In the showdown last week, the kids won an arcade. The compulsion to play games kept them from their work resulting in a decision to padlock the arcade. It would reopen each day when daily chores were completed. The Council appointed Sophia as sheriff to enforce this policy. Can Sophia keep the town under control or will the kids become defiant and refuse to cooperate? My money is on Sophia.
The Puppet Master
Once again, Sophia decides to conduct a social experiment. She marks the center of town and ropes off a small square. She sits on a stool in the center and tells the other kids that they may not step inside it unless they pay her 5 cents. Just as she expected, all of the other kids suddenly decided they wanted her land. Several kids gather around and some test her by stepping into her square. She pops Colton on the leg when he does so. Nathan informs her that if he wants to cross over her land, he will without paying so she warns him to watch out. The kids think she’s either power hungry or that she’s losing it as she sits guarding her plot of land with a broom in hand. Once again, the kids play right into her Sophia’s hands. She has a knack for setting up a scenario, predicting their behavior, and leaving them looking ridiculous. Of course, these social experiments of hers beg the question….who is the real puppet master, Sophia or the producers?
The Council gets a big surprise as they convene in the chapel to read the journal.
Production has decided they need some exercise.The town’s forefathers literally suggest they take a hike to explore what lies beyond the town’s borders. Out there are other cultures and people who arrived centuries before them. The guys head over to inform the town of their expedition. In their absence, they appoint Sheriff Sophia as the head honcho. She will decide when the arcade opens and she will decide the reward in the showdown. The kids are not happy with the decision to leave Sophia in charge. They sit wide-eyed with mouths agape. Eric asks if they can instead vote on a leader and is denied. Nathan voices his opinion that she has a lot of power for someone who was not elected by the town. The Council’s response is “too bad.” They leave amidst murmurs of how unfair it is since they’re all supposed to be equal. Of course, busybody Olivia has something to say. She whispers - because she’s not bold enough to say it aloud - that nobody would have ever elected Sophia. Mike speculates that she may become a dictator and is frightened by that notion. Sheriff Sophia apprehensively stands before them and greets them with, “Hi, Town”
There’s A New Sheriff In Town
The kids are anxious for Sophia to open the arcade but she wants the town to be clean first. She checks the saloon to find bottles stacked up, glasses dirty, and the floor unswept. Olivia rolls her eyes as Sophia tells them she’ll be back to check their progress. Methinks Olivia has a problem following authority.
Meanwhile, on their hike, the Council spots teepees in the distance. Someone comments that it looks like an igloo and Michael fires back, “That’s not an igloo, it’s a teepee, buddy.” From Blaine, we hear, “Where’s Bonanza, Dude?” The inhabitants of the teepees are Native Americans, the Pueblos to be exact. They welcome the boys and sit down to give them advice on dealing with
Taylorthe younger kids who won’t listen. They suggest that like the native Americans themselves, the Council support those kids and provide a good example. They are, after all, their leaders.
Sophia continues to follow up with the kids as they do their jobs to see how things are going and if they need anything. Migle admits she was worried at first about Sophia being in charge but now thinks she’s doing a good job. Since the saloon is all clean and they got a good start on the dishes, Sheriff Sophia lets them all know how proud she is of how hard they all worked. She opens the arcade and encourages them to go have fun.
Some of the kids feel Sophia is doing a better job than the Council. Kelsey thinks things are much quieter with them gone since some of them are loud and curse all the time. Anyone care to venture a guess who that would be? Taylor expresses to Sophia that Greg never notices how hard she works because he’s always in the arcade. Sophia assures her that her hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Taylor hopes that on the return trip Greg gets lost on a mountain and eaten by coyotes because Sophia is doing a much better job than he does. A blushing Sophia holds back laughter as she thanks Taylor and gives her a hug.
Outside The Box
The green district discusses the fact that they only have 4 days left in Bonanza City. They want to make the most of the time they have left together. Therefore, they agree the arcade should be padlocked. Otherwise, they’ll spend all of their time playing games.
Jared and Alex wander off to do a little exploring of their own and discover the skeletal remains of a cow. They pick up several bones to identify them. Jared isn’t very familiar with the anatomy of a cow but Alex tells him it isn’t much different than that of a human. That explains the heifer-like women I saw at the gym recently. The boys wish they had some carbon dating process to see how old the cow was there are none out there in the wilderness. Jared puts the cow’s pelvis over his face like a mask as they goof off. They then leave, taking some of the bones with them. Jared announces, “Pelvis has left the building, baby” and then admits it’s a corny joke. Corny, yes, but cute nonetheless.
