‘Alaskan Bush People’ Season Finale: ‘Wind and a Prayer’ (RECAP)
In the Alaskan Bush People season finale episode “Wind and a Prayer” (Feb. 22), the Browns try to close a deal to help restore their dream of a wind turbine, but simultaneously get thrown a curveball when Browntown runs out of gas, forcing them to get creative. Meanwhile, Noah gets some bad news from his girl.
WINTER IS RIGHT HERE, DADGUMMIT! The future of Brownton Abbey is at stake again, just like it has been in every freakin’ episode before this one.
We open with Matt pestering bears, because Matt’s only knowledge of bears comes from watching Gentle Ben on DVD. Matt and Bear are trying to “establish our territory and show [the bear] his.” I wish them the best of luck with that.
Ol’ Billy Brown’s got himself in a most worrisome bind with the lumber situation, and he fears Matt won’t be able to fulfill his outrageous expectation of 5,000 board feet of wood to barter with Wes for wind turbine parts. Better for Matt that he walk away forever in shame and let nature take its course on him.
But Lost Footage may prove to be the Browns’ saving grace. The show finally gets around to showing us that Matt and Bam did some roofing work while they were on P.O.W. a few episodes ago, and the guy gave them a nice stack of red cedar boards for their labor. Assuming Matt’s talking about Western Red Cedar, he says the wood is rare in their area because it only grows at certain latitudes. He’s overstating their value a bit, but the red cedar planks are vastly superior to the garbage wood Matt milled on his weak Bush sawmill, and it would help complete Billy’s end of the barter. Matt says he’ll give up his portion of the cedar planks for the greater good, which isn’t that much of a sacrifice because Matt only builds shoddy structures out of tires or plastic wrap. This good wood would be wasted on him. Bam’s cedar stash would complete the barter, but since Bam got out of Dodge to get his freak on in the Lower 48, he’s not there to speak for it. You may recall that Bam had ambitious plans to build a huge Bush McMansion on the outskirts of Brownton Abbey, and this cedar was intended to be used for his flooring. I say once you leave the Bush, your stuff is considered abandoned and is then up for grabs. And let’s face it, Bam’s never coming back to this craphole or his loser family.
Let’s check in on Bear, the Brown family’s rodeo clown. Here we see Bear barbecuing himself alive, his sleeveless man fur coat ensuring that his meat stays moist and succulent.
Bear is making himself useless by painting a design on the plywood tail for the wind turbine that they don’t actually have yet. He’s going for fire, because it is “one of the most AWESOME and EXXXXTREME things all rolled into one.” He cuts off a deer tail and starts painting with it. The design looks very similar to Bear’s awful back tattoo. When he’s finished, he marks it with an X, the most EXXXXTREME of letters. The letter X also represents the full extent of Bear’s literacy.
Here is our Bush Picasso’s finished work:
This episode’s description mentions something about Noah getting “bad news from his girl,” so I suppose we have to find out what that is. Noah received an “urgent” message from his beloved, Rhain With an H, so he takes a 90-minute skiff ride to Hoonah to waste all of the family’s precious remaining gasoline. When Noah meets up with Rhain, she has trouble spitting out her lines. “I have something I got to kind of tell you,” she says. “I have to end up leaving probably back to Oregon soon. I don’t want to go, but my place in Hoonah is come to an end.” Due to “jobs” and “housing,” Rhain will have to find somewhere else to live. Noah’s not going to let Rhain go as easily as he did Christy. Noah thinks he can get Rhain a job as a deckhand on one of the boats in town, because Noah is so well connected with all of Hoonah’s boat captains. I think she’d be more qualified for an apprenticeship at Kenny’s dump.
