90 Day Fiance Season 8, Episode 5 was the first episode of the New Year.
Julia's earnest effort to give life on the farm a shot get off to a rough start, and are made worse by Brandon's apparent indifference.
Stephanie stuns her family with her plans to move forward with Ryan, but that's not the biggest shocker.
Natalie is getting accustomed to life with Mike, but her desire to change him and her paranoia are getting in the way.
Tarik and Hazel try to work out wedding plans as Hazel adjusts to a new, unfamiliar life.
Jovi and Yara are learning to meld their respective "selfish" attitudes, but Jovi is about to leave for work, and that brings up painful memories.
Brandon Gibbs and Julia Trubkina
Brandon gets up at 4:30 in the morning to go to his job as an exterminator. He and Julia snuck a hookup the night before, but now we have real questions about his financial situation -- why he only had $10,000 to blow on visiting Julia with no apparent expenses, and why moving to an apartment is such an impossibility.
Seven hours later ...
Julia awakens closer to noon, like a normal person. She is alone except for the livestock and is wildly uncomfortable.
She feeds the chickens ... or tries to
Julia doesn't quite remember everything from her Tour Of Mandatory Farm Labor that Betty gave her upon her arrival at the house, so she attempts to ... bargain? ... with the chickens.
Aspen to the rescue
To the camera, the family friend chides Julia for "slacking" by getting up at a normal time (if you are waking up before noon, I assume that you have kids or are being paid to get up, because otherwise ... why?). To her face, however, Aspen merely helps ... and tells her that 7 in the morning is the time when livestock should be fed. At sunrise.
Julia had apparently missed this detail when Betty issued her list of demands.
It's a shocking change
Julia is accustomed to going to bed closer to 7AM, both from her job and from being a young person whose life isn't an endless tale of toil and misery. Yet.
This is all too much
Julia does NOT like feeding the pigs, but that's just part of the problem. This is not the life for her. She is giving it an honest fair shake and it's ... just awful. She and Brandon need a better living arrangement.
Brandon comes home
After spending all day in her unhappy new life, Julia is so happy when Brandon comes home ... but he just goes directly into his room.
He just went to his room to change, not stopping by her room for a hug and a kiss like any normal person might.
Julia can't live like this
Some people are suited to farm life. Julia is not one of them. And of course there are the added pressures and mandates from Brandon's toxic, controlling mother.
Brandon is ... not sympathetic
He asks her to see working as a free farmhand all alone as an "opportunity." Translation: it would be SO convenient for Brandon if Julia were willing to grin and bear it with his mother's expectations and demands for a few months or a few years.
Julia sees through him
He's afraid to stand up to his mother. She's not reasonable, but so long as everyone in her circle gives in, she doesn't have to be.
Julia wants to stand up to her
If Brandon doesn't eventually stick up for himself and for her, then Julia is prepared to step in. But is she truly prepared to question Betty? Betty has clearly been accustomed to getting her way since, well, back when her hairstyle was considered normal.
They go to dinner
Meeting them for sushi is Pop Pop, Brandon's grandfather, who is very friendly towards Julia.
Privately, he has reservation
He worries that Julia may be some sort of temptress from Russia -- not that she's necessarily malicious, but that it may not work out.
Betty has the eyes of a hawk
Julia has been wearing turtlenecks at home and is wearing a big fur trim, but somehow, Betty STILL spots Julia's hickey from her hookup with Brandon. Betty is not only rude enough to comment, but Ron then tries to tell Brandon that he needs to "grow up." I'm ... unclear on what is immature about making out with your future wife.
Pop Pop steps in
He notes that Betty and Ron are embarrassing themselves and should stop. Hickeys are normal, and Brandon is a grown man.
Onto more serious matters
Betty is surprised to hear that Brandon and Julia have a wedding date in mind (because she expects to be consulted about everything). The date: May 9.
That doesn't fit with Betty's plans
She says that May 9 doesn't suit her, because that's Mother's Day weekend, and tries to insist that they pick a different date. May 9 is their anniversary, which Betty dismisses, telling them that they should pick a new date ... and maybe a new anniversary? Betty may be accustomed to control, but she knows that the calendar doesn't work like that, right?
Stephanie Davison and Ryan Carr
Still anticipating her reunion with her much-younger man, Stephanie meets with her cousins. She boasts that she helped her cousin, Shannon, to lose 80 pounds - likely, she worked showing off her business into her contract. Anyway, Shannon is now pregnant and stopped in for a visit.
Stephanie has big plans
When the borders reopen, she plans to head to Belize to see Ryan ... and she'll bring her mother's ring so that he can formally propose to her. Her family and even her employee are both, well, shocked.
Stephanie does a lot to support Ryan
She spends somewhere between $500 to over $1,000 a month on Ryan and his family, from paying rent to essentials to gifts. This is playing right into fears that her family has that he is taking advantage of her and the extraordinarily successful life that she has built for herself.
They are so worried
In particular, they ask about Ryan -- isn't he working? His resort job should be giving him an income, right? To them, it sounds like they're asking for more than they need from Stephanie and that she's being played for a fool.
It's somehow worse than that
Stephanie asked her friend, who owns the resort, to hire Ryan. The twist? She secretly pays his salary, indirectly, on the theory that it is good for his self-esteem. There are tangled layers of clownery and paternalism in that, and it will be interesting to see how Ryan responds when he learns that his job is fake.
Mike Youngquist and Natalie Mordovtseva
Natalie feeds the fish in Mike's fish pond, and he complements the spread of the fish food as she tosses it into the water.
She has learned a lot about Mike
Getting to know Mike in Ukraine was one thing. Seeing him during his daily routine at his home is another.
It's a mixed experience
She likes some of what she has learned about Mike, but not everything.
She is semi-bonding with the cat
Unfortunately, this means the cat sitting in her lap when she wants to get up and do things. She's been scratched or pricked a couple of times by the cat (it's unclear if it's a deliberate scratch or just feeling the claws through her jeans -- Natalie says "bit" but that may not be the right word).
It's more than just unfamiliar brands and button labels. It looks like washing and drying clothes is just simpler in Ukraine. In her defense, Mike has his dryer on the left and his washer on the right, which I have never seen in my life -- always, always, in houses or apartments, if they're not stacked, the dryer is on the right. Anyway, she sort of works it out.
Natalie's quest for fabric softener leads her to find bleach, with which she seems to be totally unfamiliar.
What is bleach?
Well, it's not fabric softener, we'll say that much. We HAVE to believe that producers eventually told her what it was and prevented her from ruining an entire load of laundry.
In general, it's a hard adjustment
She is living in the middle of nowhere. None of her friends would ever move into the middle of the woods, and we can't say that we blame them.
She does check in with friends
FaceTiming her friend, Svetachka, Natalie confesses that she has misgivings about Mike, from him not being careful enough around his fish to her inability to trust him.
There's also Mike's daily schedule
Mike works as a branch manager for a construction supply company. His job is in Seattle, so he gets up at like 3AM every day, drives to Seattle, works, comes home in the aftermoon. He is driving for a few hours in either direction. Mike cannot afford the pricey housing in Seattle, but the whole thing seems bananas to Natalie.
Mike makes good on his promise
All week, Natalie has been looking forward to seeing this waterfall, so Mike takes her on a trip to see it that weekend. He rents a place at a hotel and they have a nice dinner.
But Natalie has long-term worries
She and Mike are very different people. Natalie is a vegetarian, does not drink much alcohol at all, and her Christian beliefs are very important to her.