The episode opens with a montage of audio of Captain Phil Harris and video of Phil, Josh and Jake Harris on the Cornelia Marie, Derrick Ray and Andy Hillstrand, spliced with present-day footage of Josh flying into Dutch Harbor and driving out to the dock where the CM is berthed. Josh stops the truck and gets out about half-way through what the aeral pull back reveals to be the crab pot stacks, and as the pull back finishes we see the entire port side of the CM at dock before the opening credits. (The episode title is taken from Josh’s line about “betting it all on blue, Cornelia Marie blue” from late in season 9).
As footage of all the usual suspects preparing their boats for 2014 Opilio season rolls, Mike Rowe’s voice over: “on the line: $32 million in Bering Sea bounty”. This time, however, there are several twists.
Twist 1: We see more footage of Josh driving to the dock, reflecting on his father, as he has finally bought controlling interest in the family business, and the next aerial shot comes up over a pot stack to see the starboard side of the CM, tower lights blazing. As Josh walks on deck, we switch to the wheelhouse to meet long-time Harris family friend, co-captain/engineer Casey McManus. Prepping crab pots not used since 2011 is a significant challenge, as is having the youngest crew in the fleet, including Josh’s high school classmate (and Bering Sea Gold digger) Cody Moen. Before they set sail, Time Bandit Captains Andy and Johnathan present Josh with a black hoodie saying “I’m the S. H. I. T.” on front, and “S.kipper H.arris I.n T.raining” on back.
Twist 2: Elliott returns from rehab, and receives a surprise visit and encouragement from fellow recovering addict Edgar Hansen as Saga preps for Opilio season, with one of the rescued Arctic Hunter deckhands replacing Elliott’s dad on deck.
Twist 3: 18-year-old Mandy Hansen spends her winter high school break with her father (Sig), and tries to convince him to take her crab fishing on the Northwestern (including footage from last summer’s salmon tendering from the “Legend of the Northwestern” special); Sig has her do emergency drills and prep pots with the other deckhands before sending her home to get her mother’s permission to go crabbing.
Twist 4: Seabrooke is still in port as Junior recovers from spinal fusion surgery in Walla Walla.
Twist 5: Time Bandit leaves port without Johnathan in the second seat, who is taking advice from the doctor to lower his blood pressure.
Twist 6: Cape Caution’s latest new greenhorn was hired by… Zack! Wild Bill always seems to pick bad ones, especially the last one from king season, so this time he let he son choose one.
Mandy and Johnathan return to Seattle as the fleet heads out to sea and begins setting pots.
Casey watches as Josh sets his first prospect string on the Cornelia Marie, and refutes Derrick Ray’s comment from 3 years ago about Phil doing them a disservice by not teaching them how to run the boat, because they were not ready to learn how then.
As they are setting pots, Northwestern loses the starboard rudder control due to a cracked solenoid. Edgar gives Sig part information, and Sig calls around the fleet for possible replacements. The closest potential spare, much to Jake’s dismay, is on the Kiska Sea, and the ships pull close to transfer the part. Edgar discovers the part is incompatible. Until a fix is done, Jake Anderson will steer using the old manual ship’s wheel while Sig runs the throttle. Edgar, calling on years of MacGyver-ing experience, resorts to his grinder and some industrial-grade epoxy to repair the solenoid, restoring full rudder control for the moment as they resume setting pots.
On the Cornelia Marie, Josh takes the “in training” part seriously, while clips of Derrick and Phil play, as he decides to watch how Casey pulls pots in 45-50-knot winds and 20-foot seas before risking his crew when he does it.
Deadliest Catch is a reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab, snow crab and bairdi crab fishing seasons.
The Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is the base of operations for the fishing fleet. The show's title derives from the inherent high risk of injury or death associated with the work.
Deadliest Catch premiered on the Discovery Channel on April 12, 2005, and currently airs in over 200 countries. The first season consisted of ten episodes, with the finale airing on June 14, 2005. Subsequent seasons have aired on the same April to June or July schedule every year since the original 2005 season. The 12th season premiered on March 29, 2016.