In Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People Season 4 premiere episode “The Wolfpack Returns” (May 6), the Browns return to their homestead in Alaska after three months. They’re going to rebuild their home, but need to take on a risky hauling job to make it happen.
Welcome back, friends. It’s time to head for the mountains…
The Browns have spent three months in Seattle while Billy gets treatment for Billy Brown Syndrome. But the doctors say that Billy’s seizure disorder is in remission, and now he and his family are returning to Brownton Abbey. Goody for us.
Nature (or the production crew) has done its best to wipe the stain of Brownton Abbey off the land. The elements have knocked down Matt’s tire hut, drenched Bam’s house with water and infested Noah’s house with a cute, fluffy mold. There’s a lot of work to be done that Billy will watch others do.
Matt is still a goofy bastard. Matt, like his hair, is UNTAMED! Matt claims that his tire house is equipped with a “self-destruct mechanism” consisting of five gallons of gasoline and a 12-gauge pump. It shouldn’t surprise you that Matt keeps gasoline and firearms (and a flare?) in his hut. But under what circumstances would his hut need to self-destruct? And would Matt be inside the hut when the mechanism is triggered? If Alaskan Bush People had a self-destruct mechanism, it got triggered back in Season 1.
Noah “Dark Cloud” Brown calls himself a “mechanical physicist,” and I should note that “Dark Cloud” is the nickname spoken by Our Dear Narrator. This is not something I made up, nor would ever make up.
In the main house, Billy, Ami and Birdy are sorting through their garbage, determining what garbage to keep and what garbage to burn. Billy finds a small metal plaque with a replica of da Vinci’s Last Supper. “It’s just, like, symbolic,” Billy says. Indeed, it symbolizes Billy’s Christ-like journey of scammin’ and fraudin’ across the USA. I would totally PhotoShop the Brown family into that painting but blasphemy is something I try to avoid.
A little time in Seattle did Birdy some good. She got herself some new spectacles! She’s going for the Bush Hipster look. The teeth, however …
Now comes the time for the SYMBOLIC rite of cleansing with fire! The family gets together around a bonfire built by Bear to burn away their old stuff and start over. And what gets burned? A soiled bedsheet and … no, nothing else. Just a soiled bedsheet. The Browns can finally move on!
Billy decides it’s time to throw his self-respect into the fire. Billy acknowledges that he and Bam are going to jail in the spring over the PFD fraud conviction. We all knew that, but we didn’t know how the show would deal with it. The show is dealing with it by having Billy play the victim who’s been bullied by the big, bad bureaucratic state of Alaska. “The Browns have homesteaded in Alaska for more than 30 years, but now, Alaska was accusing them of living somewhere else,” Our Dear Narrator says through gritted teeth. “I’d never cheat Alaska,” Billy says with pants on fire. Then he plays up his jail sentence as an act of altruism, sparing the rest of his family from the slammer. “Just take me. Put me in jail as long as you want,” Billy claims to have told prosecutors. “They just wouldn’t give up.” Also sacrificing himself for the good of the family is Bam, who “demanded that he shoulder the burden of the remaining charges.” Billy’s playing the Alaska Oppresses the Bush Lifestyle card, blaming paper trails and bureaucracy for the mistake. But Billy’s more determined than ever to turn Brownton Abbey into a creepy cult militia compound. “This is where we live. This is where we make the stand. This is it,” Billy says. Hope Matt has his self-destruct thingy armed and ready.
But enough about that. It’s time to get back to work. Gabe gets busy throwing rocks in the mud.
And it’s time to find a working … skiff? That can’t be right. Our beloved skiff, The Skiff, has entered Valhalla? “She actually died on us recently,” Bam tells Paul, the Brown family’s hauling business benefactor. “All the rivets went out of the bottom and she kept sinking on us, so we had to put that one to bed.” So they’ve written off Alaskan Bush People’s most interesting character and the only reason I can tolerate watching this show. This sucks mightily. My story is that the The Skiff was too beautiful for this world, and it chose to take its own life rather than remain in servitude to the unworthy Browns.
