After the standard TLC montage of flashbacks showing us what we’ve already seen, then sneak peeks of what we’re about to see, the first actual scene opens at Joe and Kendra’s home, which is a log cabin-style house situated on Duggar property, only about six hundred yards from the main Duggar home. Joe explains that the house originally belonged to his grandmother (Mary Duggar), but when she decided to sell it, the buyer only wanted the land, so the decision was made to relocate the house basically into Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar’s backyard. According to Joe, “it worked out best for us to live here,” and at this point he (with some help) has been working on renovations for about seven months, although we don’t know yet how much time has passed since the previous episode, so it’s unclear where we are in the TV version of the Duggar family timeline.
The house definitely looks like it’s under construction, but Joe has obviously been hard at work because it looks a lot different from when we saw it last in this mini webisode, which aired around May 2017. While Joe, Kendra, Jana, Jessa, and baby Henry walk in and out of the various rooms, Joe tells us about the work he has done so far, which has basically involved tearing everything out and then replacing it, including new cabinets, countertops, and wood floors. There’s even a brand-new deck, which Kendra is excited about because she hadn’t anticipated the project being completed so quickly, and now she won’t have to keep the door locked for the kids- “or whenever we have kids,” she quickly corrects herself, but her comment doesn’t go unnoticed by Jessa, who jokes, “what about kids!?”
The group looks out over the deck with the main Duggar house in view as Jana tells us that it will be nice to have Joe and Kendra close by, and Jinger’s talking head chimes in to (rather unconvincingly) say that “there would be many positives to living close to the big house,” pointing out that Joe and Kendra will have lots of helpers if they need it. When asked what the drawbacks would be, Jinger cites “kids looking in the windows 24/7” as her main concern, and back to the log cabin, Joe tells us that he and Kendra plan to set some ground rules.
Moving back inside, Joe and Kendra usher Jana, Jessa and Henry into one of the bedrooms to share some momentous, but not at all surprising, news: theeeyyyy’re expecting! Jessa says “wow, don’t waste any time!” with a laugh, and extends her arm to give Kendra a side hug. Jana gives Joe a side hug, but surprisingly gives Kendra a full embrace, and Jessa exclaims, “so you DO need a nursery!”, which makes Jana light up at the prospect of a new interior design project.
Joe and Kendra tell us that this was a honeymoon baby, and that they weren’t “expecting to be expecting” this soon (seems like basic biology to me, though). Kendra shares that she is still struggling with morning sickness, but that it’s getting better, although it’s still unclear where we are in time or how far along she is. Kendra tells Jana and Jessa her idea for revealing the news to the rest of the family: she wants to set up the nursery and then reveal the baby’s room as a surprise, and of course Jana and Jessa are game to help. Kendra says that she wants to do this once the house is finished and everything is moved in, so that she can invite everyone over for a tour and include the reveal at the end, so apparently she and Joe don’t plan to share the news with the whole family quite yet, given the current state of the house.
Jana and Jessa (really just Jessa) remark that the honeymoon babies might be becoming a trend in their family, since Joe and Kendra’s news mirrors the timeline of Joy and Austin’s announcement several months ago. Then, we’re off to San Antonio, Texas, where Jinger and Jeremy are out shopping for pianos.
They’re greeted by Kevin, a friendly salesman who points them in the right direction, although I’m sure the section filled with pianos wasn’t too hard to spot. Jeremy explains that they’re looking for a piano to upgrade from the keyboard that Jinger is currently using, and we’re treated to a brief performance from Jinger- she really is quite good. A producer asks several Duggar siblings, “who in the Duggar family is the most musically talented?” and everyone answers Jinger, which is surprising to me, because I always thought Jana was the one who was labeled as the so-called “concert pianist.” However, we’re also treated to several flashbacks of Jinger playing the violin and the piano, and as someone who took nine years of piano lessons when I was growing up, I was super impressed by the shot of her playing two pianos at once. WHAT!? I didn’t even realize that was possible.
