‘Alaskan Bush People’ Season Finale: ‘A New Beginning’ (RECAP)


In the Alaskan Bush People season finale episode “A New Beginning” (September 30), the Wolf Pack braces for a looming wildfire that threatens completion of the barn. Noah walks down the aisle to become the first married Brown.

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Prepare for a whole new season with this list of memorable moments.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?

It was particularly cruel of Discovery Channel to cram a 10-episode ABP season (it was 11 total hours of “new” content) into a six-week span. The human mind cannot handle that much inanity in such a short time. Sunday’s season finale craptacular consisted of a behind-the-scenes “Chasing the Wolfpack” special that I will recap later, followed by an exhausting two hours of “A New Beginning,” which I recap here and now.

We open with Gabe, Matt and Birdy playing horseshoes with a large, rusted bracket. I’m interested in wagering on the outcome of this competition, so I consulted Vegas oddsmakers to see what the current point spread was. The favorite is Matt +9, but I’m kinda liking Birdy to pull the upset vs. the spread here. Whatcha think, Billy?

Gabe wins in a rout, and I’m down $5 Large. Thanks for nothing, Billy. At least I made a little back on my who-will-get-tetanus prop bet.

While Billy, Mother Ami and Bear are road-tripping to California for Mother Ami’s cancer checkup, those left behind at Brown Star Ranch continue to build Billy’s Colossal Barn of Dreams. Progress is being made, mostly because they’ve shed the dead weight of Matt, who injured his ankle/knee/foot/leg in the previous episode. If Matt requires surgery, Gabe can perform the operation.

Gabe’s dextrous use of the chainsaw will come in handy when another Brown needs a gallbladder removed.

While on the disabled list, Matt is physically and mentally breaking down. He says his “brain is literally cooking.”

Any questions? I have many, but now is not the time. Matt wants to find relief from the oppressive heat, so he comes up with the idea of constructing an air-conditioned “spacesuit” out of a tarp, a flexible exhaust vent pipe, a window A/C unit and a gas-powered generator.

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But first, Matt and his chicken associate must break for lunch, which is chili from an unlabeled can that appears to have been opened by stabbing the lid with a knife.

I do not know what chili does to the digestive tract of a chicken, but I’m hoping Matt gets to find out in the grossest of ways. There’s nothing I like more on a hot day than eating a chicken’s leftover chili straight a mangled can with a sharp knife you made from a piece of scrap metal and a roll of duct tape. Inform the good people at Hormel.

The chicken seems a little agitated after lunch. Probably just the beans kicking in.

Mmmmm. Chicken jerky. Perhaps it’s time to build a Bush Food Dehydrator.

I think we’re ALL going to need a bath after watching this, Matt. Sadly, I can never fully cleanse myself from the stench of this show, no matter how hard I scrub.

Matt finally gets around to business building his A/C suit, taking special precautions so the suit “does not concentrate the sun’s rays and kill me, which is not what I’m going for.”

I think Matt might be on to something here. I could see there being a market for free-range chickens raised on a diet of canned chili. With its natural spiciness, it would make for an outstanding chili con pollo recipe for your next tailgate party.

Matt is pleased with his A/C suit. The only drawback is that he has to pull that compressor/generator cart around with him wherever he goes. And I guess that window A/C unit, which cranks out enough BTUs to cool an average-sized room, would make the suit tolerable for only about five minutes at a time. Another impractical piece of Bushcraft that the producers stole from someone on the internet.

Back at the barn, Bam invokes the ancient wisdom of Huey Lewis and the News.

A thunderstorm approaches Brown Star Ranch, which threatens to derail construction of Billy’s Dream Barn and jeopardizes the future of the Brown family forever. Curiously, Bam is not too acquainted with lightning, which he claims to have seen only twice in his 30-plus years of living deep within the unforgiving frontiers of the Alaskan wilderness.

I’d like to inform Bam that lightning is a potent weapon unleashed by the gods as vengeance upon residents of the Lower 48. Its power can be harnessed by climbing up a tall tree and holding a 9-iron high into the air. I strongly suggest choosing Bear to perform this task.

Construction on the barn colossus grinds to a halt. Family’s future threatened forever again, etc. Wildfires in the area are creating Fake Urgency for the Browns, as extremely dry conditions might result in a ban on the use of chainsaws and other power tools that could take effect at any moment. They need to complete as much as they can before the government comes to confiscate their cordless drills.

Meanwhile, Matt tries to stave off boredom by visiting Noah’s tent during normal business hours.

Noah has been hard at work making fire alarms/musical instruments out of PVC pipe. Matt enjoys Noah’s music and claps, apparently because he is a toddler.

Noah wants to show Matt this really cool picture of a firetruck that he drew in art class. It has a “fire hose turent [sic] made from PVC” and everything!

Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if Noah and Matt went to the dump and tried to find some parts to build their very own firetruck to put out a forest fire? No? Screw you! They’re doing it anyway!

Noah and Matt pay a visit to George’s dump. George seems like a nice guy who has no idea what he’s getting into with this show. They ask George if he has any mechanical water pumps lying around. George says that he had two, but they burned up in a fire a few years ago. George appreciates the humor in that.

