Amish Mafia episode review: “The End Is Near”

And just like that… after four seasons, a Christmas episode, a two-hour exorcism special, and a lot of snark… the show is over.  Last night’s episode – and a one-hour “Amish Confidential” post-series review – are the final offerings of Amish Mafia, the show that found a way to offend nearly everybody in South Central Pennsylvania.

But before I review this final episode of Amish Mafia, I want to talk about some things.  Like, for example, why I’m reviewing these episodes in the first place.

And we have to go back at least a decade on this one.

To a show called American Dreams.  This was a three-season NBC drama about a 1960’s Philadelphia family whose daughter received an opportunity to dance on the show American Bandstand.  The show played seriously fast and loose with history and pop cultural references, and every time I tried to watch the show and enjoy the show, I got frustrated.  Episodes would throw in a reference that didn’t make sense to the purported timeline, and it would completely pop me out of that “suspension of disbelief” that I’m watching a drama about a 1960’s Philadelphia family… and instead I was watching a television show with actors that were portraying what the 1960’s looked like as written by writers who had no idea what the 1960’s were actually like.

I reviewed the episodes back on a platform called USENET Newsgroups.  Some of the reviews were picked up by a Yahoo! group devoted to the show, and their members pretty much hated my guts – to the point where they actually started blaming my reviews for the ratings downturn.  Puh-leeze.  The show died after three seasons, and although the producers filmed an 8-minute series epilogue, that epilogue hasn’t aired outside of fan festivals.  And far as I was concerned, the hyper-sensitive fans of American Dreams who blamed my online observations on the cancellation of the show seriously needed to get outside and enjoy some fresh air.

So that was the last time I put together any real concerted effort to snark-review a TV show.

Until now.

Until I discovered a Discovery Channel “reality” “documentary” series about a bunch of Plain Folk enforcers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  And I got hooked.  And after a few episodes, I went back to something I thought I would never do again – I unpacked my snark-filter and started reviewing episodes of Amish Mafia.

And while the Times Union held their noses upon reading my reviews, they could not deny that the reviews were popular.  I received tones of readers – mostly on word of mouth, along the lines of, “Hey this guy in New York’s reviewing episodes of Amish Mafia and it’s pretty damn funny what he’s doing, here I’ll send you the link and you can read them…”

So with that, I say thank you to all those who have visited my blog for the specific purpose of reading my Amish Mafia reviews.  I hope you enjoyed them, and I hope you stuck around to read some of my other blog topics.

Now as for the final episode…

Man, what’s going to happen after this show ends?  Where will all the Amish Mafia characters end up?  Well, I’m not a fan of putting 75 cast members out of work, ha ha ha … so let’s find them all homes on the Discovery Channel family of networks, shall we?  I think that since Amish Mafia has generated some seriously powerful ratings numbers, why not see if those wacky plain folk can find new fans on the following shows:

  • DEADLIEST CATCH – Yeah, I want to see if Captain Wild Bill Wichrowski will ever dare shout down greenhorn Jolin Zimmerman.  Heck, by the end of the season, Jolin might become the new captain.
  • FAST N’ LOUD – They can have Duivel Doug.  Give him a black-bumper Buick and let him do burnouts in the Gas Monkey Garage parking lot.
  • NAKED AND AFRAID – Two words… Mary Troyer.
  • GOLD RUSH – They can have the entire Schmucker family.  Put them to work with the Hoffman crew.  Except for Freeman – I think he’d work out really well at Tony Beets’ dredge.  Tony can do all the talking and Freeman can just look creepy.
  • BERING SEA GOLD – This would be a perfect place for Constable Paul Castline.  He can hunt for gold at the same pace as he hunts for Lebanon Levi’s nefarious doings.  And he’ll probably get chased off the Christine Rose… then the Au Grabber… then the Wild Ranger… then the Eroica… and he might hang on with the Reaper only because the Kelly clan are so hard-pressed for warm bodies.
  • ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER – Hey Merlin, I think the Kilcher family could definitely benefit from your preaching of the ordnung.  Or they might just ignore you.  Either way, it’ll make for entertaining television.
  • MYTHBUSTERS – Yeah, let’s have Adam and Jamie try to disprove whether you can blow up an illegal distillery by igniting cow farts.

Okay, that was fun.

Now I have a show to review.  And as always, the Amish Church disavows any existence of the Amish Mafia.  Just like in two weeks, the Discovery Channel will disavow any existence of the Amish Mafia TV show.  Hey, why wait two weeks?  They’re not even going to replay the episode, going straight to a Naked and Afraid marathon. And no, I told you that they’re not showing Mary Troyer on that show…

And… here we go.

