'Jon & Kate Plus Eight' Season 5, Episode 8 & 9 Recap: Starting Over

Welcome back, J&K fans! It's been a few weeks since we've seen the Gosselins and as we all know (and by we I mean anyone in the vicinity of a tabloid magazine) things are, to say the very least, different.

The last episode before this summer's hiatus saw the kiddies (remember those guys?) getting "Crooked Houses" while Jon and Kate officially announced the news that everyone already knew: they were separating. Last night's two new episodes spanned from pre-split January to more recent post-split days.

In the first of the two episodes, entitled "Renovations and Vacations," we heard Kate tell us that she is now trying to find "a sense of peace" for her family. First order of business in achieving familial peace? Getting a new, renovated kitchen! Yes, the Gosselins are once again given a luxurious freebie. On the list of things I was hoping not to see in the newer episodes, freebies and promotional tie-ins was pretty high up there. But hey, no one from HGTV showed up, so at least there's that.

With the kids nowhere in sight yet, Jon and Kate share some obviously tense moments while deciding how to remodel their kitchen. Kate, with arms crossed, asks Jon what planet he's from when he makes a suggestion (which she would soon find out, was not the worst idea after all.) Ah, just like the good ol' days. I went into tonight on Kate's side, albeit reluctantly, in large part thanks to Jon's Ed Hardy-wearing/moving to New York City/partying with Michael Lohan new life. Once she called a centerpiece of flowers "distracting and ugly," I was pretty much back to thinking I don't want to be on anyone's side anymore.

Much to our, as Kate might say, "horrification" the kitchen segment continued. Jon stayed behind in their Pennsylvania home while it was being worked on, and Kate took her wee brood down to the North Carolina shores. Of course, we've been to the beach with the Gosselins before, but this time it was sans Jon, which will be par for the course from here on out.

Luckily, the beach trip provided some much needed time away for Kate (even with the pesky paparazzi in the way, but more on them later) and gave viewers more time with the kids. Alexis boasted she would find frogs, dolphins, bugs, and crabs at the beach, while Aaden enthusiastically cried, "I been wishin' about the beach!" And while moments like these are cute, it's hard not to feel like watching is adding fuel to the fire these days.

After all, as soon as the gang hit the beach we knew we were going to once again see shots of Kate in that infamous orange bikini. We knew this family had traveled for the first time without their dad (who was back at home donning, horror of horrors, a popped collar shirt) and we knew the paparazzi were hounding them the entire time. Kate, now a tabloid mainstay, explained, "I'm not going to keep (the kids) inside." Yes, but you could pull them out of the public eye entirely.

It was pretty sad to hear Kate tell us the kids mentioned missing their dad (let's give kudos to TLC for at least having the good taste to NOT interview the kids on this subject) but it was nice to see them enjoying themselves despite what was going on...

Read the full recap:

EW.com TV Watch - 'Jon & Kate Plus Eight' recap: Starting Over


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