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That’s a wrap! Season is over…

And there it went.  The season finale was, as it had to be, more of a post-script than an actual ending.  I think most would agree that the climax of the season was Phil’s illness and passing, and it shadowed everything that came after.

Edgar and Sig had a heart-to-heart, or at least as much of a heart-to-heart as the Hansen brothers can reasonably expect to have.  Edgar wants out, Sig has little sympathy.  What was most interesting were the hints at past problems between the two, with Sig blurting out that “it goes both ways… there were times where I stuck through the hard times that were caused by you…”, to which Edgar clearly had no comeback.  I guess we’re to assume these hard times were caused by Edgar’s “non-sobriety issues”.  Will Edgar actually quit fishing?  Or is Sig right, that this conversation happens every year, and every season Edgar is back at the docks, raring to go back to sea?

The Time Bandit boys can’t seem to decide what the heck they want to do in terms of the new captain.  Mike seemed like the chosen one for a while, but Andy took him down a few pegs almost straight away.  My guess is that the Hilstrands aren’t ready to give the boat to anyone just yet, and their rejection of Mike was probably based more on their discomfort with the general idea of giving up control, and maybe not so much with the specifics relating to Mike’s “anger issues”.  And really, WTF?  Mike Fourtner seems like one of the most mellow guys out there.  I don’t see any anger issues.

The Wizard, as usual, kicks ass and brings in the crab.  What was it, $52k per deckhand this season?  Not bad for a few weeks of work.  Apart from Keith sort of making up for having his deckhand repeat that absolutely retarded “This is the most important pot I’ll ever stack” speech by allowing him to throw (and miss) the final shot, nothing much interesting was going on here.

Wild Bill and the Kodiak finally caught some crab.  Good for them.

And the Cornelia Marie had the longest opie season in history - from January through April - but they got it done.  Josh made it back on-board to see the season through to the end, and we got to see Phil’s stateroom, eerily more or less just as he left it.  Jake is in Palm Springs, back in rehab.  Josh says he may not be in the fishing industry forever, but for now, it’s what he does, and he’s going to continue doing it.  We’ll see if his father’s death spurs him on to take over the captain’s chair over the next few years.

And that, my friends, was Season Six.  It was one hell of a ride.  What did you think?

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Tonight’s episode was advertised as “… when the fleet hears the news of Phil’s death,” but really, apart from the Cornelia Marie’s crew, that didn’t happen until the absolute last few minutes of the show.  Instead it was a fairly run of the mill episode, with the ships battling heavy storms, Wild Bill dealing with busted hydraulics, and Sig (for once) placing the safety of his crew above the bottom line.

Sig was dumbfounded when he heard the news face-to-face from the Cornelia Marie’s new captain, as was Andy Hilstrand when Jonathan called his boat.  Unless I missed it, no one bothered to tell Keith or Wild Bill, or at least they didn’t include it in the ep (which was odd, since the trailer for this episode specifically had Keith commenting on Phil’s death).

The Discovery Channels tribute to Phil is airing now - hopefully it’ll be more upbeat, like the New Orleans “funeral procession” in his honor, with lots of great stories about happier days on the Cornelia Marie.  Can’t wait to watch it.

UPDATE: Phil’s Tribute episode was AWESOME.  Very, very well done, and it focused almost entirely on the good.  I was really glad they didn’t show any images of his final illness.  I want to remember Phil the way he was shown on the tribute - healthy, happy and an all around great guy.

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Goodbye Phil…

Tonight’s the night.  Share your thoughts and goodbyes here pre-episode.  :-(

POST-EPISODE: Well, it’s happened.  Phil’s gone.  Thankfully we got to see him and Jake get some sort of closure on the addiction issue, with Josh telling Phil he’s admitting himself into rehab, and Phil telling him he’s truly proud of him.  Really glad to have seen that.  Of course, Josh was left to deal with Phil’s last days, and as usual he pulled through with flying colors.

The rest of the episode is really incidental, so I won’t bother talking about it.  After the Catch is on now, and its completely dedicated to Phil and the Cornelia Marie.  It’ll help all of us to hear some good Phil stories and reminiscing.

We miss you Phil.

UPDATE #2: LOL… new revelation from After the Catch. Phil loved to watch Meercat Manor on Animal Planet.  Imagining Phil on the couch watching that just cracks me up.

UDPATE #3: People asking about the song at the end - I think it was “Redemption Day” by Johnny Cash (sounded like late Johnny Cash, not from his young days…) Video:

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Cain and Abel

Tonight’s episode was titled “Cain and Abel”, and by the end of it, we knew perfectly well why.  Jake and Josh are at each other’s throats again, but this time its not about trivial crab-related arguments - its about Jake drinking and getting high while his dad’s in a hospital bed.  Josh has had enough and tells Jake in no uncertain terms to get his shit together or to take a hike - and of course, as usual, Jake is in no mood to hear anything of the sort.  As Jonathan Hillstrand said when he overheard their argument in the hotel, “it breaks my heart.”

