‘Alaskan Bush People’ Episode 5: ‘Water to Ice’ (RECAP)

Billy Brown Alaskan Bush People
Discovery Channel

On Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People episode, “Water to Ice” (September 20), a deep freeze halts the water supply, sending the ranch into a new crisis.

Let’s see what nasty stuff the Alaskan Bush People are involved in this week.

[Opens internet]

Oh, what the hell? #MeToo has hit ABP. The Sun was contacted by two women — both employed by the Browns — who claim that Matt Brown sexually assaulted them in the summer of 2018 while he was still on the cast of ABP. Shortly after this alleged incident, Matt left the show and entered a substance abuse treatment program.

Discovery Channel was made known of the allegations at the time, and the network’s response was apparently, “Let the cops handle it.” For whatever reason, authorities chose not to pursue charges against Matt. The accusers deserve to be taken seriously and deserve to be heard, but Matt’s not going to have his day in court.

Matt was “fired,” and the Browns swept everything under the rug. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t anticipate the show will be canceled because of this. Alaskan Bush People should’ve been canceled five years ago when the Alaskan PFD fraud charges came out and blew up the entire premise of Billy Brown’s B.S. Bush Bonanza. It’s 10-ish seasons later, and we’re still doing this.

If nothing else, this incident gives us another taste of the toxic garbage stew that the Browns cooked up and the great lengths they’ll go to keep dishing it out for profit.

You don’t need a degree in Bush chemistry from Mother Ami’s Academy of Home Skoolin’ to understand the phases of matter — solid, liquid and gas — as they pertain to water. Yet the Browns somehow failed to grasp this science in their 40-plus years of living off the land in the wilderness. When they installed their windmill and water distribution system last season, you probably wondered, “So what will they do when this freezes in winter?”


“Water to Ice” opens with Noah dressed in his Jedi robes, playing his recorder and meditating on top of a pile of snow. He is one with the Force, and the Force is with him.

Noah claims to be a disciple of the Force’s gray area. His Force sensitivities lie neither in the “light” side practiced by the Jedi nor the “dark” side practiced by the Sith.

Yet Noah calls himself Darth Cloud, indicating that he is a Sith Lord. But there are always two: a master and an apprentice. So which is Noah? He’s neither. He’s a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.

Noah and Bird waste some screen time with a game of Bush chess played in the snow. Along with fist-fighting and knife-fighting, chess was always a fun way for the Brown kids to hone their aggressive competitive instincts. Growing up, the Browns did not have all the pieces to play proper board games, so they built their own pieces out of junk in the woods.

There’s supposedly a game happening here, and someone may or may not have checkmate. My guess is they’re both in zugzwang.

Billy’s complaining about the weather delaying construction on his precious cabin, and moaning that “We could have had it built probably three times” if it were not for the snow and the cold. Maybe this is why you don’t do this type of thing in winter. This isn’t your biggest moment of dumbassery, Billy, but it’s easily top 10.

Billy’s had enough of sittin’ on his ass watchin’ his kids sittin’ on their asses, and he demands they figure out a way to haul a bunch of lumber up the hill. The lumber delivery guys refused to drop it off closer to the construction site because of the snow and because it would eliminate the main plot of this episode.

Noah’s truck is in the shop (You mean he couldn’t fix it himself?) so he and Birdy have to fire up the Suburban, which is not the ideal vehicle for hauling lumber. The Suburban is all iced up, and it seems that mice have been chowing down on the vehicle’s electrical system. Bird’s all excited about the mice. Fresh ingredients!

It’s decided that Noah will head over to Rory’s junkyard and see if he can swing a sweet Fake Barter for a flat-bed truck in exchange for the Suburban and some of his brothers’ labor.

Rory, if you remember, is a real standup guy. A real straight shooter. If you barter with Rory, you know you’re gettin’ a fair deal on a great vehicle. His word is as good as the Browns’.

Just so happens that Rory has exactly what Noah is looking for. It’s parked right there where the ABP production assistant left it.

Noah explains that he and his brothers have the kind of work skills that Rory would find useful at the junkyard.

Rainy and She Who Will Not Be Named need something to do, so they go to the cabin construction site and shovel snow off of wood while inanely chattering away. Then Rainy’s got some “descrewing” to do.

There’s Fake Urgency afoot. The Browns’ water supply has frozen up, and the future of Brown Star Ranch is in danger of being jeopardized forever from dehydration if they can’t get the pipes thawed out by tomorrow.

Bear rummages through his house looking for things to insulate the pipes. He grabs a bunch of blankets, believing that they “should cause enough friction to melt off all the ice.” Uh, no, that’s not friction, Bear. You and your family might flout state and local ordinances, but the laws of thermodynamics aren’t as easy to evade.

Bear goes on babbling about pipe insulation and trying to convince us he has something resembling a clue about what he’s doing.

Behold the EXXXXTREME power of the Owens Corning cosmic insulation death ray!

Bear punches all of his blankets and quilts into a plastic bag and is on his way to deliver insulation to all the good little boys and girls.

Bear gets to the windmill and starts wrapping layer and layer of blankets and duct tape around the frozen pipe. I have no idea if this will actually work. Wouldn’t one first thaw the pipe with heat — perhaps prop Billy up and have him blow hot air on it — and then apply the insulation?

Isn’t Bear just keeping the pipes frozen the way a can cozy keeps my Schlitz tallboy cold during a hot day in the Old Country Buffet parking lot? Screw it. I’m done trying to make sense of Bush science.

Noah can’t go an entire episode without a pointless Equipment Malfunction. Noah, She Who Will Not Be Named and baby Elijah took the new flat-bed truck to fill up a water tank so Brown Star Ranch doesn’t die of thirst if Bear’s blankets fail to defrost the pipes.

The flat-bed is struggling, and Noah discovers that it’s leaking transmission fluid.

Fortunately, this model of truck comes equipped with spare bottles of various lubricants and fluids, including brainwasher fluid.

How else can they burn up more screen time? How about sending Bam and Bear down the mountain to load up the truck with lumber? That will work. They’re unsure if the truck will be able to make it up the mountain, and they have to decide if they should attempt a full load of lumber.

Bear convinces Bam to go EXXXXTREME crazy balls-out with a full load of lumber.

That attitude worked out really well for Bear with Raiv3n, didn’t it?

Gabe wants to help with something. He goes up to the vacant Hayloft of Love and finds a roll of fiberglass insulation that Raquell had been using as a pillow.

There’s a long, dull scene of Gabe, Bam and Bear arguing while building a wooden insulation box to cover the pipe. I’m not sure they even showed the completed box. Maybe they did. I wasn’t paying much attention by this point of the show. (No need to fill me in on the details. I do not care.)

In the interstitial segment, Rainy is struggling with frozen cosmetics. How can she look her best if her lip gloss is more like a lip glossicle? The solution: Cook it!

It works, I guess. I’m just glad Rainy didn’t eat the makeup.

It’s finally time to see if Bear’s blanket friction project was a success. And it is, because of course it is. Water flows again on Brown Star Ranch. The Browns have once again overcome their own incompetence.

Well, ALMOST nothing.

Alaskan Bush People, Sundays, 8/7c, Discovery Channel