Kid Nation: Episode 12 "Where's Bonanza, Dude?" Recap
Kid Nation: Episode 12 "Where's Bonanza, Dude?" Recap
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Previously on Kid Nation: Taylor wanted to kill all the ugly chickens. After returning to her former difficult nature, Taylor's punishment was not being allowed in the arcade, so she worked hard and finally showed a little change. The whole town slowed down when the kids spent all their time in the arcade, so the Town Council padlocked it, then elected Sophia as the town sheriff. Hunter became the sixth member of the green district to win a Gold Star.

Sophia is practicing manifest destiny, roping off a spot of land in the middle of town and ordering that no one is allowed in unless they pay her five cents.  It's actual another social experiment, because she wants to prove that people always want what they're told they can't have, and naturally, the kids all want to walk on her land.

The Magic Journal tells the Town Council to explore what's outside of Bonanza City.  They agree to take a hike, literally, so they tell the kids in town they're going away, putting Sheriff Sophia in charge.  Eric wants to vote on temporary leaders, but the Town Council refuses, claiming Sophia makes all decisions and decides the reward from a Showdown in their absence.  Nathan complains that she wasn't elected.  Welcome to the real word, kid, where a group of nine people no one elected wield far more power than they should.

Sophia has a head, coat and piece of straw between her teeth.  No one is happy with her dictatorship as she goes around town to see if things are clean enough to open the arcade.  Eventually, Migle turns the corner and applauds Sophia's dedication to making the town a better place.  Things are cleaned up and Sophia declares the arcade is open!  Sophia sits down with Taylor, who thinks Sophia is doing a great job.  Taylor wishes Greg would get lost in the mountains and eaten by coyotes.

The two awesomest kids, Alex and Jared, go exploring and they come across some bones.  It's anatomy class, and they talk about femurs and carbon dating to find out how old the cow was.  Jared says he wishes Alex was his brother.  When they leave carrying the bones with them, Jared says, "Pelvis has left the building."  HA!  He quickly claims he knows that was corny, but it wasn't, it was just awesome.  GIVE JARED THE GOLD STAR!

The Town Council is hiking away, and they run across two tepees with a small group of Native Americans.  Michael s excited to learn about their culture, and this is so transparently staged that I'm disgusted with it.  They pretend to learn some lessons about teaching the younger kids and the importance of passing knowledge down. 

Kid Nation Showdown Time!  The Town Council is still gone, and this challenge involves the Homestead Act.  Jared somehow knows exactly what that is.  Each district gets a homestead: house, chickens, alpaca and a flag.  They must carry their homesteads across some terrain and a ravine and rebuild them.  If everyone finishes in less than an hour, they win the reward.

The teams get the roofs, and yellow almost destroys their fence.  Yellow is struggling without Blaine while red and green are in the lead.  Inexplicably, Jared is singled out as a leader for red.  Green finishes building the house first and red is close behind.  Migle steps up for blue, while yellow deteriorates.  Sophia shows the first chink in her genius armor by thinking an alpaca is a cross between a sheep and a giraffe.  Guylan comes from a family of elephant trainers, so he's good at handling the alpaca.

Green narrowly beats red for Upper Class.  Blue finishes third, which is actually the first time in the whole show they've become the cooks.  In 12 Showdowns, it's also only the third time they haven't finished in the top two.  Somehow, they actually win the reward.

Choice one: a monument commemorating the kids of Bonanza City that will stay there forever.  How useless is that?  Choice two: a hot air balloon ride over the city for every kid.  Without the Town Council, Sophia is the sole decider.  The kids want a temporary balloon ride vs. a monument that lasts forever (um, who needs that when you have DVDs of your time on the show which serve as a much better reminder?).  Sophia chooses the hot air balloons, endearing herself to everyone in town.  Gold Star number two, perhaps?

That night, the kids gather at the saloon to share their memories of Bonanza City.  They're jumping the gun a bit, since there are still four more days.  Guylan is impressed by Migle's speech, a clear indication that she's another Gold Star contender.  The kids get in their balloons the next day and have a great time.  Sophia thinks it's beautiful, while Mike has another A.D.D. fit about how awesome it is.

The Town Council returns and talk about meeting the Indian tribe, but the kids don't seem to care much.  In the kitchen, Alex is using his brain to make some tasty food since it's their first time in the kitchen.  Geg is impressed, and we get yet another Gold Star contender.  His friend, Jared, is teaching Guylan and DK about how teleportation has already been invented with subatomic particles.

The kids offer nominations for the Gold Star: Alex, Migle and Jared get the votes.  Jared shows up with his hat completely covering his face, with his glasses over it.  He nominates himself, which is a dangerous move to make.  Zach is tearful, and it seems he's nominating himself, but the Town Council laughs at him and his crocodile tears and Zach gets upset about it for some reason.  This is coming out of nowhere, and they must have cut something pretty bad out, because Zach isn't usually this emotional and dramatic.  Zach storms back into the Town Council to say they're the most terrible people he's ever met..  They say they respect him and apologize, and Zach goes away content.  DK calls Greg out as a phony, because Greg mocked Zach in private, then said he respected him to his face.

Greg wants to give the Gold Star to Alex because he's super smart and may one day find a cure for cancer.  But Jared is also real smart and could create a teleportation device.  It's the age-old debate: cure for cancer vs. teleportation machine.

Kid Nation Town Hall Meeting!  Sophia claims the arcade is bad for the town because it's all people care about.  The Town Council vows to lock the arcade for good.  And the Gold Star goes to...Alex!  Aww, it's cute, but I prefer Jared.  Jared doesn't have to much ill will because one day he'll beat Alex for a Nobel Prize.  Alex is sweet and surprised.  Alex logically realizes that it's not that much money, so maybe it can help his kids and grandkids some day.  Alex's mom says the money is amazing in a very droll manner, while his little brother has the same subdued reaction.

The kids gather around a fire to share their feelings that night.,  Migle is nice, and Anjay cries that Bonanza City is the only place he's ever fit in.  Over the credits, Jared studies a scorpion and vows to get an exotic pet when he gets home and feed it spiders.  Jared is quite possibly my favorite person on any TV show right now, real or fictional.

On next week's Kid Nation season finale: Bonanza City is on fire.  Literally.  Also, giant Gold Stars.  Man, if they give everyone a Gold Star, I'm gonna be furious.  This ain't Oprah.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)