Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

‘Kid Nation’: No Longer Are We Satisfied by the Children’s Tears

If she's the sheriff, where's her gun?Photo: Courtesy of CBS


Call us cynical, but the most touchy-feely episode yet was also, er, kind of boring. When the tears finally came, it was during a fireside chat that, conveniently for the second-to-last show, emphasized the bonds built over the season: “Bonanza City's the only place I've ever really fit in,” Anjay said. (Awww!) And as you may already know (and we’re glad to re-report), it was the little nerd Alex — adorably harmless and able to explain the meaning of the word “paradox,” literally — who won the gold star. Meanwhile, the town council went off to learn from Native Americans that children are our future, leaving the grounded, sometimes saucy teen Sophia in charge as sheriff. Anarchy did not ensue. (Unless you count Greg and Zach having a spat as anarchy.) Also: There were balloon rides.

Much as we love Kid Nation, we have to admit that the penultimate episode neatly summed up its flaws — the all-too-grown-up imposition of themes every week; the tendency of the council to chose the crappy, practical prizes because that’s what society wants them to do; the lack of genuine, behind-the-scenes chaos. But maybe Jonathan and company are saving that for the season finale! The teaser for next week shows Bonanza City descending into — yes! — chaos. Spoiler Websites, meanwhile, have been predicting a “heart-wrenching surprise that leaves all of the kids in tears.” What is this upsetting shock? We’ve been trying to figure it out for weeks. Will the children discover that the Pioneer Journal was lies, all lies? That Bonanza City’s animals will be euthanized when they leave? Maybe the kids will have to choose one child who will not be returning home! We have no idea! —Lindsay Robertson