Today, I watched the most honest reality episode I have ever seen, of any reality show. It was the most recent episode of Deadliest Catch. I will warn you that spoilers are ahead, so don't read if you don't want to know.
This is the episode all the fans have been dreading. It was inevitable. It is the episode where our beloved captain, Phil Harris passes away. I say our because for the past 6 seasons, Phil has been there, letting us get to know him and his family and crew. We got to "know" him without ever meeting the man. He was forthcoming, hard as nails, tough loving and funny as hell. Underneath, the raspy tough guy voice and bravado, was a man who loved his boys deeply, and regretted not being there for them, as he thought he should.
Watching this episode, the viewers saw Phil for the first time stripped of all his gruffness, all his strength, and I firmly believe we saw the true Phil. It was a sight that knocked the breath out of me. Seeing Phil so open, so helpless and so truthful. Through my tears, I smiled as Phil and Jake got to make amends. Jake, heard from his dad's mouth, that Phil was proud of him for going to rehab. When Jake looked back at his dad, I was glad to know that he had that conversation to go back to. Jake would be able to hear exactly what was said over and over, instead of his memories playing tricks on him.
Again, I was trying to watch the painfully truthful scene of Josh and Phil. Phil apologizing to Josh for not being there for him as a kid. I loved that Josh was able to truthfully, tell his father, he didn't feel slighted in the least. It was a heartbreaking man to man talk, that I believe will be one of the most treasured times, Josh will hold in his heart forever.
I have to hand it to Discovery, because I was very nervous on how they were going to handle Phil's death. I didn't want it to be sensationalized as reality television is, and it wasn't. It was done with respect, privacy, truthfulness and grace, if that is possible. I didn't want to see Phil in his last moments and they didn't show it. I was able to remember Phil as a man of honor, love, respect and fight. I am dreading next week when the fleet hears about Phil's passing. It has been a rough few episodes of Deadliest Catch, but I am deeply moved that Phil wanted the story to have an ending, because even though I didn't personally know the man, he has a place in my heart. I am most grateful to Phil's family and Discovery for letting the viewers be able to be a part of the grieving process. It is very unconventional, I know, but these men have become men I root for, men I respect from afar. Over time, our grief will abate, but Phil will always have a place in our hearts.
Until tomorrow. Take care and be safe.
All my love,