George takes Matt and Noah out into his land, which includes the remnants of a structure that was destroyed by a wildfire. Among the relics in George’s junkyard is what definitely looks like a Chevrolet Chevette.

[DIGRESSION! The Chevy Chevette is considered one of the worst cars ever built. My father owned an early-’80s model Chevette, which was the replacement for a mid-’70s Chevy Vega, also one of the worst cars ever built. In 1990, I learned to drive in our Chevette. It was not the kind of car you’d want to pick up a date in, but sometimes I had no choice. I did enjoy being able to get a half-tank of gas for about $6, and my dad eventually upgraded the radio from AM to AM/FM, so that was kind of nice. Maybe it’s just rosy retrospection, but I’d totally love to have that Chevette back.]

Things take a really dark turn when Matt recalls the fire that destroyed the Browns’ home in Haines, Alaska, when he was a kid.

Woah. Heavy. Apparently the dog, named Trouble, was tied up and couldn’t escape the fire. If it did happen as Billy and Matt say, then I can imagine how that would be a horrendously traumatic experience for the Brown kids. But I’m also trying to figure out how a dog tied up outside the house couldn’t have been rescued. And if the dog was tied up inside the house for some reason, how could they have watched it burn up? This is what happens when you lie to people. They’re skeptical even when you tell them your kids watched their dog get consumed by fire.

The dog story, of course, is intended to generate sympathy for Matt and maybe put another piece of his puzzle into place.

Elsewhere, Gabe, Rainy and Birdy are preparing for Mother Ami’s return. They go out into the woods for the time-honored Brown family tradition of picking flower petals, mixing them with sugar, and then eating them. For the Browns, Birdy in particular, sugar is three of the four food groups. It goes on scrambled eggs and is the primary ingredient in sugar sandwiches.

Of course, when bread is not readily available, the sugar can be dissolved in water and consumed as a beverage.

Diabetes never tasted so good!

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Bear, Mother Ami and Billy return from the doctor’s office, which is way the hell out in California, because there are no doctors to be found any closer than that. Seriously, I wonder how long the Browns will be able to keep driving to California every three months to visit the doctor.

Everyone wants to know the results of Mother Ami’s test, which Billy eventually gets around to telling us…

Right after these messages.

Excellent news: Mother Ami’s cancer has not grown. It remains too small to even take a biopsy of it. Notice they didn’t say “gone” or “cancer-free” this time, but the news is still very good. She’s even growing her hair back!

Billy is very pleased with the progress on his Dream Barn, to which he’s contributed nothing. OK, the only thing Billy did contribute was taking Bear away from the construction site. Addition by subtraction. Now Bear is back, and he’s eager to add some of his EXXXXTREMENESS expertise.

How would you like to work with a guy whose only skill is EXXXXTREMENESS? I mean, imagine your boss one day says, “Hey, everyone. I’d like you to meet our new employee, Bear, who will be helping us out with EXXXXTREMENESS.” And then he just runs around your workplace like coked-up baboon, throwing all your TPS reports into a campfire he’s started in the conference room.

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Gabe and Birdy need a break from the heat, so they decide to take a dip down yonder at the swimmin’ hole. Then they challenge each other to a 10-meter Bushstroke race across the pond. The loser has to eat a bug of the winner’s choice. (Are there dung beetles in Washington?)

In Washington, there’s even a species of leech that lives on land, dwelling in teepees and sucking the intelligence from anyone who comes into contact with it.

I figure Birdy is due for a win. She seems to be in better physical shape than tubby Gabe, so I put down $3,000 on Birdy to win straight-up.

Sonofa…COME ON, BIRDY! How do you lose to this guy? He gets winded after swimming like 30 feet! GAH! I hope Gabe makes you eat a big-ass spider.

Birdy gets off easy, though. Gabe finds a small green worm, and he even roasts it over the fire before she eats it. Birdy’s never eaten this kind of bug. She usually just eats crickets, and occasionally dog food, though she’s quick to point out that dog food is not a bug.

Birdy eats the worm, and she kind of likes it. She’d definitely eat it again, and in greater quantities. [DIGRESSION! I ate crickets for the first time last week. They were fine, I guess. There’s not much to them. They’re like Funyuns that once chirped. I don’t know if I could see myself getting a bag of roasted, salted crickets at a baseball game. I also disliked finding cricket legs stuck in my teeth hours later.]

Noah is hard at work building the Bush firetruck, but Matt’s not doing so well. He should take a sick day.

Matt returns to work with his arm in a sling.

Nerve damage? Wha? Even Noah is confused. Matt claims he has nerve damage in his arm from an injury to his “Franken finger,” and I’m wondering which Bush neurologist in his family gave him that diagnosis. Matt has a good arm, so Noah lets him spray paint the firetruck’s water tank.

Eventually, Matt doesn’t show up to work at all, and Noah has to finish the project. After installing some flashing lights repurposed from an ambulance, Noah fires up the pump and gives the firetruck a test run.

