So now it's Gold Star time. The camera finds Greg and Michael in the crowd, and I notice for the first time that a lot of the kids are wearing copies of the same knit hat. Either it's totally in fashion, or the show provided them to kids who didn't pack for subfreezing weather. Given how out of touch I am, I'm perfectly willing to admit that it's the former. Mike stands up to give the preamble, saying that it was a much tougher decision this week, since so many people worked hard for it. But they're giving it to Michael. Michael stands up, and Greg really needs to work on his loser-smile. As in, he needs to get one. In his acceptance speech, Michael says that a lot of people deserve it just as much as he does (shot of Greg looking bitter), and says that all of them could get it. Well, if they have thirty-seven more Town Hall meetings, maybe. And in an interview, we see how much of Mike's Michael-flavored Kool-Aid Taylor actually drank, as she happily says that Michael isn't on the Council, but he acts like it, and that's a good thing. Jonathan asks Michael what he'll do with the twenty grand, and Michael says his parents deserve it. Greg's friend Blaine leads a howl and a round of applause (et tu, Blaine?), and Jonathan sends Michael off to call his parents. "Go do it, brother," Jonathan says whitely. Michael heads down the aisle, getting high fives and hugging Greg, who looks like he's about to lose it if anyone else touches him. Jonathan disbands the meeting, managing to refrain from any hyperbolic pronouncements like "You're building a world!" this time. "Back to your bunks!" he hollers instead. Yeah, that seems like a more accurate reflection of what's going on here.
As we see Michael heading for the phone barn, he interviews that he cares more about calling his parents than the twenty grand. Wait until he's old enough to have to pay his own long-distance bills. He's much more collected than Sophia was in this situation, as he tells his mom about the "Golden Star." "Oh, my gosh, Michael," we see Michael's mom say into her phone, clearly irritated that she's being asked to reenact this moment so very fakely for the cameras that probably weren't there when Michael first called. Michael tells her what a great time he's been having: "I've been hauling water and cleaning toilets." MamaMichael laughs and says she's proud of him, but the best part is getting to talk to him on the phone. Michael agrees with her on that. If this were really Lord of the Flies, he'd totally be Simon.