Counting On is back for some more fun-filled procreating, speedy weddings and side-hug-filled courtships!
This episode kicks off at Jessa and Ben’s House of Mold, as the two are preparing to visit with Jinger and Jeremy in San Antonio. Both Ben and Jessa are thrilled for the trip. Jessa is excited to see her BFF Jinger, while Ben most likely thinks that he is going overseas. (Hopefully Jessa pulled out the Homeschoolers’ Book ‘o’ Knowledge and showed Ben where San Antonio is on the map, so he wasn’t disappointed.)
In the midst of packing their travel necessities — snacks and knee-length skirts aplenty — we get an update on the Seewald spawn.
Jessa tells us (not so) little Henry is now 15 pounds and we see The Spurge throw some toys at him, most likely out of jealously because he was given a normal name. (Who can blame the kid?)
Ben describes Henry as “intense” and the baby starts wildin’ out as he comes to grips with the circus he’s been born in to. The Spurge then climbs on top of the table and rummages through a backpack, searching high and low for proof that his name can’t really be Spurgeon Seewald.
The Seewalds are off to the airport as they worry about passing hefty baby Henry back and forth on the plane, while not bothering to change The Spurge’s clothes or put some shoes on him before boarding. If only they had a ton of reality TV money to pay for extra seats for the kids!
We then swing over to Jinger and Jeremy’s abode as the two are “enjoying this season of life as a married couple.”
(For those of you who don’t speak “Duggar,” they’re basically saying that they are humping like rabbits and not worrying about popping out a cornucopia of Vuolo babies.)
Jinger reminisces about the days of having to pack for the larger-than-life Duggar family. She tells us how much easier the task is now that she’s married and only has to worry about herself for once in her life.
(We can almost hear Jana, resident Duggar concierge, kicking a Samsonite luggage set down the stairs in Arkansas out of frustration.)
Speaking of Arkansas, we next head to the Duggar compound and are greeted with a glimpse of a “Sorry about the mess but we live here” sign. Apparently Jana has been slacking on her housekeeping duties!
Meanwhile, Joy and Austin are basking in engagement happiness and scandalously announce they are holding hands, but will be saving their first kiss for their wedding day. Touching palms is A-OK for engaged folk, but touching lips? Hellllll no.
Decorator/designer/Michelle BFF Miss Cindy shows up to the house wearing jeans (like the rebel she is) to talk shop with Michelle and Joy about the pending nuptials. She has clearly brought the sass along with her lime blazer.
“Well one wedding wasn’t enough in the last six months, right? So we gotta do another one,” she says while side-hugging Michelle and Joy.
As the three head to the church where the couple will say I do, production asks antsy Austin what he wants most at the reception and he replies, “to get out of there.”
Surely Austin has been waiting for this day all his teenaged life. He’s been studying that Homeschoolers’ Book ‘o’ Knowledge day and night to ensure that, when he finally gets his bride in the honeymoon suite, he will know where things go in order to make a blessing.
Joy’s loins are also apparently on fire for the hot sack of stud that is Austin. She tells Miss Cindy and Michelle that the newlyweds don’t plan to stick around very long at the reception — just enough time to down a cupcake or two and indulge in some of the pretzels, pickles, peanuts and popcorn before they peace out. Michelle stands there proudly, knowing that her teen daughter is on the path to “being fruitful and multiplying” immediately after marriage.
We check back in with Jessa and Ben who are mid-flight with their kids. Henry is handling the flight to San Antonio like a pro, while The Spurge is crawling under seats, crying and doing backbends until Jessa breaks out some toys and allows him to play on a blanket on the totally sanitary floor of the airplane.
(It was nice of Ben to share his toys like that!)
After landing, the couple walks through the airport as Jessa confesses that traveling is rough with kids, likely referring to her two as well as Ben.
Next, we jet on down to the jungles of Central America, where pregnant Jill and fundraising superstar Derick are working in a missionary with plans to head back to civilization before Jill pops out baby number 2.
They are trying their best to cram in as much Catholic heathen soul-saving as possible before Jill’s mucus plug pops out.
We see their son, Israel, doing normal toddler things like eating peanut butter by the spoonful, washing a football with a spray bottle and bouncing a ball in front of an oscillating fan. Hey, it ain’t Chuck E. Cheese’s but at least he’s not wrestling a jaguar or playing with a scorpion or something, so there’s that…
Meanwhile, Jill and Derick, the epitome of responsible parents, talk about the risks of being so far from a hospital.
If only they didn’t have to be in a third-world country during the final months of Jill’s pregnancy.