We get a recap of Sam Mullet.  Caleb may have a golden ticket to cut down Lebanon Levi.  And why is there a basinet in Lebanon Levi’s house?  And more things go BOOM!

Cue those crazy violins and slow-motion Amish scenes!

We get a recap of Duivel Doug’s house blowing up.  And the fireworks?  Most likely came from Alan Beiler, who holds grudges like the Ayatollah Khomenei.  Piss off Alan, and he’ll make sure you’re not in the picture.

And two months later… in a hazy fog over Lancaster County… Levi recaps that nobody’s seen Doug in a while.  Hopefully he’s got a camera crew following him so we can find out his whereabouts.  Levi’s happy about how things have gone – and id looks like he has a brand new black Cadillac for all his trouble.

Meanwhile, Constable Paul Castline is still driving through the snow-capped farmlands, still looking for Lebanon Levi going into the English neighborhood.  Damn, at this rate the real killers in the O.J. Simpson trial will show up before Constable Paul Castline finds his man.

Meanwhile, Zach hasn’t found Doug, but he has found flaming arrows and has shot them into old oil barrels to make them explode.  Flaming arrows?  What are you, Robin Hood or something?

And Caleb is now looking for work.  At the moment, Caleb is looking for a bull that can produce high-quality bull semen; and he may have acquired a couple of stud beefers.  And we get a full explanation of animal breeding and husbandry.  Caleb bought a few bulls, and hopefully he didn’t get stuck with a bum steer or two.  Okay, that joke was udderly ridiculous.  Don’t have a cow, man…

Oh wait, a few minutes later, Caleb calls the producers over, and he’s angry.  Angry angry angry.  Because he DOESN’T have a cow, man.  Let me explain.  His bulls are missing, and he thinks that the producers might know what’s going on about the missing livestock.   He thinks that the producers might have possibly snitched out that Caleb had prized bulls and that the herd was stolen.  Caleb, listen very carefully to me.  If you have livestock, you should brand them with a branding iron.  Instead of branding an Amish man’s hand with a “T” to denote him as a thief, why don’t you brand the bulls with a “C” so that everybody knows they’re your farm animals?  Did they not teach you this in Brethren 101?

And look who’s returned to Holmes County, Ohio – it’s Merlin and Mary, along with Dena the Amish makeup saleslady.  Merlin’s main concern now is Sam Mullet, the rogue Amish bishop who scares most of his own flock and who went to jail based on hate crimes against the Amish (cutting an Amish man’s beard is considered a violation of his religious rights, in that Amish grow beards after they wed).  And if Sam Mullet gets out of jail, he might be able to snitch on some of Merlin’s activities, which would cause Merlin to go back to jail.  And the Lord has told Merlin to go to Bergholz, Ohio to expose all of Sam’s secrets – by talking to Sam’s followers and families.  So what is this, the Amish version of the Branch Davidians?  Or maybe the Jonestown Guyana cult?   Or maybe it’s the second coming of Rajneeshpurim?  Mary and Dena are scared to visit the compound, but Merlin is still listening to God and the Amish Mafia producers.  He’s going in with the camera crew.  I mean, hell, it’s the last episode of Amish Mafia, he’s got nothing to lose by being his own de facto director and doing this … right?

Merlin and the ladies go from house to house, looking for someone who will talk about Sam Mullet on camera.  Jeez, couldn’t Mary use her sex appeal to get someone to talk?

And we get one of Sam’s daughters, Linda Schrock, to talk about the atrocities that Sam Mullet has imposed upon his followers.  She’s reluctant, but is willing to talk.  As long as they only spoke to Amish – no English involved.  And after Merlin practices with the clapboards, the Bergholz Amish begin to talk.  Johnny Most, Sam Mullet’s grandson, says that Sam Mullet had sex with several of his followers.  Linda Schrock talks about a man who had a rope tied around him and horse-dragged down the road as punishment.  And now Merlin asks if the Amish in Bergholz, Ohio is run like a Mafia.  Wow, that would be a great title for a TV show, wouldn’t it?  We get plenty of talk about what Sam Mullet is still doing, even behind bars.   And Sam Mullet received ten more years behind bars, which gives Merlin peace of mind – at least for ten more years, his illicit secrets are safe.

