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, E15: "Public Displays of Affection"
Captain Lee "decides" to keep Rhylee on, which basically isn't a decision at all; tells Ashton that asking Lee to fire Rhylee isn't good management, which is not itself good management; and, in the course of telling Rhylee she's staying on the boat, also tells her he polled the rest of the crew about her fate, which is also terrible management. I get that there's a limit to the control Lee has over personnel decisions, given that it's a TV show, but there's also a limit to my not clocking him for kicking cans down the road instead of dealing with situations straightforwardly.
Ashton is as gracious about it as you'd expect, i.e., not -- he relegates Rhylee to scut work while whining to camera that Captain Lee took a third deckhand's side over his. Well, when he's not canoodling at the club with Molly, the model from the previous set of charter guests, and encouraging Brian and Tanner to snuggle with Chef Justine. He probably does Kate a favor in that regard, as she's shockingly open to a hookup with stupid Tanner...despite how insensitive that is to Simone, and how insensitive Tanner is to, you know, everything. (You can tell because he's passed out drunk, aaaagain.)
And luring Brian into a smooch-uation with Justine would do Courtney a favor too, because Brian starts the letting-her-down-"easy" process with a text exchange confirming that they're "just having fun." His next move is to act like Courtney is the asshole for remarking to Kate that his conducting the DTR ("define the relationship") talk via text is not okay. It's fine if Brian doesn't want to bring any old person home to meet his daughter in the girlfriend role, but Courtney didn't ask for that, so why explode the situation now?
And could someone get Captain Lee some toilet paper?
Who's great, and who's ghosted? Your Episode 15 power rankings...
1. Courtney. I don't think her venting to Kate is that mortal a sin, honestly. It's a reality show, on a boat; not sure Brian's Garbo routine is workable under the circumstances. When Brian finally broaches the subject in person instead of conducting important relationship business via text, Courtney's "I'm sorry that you feel that way" in response to his privacy concerns is a power move. [Last week: 1]
2. Rhylee. When she sees how "getting to" keep her job is going to go -- nonstop scutwork; her coworkers interacting monosyllabically with her, if at all -- she shuts down, to the point of taking her meals in the head. The under-the-breath muttering suggests she's close to erupting, though. [Last week: 3]
3. Kate. Announcing that "I have hideous taste" as a way of downplaying how revolting her hook-up-with-Tanner plan is almost cancels out the revulsion...but not quite. Never mind that Simone will clearly not be cool with it, because nobody else should be either, because he's a player wannabe who can't hold his liquor. [Last week: 2]
4. Captain Lee. The bungling of the Ashton-vs.-Rhylee set-to reaches its nadir with his "there's one charter left; both of y'all suck it up" strategy. If I'm honest, I'd probably feel the same way, but there's a way to handle it that doesn't undermine both parties. The way Lee chose gets him karmically marooned in the sky-deck head with no Charmin. [Last week: 6]
5. Simone. I would feel sorry for her, having to watch Tanner do his Tanner thing all over Kate/any other woman who will hold still long enough? But 1) it's Tanner, and 2) when Kate puts her and Courtney in charge of service, Simone again grouses that Kate's condescending about it, and again brags that she's a math major, like that's got eff-all to do with knowing how to open a bottle of wine. [Last week: 4]
6. Kevin. Maybe your back seized up because you felt guilty for tattling to Brian that Courtney vented to Kate? Or maybe it's your dumb dances, or your repeatedly falling asleep in uncomfortable Uber seats. Either way: looks good on you. [Last week: 8]
7. The guests. The previous charter's guests want to keep hanging out with/slobbering on Ashton and Tanner; the current primary is Alexis of RHOC, who's throwing herself a happy-divorce-to-me charter and being sophomorically extra about her new boyfriend and what's going to happen when they "go to bed" at 10 PM. To her friends' (and, actually, her boyfriend's) credit, they greet these single entendres and braying about never getting married again with nauseated eye-rolls. [Last week: 7]
8. Brian. It's not completely horrible to initiate this kind of conversation via text; where Brian went wrong is in staying on text to clarify that it's a low-commitment deal. The breaking his face in the shower is not the best look either from a guy with alleged yacht experience, either (it wasn't storming or windy at the time that we saw), and said experience should also tell him not to expect his business to stay his alone if he chooses to hook up amongst the crew. [Last week: 5]
9. Tanner. Whatever. [Last week: 10]
10. Ashton. He passed the management buck to Captain Lee, then whined when he didn't get the outcome he wanted; now, as Lee pointed out, he's retaliating against Rhylee, a hard worker who doesn't get puking drunk and can stay upright while bathing. I wouldn't say he's a bad guy, but I don't think he has any idea how to relate to women outside of a limited id-driven "get wasted and smash" context. [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.