Say, that’s a mighty powerful stream you got there, Noah! I can’t wait to see you extinguish a raging inferno with that! Maybe holding your finger over the nozzle will increase the water pressure.

Yeah, just hold it like that. Or maybe you guys should just try to pee the fire out instead.

Things are going to hell at Billy’s Barn of Dreams. The Browns are trying to attach sheets of corrugated tin to the roof without decapitating someone. Rainy’s afraid of heights, she has a panic attack and needs Gabe to “coddle” her. Bear displays his EXXXXTREME uselessness when he manages to “break” or “rip” something open on his body.

But before Gabe can fire up the chainsaw to repair the damage, Bear is perfectly fine. It’s amazing how quickly injuries heal when they’re fake. Rainy’s psychological wounds, however, cannot be so easily healed. The first step in the curative process is coming to terms with just how much dust is on her butt.

Matt’s problems are more serious than a dirty backside, however. He retreats into the wilderness, searching for a place to settle his mind. He brings with him an old friend, plastic wrap, to help make a solitary spot for quiet meditation. Here, snug in the comforting bosom of plastic wrap, Matt will make a fresh start.

Nah, forget that. Matt’s going back to rehab.

Just like the first time Matt went to rehab, I wish him well in overcoming what afflicts him. Addiction and mental health problems need to be treated like Mother Ami’s cancer. Unlike last time, I hope Matt will take his treatment more seriously and won’t be taking photos with fans in Las Vegas two weeks after entering a program.

Matt had problems before Alaskan Bush People aired, but I’m sure being bound to his father’s TV circus sideshow hasn’t helped him. He’s in his late 30s, but his parents still treat him like a child. I hope Matt finally breaks free from this cycle and finds something real and meaningful in life.

A few episodes ago, Billy was just tickled to death proud of Matt. Now he’s talking about how something inside Matt snapped and blew. Billy’s so badly out of touch with his own family.

But his kids’ welfare doesn’t matter all that much to him, so long as his Colossal Dream Barn gets built. Does he realize what a self-important asshat he is? Is he really a garbage human or does he just play one on TV?

What a slovenly, insensitive, narcissistic sack of excrement this guy is.

Yeah, you’ve raised the model family, Billy. Glad you got a second shot at fatherhood after abandoning your daughters from your previous marriage. You’ve succeeded in raising a brood of maladjusted clods who possess no real skills or education and are completely dependent on you and whatever Park Slope pays you.

And he’d totally deserve it, too. Someone should toss him and his whole family off a dock in Hoonah.

Jackass. Let’s move on to something more pleasant. How about a stinky foot contest? It’s Gabe vs. Rainy vs. Birdy in a battle royale of malodorousness! Birdy is a lock to win this! I imagine her feet just reek to high heaven.

I’ve heard that Gabe’s stench game is strong, but I suspect he talks bigger than he smells.

Somehow, Rainy is declared the winner. THE FIX IS IN!!!

I’m just going to skip over the last few boring scenes of the Browns pretending to finish the barn. EVERYONE knows they didn’t actually build it themselves.

The next step is to fill Billy’s Dream Barn with lots of adorable animals!

Billy “brokered a deal” with a local farmer for some livestock, and the first shipment is a bunch of chicks and a few goats. The hell? Are the Browns building a ranch or a petting zoo here?

I pity these poor creatures. They’re part of Billy’s Grand Vision now. Their doom is sealed.

Whatever. I give the Browns two years before they totally destroy the place and move on.

Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting to laugh at! Noah finally marries that one woman who hasn’t been seen or talked about for the past two seasons. Here comes the bride, Rhain Alisha, doing some Lord of the Rings cosplay.

Rhain has been persona non grata among the Browns since she first arrived in Alaska and picked Noah, the lowest-hanging fruit, as her path to getting on TV. Billy knows a phony when he sees one, and he wouldn’t be fooled. He banished Rhain from the show, causing a great rift between Noah and the rest of the family that still exists today. Noah held out as long as he could, but he eventually blinked. Billy controls the purse strings.

Noah and Rhain getting married basically forced Billy’s hand. Billy had to put at least some of the wedding on the show or face a revolt from the superfans. So the wedding of Noah and Rhain gets a whole 10 minutes of screen time at the very end of the season.

Poor Noah. He really does seem to be in love, the blind fool. I might feel sorry for him if he weren’t such a pompous poseur.

I give Rhain credit. She saw the charade through, and she got back on TV, even if her only line was “We lost a cupcake!” She’s really put Billy in a bind, and I have to give her props for that.

Noah brought his katana along to wear as an accessory to his wedding attire. Where’s that lightning when you really need it?

The sword isn’t just for appearances. Noah put another sword by the guest book.

If anyone objected to their marriage, they would have to face Noah in a duel.

Right, mostly because no one wanted to see Noah do this again:

Noah saves the worst for last, unveiling the pièce de résistance of his cheesy romantic gestures: an anatomically correct heart tattoo that bears the name “Rhain.” And it beats, or more accurately, it jiggles.

The best thing I can say about this is we didn’t have to see Noah shirtless again.

Man, that was long and terrible. The only thing that could possibly make it worse is…

Yeah. That.