Seems the theme this week was brother against brother. Jake and Josh Harris are cracking under the strain of watching their father, Captain Phil, fight for his life.
Back out on the vast Bering Sea, Sig and Edgar Hansen are struggling to figure out what their respective futures will be — will Sig keep his deck boss or will Edgar opt out, train someone to take his place, and retire so he can heal and spend time with his family? The jury’s still out.
Normally, it’s about this time in the season when we see Monte and Keith on the Wizard going after each other, isn’t it? But so far the only drama there is Keith’s inability to quit a 20+ year chew tobacco habit. Thank goodness he has his daughter, Sienna, who happens to call right after he grabs a pinch. The calendar Bug made for him (and how cute is that nickname?) shows he’s not been very successful in fighting the urge to kick the habit. Stressful job equals dirty habits-that’s what happens when you play a game of blackjack with your life as collateral. The other problem Keith has faced is the ice pack. Stressful job equals dirty habits. The other problem Keith has faced is the ice pack. This is the first time during opie season we’ve heard about the pack, but we know how fraught with danger it can be from previous years. Thankfully, the Wizard’s gear is out in open water and the hauling of pots begins.
On the Northwestern, Sig and Edgar are still trying to find balance. Edgar’s in pain. Sig’s actually made a concerted effort to ease up on the crew. And Jake Anderson continues to worry about his missing father.
Wild Bill and his crew on the Kodiak are finally on the crab, hauling in pots in the 5-6-700 range. Until, that is, they reach a bunch that haven’t been properly tied shut, leaving the crab an easy exit. Bill radios in and tries to line up a replacement for one of the crew. I think we can all guess that it’s Clinton Bush who’s about to be cut.
On the Time Bandit, Andy does his best to keep his head in the game. He’s worried about Phil. However, he has a more immediate problem: “Strong currents are dragging down the trailer buoy, making what seems like an easy hook toss a whole lot tricker.” Mike Fourtner, captain-in-training, can’t snag the buoy and it’s causing some amount of amusement and frustration with the rest of the crew. If Mike’s going to command the Time Bandit, he’ll have to redeem himself in eyes of the crew.
Back in Anchorage, doctors review the progress Phil Harris is making after the 12-hour surgery needed to help him survive his stroke, which the doctors say most people don’t survive. His scans reveal serious calcium deposits in the brain, indicating that this has been building for a very long time. Part of Phil’s skull is removed to relieve the pressure in his brain. As tubes are gradually removed and support gently decreased, Phil is able to begin interacting and talking with his sons. Demanding ice chips the nurse has said he can’t have for another hour (until the doctor for his throat comes in to see him), Phil continues to hound his boys. Josh tells his dad that he’s not the captain of this boat — he’s just a deckhand. Even with his head shaved, Phil looks pretty good and there’s a twinkle in his eyes.
Sadly, this progress is exactly what causes everyone around him to start losing it, which is often very common with serious illness and unpredictable futures. Loved ones feel a little relief and all the tension, all the worry begin to take them down. John Hillstrand breaks down crying after letting Phil know he’s loved and cared for (and this is what caused me to start crying, too). Josh Harris is feeling even more pressure to keep everything together — the boat, his brother, all the details that need to be overseen. He gets into it with brother Jake, who is, apparently, sitting back at the hotel getting wasted. At one point, John stands on the other side of the door, a sort of witness to the collapse of Phil’s sons.
Next week is the tribute to Captain Phil Harris. Get out your tissues and settle in for an emotional evening.