‘Alaskan Bush People’: ‘A New Chapter’ (RECAP)


On the Alaskan Bush People episode “A New Chapter” (Aug. 16), as Ami prepares to undergo treatment for lung cancer, siblings Bear, Bird and Rain work to give the family’s homestead back to the Bush. The entire wolfpack looks to the future and finds strength in the hope for a new place to call Browntown.

'Alaskan Bush People': 'Bush Code' (RECAP)See Also

'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.

Sigh. A new chapter, same old B.S.

The deconstruction of Brownton Abbey continues, with Bear, Birdy and Rainy pretending to clean up the mess that the family and production crew made of some lovely Alaskan rainforest. Bear wants to leave behind a marker with a message burned in some of Matt’s crappy lumber. I give that wood three years before it completely decomposes. Birdy recommends that it read “The Browns Were Here.” Simple enough. Anything more than that, and we’re getting into two-syllable words, and that’s just not the Brown Way.

I’ll someday get around to photoshopping more stuff on that marker, I promise.

Here’s another one of those things that Bear always does, and you’re just now hearing about it. He’s collecting tree sap into spent ammo shells, adding a wick to them, and then using them as fire starters. He wants to bring these things home because they’re symbolic of something. I’ve lost track of all of Bear’s inane symbols.

It’s time for Bear to fire up a disco inferno.

Bear gets a campfire going, then he yells, “Fire gods! There’s fire burning right now!” I’m not sure the Good Lord looks too kindly on all this paganism. Between this and the fairy circle trap he set a few episodes ago, Bear might end up starting fires with Beelzebub himself.

Cut to Los Angeles, where Ami and Billy are back at the hospital getting yet more preliminary examinations and consultations before starting chemo and radiation. Why is it taking so long to even start treatment? Why do they keep dragging this out? It’s like these doctors went to the Park Slope School of Medicine. Maybe they should leave Ami’s treatment up to this guy:

Ami weighs a mere 96 pounds, she has high blood pressure and is experiencing abdominal pain. Ami’s cancer is a real bummer for Billy, and he’s probably got high blood pressure, too. Just wait until he finds out what Bear did with the Integrity.

Are you sick of Bear yet? No? Good, ’cause there’s a lot more of him! Bear and Birdy are out on the beach, taking apart Matt’s terrible plastic wrap greenhouse that never housed a single crop. “Stuff like this doesn’t really belong in the Bush, not plastic and stuff like that,” Bear says. “So as the Browns disappear from Browntown, so will all the visible stuff that would pollute the otherwise fantastically beautiful beach.” Removing the invasive Brown species should remedy 90 percent of the ecological catastrophe.

Our Dear Narrator, Asa, says that Bear, Birdy and Rainy are working to “compile all remaining assets that fit their vision of a life in the Lower 48,” as though reading off the job description of some mid-level sales manager. Apparently one of those assets is a porch swing. So, yeah, they’re going to try to haul a stupid bushcraft porch swing to the Lower 48 because it symbolizes some junk.

In California, Billy and Ami get a visit from…Bill and Margaret Fuller…again. What’s with these two? Does the ABP production office have a red phone hotline directly to the Fullers? “There is a major plot hole we need to fill! CALL THE FULLERS, PRONTO!” They seem like nice people, and I’m sure they’re a blast at bridge club or pickleball night, but the Fullers need to stay off my television.

Billy and Bill sit down to talk, and Bill mentions a piece of land that some old friends own and might be willing to part with to build a new Brownton Abbey. Thanks for that intel, Bill. You may go back to Texas now.

There’s a rather touching scene with bedridden Ami offering some life wisdom interwoven with shots of colored glass bottles in a sunlit window. I’ll set aside my ABP cynicism and just let her words speak for themselves.

“Don’t figure it out. Just live. Be happy. Have fun. And do good.”

And that beautiful moment is followed up by Birdy poking at bear poop with a stick.

Now that’s symbolism. Birdy is sentimental about leaving the bears of Chicago Bears Island. She’s especially going to miss the baby bears. Birdy once proposed adopting a baby bear as a member of the family and raising it to help ward off other bears. Her plan did not come to fruition.

It’s satisfying to witness the demolition of the useless things the Browns have built over the years. I would’ve gladly watched more of it. I daydream of Kenny and I running amok in Brownton Abbey, destroying things with a 10-pound sledgehammer. I would start by bashing Noah’s stuff: the clothes dryer/incinerator, the washing machine, the butter churn, the telephone booth, the wind turbine electrical station…ahhhh, that feels good. Sadly, we don’t get to see much more than Bear punching the piss out of Noah’s electrified bear fence. It’s the humane thing to do.

