Fred Lewis fails to win over Gold Rush viewers, but that may not be his real purpose after all.
Fred Lewis, the new prospecting crew leader, has faced a backlash from Gold Rush fans since his debut in Season 11. Viewers have disapproved of his personality, leadership decisions, and the way he's constantly bringing up his military background and hairstyle.
Fred frequently gets mentioned in Gold Rush online fan discussions as a poor decision-maker: he leased a wash plant needing repair, entrusted complicated machinery to inexperienced crew members, and broke a borrowed dozer.
These choices have left fans wondering about Fred's commitment to the mining business and his ability to make sound decisions. It seems he doesn't take the industry seriously enough, and fans have been vocal in their criticism.
The latest episode, however, seems to have dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts. Fans finally understood Fred's biggest issue after watching a specific scene in which Parker Schnabel turned up at Fred's place to help, only to discover that Fred only had one set of screens for his screen wash. And while the camera panned in on the broken screens, we caught a glimpse of apparel with the laser-cut Misfits Mining logo.
Viewers found it odd that someone would have a full set of Misfits Mining merchandise for the entire crew in the third season. They were also reminded of the paint job on Fred's car wash.
And finally, everything fell into place, and Fred's problem became clear: if he had put as much effort into getting ready for the season as he did in getting his team's merch sorted out, he'd be a much better miner.
But is that really what Discovery wants? Come to think of it, Fred's obsession with publicity is nothing new on Gold Rush. Many fans note that in recent episodes, the show's priorities have clearly shifted from mining to entertainment. Episodes have become far more heavily scripted, with more drama added to get higher ratings. In this context, Fred's a perfect addition to the show. Fans are now convinced that he's just an actor, a TV personality rather than a real miner.
"If you haven't figured it out yet, Fred is an employee of Discovery and not a business owner," one of the Gold Rush fans wrote on Reddit.
This quote perfectly sums up what Fred’s role on the show is.