‘Alaskan Bush People’ Midseason Finale: ‘Winter Is Here’ (RECAP)


On the Alaskan Bush People midseason finale episode “Winter Is Here” (March 31), as the first snow falls, the Browns make a risky attempt to move their temporary shelters closer to the barn in hopes of bringing father Billy back home. Noah uses his ingenuity to prepare he and his pregnant wife Rhain Alisha for her first winter.

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The Browns are unprepared for winter yet again, even though Billy has been saying WINTER IS RIGHT THERE! since June.

[DIGRESSION! Winter sucks. I’m late with my recap because I escaped the cheerless permafrost of Wisconsin and went to sunny and spectacular Arizona for a week (shout out to Bob From AZ!), and hell if I’m going to watch Alaskan Bush People on my vacation. So this belated recap will come as a great joy to John and as a great disappointment to Kristi.]

It’s late fall and Father Billy is laid up in the hospital with severe pneumonia. His doctors believe that living at a lower elevation will be beneficial to his health. I believe laying off the Marlboros will be even more beneficial to his health.

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And just like that, the snow falls and Brown Star Ranch is not ready. At least She Who Will Not Be Named will be able to shoot a rifle to defend herself and Mother Ami’s unborn grandbaby after Noah flees in terror. Birdy instructs She Who Will Not Be Named in the operation of the firearm, which is the only real interaction between the two that we’ve ever seen onscreen.

The Brown kids all act as though Father Billy’s absence puts a real strain on their preparations for winter, even though Billy’s arse has been firmly affixed to the couch the entire season.

Birdy is surprised that water in its liquid state turns to a solid when the temperature is zero degrees centigrade, and poor Brutus the bull cannot properly hydrate. Birdy submerges an electric water pump to keep the water circulating so it doesn’t freeze. Just one final taste test to make sure the water is OK, and then Birdy can go get treated for cholera.

Most of this episode consists of the Brown kids trying to relocate Billy’s couch from the top of the mountain (supposedly at 4,000 feet) two miles down the road to where the barn was built, roughly 1,000 feet lower. I can only assume Billy put his couch two miles away from the barn so he could easily avoid work.

The kids want to haul Billy’s couch immediately (Fake Urgency!) despite the fact that the winding road down the mountain is snow-covered and slippery. Bam would rather wait until conditions improved (Respect the Danger, etc.), but his siblings are insistent on this Fake Urgency, so this risky move will happen now, even if it kills Bam.

The plan is to hook Billy’s couch up to the family’s ol’ blue farm truck and ease it down the hill without causing damage or loss of life. Gabe hopes that “we can get this thing down without a hitch,” which is a poor choice of words when you LITERALLY need a hitch.

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Bear and Gabe have no clue on how to install chains on the tires, despite all the knowledge and experience they have living off the grid in the deep wilderness of Alaska. Bam bails them out, of course, because compensating for the idiocy of his siblings is Bam’s full-time job.

The whole process is mind-numbingly dull and eats up a crapload of screen time. Basically, it’s just shots of Bam behind the wheel looking like he’s going to soil himself as the truck and Billy’s couch go careening all “whompyjawed” down the hill.

At one point, the truck gets stuck and they have to saw down some trees to clear a path.

With darkness and temperatures falling, they decide to finish the job in the morning. Birdy and Rainy get pickaxes and start hacking away at the icy road, hoping it will give the truck some traction.

Rainy says she’ll do any amount of labor for Father Billy and Mother Ami, especially if it’s grueling and pointless. Birdy wishes they could be minors miners, like for gold or something.

Bam “Tokyo Drifts” Billy’s couch snugly next to the barn, and all it took was 30 minutes of Unnecessary Drama.

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And now, the tale of Noah and She Who Will Not Be Named. Noah has big plans to build a castle for his wife and [SPOILER ALERT!] son. He wants a castle that “has all the comforts that a baby needs.” Noah will build this castle out of cinder blocks (breeze blocks for our British friends) so it will have a fairly good chance of crushing and killing his whole family instantly when the place collapses.

She Who Will Not Be Named has been working harder than anyone else on Brown Star Ranch, according to Noah. “My wife is building a person,” he says. Awwwww. “She is my number one priority for the rest of my life,” he says. Awwww.

