Lots of Below Deck seasons haven't gotten even one reunion episode, much less the two that Season 7's getting. Mean-boys deck-crew drama alone probably warrants its own standalone episode (and is probably getting just that in Part 2), so a two-parter might seem like a necessity to viewers...
...but based on how quickly everyone's downing cocktails, and how uncharacteristically tired of the entire project Andy Cohen seems before the reunion's even underway, maybe another two hours in one another's company is too much to ask. If it's too much to ask of you, good news! I've listed the seven key takeaways from the first part of the reunion. All of the conversational fuel, none of the tiresome subtitles they insist on giving Simone.
Simone did not in fact lie on her résumé. She says she had experience with the cooking and housekeeping aspects of the job, but none with service. That said, Simone is still incapable of comprehending that Kate kept her on laundry and turndowns not to punish her, but because those things needed doing, and Courtney was better at service. And could open a bottle of wine, and no, I will not let that drop.
Ashton believes he's in a position to question Kate's and Captain Lee's recent IRL management experience. I actually don't disagree that Kate has bullied underlings in past seasons, but Ashton has to know what the current perception of him is, and therefore should know that his best move is to keep his head down. And the reunion hasn't even started to dig into his nonsense yet.
There's hope yet for Kevin. When Andy turns the spotlight on Kevin, he's squirmy as hell, but turns it around by 1) admitting that he can see "how it comes off" when he's dismissive to Kate and Simone; 2) sighing that he "came out really hot" in his relationship with Kate, and had no time to sit back and reassess; 3) graciously accepting the excuse lifetime Kate throws him about not being accustomed to the different rhythms of a small private yacht; and 4) apologizing for crappy comments he made about Kate and Rhylee on Watch What Happens Live in the past. He seems sincerely chastened. It's nice to see someone learn something, and it's kind of too bad he gets both barrels from Captain Lee because...
Captain Lee REALLY hates boat gossip. Which is ridiculous, because that's the entire point of Below Deck, basically, and certainly of Bravo-branded reunions -- is he new? Even more ridiculous is the fact that Lee starts thundering away about Kevin inserting himself into Brian/Courtney drama that was none of his business when Kevin's role in it was literally the only aspect of that "just having fun" text flap that nobody had a problem with! Kevin just wanted Brian and Courtney to talk to each other, to end the drama, not prolong it! It's really not clear to me what brought that on; maybe Captain Lee is just fed up with all of them?
Abbi did end up marrying that guy. She lives with him in Greece and they run a charter company together. More interesting is the insight she provides into the lead time between shooting and airtime: apparently she's been married for a year. So as raw as emotions still seem among many of the Below Deck-ers, at least 12 months have passed since the charter season ended.
Brian's boundaries still need work. According to Courtney, Brian got "aggressive" and "venomous" with her based on her remarks about the show on social media, to the point where she had to block him; she says it "gives [her] anxiety," and her voice is shaking throughout much of the discussion of their onboard relationship. Courtney's the only one I follow on Twitter, so I've seen some of her commentary, and while they're clearly about him, they're reserved and not mean. Maybe he should stop doing tone-deaf shit if he doesn't want to get called out.
Tanner has learned to apologize for acting immature...but not how to stop acting that way. He's overacting his sorries to Simone, for one thing, and for another, when he's called out for whining about stuff Captain Lee said about him on his blog, Tanner's response is to whine some more that Rhylee shouldn't be talking about things Tanner posted on a private Facebook group. Here again I have to wonder if the solution to co-workers noting that you're a drunk and entitled dingleberry with no impulse control isn't to, you know, stop being a drunk and entitled dingleberry with no impulse control.
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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.