Anyways, Joe goes on to explain that he and Jinger started piano lessons at around the same time, when they were “6 and 7, or maybe even younger than that”- perhaps even closer to 5, which is the age that Michelle Duggar has cited in the past when discussing the children’s music lessons. Joe says that every year, Jinger would always get a lot better while he “barely moved up the scale.”
Jeremy interrupts Jinger’s performance to ask, “where’s the price tag?”, and although Jinger tells him not to look, Kevin helpfully informs him that the piano Jinger had just been playing cost about $14,000. “Oookay!!” Jeremy recoils, and retreats towards the cheaper models. Our friend Kevin tells him that pianos range from about $4,000 to $200,000, and Jeremy asks him where the pianos in the $200,000 range are located, “just so we know where not to go.” Jinger explains that she was turning the price tags around because she thought they were just window shopping, and she wanted to be able to enjoy it. She tries out an upright Yamaha piano next, and plays part of what I think is the song “Hosanna in the Highest,” which brings me way back to my church-going days. Jinger says that this piano is her favorite because of its sound, and Kevin, anticipating Jeremy’s reservations about the cost, tells them that they can also buy used, or even a remanufactured piano that has had its strings and pins replaced.
Jeremy’s talking head tells us that he wants to buy Jinger a piano as a surprise for their first anniversary, if he can find a deal. Meanwhile, at the music store he fools around with several guitars and then a nose flute (apparently that’s a thing), which prompts a producer to ask Jinger if she is ever embarrassed by Jeremy’s “antics.” Blushing, she insists that she isn’t, and her talking head adds the tongue-in-cheek comment that “he enjoys trying, but without lessons you have to give him some grace.”
Next we check in with Lauren and Josiah, who are planning to eat lunch together at the Duggar home. Josiah says that their courtship is going great so far, and that today he will be cooking a meal for Lauren for the very first time. He starts off by drizzling some oil into a pan and throwing in some onions, and tells us that his plan is to make some fajitas. This sounds appetizing at first, especially when Josiah starts to talk about how much he wants to impress Lauren, which would make you think that he’s about to pull out all the stops for her. Instead, he pulls out some leftover guacamole from the fridge, and asks his younger sister Johannah how to tell if guacamole is still good, which isn’t a promising sign.
Apparently, Josiah and Lauren’s lunch date is being chaperoned by three of the Duggar sisters: Johannah, Jennifer, and Jordan, and when asked how they ended up with the job, Johannah says, “Well, they can’t be alone together because, ummm….I don’t know, I think they purpose to have chaperones with them until they’re married.”
In the kitchen, Josiah once again consults with a sister about the guacamole, trusting Jordyn’s advice that “it should be good, if it has black on it, it’s bad.” Amusingly, this is interposed between claims from talking heads Jessa and Joe that Josiah is “really into” cooking. To his credit, we see that Josiah is making a special effort to accommodate Lauren’s gluten insensitivity, and- yay! it’s time for another round of “test the Duggars’ knowledge!” Ben, Jessa, Jason, and Kendra all fumble to describe what gluten is, and then Lauren helpfully fills in the rest.
Speaking of Lauren, when she arrives at the Duggar home, Josiah greets her with a side hug, giving the couple an opportunity to inform us that they, too, have set STANDARDS for their courtship, not bothering to elaborate because as Josiah says, “they’re all very similar to what all of our other siblings have done.” SHOCKING news, and I assume he means all of his siblings, because Lauren was the first in her family to enter into a courtship. Cue flashbacks to all of the other married couples (sans Josh & Anna and Jill & Derick, of course) describing their own courtship standards.
Josiah continues to rummage around in the kitchen, and any anticipation that he might actually be cooking a nice meal for Lauren is dashed when he pulls what looks like a restaurant carry-out box of leftovers out from the fridge and decides to throw them in. As he adds the food into the pan, Lauren tries some of the guacamole, and she doesn’t beat around the bush: “This tastes awful!” she tells Johannah, and to Josiah she says that it tastes like it had been in the fridge for a long time. Lauren scrapes the guac into the trash, but her taste buds are still in danger, because Josiah tries to feed her even MORE guacamole that he admits to “finding” in the fridge upon further questioning.
