- Below Deck -The Official Ranking of 'Below Deck' Locations Where Elizabeth Has Snuck Off To Shit Talk Francesca
Throughout the latest season of Below Deck, new Chief Stew Francesca has butted heads with more than a few of her fellow coworkers. In addition to helping drive Izzy to the exterior crew, she's also been having some serious friction with Elizabeth, who at first was her golden employee and then quickly became her problem child once you was given her second stripe. As soon as Ashling joined the Season 8 cast of the Bravo show, it became clear that Elizabeth would be the odd one out — and she's taken pretty much every opportunity she can to vent her frustrations about that.
Over the last two episodes, the stew has really ramped it up. It seems she's constantly sneaking away or taking a moment to talk shit about her boss, and she's already been caught or nearly caught twice. As "The Bravo Book Club" podcast says, "The #1 rule of talking shit is knowing where the person you are shit talking is #BelowDeck." Unfortunately, that is not Elizabeth's strong suit — but some of her choices of venting locations have been better than others. Join me as I rank them from least to most dangerous.
Least Dangerous: On the Beach With Izzy
Francesca knows she's got a sympathetic ear in Izzy, which is why she's the best choice of allies when it comes to an anti-Francesca contingent within the crew. And the choice to share that moment on the beach where they could guarantee that the Chief Stew wouldn't be interrupting any time soon was inspired. After all, Francesca was still back on the yacht at this moment — and if she wanted to join they'd have to communicate over the radios so that the speed boat could be brought over to the main ship. They were pretty much guaranteed no interruptions, which is why this is the safest shit talking spot.
In the Van With Izzy and James
A close second was the quick moment Elizabeth took to air out her emotions with her fellow low-rung crew mates on their way out on the town. It's a little riskier since they're adding in an extra person (and James has done his fair share of flirting with Francesca, making his loyalties potentially dubious), but there's still a guarantee that the Chief Stew isn't going to magically teleport into the van mid transport. Elizabeth would have to face Francesca the second they got out of the van, but she's got plenty of time to wrap up her conversation.
On the Beach With Izzy and Eddie
Eddie has proven to be another sympathetic ear — not because he has anything against Francesca, but because he also appreciates a good vent and he seems to like Elizabeth. It's a little more high-risk since Eddie as the bosun is of a similar rank to Francesca, meaning that he's theoretically closer colleagues with her than Elizabeth, but this is still relatively safe. It also helped that she'd already been shit talking Francesca in front of him earlier. Which brings us to...
In the Van With James, Eddie and Rachel
While technically this location is as safe as the others because it guarantees a Francesca-free zone, we saw how it played out for Elizabeth. A drunk Rachel (especially a drunk Rachel who is about five seconds away from going major meltdown status, quitting her job and flying across the country to see her man amid an escalating global pandemic) is a volatile Rachel, and she quickly went off on Elizabeth, shouting at her to suck it up and get over it. That frustration was unexpected — and it had us wondering if there would be further fallout after the fact or if Rachel was really a safe person for Elizabeth to talk to going forward.
Laying in the Crow's Nest With James
The drunk factor is also what makes this one risky. Being back on the same ship Francesca is currently occupying automatically brings this one higher up on the list, but Elizabeth could feel relatively safe knowing that everyone else had already gone to bed ~below deck.~ That said, drunk people are loud — and they say voices carry on the water. It worked out OK, but, for future reference, I don't think it's the wisest choice.
In the Laundry Room With Ashling
Closed doors are always helpful. They at least put a barrier between you and the person you're talking shit about. But Ashling is a complicated person for Elizbeth to go to. She's been trying to stay neutral in this conflict, but she's the only other person who reports directly to Francesca — and yet she seems to get along with Francesca better than just about anyone else. Still, she seems to understand Elizabeth's need to vent, and she let it all wash over her in the laundry room without getting too deep.
Sitting at the Bar Before a Meeting With Francesca
But whether or not Ashling is a safe person to talk to, this choice of location seems risky. They were literally waiting for Francesca to come meet them to talk about the next charter, which presumably meant they were keeping an eye out for her but also meant she could've walked up at any given moment. That said, this one isn't higher because Elizabeth kept her conversation topic vague. Despite the scandalized look on Ashling's face (after all, it's no secret what Elizabeth means when she talks about being stressed), the Second Stew gave herself plausible deniability by not getting into any specifics.
In the Crew Break Room With Ashling
That caveat is what bumps this location up higher on the list. It seems like people come and go through this area a lot, too, leaving them open to interruption at any given moment. And when you've got your back to the entryways as you focus on getting your work done, you leave yourself vulnerable to some serious eavesdropping. That said, Elizabeth seemed to get away with it. At the top two locations on this list, she wasn't so lucky.
Out on Deck Cleaning Up After Dinner With Izzy
When you know that everyone is hustling and bustling within the same relatively contained area, it's better to keep your mouth shut. And Francesca actually did walk in on Elizabeth and Izzy talking and noted that they had an "awkward" conversation she clearly assumed was about her. That said, she didn't actually catch them saying anything specific, so she seemed to let it slide. And the fact that Izzy was the one to prompt the conversation lets Elizabeth off the hook just slightly. But, still — it was a careless choice of locals, and it definitely came back to bite them in the butt.
Most Dangerous: Out on Deck With Rachel
Unfortunately, this one was the worst, and it was pretty much in the exact same spot. Won't anyone learn their lesson??? Technically, this shit talk sesh came before Elizabeth's on deck discussion with Izzy, but the fact that it's day time and neither of them seem to be doing any particularly noisy work means that they've got pretty much no cover for their convo. They also don't actually work together, which means there's really no good excuse for what they're doing snuck off to the side of the ship like this. And as we saw, standing by the doors without being in sight of the doors provides the perfect opportunity for someone — like Francesca — to linger just inside of them while eavesdropping on every word said.
I don't blame Elizabeth for being frustrated, Francesca for being annoyed, or Rachel for trying to escalate the issue up the food chain so she doesn't have to actually get involved, but this moment saw Francesca feeling betrayed by both her colleague and her employee and everyone walked away feeling worse for wear. This was the ultimate messy moment... but we have a feeling there will be a new #1 next week when Francesca (once again) catches Izzy and Elizabeth getting into it in the cabins. Yikes.