Just wait until Number One Priority is pissed off at you because she’s up all night feeding the kid, changing his diapers and listening to him scream all day while you’re out frolicking with your Tai Chi buddies.

Noah gets to work on his castle, and he’s going to use bagged concrete mix to form cement blocks for the foundation.

Someday, son, all this will be yours.

There is a real sense of Fake Urgency, because Noah’s tent has become a fire hazard. In the two months that they’ve been living in the tent, they’ve somehow managed to build up enough creosote in the flue of their wood-burning stove to ignite a small chimney fire. Perhaps Noah’s burning too much wood that has not sufficiently dried, but what do I know? I did not grow up living off the grid in the deep wilderness of Alaska.

She Who Will Not Be Named asks Noah how he will solve this problem. With problem-solving! And how will Noah prevent a recurrence of this problem? With preventative measures! She Who Will Not Be Named does not understand these concepts because she did not grow up living off the grid in the deep wilderness of Alaska. Silly pregnant woman!

Noah’s Number One Priority looks like she’s either trying to control her laughter or she’s about to rip out his pancreas with her teeth. I don’t feel sorry for her. She had every opportunity to dump this loser.

The happy couple heads over to Rory‘s dump to load up on cinder blocks. She Who Will Not Be Named has a small Jeep, not ideal for hauling heavy construction materials. They pack the back end full of cinder blocks and the rear suspension system looks like it’s about to give. It reminds me of this classic:

She Who Will Not Be Named says her vehicle can carry 500 pounds in the back. Cue your Sir Mix-a-Lot cassette.

I figure 500 pounds is close to 16 average weight (30 pounds) concrete blocks. I can’t imagine the time, gas and labor involved in hauling hundreds of those blocks up to Brown Star Ranch. I almost think they should screw this castle nonsense and just live in the nice house in Colorado that Billy gave them.

And now, the tale of Gabe and Raquell. The couple spends quality time in the barn shoveling poop.

I see. Do go on.

Yes, yes, we understand about the poop. Is there anything else you and Raquell have in common?

You are perfect for each other. Since Billy’s inconvenient double pneumonia forced them to postpone their wedding ceremony, Raquell wants Gabe to set a new date. How about January 14, 2019? No, that’s no good. How about June 14, 2019? That’s Flag Day. And President Trump’s birthday. And Boy George’s birthday. It’s a date! Pinky swear?

In some cultures, the pinky swear (or “pinky promise” as they probably say in Minnesota) is all that is required to legally bind a couple in matrimony. I don’t know why they’re doing this charade with the wedding date, since ABP‘s own PR department broke the news that Gabe and Raquell were married in January.

And now, the tale of Father Billy. The Brown family’s lackadaisical patriarch comes wheezing up his mountain to see this great miracle that was performed for the benefit of his ailing pulmonary system.

Clearly Billy’s kids couldn’t pull off something humanly impossible like towing a couch down a hill. Jesus took the wheel!

Well, it sure as hell wasn’t Gabe driving.

Billy starts preaching about how the Good Lord likes him for reasons even Billy can’t believe.

Ah, Billy, the Good Lord works in mysterious ways, like through steadily declining Nielsen ratings.

So in Billy’s spiel about family togetherness and unity, he won’t even acknowledge that his oldest son, Matt, isn’t with them. Matt hasn’t been mentioned once this season. It’s like he’s been erased.

Finally, we get to the all-important gender reveal of Noah’s kid. They make this creepy anatomically correct pregnant snow human and light up its frosty uterus to show that it’s a boy in there. As we already know, Elijah Connor Brown was born February 26 weighing 7 lbs., 5 oz., and measuring 20 inches long. Mom and dad are doing fine and are still weird.

Our Dear Narrator gives us a preview of things to come “later this season.” So “Winter Is Here” is not the Season 9ish finale, but the Season 9ish midseason finale. I do not know when the back half of Season 9ish will premiere, but based on the preview footage, most of it has already been filmed.

However, I do know that Book of Hines — which has been retitled as Raising Wild — will premiere on Discovery Channel in the very near future. It’s possible that Discovery will give Raising Wild its full season run and then debut ABP Season 9.5ish after.

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And now it’s time for this week’s episode of “That’s Matt!,” in which we take a social media look at Matt’s sober adventures in California.

Matt recently spent an afternoon raking gravel and waxing nostalgic about working.

Join us next time for another installment of “That’s Matt!”