What: Sister Wives Season 12 Episode 13, 14 “Risking Arrest Part 1 + 2”
Where: Le couch
When: Sunday June 15, 2018
Why: Needed a dose of Brown family drama
To refresh your memory the last time we checked in on the Brown’s, first wife Meri, second wife Janelle, Meri’s daughter Mariah, and her girlfriend/girl friends had just participated in the Women’s March. Now, they’re back home in Las Vegas and there’s semi-ominous music playing. Why? Because Kody has printed an email! Dun dun DUN. Third wife Christine texts the other wives to come over to Kody’s library (side note: I was going to be upset that Kody has a personal library and I don’t and then I looked around my living room at all my books and felt better) to discuss said email.
Backstory time! When the Brown’s went public with this show just under a decade ago (how have I been watching this show that long?! Also, it somehow feels longer) the State of Utah filed a suit against them because polygamy is illegal and a felony. We get a lot of footage of the Brown adults being shocked by this turn of events, but they had just told the planet that they’re engaged in an illegal activity–wouldn’t it be weirder if the State did nothing? Is there a TLC clause I’m unaware of that says if you agree to be on a reality tv show then whatever you’re doing is totally legal? Anyway, the Brown’s pack up and move to Las Vegas where they are not considered felons and file a counter suit against the State of Utah, which they won. The State appealed that decision (duh) and the Brown case was rejected because, according to Kody, they “moved to Nevada and were no longer in any position where they were going to be harmed”. Their lawyer took the case to the Utah Supreme Court which decided not to hear it, so the lawsuit is over. So to recap: polygamy is still super illegal and those engaged in it can face five to ten years in prison. If the Brown’s were to move back to Utah they could be arrested and their family split up.
Janelle is still fresh off the Women’s March and is ready to bring the thunder to the State of Utah. How fortuitous that Kody’s friend Joe Darger is organizing a rally at the (Utah) capitol! Janelle is going to become a professional protester if she keeps going at this rate. Christine is like whoa let’s just get some information and not run off to Utah to get ourselves arrested because we have one hundred kids we need to think about. Also, her worst fear growing up was that her dad would be arrested for polygamy and doesn’t want that fear for her kids. Kody doesn’t seem to get this extremely rational response to not going and he remains the worst.
In all seriousness, do they have a right to be angry? Yeah they do. This law only applies to religious polygamy, NOT multiple couples living together. But this blog isn’t about real issues, so let’s hop skip and jump over that and back to how irritating I find Kody. Wait, the whole episode is heavy legal stuff? Ugh fine.
The Brown’s go see their lawyer because they need to set up who will be responsible for the kids should one or any of them go to jail. The lawyer points out that they should have that anyways, regardless of this march, because he is smart. Christine wants fourth wife Robyn to stay home and to have guardianship of her kids if something happens, and if not her, then her daughter Aspyn. Whoa isn’t this something you should talk to Aspyn about? Christine has four kids under the age of majority and that’s a lot of responsibility. Wait, Robyn’s not going? I guess Aspyn’s off the hook.
Kody calls a family meeting to tell the kids 1) he and a majority of the moms are going to march and 2) ask them to participate as well. Christine really wants all of her kids to be present but her son Paedon absolutely doesn’t want to go, which makes her really sad. Mariah’s not sure, Maddie and her husband Caleb are in, Aspyn is in, Dayton is in, and we’re waiting for the rest of the older kids to make a decision.
Paedon doesn’t want to go because leaving Utah was so emotionally hard for him, and he doesn’t want to reopen that wound. I get that.
Part 1 ends here but basically nothing happened in it so let’s move right into Part 2.
The Brown’s are packing up to head to Salt Lake City and talking about how few other polygamist families are likely to be at this event, which is both frustrating for them and indicative of the fear they live under. They’re confident that if there was not the penalty of jail, we would see so many people gathered. Kody is calling it the Liberty March in hopes of attracting people who are not living polygamy to join.
It’s still a lot of crying in the build up to getting in the car. Get on the road already!
Kody and crew arrive at a get together the night before and you’ll never guess who’s there!
It’s Drew Briney of Seeking Sister Wife! It’s a polygamy TLC reunion and there’s his third wife Angela in the back left behind Kody. I did a major double take when I saw him because for whatever reason the show didn’t put his name on the screen–but that’s totally Drew. Now I’m only focused on trying to see the people in the background shots.
Interestingly, Joe Darger, the man who organized this rally, does admit that as a community they have not been supportive of the rights of other oppressed groups including but not limited to: women, POC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, people of different faiths, etc. and that they could disagree with them but still stand for their liberty and he hopes that could be reciprocated.
I guess I should be happy that there is some self awareness there but this is a lot of the problem people in the aforementioned groups have with running to support polygamy. Polyamory? Cool sign us liberals/millennials up. Polygamy as practiced within the umbrella of the Mormon church? I’m not breaking out the poster board quite yet. Anyway, there’s maybe thirty people in that room and Kody is nervous that that’s all who’s going to show up at the rally. Oh, and to really keep people at home: it’s supposed to rain.
You know who does show up? Mariah and her girlfriend!
Meri bursts into tears because Mariah didn’t tell her definitively yes or no whether she’d be there and Meri’s just so happy. Mariah does tell the camera that she wasn’t sure she wanted to go because of how many polygamists view homosexuality, so she really came to support her family. I applaud her for going but with an asterisk. Meanwhile Joe’s just informed Christine’s she’s going to give a speech and she’s going to have to wing it.
Here’s the assembled marchers:
Joe’s got them all shouting “Families not felons” which is catchy because of the alliteration but wouldn’t it be better if they yelled: we are families, not felons? Sorry let me put my editing pen down.
The crowd outside the capitol building:
I think it grew? Do you know who else was there? Anti-polygamy protesters! Maybe a whole 7, but please see Kody’s response to these women:
Nice Kody. Nothing I like more than a man telling women to shut up and sit down. Remember all that inclusivity stuff from last night? No? But then Joe tells Kody that denying their experience of abuse is akin to abuse and this happens:
Wow. I’m mean that’s good but I can’t even. How long is this episode? 100 more years? Great.
Okay it’s time for Christine’s speech and the first thing she does is break the microphone. But from that point on? She rocked it.
Everyone gets together after the march and Kody and co speculate about the size of the crowd. I thought thirty was pretty accurate. Let’s check in with the boys:
Yeah. No. Sean Spicer would probably say that’s the second largest gathering he’s seen after Trump’s inauguration. Oh that reference is super dated now? Whatever my brain is broken.
The moral of the story is that no one was arrested (phew), but the bill they were protesting passed, which further criminalizes polygamy. Better luck next time.