Jill and Derick all too calmly admit they frequently hear mountain lions and gun shots outside their jungle hut at night. Look on the bright side: the mountain lions may keep the kidnappers away!
We now head to San Antonio where Jinger and Jeremy reunite with Jessa, Ben and their brood. They all awkwardly greeting each other and Jeremy nearly makes The Spurge spew by repeatedly throwing him in the air before the toddler protests by throwing his sippy cup into the San Antonio River, hitting a duck in the process.
The producers ask Jinger and Jeremy if being around the little Seewalds makes them want to have Spurges of their own, to which Jeremy busts out laughing (almost to hysterics) while Jinger blankly stares forward.
The couple then remembers that the Lord and Jim Bob are watching and rattle (pun intended) off the old Duggar standby response, confirming they are looking forward to starting a family of their own someday.
Someday? Could this mean that (gasp!) Jing and Jer are actually using Satan’s magic potions (aka birth control) to prevent blessings from coming before they are ready? Somewhere Anna Duggar is incredibly jealous.
Jeremy and Ben then strangely reminisce about the day they all met. Jessa notes that Jeremy’s style is what confirmed that he would be a good match for Jinger. They all oddly rave about the sweater Jeremy was wearing when they met him, confirming nothing gets this group going like an Old Navy pullover.
The group wraps up their trip down memory lane and heads off to get paletas, which no one in the Duggar family can properly pronounce. The popsicles get the family talking about their love of pickles and we are treated to a montage of Duggar pickle-eating scenes from seasons past, all while the suddenly silent little Seewalds are parked in their strollers 10 feet away from the group.
Since this is ‘Counting On,’ and now episode would be complete without at least one Duggar kid making progress in his or her journey to courtship, we head back to the Duggar home as Joseph (‘member him?) is preparing to ask Kendra to enter into a courtship with him. It’s “dating with a purpose” as he explains. That purpose is, of course, to work toward another pickle-filled Duggar wedding.
Jana (who else?) is helping Joseph arrange flowers in a vase before he heads off to the car auction in the hope of getting his courting on…because nothing says romance like a discount Chrysler with low mileage.
Joseph reveals his big plan is to follow up the auction outing with a trip to the slab of concrete that is the former Duggar home, where he will pop the (second) big(gest) question in front of a couple Duggar chaperones/siblings and Kendra’s dad and sister.
Jason thinks that Joe’s plan to take Kendra to “the slab” is absolutely “genious.”
“That’s pretty smart to go back to the place you were born, ‘Hey here’s where it started, you wanna start sumpthin’ else?'” he tells the cameras.
After nabbing three vehicles at the auction, Joseph doles out sets of car keys like he’s Oprah and the group is slab-bound, with Joseph and Kendra sitting three-deep in the front seat of his truck, separated by their chaperone. (Hey—these two aren’t even courting yet! We can’t have their knees touching or anything!)
As they arrive to the slab of love, Jana cheerfully points out the spot where the family’s old dirt pile was located. Ever the romantic, Joseph points out the sewer where he and his siblings would play in and (ew) swim in when it rained.
Soon, Joseph awkwardly asks an excited Kendra to take their relationship to the “next step.” She’s shocked. She never expected this trip to the Swamps of Duggars Past to result in her getting herself a man!
“Joe!” she exclaims. “This means we can hug!”
Joe ashucks his way over to his new girlfriend and laughs nervously, “New thing, right?”
The couple seals their courting status with a side hug. Joseph goes to the cooler and pools out some roses. It’s like the fundie version of ‘The Bachelor,’ y’all…except that instead of exotic dates with helicopters, Kendra and Joe get a pile of dirt and concrete and a dirty truck jammed with Duggar spawn.
En route to the Duggar home, the now-permitted-to-sit-next-to-each-other couple reviews the list of limitations that come with courting, which does not include unsupervised time alone, as evident in the Duggar-required chaperone sitting shotgun.
Once they arrive back at the house, Joseph and Kendra reveal the big news to the whole Duggar clan. The younger girls (and Jana) ohh and ahh over Kendra’s courting ring, dreaming of the day that, they too, will be taken to a concrete slab by a special young man and be asked to court.
We then see the producers ask the couple if they plan to have a long or short courtship. Joseph dodges the question, although we know (in true Duggar fashion) it was the latter as the two have already tied the knot and are now living in their own pickle-flavored holy matrimony.
This season, before Joy and Austin walk down the aisle we’ll get to see their G-rated bachelor/bachelorette festivities and watch as big bro Joseph steals their wedding spotlight as he proposes to Kendra in the middle of their reception.
To read our recaps of previous ‘Counting On’ episodes, click here!