Meanwhile, back in Blue Ball, Pa., Alan Beiler gets approached by an Amish man to find a way to stop a crime.  Apparently a man is going into Amish neighborhoods and fondling young Amish girls.  Eww.  Alan Beiler springs into action. So what does Alan Beiler do?  He wires up an old junker car with explosives and, with the click of a car alarm system, blew up the totally un-road-worthy junk car to smithereens.  Okay, I get it.  Cars on this show have a short life span.  Windshields have been shot out.  Hatchets have gone through the auto glass.   Manure has been dropped on them.  Caleb AND Big Steve have taken baseball bats to them.  Wayne’s truck landed in the middle of a lake.  And that’s not even counting buggy damage.  And this is the third car this season to go completely BOOM on us.  But if you’re going to blow up a car, would you at least make a conscious effort to actually make the car look like it’s roadworthy and not a junker car whose only life expectancy might be as one of those “crusher cars” that Grave Digger drives over at the county fair?  Seriously?

Oh look, someone’s cooking steaks.  And it’s Lebanon Levi.  And I’m pretty sure he didn’t go down to the local grocery store to get that side of beef… hmm… could that meat have a little brand of “C” on it?  Maybe?

Throughout the whole series, only two people have remained with the show from premiere to cancellation – Lebanon Levi and Attorney Steven Breit.  Merlin and Alan Beiler came in in the second episode, but remained throughout the series run.  Everybody else either started and went away, or joined the show in mid-series and continued to the end.  Just thought I’d put that out.

Zach gets a phone call… it’s from Duivel Doug.  Apparently Doug has a plan, and he tells Zach to continue to fight.  Keep on, Grasshopper.

Caleb investigates what might be a lame horse, and Caleb has to – you heard me – reach in and find out what’s blocking the horse’s ability to produce manure.  And he pulls out – as God is my witness – a bag full of white powder.  So this horse became a mule?  Or did the horse sit on one of those drug-carrying pigeons from last season?  And we get a recap over the relationship between the Amish and the Pagans drug gang from back in the 1980’s.  Caleb shows off the turd-covered drug bag, and says that this will be his golden ticket to take down Lebanon Levi.

Someone’s driving a big-ass 18-wheeler through Johnson County, Iowa – holy crap, it’s Duivel Doug, and he wants to tell his story to the producers.  He says he’s going to take down Lebanon Levi one way or another.  Maybe in the fifth season of Amish Mafia thta will happen.

Mary has something very important that she must tell Merlin – and she discusses the fact that she’s overweight and morbidly obese.  She’s going to see a doctor in Akron – an English doctor – for the possibility of gastric bypass surgery.  Merlin thinks about this… and realizing that medical doctors do need to step in and help people.  And since Mary’s father died young – because he was obese – Merlin is sympathetic to Mary’s plight.  He will support Mary’s choice.  And he believes it so much… that .. that … oh man don’t cut away to something else, this is getting dramatic –

Oh crap, it’s Constable Paul Castline again.  And he’s meeting up with Caleb, who still wants to take Levi down.  Caleb says that Levi has been smuggling drugs into the rectums of horses.  But without the evidence – hey, would you keep a turd-stained bag of cocaine – there’s nothing that Constable Paul Castline can do.  And apparently Constable Paul Castline drops info that Levi might have an English baby with a woman at a house on the corner of Linden and Richland.   So are we saying that Lebanon Levi might have a little sausage that recently came out of the oven?  Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.

Today’s Amish factoid – Zach finds one of Levi’s construction sites and he burns it to the ground.  According to Zach, the Amish are bearded-breeded-goat-bleepers and that the Mennonites will once again rule Lancaster County.  Hey Zach, pay attention here.  There’s only eight minutes left in this week’s episode.  So unless this show gets renewed for another season (which it won’t), or you get your own spinoff show (which you ain’t), go have a dandelion wine and a smile.  ‘Kay?

It’s now chilly winter in Lancaster County, Pa., and Alan Beiler is now brokering a peace between the Amish and the Mennonites, as he now enforces the Ordnung and apparently also takes care of the Amish Aid.  Meanwhile, it’s summer in Holmes County, Ohio – and Merlin has a bit of a five o’clock shadow.  He’s got some chin spinach – and it’s because he just got married to Mary Troyer (now Mary Troyer Miller) (no relation).  Congrats.  All the best.  Much blessings.

And with four minutes left in the series, Caleb may have the way to take down Lebanon Levi once and for all.  And the bishop and Caleb show up at Levi’s house to discuss the issue regarding Lebanon Levi’s little Stoltzfus.  First off, the bishop doesn’t like Lebanon Levi’s red house.  They knock on the door.  And Levi opens the door.  The bishop and Caleb enter.  The bishop notices that Levi has a television and electricity and a whole lot of Amish verboten things.  He asks about a baby.  Levi denies it.  And Caleb finds a baby’s bedroom and a basinet.  Levi admits to having a baby, but not a wife.  And the bishop accuses Levi of living a doppel leben.  And with that… Levi gets shunned and removed from Amish Aid.

And just like that… the show ends.

Or does it?