The only thing better than a new episode of Below Deck on Monday nights is Sarah D Bunting's Tuesday morning power rankings. Click here for previous Below Deck power rankings.
Below Deck S07, E14: "Witch-hunt"
Tensions continue to rise between Rhylee and the rest of the crew, not helped by Kate reporting TO Rhylee that Ashton tattled on Rhylee to Captain Lee about the fishing-expedition snafu. Rhylee does try to address the situation calmly and in private with Ashton, but because neither of them can resist acting exactly the way that sets the other one off, it doesn't work out.
In general, it seems like one of those socio-professional situations where everyone's got too much invested in a whole list of perceived slights and who's on what "side" for fences to get mended. It also seems like bad management all around: Ashton goes back to Captain Lee to complain that Rhylee's creating the same problems she did last season; Ashton doesn't tell his other subordinates to quit shit-talking her and making staffing suggestions; Captain Lee basically polls the exterior crew on what to do, and tells them he's doing that like it's Hunger Games At Sea* or something; and Kate and Ashton get into it with each other instead of focusing on their own staffs.
*(I've never seen The Hunger Games; don't at me.)
Elsewhere, the exact nature of Brian and Courtney's relationship is obscure; Tanner lays the groundwork to bone Kate the next time everyone gets wasted; and Kevin makes the guests eat their words (as it were) about his food, but still manages to endanger the tip with his customary ungraciousness.
Who's an Instagrammed dessert and who's a cake left out in the rain? Your Episode 14 power rankings...
1. Courtney. She's enjoying the intra-guest drama, and when she kind of gets put in the middle of it, she handles it with aplomb. She's right on about Kevin needing to accept Justine's apology because it's their job to be nice to the guests, and though she could also point out that Kevin could be less stroppy about breakfast plating when Courtney asks him -- perfectly pleasantly -- about some blueberries, she holds her tongue. [Last week: 1]
2. Kate. I don't think Ashton's entirely wrong to expect a conversation among department heads to stay among department heads, but I also don't think Kate's wrong to note that telling Captain Lee he wants Rhylee fired isn't "managing" her. Kate's evident satisfaction in stirring up trouble and nettling Ashton isn't a great look, but...he deserves it. [Last week: 3]
3. Rhylee. I give her a lot of credit for trying to speak openly and vulnerably to Ashton about how she's feeling in the job. It's not surprising that, after he interrupts her like four times while she's trying to say she feels dismissed and not supported, Rhylee feels, you know, dismissed and not supported, and lashes out. Then she has to keep working the charter knowing that everyone's weighing in on her fitness to continue...and she keeps working. Yeah, she borrows some of this trouble for herself, but there are ways to handle a personality like that, and they really aren't difficult to figure out. [Last week: 4]
4. Simone. Can't wait to smirk that Kate's disorganized when Kate forgets to tell Simone she's going on the beach picnic; otherwise, no objection (especially not to the periodic "this idiot" faces she directs at Tanner). [Last week: 6]
5. Brian. The talking-head interview about his daughter, and whether Courtney's getting introduced to her after the charter, comes out of nowhere IMO. Have he and Courtney even slept together? Either way, maybe Brian could devote more mental energy to that, and less to offering unsolicited opinions about Rhylee to their boss. [Last week: 5]
6. Captain Lee. Who cares what Tanner thinks about anything, never mind whether Rhylee should stay on the boat? The decision to poll Tanner and Brian about Rhylee is baffling buck-passing; just tell Ashton it's Ashton's job to handle conflicts on his own staff, and to live with it if it's his decision to let Rhylee go. Instead, it's handled like a literal popularity contest. Disappointing and downright weird. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation since he's still stuck bunking in the Sky Lounge. [Last week: 2]
7. The guests. Is it me, or does the primary look like someone ran Paul Dooley through some kind of Chad panini press? ...Anyway: Justine starts out badly, but has the grace to admit it; we hardly see Jamie this week; and they leave a pretty decent tip. And they annoyed Kevin. [Last week: 8]
8. Kevin. Look, Justine's "just so you know, people are talking trash about your cooking" approach sucks, no question. But 1) the correct response, when you work for tips, is to thank her for letting you know, then discard her "advice"; and then 2) when she realizes she overstepped and apologizes, make eye contact and thank her for the apology. Why? Because you work for tips, as a group. Thumbs up for turning it around, and for the shade directed at Instagram "chefs," but being a butt costs everyone money, so knock it off. [Last week: 7]
9. Ashton. He only takes a break from acting put upon by, snitching on, talking shit to his other staff about, and patronizing Rhylee...so that he can flex shirtless with one of the fashion-model guests. If he can't get along with Rhylee, that may be on her? But what to do from there is on him, the department head. It's pretty rich to expect Kate to stay out of the cross-talk when he lets Brian and Tanner do it and doesn't correct them. ...I'm not Rhylee's lawyer over here; I don't know her, she could be a nightmare, but Ashton had an opportunity to connect with her and improve morale, but he wouldn't meet her halfway, and now he wants Captain Lee to take out his trash. Not how it works. [Last week: 10]
10. Tanner. Oh, sure, let's ask the doofus who woke up half the crew with some kind of weird night terrors involving a little person (...I don't know either, y'all) what he thinks should be done about Rhylee! "She's like a cancer on the boat"? What a helpful insight, not overstated at all! ...Jackass. [Last week: 9]
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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.