In which: The boys wear orange; the family has fellowship; and Michelle looses a body part.
Long-time viewers may remember the "Alert Cadet" program, which is sort of like the Gothard version of Boy Scouts and which the Duggar boys are a part of. This episode opens with a Cadet trip which involves canoeing down a river wearing those hideous old orange life vests (are they outmoded? I always hoped as a kid that there would eventually be a less cumbersome, uncomfortable option, but maybe not) and looking at wildlife, like spiders. Later, the boys have to make their own sack lunches, since girls aren't allowed, not even to fix a man a sammich.
A few days after that, the Duggars have a family reunion, which Jim Bob describes as a chance to "have a time of fellowship." The first part of the reunion is in a hotel, and as they file in I notice that some of the boys are untucked. Remember how in the older specials it was a thing that the boys always had to be tucked in? It's nice to know that some of the more ridiculous standards are relaxing; now lets see letting the girls wear pants when appropriate!
So there are scenes of people milling around, and not being able to tell the girls apart. Even if they don't see them much, don't they watch the show? Then they could see that Jill has, for some reason, re-permed her hair. Elsewhere, Jim Bob remarks that his paternal uncle looks a lot like Grandpa Duggar, who died when Jordyn was a baby. Joy is filmed holding Mackynzie, which seems to be the case a lot -- hopefully it's because she, like many teen girls, is taken with her infant niece, and not because she's been assigned to be Josh's baby-toter. Wacky cousin Amy is on hand as well, but only gets a brief cameo.
Sometime later, the reunion moves to the Duggar compound. The kids enjoy running around with other kids their age but then the boys get carried away. They start rigging up poppers and rubber bands and whatnot so that the next person to open the door gets an explosion in the face. Jim Bob allows that maybe some of the elderly aunts might not appreciate that, and that he hopes the boys didn't get carried away; he says it the way I might say I hope it doesn't snow tomorrow, like he has no control over it. The big girls explain via an interview that it's okay for boys to have no sense of appropriateness or kindness, because they're boys. Hey, remember when John David interrupted Josh's wedding by pretending to have lost the ring? And it looked for a minute like Josh was going to kill his jerk ass brother dead? Maybe these boys could use more guidance in basic decency, and less in J.O.Y., is all I'm saying.
In the meantime, Michelle is holding court in her bedroom, since Josie can't be out in the crowd so the family has to come to her. Michelle is lit up and clearly enjoys being the center of attention. At some point, they put Josie on the bed with another baby about her size, and the babies check each other out, fascinated. Josie even grabs the other baby's hand. It's way too cute.
Around that time, Michelle had a huge flare up of her previous gall bladder problem. The time line is a little iffy, but it seems like Michelle visits with the doctor, who explains some basics about gall bladder problems, including that flare ups can be caused by greasy food, which . . . I wonder if he's seen the Duggars' diet? Yikes. Anyway, Michelle is a little iffy about surgery, and talks about how she doesn't like to have any of the parts God gave her extracted; it's hard to tell if this is just the general unease most people have about surgery, or if it's a religious thing, but the doctor says that the condition is going to be really aggravated by pregnancy, so if she's going to have more children she really ought to have it out. Michelle takes a few days to think about it.
However, the decision is more or less taken out of her hands a couple of days later when the pain becomes so bad that Jim Bob takes her to the hospital in the middle of the night, and they have to give her a double dose of pain medication, which knocks her out. The gall bladder is infected now, and there's no longer a question of it coming out. She goes home a day later, but she's had a hard time of it, and is moving really slowly and painfully. Jim Bob cautions the kids to be quiet and gentle with her, which is a consideration I don't recall Josie getting, but still. Michelle makes her way carefully up the stairs, hopefully to make a quick recovery.