‘Alaskan Bush People’: ‘Bush Code’ (RECAP)


In the Alaskan Bush People episode “Bush Code” (Aug. 9), the Brown children face a critical decision as they part ways with the family’s Alaskan homestead, Ami braces for her upcoming cancer treatments in California and the wolfpack finds new ways to keep spirits high.

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After Matt is injured in an explosion, Bear, Rain and Bird are left to do the difficult work on the homestead.

The Bushido code, or “way of the warrior,” refers to a complex set of Japanese samurai values stressing honor and loyalty to country and family above all else.

In contrast, the Alaskan Bush People episode “Bush Code” is a pointless and tedious hour of television.

Let’s get this over with.

We find the Brownton Abbey mop-up crew of Bear, Rain and Bird enjoying one last blast of the cannon before packing it up. I guess I will never get to see cannon vs. trebuchet in a shootin’ match.

The unfortunate and horrifying task of cleaning up Noah’s crap falls on Bear, who has to dispose of various old electronics and animal parts preserved in jars. Bear says that Noah left an “exaggerative EXXXXTREME amount of stuff behind.” Bear has never been one to exaggerate anything, ever.

“Bear, Bird and Rain are left to sort through a lifetime of belongings before leaving the Bush for good,” says Our Dear Narrator, Asa. A lifetime of belongings? Didn’t they LOSE EVERYTHING about three times in the past five years? Blah.

Bear releases the family’s mechanical bull back into the wild. I wonder if they ever tried to mate it with Sabrina.

In California, Billy and Ami are at UCLA’s Manoukian Medical Building awaiting Ami’s chemo and radiation treatment options. Dr. Ann Raldow, a radiation oncologist who is just now discovering what an awful show this is, tries to ease Ami and Billy’s anxieties. Dr. Raldow explains that some patients “grow to like” their treatments because it becomes part of their routine. I’ve been covering this show routinely for over four years. It never gets easier. Ami undergoes a CT scan to locate the cancer and determine where to place the tattoo markings that will help align and focus her radiation treatments.

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Looks like we’re in for yet another Bear-intensive episode. Bear wants to drag the wind turbine to the Integrity, because he’s an idiot. Bear actually falls on his face, and I enjoyed that. It seems that Billy’s old buddy Trapper is coming in four days to take the Integrity and all the junk on it to Juneau, where the junk will then be shipped to whatever godforsaken land the Browns turn into their next home.

While Bear does the heavy lifting, Birdy and Rainy are busy fulfilling Ami’s request for devil’s club, which sounds like it could be the name of a biker bar, but it’s not. It’s just a plant. Oplopanax horridus is said to have medicinal properties, and it’s also used “to ward off evil,” so let’s see if it keeps Billy away.

Being in Brownton Abbey while her mom is sick in California gives Birdy feelings of sadness, which she fights by having feelings of anger. I guess you don’t develop emotional maturity or fashion sense by talking to animals.

Speaking of immaturity, Matt has his sit-down with Billy to discuss that whole explosion thing. Matt’s head is still sore, but it’s his pride that hurts most. Billy says the staples in Matt’s head are “cool.” Matt says he “Frankened” himself.

“You were close, you know that?” Billy tells Matt. “Could’ve killed you. You could’ve had brain damage, could’ve had an excuse for being like you are.” ZING! Then Billy offers some great fatherly advice: “Like I say, ‘Duh.’ Like, be a man.” Got any other wisdom, Billy?

Trapper arrives on the shore of Brownton Abbey, explaining that he’s got a friend who knows a family that wants a boat, and they’d be willing to negotiate on buying the Integrity. A really important decision now rests on the family’s three least qualified members. Birdy’s really attached to the Integrity because it’s like a part of the family, just like every squirrel, mouse, deer, cow, stray cat, sea cucumber or Skaflestad she runs into. In reality, the Browns didn’t even own the boat, and it was put up for sale in Hoonah and later sold.

Bear’s emptying out all his “special treasures” from his treehouse, including a propane tank, his Batman leather jacket and an ugly, gross pillow. Bear says that the forest will “reclaim” his treehouse. I said the same thing about that old dehumidifier I threw out on the side of the road.

In L.A., Matt is bored out of his busted-up skull, and then he gets philosophical about why he survived blowing himself up. “The Good Lord really knows what He’s doing,” Matt says.

Matt’s trying to keep busy doing things that he can be proud of later, such as making a half-assed repair on a wood fence.

Or making a homemade tattoo gun. In an effort to show solidarity with his mom, Matt gets ink done on himself using a method perfected by many a prison inmate. He’s got a small electric motor, a cellphone battery, a little plastic disc, a needle and some other random parts to make his own tattoo gun. The hardest part is transforming the motor’s spinning action into “poking action.” Matt’s also got a bunch of soot from the stove that he’s going to mix with baby oil to make his own ink. He tattoos a little dot somewhere on his torso. He doesn’t know if it will cheer his mom up, but it might give her a laugh. Or it might make her even more depressed that her firstborn son is a loser.

There’s a scene in which Bear runs around on the beach scaring bears away, but it’s much too dull to recap. Instead, I’ll regale you with the colorful account of the family’s “cherished antique cannon,” and how three Browns were able to hoist it into the Integrity all by themselves. According to the Bureau of Bush Weights and Measures, the cannon weighs in at 400 pounds, significantly lighter than those 600-pound oil drums that were completely empty. For old time’s sake, we get some Magically Appearing Bad Weather and Unnecessary Drama. Bear is very happy that wherever their new home will be, it will have the wind turbine and the cannon, two symbols of Brownton Abbey’s pretense. Also making the journey is Rope, with whom Bear has had an on-again, off-again love affair.

The homemade tattoo gun didn’t land Matt back in the hospital. Let’s see if he has better luck playing with knives. Matt and Bam play a game of Bush tic-tac-toe by stabbing knives (yes, the screwdriver counts) into a wood table. The rules and strategy are unclear, but Bam is the winner. Matt tells Bam that he’s really bored, and that he just walks around trying to kill time. Bam suggests that they take Ami somewhere among nature to remind her that her family will go on and have a future — except Matt, who will be lucky to get to age 40.

The prospective buyers of the Integrity arrive in Brownton Abbey. It’s a family of five with father Chris, mother Lisa, and young sons Logan, Jacob and Gage. They’re looking to escape mainstream society, lured by the Alaskan Bush’s promise of ultimate freedom and reality TV stardom. After some discussion, Bear informs Chris that they no longer want to sell the Integrity … they want to GIVE IT AWAY! And YOU get an Integrity and YOU get an Integrity and YOU get an Integrity! Chris and Lisa are very happy with this deal, even though it means they will have to haul the Browns’ precious junk to Juneau. “When you have something that can be given away, you shouldn’t sell it,” Bear says, citing the Bush Code. And if you have something that can’t be given away, the Browns will just swipe it from you.

Billy, unaware that his numbskull son just gave his boat away for free, is pestering Ami with his new homestead nonsense. Billy tells Ami that “it’s the beginning of one of the best adventures we’ve ever been on.” Easy for him to say. He’s not the one getting zapped and pumped up with drugs. “I looked at the map about four times,” Billy tells her. Wow, FOUR whole times? Birdy can’t get here fast enough with that devil’s club.

In the interstitial, we find Bear playing around with those bells that Noah had Kenny cut and weld out of scrapped propane tanks. We never did get to hear any music played on the bells, and I wish it could’ve remained that way. Bear whacks away at them with a branch, EXXXXTREME style! I hope the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is watching!