Doomsday Castle completed its first season on the National Geographic network October 1. Prepper reality shows have become quite popular among certain segments, and the Doomsday Preppers spin-off was no exception. Some viewers simply enjoy watching the antics of reality show cast members; others tune in to learn preparedness skills, and some watch reality survival television shows with a very critical eye.
The Doomsday Castle season finale involved far more hugs that angst. The first few episodes of the NatGeo Doomsday Preppers spin-off showcased the trials and tribulations which naturally occur when a large group of adult siblings are in the same place for an extended period of time. As the season progressed, Brent Sr.’s brood learned to deal with both their differences and past history for the betterment of the family. During the prepper reality show finale, exactly how far the siblings had come on both a personal and survival skills levels was readily apparent.
When Brent Sr. sat down to chat about Doomsday Castle with Off The Grid News, he did note that he would have liked for the more educational and informative aspects of his family preparedness to have made it onto the screen – but the nature of television unfortunately does not allow viewers to catch a glimpse of all the interesting tidbits which get left on the cutting room floor. During the Doomsday Castle finale, great emphasis was placed on at least one final castle defensive project, the completion of strong castle doors. Just as prior construction, sustainable living, and tactical endeavors were highlighted during the season, the door project included both successes and failures.
While the sibling-led project did show preppers how important wood selection and design are when designing a door to thwart the marauding hordes – they did make one potentially fatal mistake. As Brent Sr. pointed out, the bolts on the secure door faced outward and could easily be removed by invaders.
Secret Garden of Survival author Rick Austin’s camouflaged food forest instructions must have been followed to the letter by the Doomsday Castle siblings because its quick yield allowed Lindsey and Dawn Marie to create a prepper’s feast for their brothers and sister Ashley to enjoy during the finale. Brent Sr. is absent from the meal, he was off planning a simulated mass attack on the castle to test the skills his adult children had been taught earlier in the season. The meal was not comprised entirely of organic fruits and vegetables. The sisters decided that they need to put their livestock harvesting skills to the test before forced to do so in a life-or-death situation. Although the girls obviously found the chore and extremely difficult task, Lindsey and Dawn Marie were able to stave off their emotions and killed and prepared the chicken for the cook pot.
When asked about his experience helping the Doomsday Castle crew grow a camouflaged food forest and his overall take on the first season of the prepper reality show, Rick Austin had this to say:
“In spite of some editing to make the show more ‘commercial’ – blowing up stumps instead taking them out with a tractor, the audience had the opportunity to learn a lot in this show. Some of it went so fast that you have to watch it two or three times just to catch the details. And I know that a lot of other prepper tips ended up on the cutting room floor- because there just wasn’t enough time in the episodes to get everything in. In my own case, the crew did an incredible job shooting my Secret Garden of Survival, and they shot a lot of detail and we covered a lot of things about gardening that every prepper should know. But a lot of it got cut. I think the family and the squabbling was more real than people might think in a situation like that. If 6 adults came from 6 different places to try to save themselves in a disaster situation, there would be a lot of short tempers due to lack of food, lack of sleep, over work, and always being in a heightened state of fear. In my own case, Dawn Marie, Brent Sr. and Michael were a pleasure to work with and I was impressed with Michael’s work ethic. I think the sleeping surprise of the show was Lindsey- she was even keeled and grew with the show- and never seemed to ‘lose it.’ Having people like that in your prepper crew are worth their weight in gold. Things will be bad enough, without your own group wanting to kill each other.”
Austin’s observations about Lindsey prove true during the Doomsday Castle season finale. While she may be the one of Brent Sr.’s children, the audience gets to “know” the least personality wise, she could most definitely be described as level-headed. Throughout the season Lindsey has trucked on, facing each task presented with determination and organization. During the finale, Brent Sr. described how he thinks each of his children will react when faced with one mega final test.
During his speech, the prepper dad noted that Lindsey tends to over-think things, which is a great skill to possess during planning and organizational stages of projects, but caused the proud father to wonder how his daughter would react while in the midst of a fast-paced life or death scenario. Although she did not emerge as the champion warrior during the final scenes of the season, Lindsey’s calm and common sense approach did help keep the crew of siblings from falling apart over a leadership decision. The ability to focus under pressure could be as much a life-saving skill as prowess with weapons.
Brent Sr.’s pal “Sgt. Mike” made an appearance on the Doomsday Castle finale – and he did not come alone. The military man and his team helped the family patriarch put his children to an ultimate survival test before the cameras stop rolling. Mike shared some of the tactical skills which have proven highly successful for the United States military during extreme battle conditions in past wars. The surveillance activities by Sgt. Mike’s team and Brent Sr. before the final test began served as a good reminder that even spectacular defensive projects need to be maintained in order to remain effective. Both physical and psychological warfare tactics were developed for use against the siblings while they worked on projects around the castle totally unaware of their father’s plans.
