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Deadliest Catch: "New Blood"

Season 7 Episodes 1
Airdate: April 12, 2011

Deadliest Catch is one of my favorite current shows. The wacky adventures of Captains Phil, Sig, the Hillstrand bothers, and Keith the Douche fishing for crab on the Bering Sea have entertained me for however long this show has been around. I mostly watch it during the weekend, because Discovery Channel runs a special marathon every Saturday, so I can never tell which season an episode is from.

But for this season, I started watching the episodes as they first air. Wikipedia tells me we are on season 7, so this is the 7.01 review.

The season premiere begins with the fisherman holding a memorial at sea for Captain Phil, whose slow death in a hospital was a major part of the previous season. Phil was only 53 when he passed away. Hard to believe a health nut like Captain Phil died so young. I mean, every time we saw him in the wheelhouse he was smoking. I swear a few seasons back he had a heart attack on the boat. Do you remember it? He was in the wheelhouse and then grabbed his chest in pain and started pounding on it with his fist, like he was giving himself CPR, until he felt better. Then he was like, "That was scary. I better have another smoke to calm me down."

Anyway, Phil's colleagues place his ashes in a crab pot and dump them into the ocean. That's the same thing they do to the dead fish they use as bait, but it's what Phil wanted. Then they fire a bunch of guns and explosives into the water. Man, fishing sure has changed.

The first episode of the season always covers the first day of fishing, as well as the pre-launch preparations. Let's see how the boats do.

Wizard

Instead of starting off with an interesting boat, the episode begins aboard the Wizard. Captain Keith is at the wheelhouse, where he enjoys watching his crew get battered by the waves spilling on deck. He warned them that they were headed straight for a big storm. I think Keith purposely steered into the storm to fuck with his crew.

Keith then listens to a distress call over the radio. Someone onboard a 930 foot long cargo vessel broke his neck.

The Coast Guard goes to rescue with one of the medivac helicopters. Deadliest Catch will break from showing us the main boats if something like a medical emergency or a sinking happen elsewhere. They have cameras everywhere man. It makes me suspect this whole show is fake. I bet that's not even how you fish for crab. Everyone knows that real crab fisherman are just a bunch of guys standing around a dock in Louisiana with a bucket. I bet this whole show is filmed in that giant pool in Mexico they shot Titanic in.

The copter has to lower a Coast Guardian onto the ship from a rope. The 40 knot wind add to the danger and as the Coast Guardian is going down, he smacks into one of the containers. He's OK though, because he's a tough littler trooper.

The cargo ship crew appears to be their own little League of Nations and function just as well. The patient has to be hoisted onto the helicopter using a gurney-bucket thing.

And then we go back to Captain Keith. Ah man.

A rope from one of the pots gets snagged in the propeller. That screengrab is not actual footage of the boat, it's a computer animated model used to show us what happened to the Wizard. Deadliest Catch often relies on computer generation imagery to illustrate aspects of crab fishing when a camera can't be used. Deadliest Catch has a much smaller budget than Lost, but still has much better CGI.

Cornelia Marie

With Phil gone, his sons, Jake and Josh, have taken over his ownership of the boat. The boys have been deckhands under their father for several years, but ask another man to be the captain. His name is Derrick, and he's in an awkward position due to having the two guys who hired him also working under him.

The Cornelia Marie is the last of the boats still at dock. Before Jake can officially join the crew, he has to take a urine test. Jake admitted to being an drug addict last season and was arrested for driving while intoxicated between seasons. He then went to rehab. He has to pee with the guy watching over him. The pee test guy then runs a little chemical thing into the sample and the results come back in 30 seconds. Jake is clean. Whenever I had to take a pre-employment urine test, it took between two to four weeks to get the results back, during which I could not start my job. And I was on land in Michigan. I'm sure that says a lot about the sorry shape of my state.

The crew is busy prepping the boat, except for Jake and the mechanic. They said they were going to go get a key made, and that was two and a half hours ago. It's a two man job, going to the hardware store and asking a clerk to copy a key. The captain is pissed, especially when the two return after having gone on a shopping trip. The captain lets Jake go but yells at the mechanic.

Yeah, this arrangement is working well.

Jake is such a Goddamn fuck up. I bet this is why Phil drank so much. He looked at his sons and saw that these flakes were his legacy, and that drove him to drink. He spent his whole life building up this crab fishing crew and putting his blood and sweat into his boat, and he just knows that when he's gone, his sons will be lucky if they don't crash his boat into a pile of rocks because they thought they remembered him telling them crabs live on rocks.

Northwestern

There is some fake tension about whether Captain Sig's little brother, Edgar, will rejoin the crew this season. It's fake because we already saw him on the boat when the narrator, Discovery Channel sex symbol Mike Rowe, asked the question. I assume Edgar would have told Sig if he was returning a few weeks ago at the latest. It's not like he was going to get on the boat and then decide halfway into the ocean if he wanted to work or not.

The main story of the Northwestern concerns young Jake Anderson, an ambitious deckhand who has been training to get his captain's license. He has to run back and forth from the deck to the kitchen to cook dinner so he can have it ready before the crew are done bringing up crab pots. I think the rest of the crew doesn't really like Jake.

Time Bandit

The Time Bandit is also in the middle of that big storm. Before they start fishing, two deckhands have to climb the mast to fix the flag that is getting battered by the weather. One of the men has to stand on the other's shoulders to reach it. It seems a bit futile to risk your life for this when the storm will just tear up the flag again as soon as you get back down. I wonder if it's a legal requirement that a vessel must have a flag visible, or maybe the show didn't want to piss off any veterans who would be outraged that someone wasn't pay proper respects to the flag he fought for our freedoms in Vietnam under.

Then there are the new boats:

Seabrooke

Not much happens with this boat. The captain looks like he could be in a Judd Apatow movie and his crew catches a ton of crab without any incidents. Later, the captain has to refill the coffee pot because one of the crew dumped it down the sink as a practical joke. I wonder why the captain doesn't just tell one of the deckhands to bring his coffee to him. He is probably worried they would pee in it.

Ramblin' Rose

Already I hate this crew.

The captain of the Ramblin' Rose is new to the job and only 28. His crew are all very young as well, it looks like they are all 30 or under. I would normally want to root for my generation here, but not these bozos.

They throw a birthday party for the deckboss, who turned 30, which makes him Old Man Deckboss. Mike Rowe tells us it's lucky he made it to 30 at all, and then he says it again a minute later. The deckboss has had a long string of injuries on the job, from broken ankles to actually falling overboard. He was also in a bit of a daze (from sleeping, not a bong, let's hope) during the birthday, which is a good state to be in when you are walking around the outside of a boat.

After celebrating their friend's birthday, the captain takes the boat back into harbor. They'll get around to catching crab one of these days...maybe. The crew takes the opportunity to drink. The next morning, the captain finds the boat in a a big mess. He interrogates the crew but they all deny drinking even while they are hung over. They all pin the blame on one guy, who the captain then fires. He was a totally bummer to party with anyway.

I think a bunch of college fraternity members thought it would be boss if they bought a crab boat and ran it together. I am going to call this Delta Sig boat. I bet at some point in the season, the Coast Guard is going to respond to a mayday distress call and find these morons floating in a life raft. "Ah, man where'd our boat go? Like one minute, Steve was trying to light a candle with his fart and then, next thing we know, the boat was sinking. Oh shit man, the owner is going to be pissed. And fuck, Mark threw up in the raft. Weak."