Wes is due to arrive at Brownton Abbey any moment now, and everyone is nervous. Maybe they think Wes won’t notice their meager offer of hack-job lumber. Maybe they think Wes is a soft-hearted sucker who’ll just take this sad pile of wood out of pity instead of sending his crew to loot and pillage Brownton Abbey. “We put our entire year and a lot of Browntown and blood and sweat and tears into this thing,” Matt says. ENTIRE YEAR? This season started in early fall and they didn’t even start the turbine project until the third episode of the season. The Browns are terrible at keeping track of their own BS. The Browns have to sit around and wait wait for Wes to show up, if he even shows up. Of course, we’ve all seen preview shots of the Browns’ new turbine, so we know the Barter Fairies did their jobs, making all of this a bunch of pointless Unnecessary Drama.
Wes and his crew eventually arrive on the Dirty Oar. Wes has no time to beat around the Bush, as there’s fake bad weather somewhere up near Hoonah, and he wants Billy to make quick with the 5,000 board feet of wood. But Billy only has 3,500 board feet, and Wes is “not too tickled” with this amount.
YES! LET THE LOOTING BEGIN!
But wait. The Browns debate on throwing Bam’s portion of the red cedar into the mix, as if the answer isn’t obvious. Matt somehow thinks he can stand in as a proxy for Bam—maybe this is Matt’s way of getting back at his younger but smarter brother—to decide what should be done with Bam’s lumber. Then they cast a family vote. WTF is this, anyway? An annual meeting of Discovery Communications shareholders? Wes must be rolling his eyes, too. It’s decided that Bam’s lumber will belong to Wes, who is pleased and won’t burn Brownton Abbey to the ground as we all hoped.
Matt gathers up family members to load the lumber, as Noah checks to make sure all the turbine parts are accounted for. The Browns receive a box containing super strong magnets, which have the potential of taking fingers off if handled improperly. Bear hears “super strong magnets” and immediately imagines all the EXXXXTREME things he could do with them. I hope he super-magnetizes all of his exxxxtremities off.
Or, maybe I’ll just watch him bolt things together with his face. “I only have two hands, but I do have a chin,” he says as he tries to affix his EXXXXTREME turbine tail to a metal pole.
Bear is thrilled to get this turbine thing going, because that means fewer trips to Hoonah for gas. It also means fewer trips to Hoonah to creep out the entire female population. Rejoice, oh ladies of Hoonah, for your day of liberation is at hand!
Seriously, look at this guy. It’s like he’s a rejected character from This Is Spinal Tap. He’s a walking Halloween costume.
And so is his brother, Noah, who is wearing spurs on his boots.
Noah seeks relationship advice from Matt, who kind of dances around the subject, but tells Noah that he should follow his heart and know that he has a family that accepts him no matter how weird he is. Noah’s thinking about asking his folks if Rhain might be able to move to Brownton Abbey. “But I don’t want to be alone when I go back to my house,” Noah says. It’s really scary in that chicken coop at night.
The Browns are burying screw anchors in the ground to keep the turbine’s guide wires in place. Noah’s in his Tent of Horrors assembling the generator and attaching the neodymium magnets to the spinning disc thingy. It’s basic high-school science fair stuff. Noah wasted all the gas going to Hoonah to see his ladyfriend, so they can’t use the generator to power electrical stuff around the house. Noah’s using car batteries hooked up to jumper cables hooked up to a welding rod to put together the remaining screw anchors. I’m sure Noah’s welds will hold together long enough for cameras to get a few seconds of the turbine in action before the whole crap comes crashing down.
Billy and Ami are in the house preparing dinner by mayonnaise candlelight and being gross with each other again. They’re reminiscing about all the hardships they had before Discovery came along and started paying them to have fake hardships.
I definitely wouldn’t trade the 30 days Billy spent in house arrest in Juneau. I also wouldn’t trade Billy’s coma days. The rest of it I’d barter for a few Chuck E. Cheese’s tokens.
The Browns decide to work on the turbine through the night, lighting the area with torches. This is pretty much just a setup for another pointless bear encounter. The Browns hear noises and go to investigate. Surprising no one, a bear has broken through Noah’s chicken-wire electric fence. Matt resorts to barking like a dog at the bear, and this is too silly to be considered Unnecessary Drama. Matt notes that this spot is where “that one bear lunged at Bear” that one time. Then maybe they should get out of that bear’s favorite lunging spot. Jackasses.