Before the final test began Michael stated how proud he was of his brother and sister, noting how they had come together. The teamwork transformation was quite an accomplishment, especially considering the verbal barbs being tossed about during the first few episodes of the season. An award for most improved prepper would surely go to either Brent II (or B2 as his family affectionately calls him) or Ashley.
Brent II was most definitely not as experienced as his younger brother Michael, his construction and shooting skills needed more than a bit of work. Brent II’s desire to be looked to as a leader due to his position in the birthing order caused more than a few conflicts with both his siblings and their father in the early episodes of the show. The 40ish sibling has been very open about his struggles with substance abuse and his desire to use his time on the castle mountain as a type of rehab and to reconnect with his family. Although for a brief moment when tensions ran high during the final test by Brent Sr., the eldest son proved that he has learned quite a lot from helping his family prepare for the end of days.
Even though he may still lag behind his baby brother in survival skills, Brent II did appear to learn how to interact with his loved ones without anger, lose a significant amount of what appeared to be a chip on his shoulder about his place in the family, and he picked up some very useful skills along the way.
A recent post by Brent II on the Facebook page discusses the possibility of castle tours:
“Once I confirm w Dad tours will be $300 but that includes cottage, treehouse, bunker, castle, and tent accommodations for the night and a possible marauder assault and 5 projects .skill sets activities during day. 3 meals .. 2 very good venison n bfast .. lunch is MREs education n eating. You get a bug out bag as well n training at castle.”
As mentioned during the Off The Grid News interview with Ashley, she had been dubbed the girly-girl prepper when the Doomsday Castle series first aired. The preparedness mindset which the young woman showcased during the last episode is built upon during the finale. Ashley, Brent II, and Michael tackle some heavy lifting and intricate wood working tasks, without the girly-girl showing any signs of being outdone by her brothers. Ashley gets as sweaty and dirty as Michael and Brent II, and contributes significantly to the project. During the final “ultimate test” by Brent Sr. and Sgt. Mike, Ashley is not outdone by either her organized sister Lindsey or her more survival experienced sister Dawn Marie.
During a private moment on camera during the Doomsday Castle finale, Ashley noted that she was very scared at the beginning of the preparedness project, knowing that she would be in a secluded environment without the level of skills that she would need to survive or help with a host of the projects planned. As time went on during the season, Ashley stated that the shaky feelings she first felt evaporated and were replaced with a bond of trust with her siblings and a new sense of the importance of teamwork.
During the same segment where Brent Sr. discussed how he expects his children to react to the final test, he stated that Ashley has good instincts and is brave, but he wondered whether or not she would crack under all the pressure. When sharing his thoughts about Michael’s possible reactions to the test, Brent Sr. said that his younger son has good instincts, but felt he might rush in too quickly when all the action started. The prepper dad heralded the toughness of little dynamo Dawn Marie, but felt that perhaps her emotions might get the better of her, causing issues when tested in an extreme situation and forced to work with her siblings. Brent II is eager to “jump into my shoes,” according to the father of 10. The eldest son wants to be the leader, his father felt, but he pondered whether or not B2 was ready to assume such a position.
Survivor Jane, a longtime friend of Off The Grid News, and the originator of the popular preparedness Twitter hashtag, Preppertalk, has also spent some time with the Doomsday Castle cast off-screen. She had this to say when asked about her thoughts on the season:
“I had the pleasure of both meeting the family in person and going to the castle. A treat on both accounts. They say first impressions are lasting impressions. And with my first meeting of the family you wouldn’t find a better group of people. I, with everyone cringed at the family bickering – feeling more like watching my own family than a TV series and sadly I think it took away from some valuable preparedness information. Sure a tank could drive through the walls of the castle. And, sure the girls looked like – well girls of their age look, but we need to cut through all the bells and whistles and there you will find a great family who opened their lives up to the world to show how difficult things can become when trying to work together to make things happen. I think the show had some growing pains but all in all there were lessons to be learn by all; the family and the viewers.”
A decision about filming Doomsday Castle Season 2 has not yet been made, according to a NatGeo staffer’s comment to Off The Grid News. The network is in the midst of releasing a new special entitled American Blackout. The two-hour premiere event will address the repercussions of a cyber-attack on the power grid. The movie will blend together fictional stories of common Americans after they are thrown in a life filled with chaos after the attack takes down the power grid. The story unfolds in a real-time sequence after the blackout occurs and will feature one prepper family which has trained and prepared for a crisis scenario. The timing of NatGeo’s American Blackout is timely. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, the first-ever nationwide power grid drill will occur in November.