This week brings Generation Cryo to a conclusion, and things were just as emotional this week as they were last week. But let’s be honest; every episode of this fascinating little show has been emotional. Last week was the week of discovery: Jonah, the Boston sisters, and Bree went to Oakland and, with the help of some librarians and city workers, found the donor’s name, high school yearbook photo, and address. This week was the week of sharing: all the half-sibs and their parents convene in Lake Tahoe for a family reunion, and the Oakland Four share their big news.
They first break the news to Sherri on the drive to Tahoe from the Reno airport, and like almost everything with Sherri thus far, she seems remarkably laid back and supportive about it all. She remarks that if she ever got to meet him, she’d have to say, “Thanks for your sperm, man.” Bree giggles and says, “Sherri,” meaning, “Oh my god Mom, you are so dorky and embarrassing.” Sherri is the best lesbian mom ever and I love her.
While this whole series has been a hugfest, once they arrive at the lake, there is a genuine hugathon as all the half-sibs hug their parents and all the half-sibs hug each other.
The Oakland Four then reveal their discoveries to the half-sibs alone, and the reactions are interesting. First, curiosity wins over everyone’s hearts, even the ones like Jesse Bogdan and Hilit who had been most resistant to knowing anything about the donor. Everyone wants to hear the name and see the picture. Jayme feels hurt that she wasn’t included on the Oakland trip, which totally makes sense to me. And Jesse Bogdan refuses to admit that the donor looks very much like him, even though everyone else sees the resemblance. Which seems a pretty obvious refusal to accept anything that could make this person appear to be family. Although later, he does say that he wouldn’t mind having a meal with the donor in the future.
The half-sibs then split up to tell their parents alone. Everyone’s parents seem somewhat shocked and taken aback, but to varying degrees of hurt. Jesse and Jayme’s family, who never had a true “father figure,” obviously have the least to lose, and their mom takes it all in stride, saying that whatever happens next, they’ll do it together. Jesse Bogdan’s mother thinks it’s neat. We don’t get to see much of a reaction from his dad, though, which is disappointing to me, as he was the one dad other than Jonah and Hilit’s who seemed really open about discussing everything, and I was interested in seeing how he felt.
Laura, the emotional mother of the Boston girls, has a strong, possessive reaction. After looking at his picture, she suddenly wants to hold her kids closer to her than ever and not let this man interfere. She says, “I feel physically ill right now.” She also mentions that this will hurt their dad more than they know, which has to be hard for Paige and Molly to hear, as they were so involved in this whole process. The girls hug their mom and stroke her hair, which is all very tears-inducing.
We then move to the family we’ve really spent the most intimate time with: Jonah, Hilit, Terri, and Eric. Things get very tense very quickly. Jonah says he already feels like he maybe crossed a line, and both he and Hilit share that they don’t want to know one single more thing about this dude. The person who does want to know more, though, is Mama Terri. And while Jonah says that he understands her curiosity, the conflict rapidly and clearly arises between Terri and Eric. While it seemed in the past that Eric had come to a sort of peace with this whole thing, clearly it’s a process he’s still working on, and he takes out some of his hurt on Terri. He leaves the room while Jonah and Hilit share the picture of the donor with Terri, and a moment later Jonah joins him. They both cry and hug, and Jonah asks his dad to please not overthink things, that things are the same as they were before. Eric says he knows that, and that he knows Jonah will always be his boy. Which is ALSO tears-inducing. Ugh, you cryo kids, always being such good people, so nice to your parents! Just stop it!
The affirmation of what real family is just keeps on trucking, as we wind up back with Bree and Sherri. Sherri asks for more details of what Bree wrote in her letter to the donor. Bree, by the way, is wearing one of my favorite lesbian Bree outfits.
Bree ends up asking if it ever bums Sherri out that they’re not biologically related. “Because sometimes it bums me out.” Sherri doesn’t even hesitate in saying no. She then tells the story of the very first moment Bree entered the world and made her way into her arms. She was crying. Sherri started singing, “This Old Man,” and Bree stopped crying. From that moment, she says, they had a bond, and it’s a bond that will never go away, ever. And I think maybe one of the things that’s remarkable about Sherri as opposed to the other parents–and maybe this is also related to the lack of male testosterone and ego–is that this is a fact that she has never once doubted. More information about the donor can’t threaten her love of Bree because nothing could ever threaten her love of Bree.
The episode takes a turn, however, when Jayme suddenly gets a call from the California Cryo Bank as she and Hilit are waiting in line at a coffeeshop. They step outside, and Jayme gets the news that the donor has finally contacted the cryo bank after Jayme’s official inquiry there. He doesn’t want to release his name or where he lives, but he is open to anonymous contact facilitated by the cryo bank. Jayme and Jesse can send in some photos and bios to the donor, and see where things go from there.