Here’s more proof that Bear is awful. They’re roasting s’mores around the campfire, and Bear pretends that his marshmallows are the space shuttle burning up on reentry. “Crash and AWESOME burn!” He’s just so bad. His schtick grew tired back in Season 2, and ABP leans so heavily on him now because he’s the comic relief to offset all the dull and depressing stuff. He’s also like the only Brown who seems interested being on the show.

Rainy likes the camera, too, but what 14-year-old girl doesn’t? She’s all over the social media these days, so you can dump that pretense about the Browns not having smartphones or knowing what selfies are.

She still has much to learn about what to post and what not to post, but so do most teenagers.

It’s also wise to not post any “I can fit this whole s’more in my mouth” videos on YouTube.

AWW, HELL YEAH! Noah is BACK and he’s more BAD-ASS than ever!

Noah just turned into that guy you knew in high school who popped the hood in the McDonald’s parking lot every Friday night. Noah rolls his purple Camaro into what appears to be a rest stop. I am reminded of this glorious scene from Billy Madison.

I don’t know why the camera crew took this shot from behind their vehicle’s side mirror, but that’s why they work for Park Slope and not Amblin Entertainment.

“The Camaro, it’s one of those fixer-upper cars,” Noah says. “I actually found it in Juneau. Since I first test drove it, there was just something there. It’s supposed to be my car.” It’s a POS. It’s perfect for Noah.

Noah’s on the road to L.A. to meet up with the family. He keeps saying “we,” but the other part of “we” is neither seen nor mentioned. Poor Rhain. She’s stuck with Noah, but now she doesn’t even get to be on TV, which would be the only imaginable perk of being stuck with Noah. It seems her great Alaskan adventure broke apart on reentry. Crash and AWESOME burn!

The Camaro has been less than reliable. He’s had to replace the radiator and the wheels, and he’s rebuilt the carburetor twice. It was 180 degrees inside the car because it has no A/C. None of these mechanical problems faze Noah, because he claims to “speak engine.” Pffft. He barely speaks English. He says he “can fix anything,” and “that’s not arrogance.”

Noah is arrogance incarnate. He’s also got some creepy Norman Bates-ish stuff going on. He says he can’t wait to be back in the nest, so his mom can sit on them all and keep them warm.

It’s finally time to bid adieu to Brownton Abbey. Bear, Rain and Birdy say their goodbyes, but not before howling one last time. Always with the damned howling. Here’s a question: What are they planning to do with that new skiff? Just give that away, too? More importantly, what are they doing with the sacred remains of the original Skiff? They need to give it to me! IT’S BUSH CODE, DAMMIT!

Bear, Birdy and Rainy return to California, and there is much rejoicing. I’m waiting for Billy to ask Bear, “So how much did you get for the Integrity?” That’s never even discussed. Bear reunites with Matt, and they discuss Matt’s little near-death experience with explosives. “And what we saw, man. It’s a war zone,” Bear tells Matt, still towing the line that Matt blew himself up while heroically trying to deter bears. “It was like you vs. the bears. Seriously.” Matt shows off his head wound to Bear. (The camera doesn’t really show anything. Was the wound on the other side?) Then they talk about the old days of being kids and doing the kind of dumb, dangerous stuff that they’re still doing as adults. “We’ve always been simular [sic], actually,” Bear says of his relationship to Matt. You can definitely see the simularity [sic].

Bear looks a little like me in 1983, though I was not as EXXXXTREME.

Ami has to stay above 91 pounds or she could be hospitalized and put on a feeding tube, so they’re trying to stuff her with as much food as possible. Rainy cooks omelets, and Billy helps slice up tomatoes. It’s a bizarre scene in the kitchen, with Rainy looking like June Cleaver and Billy wearing a bathrobe over his clothes and boots.

The family gathers around Ami’s bed to discuss plans for building yet another Brownton Abbey. They should first make plans on finding Ami some bedsheets.

After some rigmarole, it’s revealed that the Browns are moving to Colorado. “Billy’s new dream is a 40-acre parcel of land in the wilderness of southwest Colorado, far from the trappings of modern society,” says Our Dear Narrator. “The land is just miles away from where Billy and Ami first fell in love with the wild over 30 years ago.” Suuure it is. Ami starts talking about the ancients, the Anasazis, who used to inhabit that area. I could see the Browns carving some cliff dwellings over the next five ABP seasons. Bear asks if Colorado has trees, and I’m disappointed that no one punches him. He describes the forest as “magical.” It will be the perfect place for Bear to practice his pagan idolatry.

In the interstitial scene, we find Bear, Birdy and Rainy in Brownton Abbey putting things into a time capsule, which is just a hole in a hollow log. I’m sure when these artifacts are discovered centuries from now, Dr. Zaius will use them as evidence of humans’ inferiority.

Next week is the season finale. It’s a two-hour affair. Will it be the last episode ever? Probably not. But we can dream.

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