Bonanza City faces an unexpected problem for kids who have to work all the time: they're even more bored than their audience is. So the Council decides to throw a talent show in the Saloon. The episode also kills time by introducing some new characters, like homesick Kentuckians Savannah and Kennedy, as well as Blue team sluggards Natasha and Migle, whose Upper-Class laziness prompts Greg and Blaine to threaten to throw the challenge in order to make them work. When the Showdown comes, the kids have to create mosaics using gumballs they have to chew themselves. Green finally gets to be Upper Class for the first time. Blue is in second place, since Greg and Blaine were bluffing; Red comes in third; and Yellow not only has to be Laborers, they lost the reward for the whole town, which would have been a choice between paint to brighten things up and an all-night block party. Not getting either doesn't appear to help Savannah's crippling homesickness. At the talent show, Kelsey plays the piano, Campbell emits a piercing shriek, and Eric sings and plays piano. Jared barely gets through a daunting Shakespeare monologue, and Greg and Blaine do a drag Shakespeare revue. Jasmine sings, Olivia does a standup routine that the kids like (and I don't), and Kennedy's entire act seems to be acting like an idiot. And then Savannah steals the show by announcing that she's staying. Afterwards, the Council is torn between Olivia and Kennedy for the Gold Star. At the Town Hall meeting, DK drafts Laurel into singing, and we learn that she was holding out on us at the talent show. Finally, the Gold Star goes to Kennedy for her performance, along with the credit for getting Savannah to stay. And Divad's still bitter about being passed over.
It's Day 23, and things are pretty quiet in Bonanza City. So quiet, in fact, that Sophia is killing time by lying catatonic in the middle of the street. It becomes reminiscent of that Radiohead video for "Just," as more and more people happen along and lie next to her in the dirt. It's as if some capricious god has, for reasons known only to itself, gathered up an unlikely assortment of American children and dropped them out of the sky into the middle of nowhere. Which is of course precisely what has happened. When Greg joins the accreting mass of supine teens and tweens, he just happens to lie face-up on top of Sophia, who acts all disgusted. Make of that what you will (as though you need my permission). I can't tell exactly how many kids are there by the time Sophia gets bored and leaves, but there are about twelve to fifteen. The moral? Bonanza City is boring. "See what I've resorted to?" Sophia asks us. And this is yet another reason you don't subject kids to the stresses of being on a reality show. Adults get bored in front of cameras, too, but at least they can get through it by drinking and sexing each other.
The ennui appears to be universal, as Jared informs us that one of the causes of the Dark Ages was "they ditched art and entertainment." Wow, it's almost like the show's writers knew this episode would be airing in the first week of a WGA strike. In the Red bunkhouse, DK and a bunch of randoms are talking angrily about the lack of entertainment options, and they decide to have a meeting. Like, right now. They go to the chapel and ring the bell, summoning the kids to gather around. Anjay, looking a bit peeved that people have gone over the Council's head, asks DK what's up. "You'll see in a minute," is the answer. Up on the platform, DK says that he and his randoms were the ones who rang the bell, and it's because they're "fed up." They need to do more, he says. But nobody seems to have any specific ideas, least of all the Council. Okay, good meeting!
See, this is one of those increasingly frequent times where that "building a world" shit wears especially thin. They're not building a world. They're trying to get through a 40 day camping trip. These kids aren't working to improve their standard of living for the long term. The only time they spend doing that is during the hour or less that each episode's Showdown takes up, and then at the end of it they get handed (or occasionally they don't) one of two rewards that the producers decided beforehand to offer them. There's no innovation on the part of the townspeople; the kids are either just doing routine jobs to keep things operating, or they're scampering around trying to win some amenity bestowed from on high. If they were really "building a world," I guarantee you Greg would have had hot and cold running chicken in every bunkhouse by now.