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Photo: Bravo/Mark Rogers/Bravo

Oof, this episode is heavy and upsetting, to say the least. An overwhelming amount of crew-related situations occur, and it’s extremely bone-chilling to witness two instances of attempted sexual assault happen in a matter of minutes. I’m sort of at a loss for words, but nevertheless, I persist. Let’s get into the events of the second half of this week’s dark double-header.

The episode picks up where the last left off: with Luke retreating to his room after production caught him climbing into Margot’s bed while she was asleep. Laura checks in on him, and he tells her that he did nothing wrong to Margot and doesn’t understand why the producers were interfering. At the same time, Aesha checks on Margot and tells her what just happened with Luke, and Margot confirms that she didn’t give her consent to him.

Afterward, Laura joins Harry, Tzarina, Culver, and Adam in the jacuzzi. She once again gets very touchy with Adam, rubbing her back on his legs, clinging onto his back, and rubbing her body against his. Adam tells her “no” and to stop touching him several times, and he’s clearly frustrated that she isn’t leaving him alone. Laura then follows Adam back to his bunk, where she puts lotion on his back and begins giving him a massage after climbing into his bed, despite his constant refusal. The producers interfere and tell her to get out, but she continues trying to kiss and massage him until the producers finally get her to leave.

I’m disgusted, and I feel horrible for Adam. To watch her do this to him, especially moments after Luke tried to assault Margot, made my stomach drop. What’s worse is that he feels like he shouldn’t speak out about what’s happening because he doesn’t want to make things awkward or lead to her getting fired, even though she absolutely should (and eventually does).

Aesha, visibly shaken and in tears, wakes up Captain Jason and informs him about the Luke situation. Captain Jason asks if Margot is safe and then comforts Aesha, who tells him that it’s hard for her to see people get taken advantage of. She then shares with us that she has sexual assault trauma from an experience similar to what Margot has just gone through. I could feel her pain when she was speaking to Captain Jason. Captain Jason immediately grabs a spare key to unlock Luke’s door and tells him to leave and spend the rest of the night in a hotel.

The following morning, Margot tells Laura about what Luke did, and Laura says, “Was his dick standing?” Imagine that being your first thought? What an awful, awful human being. Aesha, Tzarina, and Margot then chat in Aesha’s cabin, where they tell Margot everything that happened. Margot’s first instinct is to blame herself for being “drunk” and “flirty,” which is upsetting since Luke was the one who did something wrong, not her. Like Tzarina reminds her, women should be allowed to get drunk without the fear of being harmed. My heart breaks for Margot, but at least she had a good support system surrounding her.

Captain Jason then calls for a crew meeting to address Luke’s absence and informs them that he’s going to be fired, stressing the importance of consent and respect among the crew. Laura, unsurprisingly, only cares about the fact that she can’t say bye to him. Luke returns to the boat, where Jason informs him that his employment’s been terminated and that he needs to pack and leave immediately. Good riddance! When Laura tells Harry that she’s sad about Luke’s departure, Harry says that he feels worse for Margot and that they need to focus on caring for her. The bar is on the floor, but I’m proud to see that the rest of the men on board are all concerned for Margot and agree that Luke is a piece of shit who deserves to get fired (and worse, if we’re being honest).

The same cannot be said about Laura, who spends the day expressing how sad she is not for Margot, but for Luke. Given that Laura also disregards consent and wasn’t respectful of Adam’s boundaries, I can’t say I’m surprised that she feels bad for Luke. Paraphrasing won’t cut it, so here’s what she says directly to Margot, who’s literally in the midst of processing a traumatic experience: “Aw, poor Luke. I should have just kept him happy. If he comes naked in my cabin, I’d be like, ‘Hello! Yes!’” Like, what the hell??? She then says, “We all feel bad, but he feels the worst right now.” Laura’s insensitive response to Margot is sickening. The lack of empathy she has for Margot — and the blatant support and sympathy she’s showing for Luke, who doesn’t even give two shits about her — is very telling of what type of person she is.

Meanwhile down in the laundry room, Aesha tells Adam that she’s noticed how intense Laura has been acting toward him and to tell her if anything is wrong. In a world full of Lauras, be an Aesha, who recognizes that Adam was being sexually harassed and wanted to help. He says that he feels he should be more stern with her instead of playing nice, but I think telling Jason that she’s creating a toxic work environment is the best move.

With no bosun for the day, Culver’s tasked with leading the deck crew, but unfortunately he doesn’t quite pull it off. He doesn’t give the boys clear directions, and both Harry and Adam share in confessionals that they think they’ll be fucked because Culver lacks the initiative that’s required of a successful bosun. I guess Culver should stick to what he knows best, which is keeping guests entertained.

Anyway, back to Laura and her increasingly awful comments. First, she complains to Aesha about how she didn’t get to say goodbye to Luke, and pretty much says that she doesn’t think the situation was serious enough to warrant him being fired. In a confessional, she shares that she thinks he should’ve gotten a second chance. At what? Trying to sexually assault someone? Then in the laundry room, she tells Margot that she feels sad for Luke because she thinks he meant it as a joke and that he “wouldn’t rape you or anything.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, she implies that Margot didn’t refuse his advances and that he “felt welcomed” coming to her cabin. Margot quite literally told him she wanted to sleep and he hovered over her in bed while naked. How much clearer could she possibly have been? There aren’t enough words to express how much hatred I have for Laura.

Margot informs Aesha about Laura’s inappropriate comments, and Aesha immediately makes Captain Jason aware of how Laura’s making Margot feel worse. She also mentions Laura’s unwanted pursuit of Adam, which Adam confirms when Captain Jason asks him about it. Captain Jason then calls Laura to the bridge, where he reprimands her for being insensitive toward Margot — which she denies, saying that she was checking in on Margot  — and then fires her. Laura tells him that he’s making a mistake and, in her final confessional, says that it isn’t good leadership on his part. That’s obviously wrong, because everyone — the crew, me, and probably all of you — feels a collective relief once she’s gone. We’ve waited for this moment for so long, and it’s finally here. We never have to see their faces again. Manifestation works!

Margot tells us that she’s thankful to be surrounded by a group of people who comfort her and make her feel safe during such a difficult situation, which warms my heart. I want to give a shoutout to Captain Jason and Aesha, whose actions throughout this episode were truly admirable. Aesha is such a genuine and kind-hearted soul, and her support for both Margot and Adam was heroic. And good on Captain Jason for listening to his crew’s concerns and experiences without ever invalidating their feelings, for firing Luke and Laura without hesitation, and for prioritizing the well-being of his team.

In addition to other things revealed in the mid-season preview — including a new stew named Jamie who takes a liking to Culver, Margot drinking on charter, and porn star guests — we learn that João, who previously worked as bosun on Below Deck Mediterranean, will be joining the cast. I’ll hold off on sharing all my feelings about this until the episode with his return officially airs, but let me leave you all with this: choosing to replace Luke with another problematic crew member is certainly a bold choice.

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