement that he just seen a therapist about angrily kissing co-workers who aren't into it (I'm paraphrasing) that prompts Captain Lee to storm out of the reunion grumbling about "f*cking dickheads." Add to this the furious glares he's directing at the distaff side of the reunion, and it doesn't seem like he's learned...anything.
Abbi felt "respected" by her fellow deckhands! Abbi follows up this observation by noting that she "knew she was third deckhand" and that there were things she couldn't do -- in other words, she knew her place. She should count herself lucky that the rest of the crew was too busy re-litigating their own grievances to dig into the montage devoted to Abbi's incompetence with the radio and sophomoric early exit.
Brian was a victim of editing! In his very slight, very sad defense, Brian's trying to say (I think) that sometimes things are expressed, or situations get away from people, in a way that they regret as they rewatch themselves in those situations or saying those things. As a first-time reality-show participant, I think he's also trying to express that he wasn't prepared for that part of it. But none of his fellow "non-fiction programming" noobs tries to blame the editing, and in 2020, literally nobody else should attempt it either.
Captain Lee isn't going to criticize Kate! Compared to the other dinguses on Season 7, Kate didn't do anything all that egregious, but Lee's refusal ever to take her to task is starting to come off badly for them both. "Better than these jerks" still doesn't mean "perfect," and it's okay to say so -- especially when her snarky duckfacing is just exacerbating existing beef.
Captain Lee wouldn't work with Rhylee again either! Well, he does qualify it with "unless some things change," but based on how combative she is during this reunion -- and how evidently difficult it is for her to resist piling on in any conversation involving a castmate she dislikes -- it seems like Rhylee's declarations about thinking before she speaks and reacts going forward are about as likely to stick as Ashton's, which is to say, not very.
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Sarah D. Bunting co-founded Television Without Pity, and her work has appeared in Glamour and New York, and on MSNBC, NPR's Monkey See blog, MLB.com, and Yahoo!. She's also the editor-in-chief and publisher of Tomato Nation, and true-crime blog and podcast The Blotter Presents.