With only three days left, the producers have some more curveballs to throw at the town, starting with burning down the job board and incinerating the Pioneer Journal. After an obligatory day of looting and rioting, the town settles down, and Jonathan blindsides the Council by making them give out the last $20,000 Gold Star, with no preparation, in place of where there's usually a Showdown. DK almost balks, but then the Council ends up giving it to Zach. With no rules and no districts, Emilie invites herself into the Yellow girls' bunk but gets pissed off over being excluded from their girls' night. Migle is the one who defuses the resulting fight. On Day 40, Jonathan makes another big announcement: the Gold Stars aren't over. In fact, there are three $50,000 Gold Stars to give away on the last day, and the people who have already won the smaller ones are in the running for them. But before the bigger Gold Stars can be put into play, the town needs to race through some arbitrary party-prep tasks in an hour. Which they do. Then everyone's parents show up for a tour and a meal and a big party before the last Town Hall meeting, this one in front of the parental units. The $50,000 Gold Stars end up going to Sophia, Morgan, and dark-horse Migle. As the kids all say their tearful goodbyes, we realize that throughout this whole season, with everything that happened, we never saw anybody -- anybody -- drink a single drop of bleach.
Day 38 has barely started when Mike comes out of his bunkhouse in the morning twilight to "reflect." You know how the kids these days can't get enough reflecting. By some odd coincidence, when he comes around the corner, he happens to look toward the end of the street where the job board is. Actually, it would be more surprising if he didn't see it, because the freestanding wooden structure is basically a solid wall of flame. Huh, lightning must have struck it or something. What a coincidence that this happens on a morning when someone got up early. Mike runs up to it, narrating, "It's the job board! That's insane!" He watches it for a minute, then takes off running to the closest bunkhouse, (which happens to be the Blue boys') to tell them what's happening. At the next bunk he doesn't catch any of the Blue girls naked, but some of them don't look like this was worth being woken up over. It's quickly getting lighter outside as kids come running full-speed to see for themselves, and then to get buckets of water to throw on the flames. Well, except Jared, who carries a tin coffee mug at a brisk walk. Eventually they realize that it's too late, and they all watch the structure collapse in flames. As does Mike's world, as he says in an interview, "The job board is on fire so that means there's no more jobs but if there's no more jobs that means there's no more classes and no more classes means that we can't have places in the Showdown but we're supposed to have a Showdown today...oh my God!" So that's what a twelve-year-old looks like when he's having a stroke. Everyone watches as the job board finishes falling into burning embers, and DK tells them, "The job board is not the freakin' town!" Alas, he is correct.
After credits and commercials, the crowd has dispersed. But that's only so that Jonathan can ring the bell that has always stood where the job board used to be and summon them right back. Some enterprising PA has made sure that there are some fresh flames on the site, for some reason or another. Jonathan tells the kids that the fire wasn't an accident (no shit), and that things are about to change. He's holding the Pioneer Journal in his hands, and instead of giving it to the Council and letting them read that a fire department might not be such a bad idea ("Here in 1885, we had a serial arsonist too. Don't make the same mistake we did"), he reminds about how the Pioneer Journal and the job board have structured their lives. "Burn it! Burn it!" Mallory yells at Jonathan. Jonathan's like, "Really?" as though an entry for today even got written. And when enough people agree with Mallory, he throws the Journal on the fire. Which is like burning 25 dollars on eBay. Anjay interviews that he had mixed emotions, because while the Journal may have gotten the Councils into trouble, it also helped them survive. And now they can't even eat it. Jonathan tells them the new rules: no Journal, no job board, no buffalo nickels, no classes. So they can either keep working, or they can do whatever they want. Wow, after 37 days, they're finally putting the kids in control? Are they out of their minds? Most of the kids cheer, but Michael interviews that he has misgivings. In the Red bunkhouse, Mike tells some kids that this is their chance to prove they can do this, and if they can't do that, it proves that they... "Suck!" someone says. Mike agrees.