Out in the wilderness, just over the hill, the town council sits around a bonfire with their new Native American friends. Now, this tribal leader must be like the Dr. Phil of his people. He continues giving them advice on how to include the younger kids. His suggestion is to lead by example. The chief also encourages them to consider what all of the kids can add to the town and not just those who work the hardest. DK thinks they should start thinking outside of their boundaries and consider some of the smarter kids for the gold star. Hmm, production must not want to be accused of leaving some of the kids out.
The next showdown is based on the Homestead Act. Jonathan quizzes the kids to see if they’re familiar with it and Jared gives them all the details. To determine status and reward, each district is given a homestead that includes a house, chickens, an alpaca, and a flag. On Jonathan’s signal, they must all move their homesteads west, piece by piece. The districts must complete this purely physical showdown without the help of their council leaders. The team to finish the move first becomes upper class. If all teams complete the task in one hour, they win reward for the town.
The kids have to work together to move the houses. They move the roofs first and Red is the first to have a wall up. Green works well together and manages to bring two walls at once. They edge out the red district to finish first and become the upper class for the second week in a row. Red finishes second to become the town’s merchants. Migle steps up for the blue district in Greg’s absence and they finish as cooks. Yellow bickers amongst themselves but finally finishes to win reward.
Jonathan reveals their first reward choice. It’s a monument to commemorate their time in Bonanza City. Laurel reads the inscription. “On this site in 2007, young pioneers came together to do what their forefathers could not: build a better world. They worked together, sacrificed together, cried together. But most importantly, they succeeded together. This monument commemorates their efforts and will forever stand here in Bonanza City, the world's first Kid Nation." Laurel chokes back tears as she thinks of the memories and great friendships they’ve made and all they’ve accomplished.
Second choice is an amazing hot air balloon ride over Bonanza City. This would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of the kids. The decision is left to Sophia. She’s torn between the two as the kids chant, “Fly high.” Ultimately, she goes with the hot air balloon ride and the kids cannot contain their excitement. Wonder what will happen to the monument. Perhaps they can use it to mark the place where they bury this disaster of a show.
Kids must wait until morning for their balloon ride so they meet in the saloon for a party. Zach offers a toast to Bonanza City, reminding them that although they’ll leave it behind, they won’t leave behind the memories and friendships they’ve made. Migle tells them they should be proud of how they’ve helped Bonanza succeed and Guylan recognizes how much her attitude and work ethic has improved.
Early the next morning, the kids soar high above Bonanza City in hot air balloons. Many of them take the time to reflect on their time there and the memories they’ve made to last a lifetime. The Council returns and DK is jealous that they missed out on the ride. They fill the rest of the town in on their time with the Pueblos. As they listen to the stories of what they missed in town, they’re proud of what the kids have accomplished. They all head back to town with a new determination and camaraderie. Doesn’t it just give you warm fuzzies?
In the kitchen, Alex feels the blue district has a lot to prove. He makes Cocoa Crispers, fried bread dipped in cocoa and sugar, as a special treat. Greg notes how smart Alex is and thinks he deserves the gold star. Jared shares his ideas about teleportation with DK. If he had the gold star, he tells DK that he’d have the money to go to college and further his studies of all things weird.
The Council takes gold star nominations. They include votes for Alex, Jared, and Migle. Jared comes in with his cap over his face and nominates himself. Zach does the same but is so emotional over his speech, that he cries. Greg laughs at him and when Zach leaves, he tells the others he thinks Zach was acting. DK yells at him to quit being so immature. Zach is furious and crushed over the way Greg laughed. He stews about it in his bunkhouse until he can’t sit back any longer. He can’t let them disrespect him when he feels so passionately about something that it makes him cry. Marching back into the chapel, Zach tells the council they are the most terrible people he’s ever met. The boys are shocked but Greg calls him over and lets him know that he respects him and his feelings. He apologizes and Zach leaves with a hug. DK calls Greg out on his hypocrisy.
At the Town Hall Meeting, Sophia says she’d like people to stay out of the arcade and spend their remaining time together. Kids speak out in disagreement. They’re divided on whether to close the arcade so they can really get to know each other or keep it open. On a spur of the moment decision, Greg announces that the arcade will be locked for good so they can spend more time bonding with each other. He wants to start a campfire so they can sit around and tell stories. Kumbaya!
Alex is surprised when he’s awarded the gold star. He thinks the star says to all nine year olds that they shouldn’t give up. He plans to leave the money to his children and grandchildren since he has no use for it. His parents are proud of him and his mom can’t believe how grown up her baby is. Alex is left feeling appreciated and bubbly inside.
Greg builds the campfire and the kids reflect on the 37 days they’ve been together. They cry as they realize they’ll soon leave each other and Bonanza City behind. Laurel promises them they’ll make their last few days there, the best they’ve ever had.
Don’t miss the exciting finale next week when the kids are faced with bigger challenges.
What do you think should be done with the monument? PM me.