Original air date: July 20, 2010
As the storm rages through the crab grounds, hauling pots gets really complicated on the Northwestern. As numbers dwindle and weather worsens, the risk outweighs the reward and Captain Sig gives up, willing to take being up to 4,000 pounds short over losing some or all of his crew. In Saint Paul, where the Cornelia Marie is still preparing to get underway, Freddy Maugatai is in the wheelhouse when Josh Harris calls to pass along the news that Captain Phil had died. Breaking down, he heads into the engine room to inform the rest of the crew, and he and Steve Ward share a moment of tearful consolation. An eerie calm passes over the crab grounds, and the captains, who don’t know of Phil’s fate yet, express their concerns.
Most northern of the ships right now, the Kodiak works in frigid conditions in an attempt to fish the edge of the ice pack. Although Wild Bill doesn’t regret getting rid of deckhand Clint, having two new deckhands doesn’t help when the air temperature is −40 °F/C and visibility is 15 feet. Poor returns from the pots prompt a northward trek. Due to the freezing temperatures, the hydraulic system onboard develops a problem. Deck boss Adam shuts down the hydraulic system for repairs, inadvertently endangering the oblivious crew above when a pot suspended from the now-paralyzed deck crane swings uncontrollably before it can be tethered. The broken hydraulic line is replaced and fishing continues.
The Time Bandit needs to fill two of its three tanks in the next 48 hours. The crew seems to be working better, and the numbers improve as well, giving hope that they will make the next delivery. Jeremy hauls bait hard, and Captain Andy decides to teach him how to throw buoys. But his arms are so sore, he can’t throw them very far, and one gets caught on the rail, potentially endangering the boat. To the west of Saint Paul, the Wizard sees good fishing along the ice pack. The problem is, Captain Keith sees the crew getting nonchalant about their jobs. He comes down from the wheelhouse to give them a pep talk, telling them to speed up the process so they can plug the tanks and get back in. Deckhand Lynn Guitard continues to lag behind and gets messy with tying up the stack, prompting an additional talking-to from Keith at the wheelhouse window.
The Northwestern gets into Saint Paul early, 10 hours before its delivery time. After some downtime with the crew, Captain Sig goes to the Cornelia Marie to introduce himself to relief captain Derrick Ray. It is here that he finds out that Captain Phil is gone; it was the same evening Derrick found out. The galley of the Northwestern is somber after Sig relays the news to his crew, who fights their emotions. The word spreads quickly from there through the crews. As the Northwestern leaves, they slowly pass the Cornelia Marie. Jake Anderson breaks down as they salute the boat. Andy comments that it’s time to retire his American flag on the Time Bandit; the storm has ripped it into a barely recognizable tangle of fibers. He compares it to the season in general.
In Seattle, Phil’s family gathers for his funeral service. Among the mourners with Jake and Josh are their mother and Phil’s father. His ashes are placed in two motorcycle fuel tanks. One is buried in Seattle at his funeral; Jake and Josh plan to spread his ashes from the other during the next King Crab season. The Time Bandit has a moment of silence. On the Northwestern, Sig mentions the tale that seagulls carry the spirits of lost sailors; he reckons that one sitting on the bow at that moment might just be Phil. On the Wizard, a tearful Keith oversees as the crew loads a full crab pot, packing its shot and buoys within so it stays on the bottom as a memorial, so Phil will always have a full pot to come back to. The Time Bandit memorializes Phil in their own typical style: by setting off their fireworks. The final shot sees the Wizard send their pot over as Keith tolls the ship’s bell eight times.