Fortunately for Josiah, Lauren seems amused rather than perturbed, and she tells us that food is Josiah’s love language, also mentioning that when he was growing up and his parents would go on a date, he would always ask them to bring him leftovers. Lauren assures viewers that she found Josiah’s gesture sweet, especially because he was trying to make the meal “authentic” for her, given that she is El Salvadorian.
While they eat, Josiah decides that they should ask each other some “getting to know each other” questions, pulling out a stack of index cards for each of them. The questions start out easy enough: Lauren chooses dogs over cats, and Josiah says he “wants” to be neat versus messy. Between city and country, Lauren easily picks country, and Josiah jokes that while he’d love to wake up early instead of sleep in, he “just can’t.” Things seem like they’re going to get a little more interesting when Lauren asks Josiah if he has a hidden talent, and if so, to please demonstrate- but his answer is scuba diving, and sadly we don’t get to see him act this out, which would have been the comedic relief that this lunch date desperately needed (Johannah in particular looks bored out of her mind).
TLC drops some foreshadowing when Josiah asks Lauren where she’d like to go on a getaway, but it almost seems like she goes off-script right here and surprises him by saying Israel instead of Austria, which Josiah says he was expecting because of how much Lauren enjoys The Sound of Music. I wonder if their honeymoon had already been booked at this point? Josiah makes a point to get Lauren to agree that Austria would be her second choice, which makes me think that her first response had him a little bit worried. Personally, I think Lauren should be more worried that Josiah’s response to her next question- “What makes us a good match for each other?” was “Oooof. What makes us perfect for each other? We’re perfect for each other, I really think that’s the only way you could put it.” Johannah rolling her eyes right here right here says it all.
We’re clearly getting into more serious territory here because Josiah’s next question to Lauren is about what she thinks of courtship. Not surprisingly, she talks about how “wonderful” it is to have her parents involved in their relationship and about the accountability that gives them, but it is interesting to note that Lauren doesn’t appear to be as familiar with this type of relationship as Josiah, who takes the opportunity to explain courtship for the umpteenth time in this show. He also gives us the top quote of the episode when he says, “Really cause what courtship is, basically just, it’s not just, it’s not just like dating for the purpose of just you know, a one-night shag.” Because that’s what all the rest of us are doing, obviously.
Wise Jessa and Ben talking heads briefly tell us about the early days of their relationship, which was long-distance. They spent a lot of time on the phone and video-chatting, and learned lots of interesting things about each other, according to Jessa. “Interesting” apparently includes the fact that Jessa doesn’t like coconut or olives, two of Ben’s favorite foods.
Back at the main Duggar home, Josiah’s final question for Lauren is “if someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?” Something tells me that he was not the one to come up with these questions. Lauren’s response was, “Well, if it had us on the front we’d just put ‘Our Story’ and probably someone would read it or something.” Okay Lauren, but what about the first 18 years of your life? Josiah, on the other hand, seemed to think it was brilliant.
Finally, the leftover lunch date comes to an end, and we join Austin and a very tired-looking Joy as they head into their midwife appointment to check up on the baby. The midwife asks them how they’re doing, and it’s Austin who answers and says he’s tired- the morning appointment was a bit much for him, apparently. Talking head Joy tells us that she wasn’t feeling well that day because she had a cold and hadn’t eaten yet.
Joy goes on to explain that their midwife, “Miss Lucy,” is someone local who she heard about by word of mouth. Today, Joy is there for a glucose test so the appointment begins with a finger prick, which Joy clearly isn’t thrilled about. Once she sees the needle, she mentions “that’s what the lady used at the other place,” although no word on who said lady or what said place was.
Then it’s time for another round of Quiz! The! Duggars! Neither Jinger, Kendra, Jeremy nor Joy know what “trypanophobia”- the fear of needles- is, but who knows something that random in the first place? Joy survives, probably thanks to Austin’s pep talk in which he tells his pregnant wife that “pain is temporary.” We find out that her iron level is good, but her glucose is a little high- it’s important, Austin tells us, to monitor this for mom and baby in order to watch out for gestational diabetes. It does seem like this may be a concern, as the midwife asks Joy if she has brought her “diet sheet” back.
