‘Kid Nation’: Fresh Meat

Two animals were harmed during the making of this episode. Photo: Courtesy of CBS

In the second installment of CBS' grand "social experiment," titled "To Kill or Not to Kill", the town council consults ye olde fake pioneer journal, which euphemistically urges them to kill and eat their chickens. "You brought chickens with you, didn't you? Truth is, they're good for more than eggs…" The council floats the idea of killing the chickens and red-team leader Mike keeps saying "fresh meat" over and over in a really creepy way. The kids debate the ethics of killing animals and reach a consensus: They feel like chicken tonight.

Greg from Nevada, a.k.a. "the one whose balls have dropped," announces that he's worked for a butcher for a year and has butchered cows, pigs, lambs, turkeys, and chickens (and presumably, neighbors' cats). Newly seen kid Emilie throws a drama-queen tantrum and tries halfheartedly to save the chickens ("Are they gonna hang them like they did Saddam Hussein?"). She threatens to go home if the chickens get it.

The next scene is preceded by a warning that it might be too intense for young children. A throng of scared-looking, shaky kids walk slowly up a hill while ominous music plays. They watch as Greg stretches out necks, chops off heads, and assures them that the still-moving chicken bodies are the result of reflexes. "We sped up the natural cycle of life and death," exclaims Jared, our new favorite kid. "We gave those suckers a shortcut!" Chef Sophia guts the chickens, and the kids enjoy chicken noodle soup — their best meal yet!

In the challenge part, where the kids compete for a prize (in this case, a 45-foot waterslide) and to raise their social status, the unwritten laws of class immobility are reinforced: Each team finishes in the same order as the first challenge, and Bonanza City's class structure remains unchanged. Because the green team doesn't finish in time, everyone loses the waterslide and new water pumps, but the other teams support the losers anyway. "It could be worse," says green-teamer Michael. "We could live in Ethiopia!"

The kids gather for the town meeting, where they take queen bee Taylor to task for not getting out of bed to cook. Taylor, the Marie Antoinette of the town council, says she tried to get out of bed, but it was too cold. "You're just gonna have to starve," she laughs.

The gold-star debate came down to Michael, who busted his ass hauling water, and Greg, who killed the chickens and needs money for college. Michael wins and gives a gracious speech (seriously, what is up with Michael's speeches?). He calls his mom to tell her about his $20k win.

Back at the ranch, Greg fumes, and the ominous music plays once again. He's not happy, and he's "gonna do something about it." Ooh, maybe he's the one who put the bleach in the soda bottle! —Lindsay Robertson