The following day, we find Noah and Birdy attaching the turbine blades to the magnet disc doohickey. The turbine blades are made of weathered wood, and they look like they’ve taken quite a few spins over the years. If you though Noah’s scene with Matt was awkward, it’s got nothing on Noah talking with Birdy. They’re lining up the turbine blades with the bolts, and when the bolts poke through the holes, Birdy cheers, “I see its head. It’s a boy!” Gross. “Since Noah’s gotten a fairly serious girlfriend, we have done less things together,” Birdy tells us. That is also gross. Birdy’s not very keen on Rhain shacking up in Brownton Abbey, since she prefers the company of felines and bovines who can carry on a conversation closer to her intellectual level. “Actually, human beings are my least favorite being, actually,” Birdy says, actually. But she says she’ll put up with Rhain being in Brownton Abbey “if there are NO other options.” Eh. Whatever. I’d put more stock in Cupcake’s opinion than Birdy’s.
Oh, look! The Browns must’ve put all this other complicated stuff together while the cameras weren’t rolling! I wonder if the trail cameras caught the Turbine Elves at work overnight.
“This is the first thing that really makes us cotton-pickin’ independent,” says Billy, forgetting that he said pretty much the same thing about the cow. “We put our entire year and a lot of Browntown and blood and sweat and tears into this thing,” Matt says … again. Guys, repeating stuff does not make it true. Maybe Rhain can get a job as an editor for ParkSlope.
It’s time to hoist this thing up, and the Browns have pulleys and stuff rigged up by people who actually knew what they were doing. Doing the heavy lifting is an electric winch, which is not the chainsaw winch they used to hoist Wind Turbine Version 1.0. Where did this new winch come from? Why weren’t they using this winch before? If they have no electricity, what’s powering this winch? Man, I hate this show so much.
In the interstitial segment, Birdy and Rainy are putting gasoline and motor oil on the wind turbine blades to preserve the wood. A minimum of research reveals that used motor oil can be repurposed as a wood stain and water sealant. Mineral spirits and other petroleum distillates are used to condition and preserve wood. I guess this makes sense. Birdy likes the smell of gasoline because it reminds her of childhood. I like the smell of gasoline because it smells like victory.
All right. Can we hoist this thing up and get this over with already? “Success would be complete self-sustainability,” exaggerates Asa, Our Dear Narrator. “Failure could stall the progression of Browntown for years to come.” They’ve been stalling the progression of this episode for years. “¡Avante!” cries Noah in his worst Spanish/Portuguese. They fire up the winch, which appears to be anchored with rope to a log, but Bear has to keep the winch positioned so the cable doesn’t slide off the spool, which, of course, it does.
We have to suffer through a little bit of Unnecessary Drama by way of Winch Malfunction, but it does give us a nice shot of Worried Billy.
Yeah, yeah, they get the winch working again. They raise the turbine into position and it spins just fine. Congratu-freakin’-lations. I’m so bored I no longer care. “It’s so large! We can power anything now,” Ami says. As long as Billy is around, there’ll always be enough wind blowing.
“We have so much power, we won’t know what to do with it all,” says Bear, who is clearly drunk on this power. Be mindful of Lord Acton’s proverb: “Power tends to corrupt, and EXXXXTREME power corrupts EXXXXTREMELY.”
It sure is, Billy. It sure is.
Billy breaks into his usual season-finale spiel: “There’s nothing the Browns can’t do. There’s nothing that’s gonna stop us. There’s no way. With faith in family, faith in God, sticking together as a family—what can stop that? Nothing.”
Nothing, except maybe Rich Ross, Group President of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel. He is pictured below.
These were his words at the 2015 TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour.
“The most important thing that this network, the flagship of this company, can stand for is, if there was one word, it would be ‘authentic.’ And it’s really important that we look into this incredible brand and all the programming that we make and make sure that’s what we stand for. And it’s a filter in which we’re looking at everything we have on the air and everything we’re talking about moving forward.”