‘Below Deck’ Recap: The Dynamic of Kate & Ben’s Friendship Change Forever

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Recap by guest blogger J.R.


Unpopular opinion: I hate the Vitamin C song, “Graduation.” If you have heard it, ugh. And if you haven’t heard it, lucky you. To briefly describe it, it’s slow and makes you feel things, and I’m not comfortable with a song used for middle school graduations invoking that kind of emotion. Much like Ben, I’m trying to avoid feelings at all costs. There were some great songs that came out in 2000 and I refuse to limit myself to one that makes you reminisce on times you might not have even had, with people that you’ve grown to hate.

That being said, throughout this episode, I could not get that song out of my head. I felt misty-eyed for all the memories that don’t involve me at all, as I watched this charter season come to an end. Looking back, it might be tears of joys…that actually makes a lot more sense…

Who doesn’t have tears of joys? Well the stews definitely don’t. Kate is pissed that the trashcans are full and three rooms have no toilet paper. She’s not giving her stews a break because they’re slacking off anyway, what exactly do they need a break from. Sierra thinks that’s BS, because she’s worked hard all season, not realizing that working hard all season is her job, that she’s getting paid for, so she doesn’t get to not do that anymore because she’s going home tomorrow.

Kate speaks with Emily, explaining that it’s not that they’re not friends anymore, but she wants to end on a high note. Emily agrees and wants to smash it. Kate attempts to have this same conversation with Sierra who passive-aggressively smiles and says, “okay, great,” while not changing at all. Ben, who isn’t involved in the least, feels Kate is being insensitive for not giving them a break. Ben, who has no one to manage but himself, and can barely do that, is here doling out advice. Okay.

The guests are coming back from their excursion and Kate suggests Ben have lunch ready for them. Ben doesn’t agree and thinks they’ll want to shower first, then eat. I think he’s more hoping that. The guests, like normal, hungry, people want to eat when they get back. Kate and Ben continue to serve the guests and snip at each other. Outside, the deck team is getting along better than ever. They take in the slide, and have a group hug.

Dinner goes much better than lunch. The Captain is there for it, hating life, but for a brief moment Ben and Kate are getting along. After dinner, Kyle and Kate are talking and he complains about Sierra, obviously, but also tells Kate how Nico and Lauren talk badly about her. What is your purpose in this?

The guests leave and the crew has their tip meeting. They receive $16K, and overall each received $13500 for the season. Captain tells them they can go out, but after they get the boat in order.

Kate calls Nico and Lauren for their shirts. Bitch Face: Code Black. She tries to talk to them about how she feels insulted that they would think she would snitch and then bad-mouth her. Nico leaves, because he doesn’t care. Lauren stays, but clearly also doesn’t care, and offers an apology for assuming the worst. Come on guys, it really doesn’t matter anymore.

It’s finally their last night out! On the way there, Ben moves to sit with Kate, while Emily stares. Ben wants to make amends with Kate since they’re friends and not working together anymore. The whole night they seem to be getting along, which seems to upset Emily. She sees that they’re clearly best friends again, and doesn’t want to get more involved with Ben if there’s something between them. Emily, please grow up.

Emily feels like she doesn’t know where they stand, even though they just had a conversation last episode about it. She doesn’t want Ben, but she doesn’t want Kate to want Ben either. She goes to speak with him and says she likes seeing how he is with Kate that night, despite shooting them death glares, and complaining about it to Sierra. She can’t believe how different he and Kate’s work relationship and friendship is different and feels guilty for listening to him talk badly about her. Ben doesn’t understand why she’s upset. I don’t either. He asks if he would like him to hate her again, and she walks off, saying that isn’t what she meant, even though it was basically what she was saying.

Kyle goes to propose to Ashley. Does anyone even care? He asks Kate for a ring, and pays her a $1000 for it. He asks her, she says yes. In the words of Sierra, “okay, great.”

Ben fresh off from his talk with Emily sits back with Kate, huffily. He’s cursing, has major attitude, and after prodding, tells Kate he doesn’t like working with her and he doesn’t give a f***. So he decided to go with the plan he told Emily of going back to hating her? Okay, that’s healthy. Kate says Ben is so self-destructive, it’s embarrassing, and it is. They crew has a super uncomfortable ride back to the Valor.

The next morning, Ben comes to Kate’s room with a rose, probably plucked from the bouquet he gave to Emily that he was preserving in the fridge, and apologizes for last night. Kate is not impressed as he proclaims how much he f***ing loves her and will always be there for her. Right. Except for when you’re working together. Or drunk. Or with Emily. Or just had a conversation with Emily where she questions your friendship. But he’ll be there all the other times! Kate is basically like, “K. Thanks. Bye.” She doesn’t see the friendship as salvageable. But Ben isn’t letting this go, literally, and goes to hug her, even knowing how much she doesn’t like to. It’s really awkward, and pretty sad, because they were actually friends.

Well at least Nico and Lauren are still friends. Lauren describes it as soul-mate best friends, and she leaves knowing that. Sierra leaves next, believing that next time she needs to toughen up and not be so nice. Yeah, I don’t think she learned the right lesson. Nico is next, reflecting on his relationship with Kelley, whom he sees as a brother. If he could do one thing differently it would be to make out with at least one of the stews. Why is nobody getting their lessons right?? Kyle leaves mumbling incoherently for the last time.

Kelley meets with the Captain, and even though I know he’s leaving, I’m still scared for how this will end. Kelley thanks Captain Lee for giving him the opportunity to redeem himself. And the Captain commended him for his progress! And said he would work with him again! It was a touching moment I was not prepared for.

Ben goes to apologize to Emily for how he spoke to her last night as well, and she accepts. She’s about to leave, and Ben takes his funeral flowers off the boat and carries it to the end of the dock for her. It was honestly the saddest moment of the episode. Sadder than seeing a demise of a friendship. Just truly tragic to watch. Ben, what are you doing?

Ben leaves afterward, with the realization that being in a relationship while holding a job was probably more than he could handle, but he knows there’s always room for improvement.

Finally, it’s Kate turn to leave. She goes to say goodbye to the Captain, and he calls her kiddo. He’s such a softie for her. He tells her she did exceptionally well, and that he’ll miss her. As she walks off, he calls out, “You still look like the guest not the chief stew.” It was really sweet. The crew might not have ended on a high note as a team, but I think they all got an individual ending they were happy with.

I’ve loved our once-a-week vacations on the Valor together! You all made this season worth watching. Alright, fine, cue “Graduation.” But softly! Play it so quietly it’s like it’s not even on. Actually, yeah, just turn it off, I’m sorry, but it sucks. Drift into sleep in the peaceful silence knowing, you too, finally survived this charter season.


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