What’s worse is that mid-way through the episode, we hear positive prognoses from Phil’s doctors, who pretty much say he’s going to live and will eventually pull through, though it may take 8 or so months of intensive therapy and recovery.  Of course we viewers know that’s all wrong, so seeing those glimmers of hope and positivity in the boys’ eyes (and Jonathan’s) makes it all that much more difficult to bear.

It looks like next week will be the final episode for Phil, as Discovery repeatedly ran mini-ad banners at the bottom of the screen reminding us to “say goodbye to Phil” next week at a special url.  It’s just really hard to watch.  Phil - big, strong Phil - sitting there in his hospital bed, with half his face paralyzed, begging for a few ice chips, and having to deal with (yet another) mini-blow-up between his two sons over mundane bullshit.  It’s awful to say it, but as a viewer I just keep wanting it to be over for Phil - it just sucks hard to see his final moments dragged out like this, knowing the inevitable end is coming no matter what the doctors say, no matter what the boys do, etc.

“After the Catch” tonight will be featuring the Cornelia Marie, and I can’t wait to see it, but once again I’m just totally drained after watching the main episode - I may have to leave it for tomorrow.

On the other boats in this episode…. let’s see…

Well, we are reminded once again that Keith’s daughter is just friggin’ adorable and wise beyond her years, using every trick in the book (and several new ones) to continually shame her father into quitting his (fairly disgusting) tobacco chewing habit.  It looks like he’s not been faring too well on the ants-and-smiley-faces calendar, but let’s give him a few weeks and see if things turn around.

On the Northwestern, Edgar is (yet again) bitching and moaning - and while I was really empathetic with him at the beginning, it’s just starting to get old.  Sig may be a tyrant and a prick at times, but he’s right - if you’re going to mouth off about how shitty it is to be on the boat in front of the deck crew, and if you’re a Hansen especially, it’s your duty to line up a replacement to do your job.  Stop thinking you’re the shit and start teaching Jake the ropes in the engine room, the hydraulics, and elsewhere.  Honestly - I’ve loved Edgar from the very beginning, and I really hope it’s just creative editing that’s making him out to sound like such a never-ending-whiner this season.  He’s always been the one who makes a few snide remarks, but in the end shuts his trap and gets the job done.  I miss that Edgar.  He has every right to leave the boat, but he doesn’t have to completely demoralize the rest of the crew for an entire season prior to doing so.

The Kodiak… whatever, I pretty much zone out during Kodiak scenes.  Wild Bill’s a great guy, I’m sure, but I’m just not all that into their storyline.  Too much going on elsewhere.

Finally the Time Bandit - I get the feeling there’s not much going on there, so they’re “manufacturing” a little drama with Mike Fourtner screwing up a few hook-throws and looking like the pressure of being captain is getting to his nerves.  I really doubt that’s the case - Mike seems to have his shit together.

Anyway, that’s it for tonight’s ep - another great one, but a number of gut-wrenching Phil-related scenes.  What did you think?

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We all knew it was coming tonight, but that didn’t make it any easier. The last twelve minutes of tonight’s episode was hard to watch. Thankfully there was some introspection and family time, gathering around old photographs, between the Harris clan, before the inevitable stroke occurred. It made it slightly easier to hear Phil say just hours before his stroke that he and Jake were a lot alike, that he too struggled with addiction at his age, and that he knew what he was going through. But still, to see Jake in the kitchen, bawling uncontrollably, while his father was being attended to by the medics… that was hard stuff to watch.

So what did everyone think - did they handle this episode well? I can’t think of any other reality show that has a main character suffer a stroke during filming and pass away soon after, so as far as I know this is well and truly untread ground. My take - I think they did handle it well, I’m glad they included the family photographs scene, even if that was some kind of editing-room “miracle” that actually occurred somewhere else in the timeline.

If I had one complaint, it was those goofy Time Bandit Geico commercials - I mean, if they aired on any other episode, I’d be chuckling along with them, but during this episode… I don’t know, it felt off. Plus the gags for the After the Catch promo felt off too. But to be fair, I guess not everyone in the audience knew exactly what was going to happen tonight.

Other than that, big changes coming for the Time Bandit crew - looks like the Hillstrands are setting up Mikey as their new captain. And of course Jake Anderson on the Northwestern is dealing still with his family drama, learning that his missing father’s car was found off some abandoned logging road, and he’s still nowhere to be found. Lots of tragedy and lots of change this episode.

I’m taking a break and will watch After the Catch tomorrow, I think - I’m still reeling from this episode and need a break.

What did you think?

PS: Good read from the New York Times about Reality TV facing all-new territory on tonight’s episode:

PPS: I was gutted to see the Cornelia Marie website got hacked… it seems fixed now, but for at least a short while it was full of “Cheap Cipro” drug-related junk links and spam content. Sigh. Of all weeks, that had to happen now. Luckily they seem to have a web-team that’s on top of things and fixed it fairly quickly.

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