“Alaska: The Last Frontier” aired its season finale on Sunday night, and like much of the rest of the fifth season, it was hard to watch. Entitled, “Surviving the Seasons,” the episode included Otto Kilcher in bed seriously ill with a hernia that had been left untreated for 20 years. As the doctor examined the protruding intestine, Otto yelled out in pain. The prognosis from the old bush doctor included the graphically detailed description of a strangulated hernia.
Previews and commercials had teased viewers with the mention of a blood clot moving to the lung resulting in death, but, to be perfectly upfront with my readers, I never got to see that part. During the hernia scene, my entire family was also yelling, “Turn the channel!” It was just too painful to watch.
Before we turned the channel, we had already seen a much-stronger Atz Lee than in previous episodes. It was great to see him up and moving around after his so very painful rehabilitation. Watching him on “Alaska: The Last Frontier” this season has not been a relaxing experience, and most viewers would probably admit that. In this episode, he foolishly took off by himself in frigid Alaska winter weather to check out his hunting cabin.
After finding his cabin, which he had hoped to make their principle residence, horribly ransacked by bears, he visited a neighbor who offered him another place to build another cabin. He ended up deciding that he would stay there until morning to avoid spending a night in the freezing woods. He told the neighbor that it would be better for them to worry a little bit about him than for him to freeze to death.
The next morning, his wife, Jane, and his father Atz and his wife, Bonnie, were understandably worried, and they took off on snowmobiles to search for him in the frozen conditions. When they came upon an enthusiastic Atz Lee, babbling on and on about building this cabin in the woods, the frantic family members were obviously not amused. His wife appeared to be angry after all the trauma she had recently experienced due to his hiking accident.
We hypocritically protest some of the more ridiculously fake reality shows from Alaska, but this show is pretty straightforward. (They do seem to go on a bit about how remote they are and their fight to survive when there are grocery stores down the street.) The Kilchers show us a fairly real picture of their lives on the homestead, including their outhouses! Viewers have come to love this familiar family over the past five seasons, but this season has been exhausting. Through no fault of their own, the Kilchers have made us feel a bit like Jane, just run through the wringer.
We certainly hope that Otto will get the medical care he needs and make a full recovery. We are accustomed to his light-hearted, hard-working persona. TVRuckus describes him as the Kilcher who is most likely to do something unsafe, and that is probably correct. However, it is terribly hard to see him so sick.