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Open Thread: Sister Wives – “Free Range Browns”

Faced with bigamy charges, Kody and his four wives, Janelle, Meri, Robyn and Christine, take their children on a “working vacation” to Kody’s family’s ranch in Wyoming, which he says has been in his family for five generations. He seems relieved to get across state lines, and to see his family again.

This is Robyn’s, and her children’s, first visit to the ranch, and a chance for her to get to know Kody’s family—who, surprisingly, turn out to be Janelle’s family as well!

Janelle originally came from a monogamous LDS family,as did Kody. When Janelle chose polygamy, her mother, Sheryl, was the only member of her family who stood by her. In time, she herself became convinced of “the Principle” of plural marriage, and shortly thereafter fell in love with Kody’s father.

Despite some jealousy on the part of Kody’s mother, Genelle (interesting juxtaposition of names between Kody’s mother and his wife), Sheryl, Janelle’s mother, and his father were married (three months before Janelle and Kody). After a disturbing emotional period, Kody’s mother says, when she felt that “I was taking care of the kids– and Sheryl was taking care of Win (Kody’s father), she and I became … best friends.”

After these revelations, the rest of the episode is essentially Brown cutup-style fun and games (and work). One of the daughters, McKelty, insists on riding an untamed horse and is thrown, but is ok though she seems to be in a lot of pain at first.

Most of the episode is quiet, even bucolic, compared to the turmoil the family has been facing. The whole family goes on a cattle drive to vaccinate Uncle Tim’s cattle, and paint Kody’s mother’s house. Then, to blow off steam, they go cliff climbing—somewhat to Robyn’s distress: she is a more protective mother than some of the others. (She’s still adjusting to being in this rough-and-tumble family.) One thing is sure—the Brown family has energy!

Though the family is here to relax and get some ranch work done, the tension and fear of their choice to “come out” to the world as polygamists (mirroring Big Love, which concluded on HBO tonight), runs throughout each episode. Kody’s family feels he is brave but note that few polygamist families would go so far. Should Kody and the women in his life have revealed themselves? What will happen to them? Will they be forced to split up—and what will happen to their children?

Let me know what YOU think!

About Ladybelle Fiske

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