But I will press on with this recap and not allow grief to consume me. Paul has a skiff he will loan to the Browns for the season if they agree to transport his buddy’s Suzuki Samurai across Icy Strait. Paul must hold some kind of grudge against his buddy, otherwise he wouldn’t suggest that these imbeciles haul his car over a body of water.
Back in Brownton Abbey, the mold has driven Noah out of his tent of horrors, so he must find an alternative dwelling. He decides on the chicken coop, since the chickens were given to a friend in Hoonah when the Browns went in exile. So Noah’s going to sleep in a chicken coop. In the immortal words of Josh from Gustavus: “It shouldn’t be too bad. It’s just the feces there.”
Bam consults with Billy on the skiff for Suzuki deal, and Billy approves. This new bigger, more powerful skiff is going to change everything for the Browns, unlike that old Skiff that bailed out these fools a mere 300 times. In order to transport the Suzuki Samurai — which hasn’t been sold in North American markets since 1995 — they need to build a barge out of wooden planks and some empty oil drums. They visit the junkyard in Hoonah, where we are led to believe that Kenny! is alive and well and not rotting in the root cellar. Clearly this is previously shot footage edited to make it look like Kenny is alive. There’s probably enough B-roll footage of Kenny to give the illusion that he’s alive for 10 more seasons.
The construction of the barge is rather uneventful and it takes a long time, which makes it easy to recap. The only thing really worth mentioning is how Matt makes a little model of their barge out of pencils and a toy car. He tests it in a frying pan full of water and EUREKA! It floats! Now all they need are some really big pencils and they’re all set to haul a freakin’ Suzuki.
Noah fell and reinjured his already gimpy leg. This sends him to his workshop of horrors to build a Bush Robo Leg out of a knee brace and some plumbing parts. Noah needs to be in 100 percent physical condition if he’s going to make his date terribly uncomfortable. Yes, Noah has a date with a woman,
Corrina Karryna, he met in the Lower 48. “I was just walking by and I complimented the view,” Noah says. “Killer introduction if I have to say so myself.” Pompous ass. Noah tells his mother the news that Corrina Karryna is coming to visit, because we all know real-world girls like to travel to the Alaskan bush at their own expense to stay with some creepy guy they just met. “She’ll be staying in the main house and she becomes my responsibility,” he says. “If I must, I will lay down my life to protect anyone that is in my care.” I really hope it comes to that.
“Noah couldn’t have gotten hurt at a worse time,” Billy says, fretting that Noah is making a run at Billy’s record streak of Days Absent From Work. Noah will stay behind to frighten his ladyfriend while the rest of the family goes off to see how well a Suzuki Samurai floats. Bear suggests that he ride in the Samurai while they’re towing it. “You have to respect the danger, man,” Bam says. Bear replies, “THE DANGER HAS TO RESPECT ME!” I really, legitimately laughed at that.
In the interstitial scene, which is often more entertaining than anything else in the episodes, Matt cuts potatoes with a seashell. He’s making Bush Potato Chips and frying them in oil. Matt thinks he should market them, with “Mild, Medium and Extra Bush” flavors. To make them even less appetizing, Matt sets the chips on a dirty log to cool off and infuse some of that Extra Bush flavor. Alert the good people at Frito-Lay.
If you’ve made it this far and are still watching this series, then you are a hearty soul and I commend your fortitude. A lot of the Brown family supporters appear to have fled, and many of the most ferocious bush bashers have grown weary. And now they’ve killed off both Kenny and The Skiff. These are indeed sad times we live in.
But I shall soldier on in recapping this terrible show until the Good Lord tells me it’s time to stop. This is what I do. This is where I make the stand. This is it.
Man, I really want one of those self-destruct thingies.