A producer asks talking head Joy if any of her mom or sisters has had any glucose issues in the past and she answers no, but back at the appointment the midwife tells Joy that her diet “definitely” needs to improve. Joy sighs when she is told that she needs to eat more greens, acting more like a picky child than a parent-to-be. Austin blames this on “traveling a lot” (other than their honeymoon to Switzerland, where exactly are these guys going?), and Joy says “it’s hard to get away from chicken tenders.” Uh, what?
The midwife moves on to decision-making about the birth process, and asks Joy if she’s decided whether or not she wants to have a water birth. Joy says she wants to have “all the options available,” and Austin adds that while they are going to try for the home birth that they want, they’re not going to risk mom or baby’s life to get it. They begin discussing logistics, and Joy shares that while she has never been to a birth, she’s listened to a lot of her mother’s and sisters’ stories and advice in order to prepare for the unknown. Austin, on the other hand, has been to a lot of “half-births,” as he puts it, because of his work as an EMT, but he acknowledges that this this one will be much different.
Before the appointment ends, the midwife checks on the baby’s heartbeat, but not before Joy’s belly is, predictably, covered up with a modesty sheet. Her talking head shares that sometimes she feels ready and at other times she asks herself, “Why am I doing this!?”, but ultimately she says that she wants to have this baby “as soon as it’s ready to come out!” Baby’s heartbeat, just to test the validity of the old wives’ tale later on down the road, clocked in around 125 bpm.
As Joy and Austin finish up with the midwife, talking head Jessa thinks back to her own experiences with labor, describing the pain as feeling like “stubbing your toe every minute for 48 hours.” She says that Joy is a strong woman, but cautions that “even the strongest people realize that you can’t just do it on your own.” Thankfully, she ends on a lighter note and assures us that “on the other side, when you’ve got the baby in your arms, it’s FULLY worth it.” Joy and Austin hug the midwife goodbye and leave in good spirits with the knowledge that their baby is healthy, although Joy does seem a bit apprehensive about eating healthier and exercising more.
Back on Duggar soil, several Duggar siblings are gathered at Joe and Kendra’s house to begin moving in. Jessa appears to be in charge (shocking), and exclaims that “we have been waiting for this day for so long!” The plan is to move everything in and begin decorating over the next two days. Kendra also explains once again (as she writes her name in some dust with her finger) that she and Joe have asked Jana and Jessa to help share their baby news with the family by setting up a nursery that will be revealed when they show their families the finished house.
Jana and Jessa keep the boys busy bringing in furniture while they get to work in the nursery. The furniture is all coming from the Duggar warehouse up the hill, which Jana and Jessa tell us is a collection of all of the Duggars’ “junk” that they can pull from whenever they’re working on a project. Then, Jana joins the boys to begin working on landscaping (in a jean skirt, natch), and although I have an impossible time telling them apart, I believe we see Jeremiah, Jedidiah, Jason and Justin in this scene.
Jana apparently has a vision for where she wants a certain tree to go, so she hops in the tractor and very impressively operates the skid steer (I hope I’m using the right terminology!) to successfully put the tree in the right place. This gives talking head Jessa an opportunity to sing Jana’s praises, calling her a “Jane of all trades,” but just in case we started to think she was TOO masculine, Jana modestly assures us that there are things that she’s not very good at, like sports! Jessa semi-jokingly says that Jana’s wide range of abilities is what scares guys away, and in cause any potential beaux are watching she adds, “Don’t let that be a deterrant! She says it’s okay if the guy’s not as smart as her. Just come, and she might give you a chance.”
In the nursery, Jessa is hard at work getting everything into place, telling us about how excited she is for the reveal. Meanwhile, expectant mother Kendra explains that “Jana and Jessa have taken charge, pretty much, of the decorating,” which she says “takes a lot of the pressure off.” There are still things to worry about, of course- Jessa reminds Kendra that if the baby isn’t a girl, she’ll have to remove the pink pillow that’s currently in the room- but according to Kendra the help is a “blessing.”
