‘Return to Amish’ Recap: Is Calling This Cast ‘Friends’ an Overstatement?

Last night, as the Season Premiere of “Return to Amish” began on TLC, fans were updated on the status of the cast. And, with all of the changes, turmoil and broken hearts, we have to wonder: Is calling this group “friends” an overstatement?

Abe and Rebecca have not been in a great place with their marriage. As a truck driver, Abe is on the road, week after week, leaving his wife and two kids behind. Neither has been happy with the situation; Abe says he feels single again, and that is a bad, bad thing. No wife wants to have her husband out on the road for a week, feeling single and, on the flip side, no husband wants to be alone on the road, feeling like he has no one to go home to; is disaster brewing?

Sabrina’s daughter, Oakley, was removed from her custody by Lancaster County Children and Youth Social Service Agency in 2014. Homeless, they were living in her car. By Sabrina’s account, after Oakley was removed, she began using drugs, including heroin. According to Sabrina, no one–including her “friends” from “Return to Amish”–would help her, except Jeremiah, who apparently gave her money. So, she picked herself up, got into recovery, and made the change she needed to make to get her daughter back. According to Sabrina–and 3X weekly drug tests–she is clean; and, she is back with Oakley’s dad, Harry. She gets to see Oakley at this point, and is striving to get her back home.

Kate is in New York City, trying to put herself on the fashion map and going to college–a particular achievement for someone hailing from the Amish community, which does not permit education beyond the 9th grade. And, she has an internship, which she is hopeful will send her over-the-top and teach her the ins-and-outs–including the technology side of design–of the fashion world. Kate cut ties with all of her friends back home, feeling that it was the best way to focus and achieve; from what we saw last night, she may have been right.

Jeremiah had actually opened a doughnut shop, using a recipe he got from an Amish woman, with workers in the shop dressed as Amish women (no, they are not Amish). Jeremiah said he left his party life, and is now hoping he has found “the one” with his new girlfriend.

Mary was still Amish at the beginning of the Season Premiere. She was still being shunned, but, as she said, she wants to be with Chester and says she loves wearing Amish clothes. Mary still seems confused but, in her heart, she seems to be more Amish than not. Luckily, Chester is understanding, but ….

Our biggest question about Mary and her situation: If she would stop listening to all of her kids’–extended or otherwise–opinions and advice, would she be in this mess today? They all wanted to leave the Amish, which is fine; they did it, and they seem happier for it. But, is that really what Mary ever wanted? Or, did the constant drumming from her kids about how she could not possibly be happy as an Amish woman, and how freedom could only be found outside the church, could that have confused her thinking? As they say, one man’s freedom can be another man’s prison; is that the path Mary is on now?

Unfortunately, Mary was ultimately banished from the church, which was clearly not what she wanted. “Well, now you can actually do what you want to do, right?” was Abe’s first comment.

“Not really,” Mary replied. There was certainly no joy or feeling of breaking chains in her voice.

“Just remember, Mary, we’re all here for you; every single one of us,” Jeremiah said. Ironic, considering it is likely all of them trying to “be there” for her that led her on a path of banishment in the first place. It just doesn’t seem likely that she ever would have tried the greener grass on the other side of the cornfield without their “help”; is it greener, now, or was it all an illusion?

Hopefully, it will all work out for her in the end. But, at this point, she and Chester are separating–not divorcing, as the Amish do not believe in divorce–as Mary is making the move to Lancaster, with a large Amish/Mennonite community, and Chester is staying behind, keeping step with the Amish life he does not want to leave. It’s hard to imagine how any of this could be happy in the end. But, we’ll see; you never know.

One of the saddest parts of the night may well have been Sabrina’s desperate desire to rekindle her friendship with Abe and, especially, Rebecca. It is understandable that Abe and Rebecca would pull back from Sabrina. She was a heroin addict, after all, and not living a lifestyle they wanted to bring into their world; we cannot blame them for that. And, it seems like they did try to be there for her, even getting her a place to live, and she rejected it.

Plus, Abe has been through the cycle of addiction with his brother, again and again, and knows how selfish the addict is in the throes of their addiction, until they really, REALLY want it to end. We truly cannot blame them for pulling away from her; it is just hard to trust in these types of situations, and at some point, you just cannot do it any longer. It seems Abe and Rebecca have reached that point. Sabrina may just have to understand: Sometimes bridges are burned that cannot easily–sometimes ever–be rebuilt.

We certainly wish Sabrina the best, but we can definitely see both sides of the situation. Maybe someday they will be able to all be friends again–but, that day is not today.

Still, Rebecca’s overall attitude is disturbing. She is rude, obnoxious and condescending–and she certainly tells her husband what to do, when to do it and how it is going to be done. She’s quick to give everyone her opinions and directions on how they should live their lives, but when it comes to her own, she is just as quick to tell people to mind their own business, as she did last night when she and her friends were sitting around discussing how their lives were going.

Does Kate have the right idea? And, ultimately: Are these people really even friends?

Stay tuned.

“Return to Amish” airs on TLC on Sunday nights at 9/8c.

Image:  TLC via Facebook


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