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, E02: "The Proposal"
Despite Kevin's continuing issues (which the editors in turn continue to provide audio of; guys, we get what's going on, so knock it off), the dual dinners go off without a hitch in the early part of "The Proposal." That includes the proposal itself, even though Kate blunders into the moment literally as the guest is popping the question.
Possibly because it'll make a cute story later, that gaffe doesn't affect the answer or the crew's first tip, which they spend getting wasted, ripping up a Phuket dance floor, and engaging in ill-advised (Abbi and Ashton) and unwelcome (Brian at Courtney) flirtations. Then it's time to fight through the hangovers to flip the boat, with Kate and Ashton wondering in their talking-head interviews whether Thai vodka is "different." Whatever it is, the after-effects lead Abbi to misplace her radio, and get a warning shot fired across her bow (as it were) by Captain Lee as a result.
As Kevin preps for the second charter by calling a meeting and issuing a bunch of edicts about the stews hewing to his organizational standards -- and not for nothing, but his so-called system sounds disorganized and confusing -- Tanner gets some good advice from his mom, and the returning guests Kate is so psyched to see again bring a friend who can't hold her liquor.
Who's sailing smoothly and who needs to be stuffed into Davy Jones's locker? Your Episode 2 power rankings...
1. Captain Lee. Gets warm and fuzzy about the proposal; takes a cool "it wasn't pretty but it worked" attitude towards Abbi's struggles with a bow line, but later lets her know in no uncertain terms that if she loses her walkie again, she's toast. [Last week: 1]
2. Kate. I still struggle to understand her Winchester House approach to hairpin use, but when her hair's down this week, she's got A+ effortless beachy waves happening. Makes a good point about Kevin trying to assert pack dominance over what is her department, and her "asshole says what" faces while he's doing it are everything. [Last week: 2]
3. Simone. Pleasant; competent; may be lying when she says she never gets sick of ironing, but she sold it. [Last week: 8]
4. Ashton. You've never seen anyone happier while he's bugging out on the dance floor than Ashton white-man's-overbiting it up at the club with Simone. The soggy "Abbi, you're my fucking favorite!" declarations on their first night out don't bode well for his ability to maintain leadership focus under the influence, though. (And we've seen the previews, hee.) [Last week: 3]
5. Abbi. It looks likely to become a storyline next week, so I won't belabor it now, but I fail to see how it's safe for her to wear that mermaid mane down while she's dealing with lines and winches on deck. She also has an out-loud crush on Ashton, rolls her eyes about the frequent changes of clothes, and loses her walkie, but she's less off-putting than some. [Last week: 7]
6. The guests. The first set of guests don't cause any problems, tip generously, and provide a feel-good proposal that's so goofy ("I don't want to do life without you"), it comes back around to awesome. And that ring, oo-fah, you can see it from space. The next set of guests is, if I recall correctly from last season, fine...but Brandy, who was not with them on their first trip, is not fine, at all -- hyperventilating, freaking out about the heat, swooning onto a seat before the tour is finished and lolling sweatily onto an AC vent. I mean, we've all been there, but then we turned 24. [Last week: 5]
7. Tanner. Enough with the voice-overs about older women and "cougars" paired with shots of Kate; that does not "a personality" make. Would probably rank lower if not for his mother's chirping in her Megan Mullaly voice at him not to get anybody pregnant. [Last week: 4]
8. Courtney. I also enjoy "eating truffled pasta, drinking rosé," and comfortable seating, but Courtney just bitches about every little thing -- the uncomfortable chair at the restaurant, not wanting to take a selfie at the club, the club itself...on and on, but the thing is, it's not un-relatable? The crews' nights out at various nightspots have always looked like headachey nightmares to me, and Courtney's shrugged "I just like silence and a glass of wine" spoke to me. Kate hasn't voiced any issues with her work, either, so while I'm not one to side-eye The Editing as what's responsible for a character arc on these shows (although I probably should be), I wonder if Courtney's not giving the production much to work with since she's not acting a fool? [Last week: 10]
9. Brian. Ordinarily I'd clock a dude for telling a woman she should smile and/or laugh more because she's so pretty -- extra points off for doing it when he's blackout drunk -- but by the time he pulls that nonsense, we've spent so much time listening to Courtney complaining about every damn thing that it's hard to fault him. ...Not impossible, though, and ominous references to his "past" flare-ups of temper lead me to believe this one could turn problematic on a dime. [Last week: 6]
10. Kevin. I mean, I won't act like I don't feel his pain as a fellow controlling person...but this is why I stopped having dinner parties, or at least the kind where everything has to come out at the same time. Lord knows I'd have a nervous breakdown after two meals as a professional chef, which is why I do this instead. And if he's not going to self-soothe about when to put bread in the oven, he could at least not snark on the service at the tip meeting and make enemies of the interior crew. [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.