It does sound like Jessa has put a lot of work into the project, including refurbishing furniture that actually didn’t come from the Duggar warehouse but was instead found at various consignment shops. Kendra and Joe are very pleased with the progress that has been made in just one day, and Kendra talks about how seeing the nursery makes things seem a little more real and exciting. Tomorrow, the plan is to get everything finished and have their families over for the big reveal.
The next day, a group of Duggar siblings meets once again at Joe and Kendra’s house to go over the list of remaining tasks. Because they made so much progress yesterday, there’s not much left to do before their 3PM deadline. Jana and the boys get to work outside planting trees, and Jessa finishes up with the decor indoors. Talking head Kendra tells us how nice it is to have so many hands that have been willing to help, and Jana shows off one of the final touches- a sign that says “Baby Duggar on the way.”
As Joe and Kendra point out the fact that this will be a new stage of life for both them as new parents, and Kendra’s parents as first-time grandparents, two huge vans pull up to the house signaling the arrival of their families. They (including Jessa) welcome everyone in, and Jim Bob makes sure the camera knows that he’s arrived as he proclaims “It looks amazing, y’all have done a pheNOMenal job!” and asks for a tour. We see before and after pictures as Joe and Kendra lead everyone into the master bedroom, and it wouldn’t be an episode of Counting On without someone cracking a joke about gender roles- in this case, Jim Bob asks whether Joe and Kendra made the bed and everyone guffaws over the thought of a MAN ever doing such a chore.
Everyone makes their way through the rest of the house- which has been arranged to include an entire room dedicated to a ping-pong table, which seems practical for a couple expecting their first child- as we see several more before and after photos, which are all pretty impressive! But just in case we’d forgotten who the house came from, Jim Bob and Michelle are briefly given a moment to reminisce about what it used to look like in the early days of their relationship- “It was gray on the outside, and now it’s gray on the inside!” observes Michelle.
Talking head Joy loves the contrast between the house’s log cabin style and its modern interior, although there’s a price to pay to live in such a cute home: noisy neighbors, points out Michelle! Fortunately, Joe doesn’t seem concerned, and explains that all of the Duggar children have been told that they need an invitation to come over.
Finally, it’s time to open the door to the last room, and in spite of Kendra’s nerves, everyone is excited over the news, although not necessarily surprised. Baby Duggar is due in June 2018, there are smiles all around, and Michelle and Jim Bob are just so happy that God has blessed Joe and Kendra with a precious little gift. Jim Bob insightfully says, “it seems like we’re having grand-babies faster than we had babies!”
Paul and Christina Caldwell (Kendra’s parents) are also excited, even if they “weren’t expecting them to be expecting so soon.” Next we get a reaction from Joy and Austin, who are looking forward to seeing each of their children grow up together as cousins.
Jim Bob asks Paul and Christina if they feel older already now that they’re about to be grandparents for the first time, and in an aside Christina says that they’ll have to think of some cute nicknames. Talking head Kendra says what we’re all thinking- that neither of her parents look old enough to be grandparents- but such is life in fundieland! Hopefully, Kendra says, she’ll take after them and look youthful for a long time, too.
As the episode comes to an end, Joe talks about how excited they are to see where the Lord leads them and jokes, “Who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to fill up the house!”
- Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo plays two pianos at once
- Jinger and Jeremey Vuolo at the music store
- Jordyn, Jennifer, and Johannah Duggar chaperone Josiah and Lauren’s lunch date
- Josiah reheats some leftovers for Lauren
- Joy and Austin Forsyth attend a midwife appointment
- Jessa (Duggar) Seewald helping decorate Joe and Kendra’s nursery
- Joe and Kendra Duggar in front of their home
- The Duggar and Caldwell families tour Joe and Kendra’s house
- Kendra and Joe Duggar’s nursery
- The reaction to Kendra and Joe’s big news
- Grandparents-to-be Christina and Paul Caldwell