'Alaskan Bush People' Season 12 Finale: 'Faith and Fury' (RECAP)
On Discovery Channel's Alaskan Bush People Season 12 finale episode, "Faith and Fury" (October 11), a wildfire rages on Palmer Mountain, threatening the Browns' livelihoods.
It was fairly quiet on the behind-the-scenes Alaskan Bush People news front this week. Maybe the biggest thing worth discussing is how the Palmer Fire — which the show has been hyping since the season began — barely nudged the ratings needle last week.
Granted, there was a lot of competition that night, what with TV networks covering the president being hospitalized and all. But still, those are some sad numbers for an episode that featured the biggest real disaster spectacle in the show's history. I'm pleased that the attempt to turn a catastrophe into a ratings stunt flopped.
Seems like 1.5 million total viewers and a 0.2 in the 18-49 demo rating is the new ceiling for ABP (and these numbers don't include time-shifted or on demand viewing). Still, I have no doubt that ABP remains a valuable content asset for Discovery. It's cheap to produce and they can chop up the episodes to air as "new" reruns to delight cat ladies all over the world for years to come.
But enough boring you with ratings numbers. Time to bore you with a recap of the Season 12-ish finale, "Faith and Fury." Take it away, Krusty!
Half of this episode is a top-line recap of the entire series and a rundown of the Browns' trials and tribulations — both real and fake — since 2012. (None of these things involved Matt. Matt does not exist, nor did he ever exist.)
The Palmer Fire rages on. With the Browns all safely off the mountain, there's nothing they can do but watch. And there's nothing we can do but watch footage of them watching.
Bam and Bear are driving around making sure you're fully aware that their entire lives are up on the mountain and not in rented houses somewhere in the Loomis-Oroville area.
All the Browns really have up on the mountain is a bunch of junk and structures built for their TV show. So I suppose that is the entirety of their lives.
There wasn't time to evacuate all the livestock, so they were set free and left to fend for themselves. Birdy's deeply concerned about one particular horse, North, who was the first colt born on Brown Star Ranch, even though it was clearly not born on Brown Star Ranch.
No one really knows what's been destroyed and what still might be standing. Bear's confident his metal conex house will be fine, but everything inside it, including his precious "bammock," has been incinerated. That's a shame.
There's a 30-minute window of opportunity for the crew to drive up the mountain and rescue as many horses as they can. Using a borrowed trailer, they manage to wrangle all but two of them and get them off the mountain before time expires. Of course, one of the horses remaining on the mountain is North. Fake Drama? Probably.
Remember Noah's Brown Star Ark bus that was going to transport people and animals to safety in the event of a wildfire? This was supposed to be its moment to shine. Instead, it sits in a smoldering heap somewhere.
Since his other inventions worked so well, Noah's got another one in mind. He's going to attach a winch to the horse trailer so they can simply reel the two uncooperative horses in like fish.
All of Noah's tools are on fire up on the mountain, so he's stuck using a pocket multi-tool, a hammer and a nail to affix the thing to the trailer's fender. We never see the thing assembled, nor do we see it used. The whole mountain's on fire, yet the producers felt the need to show us this bit of useless Noah B.S.
The fire continues to spread, and now it's moving southwest down the mountain toward the town of Loomis.
That EXXXXTREME enough for ya, Bear? Evacuation orders are issued for Loomis, and the ABP production crew packs up their gear (and the really important paperwork!) from their base's office and hightails it out of there.
The Browns spend the interstitial segment praising the firefighters and first responders who've risked their lives battling the blaze and ensuring public safety. Bam, the man who respects the danger, offers these heroes the respect they're due.
The Black Screen of Doom offers viewers the opportunity to help.
It was an absolutely brutal wildfire season across the Western U.S. Weather patterns are partly to blame, but human negligence or incompetence have also been factors in igniting several of them. Officials have said that the cause of the Palmer Fire was human, but they've not released any additional details.
Another chance to rescue animals presents itself, and Bear takes advantage by helping some guys herd geese, ducks and chickens.
One of the horses has been rescued, and Birdy's anxiously awaiting to find out of it's North or the other nameless, unimportant one that doesn't symbolize anything and therefore doesn't matter. Guess which horse gets saved?
It's spiel time, and Billy is nowhere to be seen or heard. He's really checked out on his own show. You mean that producers couldn't get Father Billy or Mother Ami on camera for five minutes to blow hot air about the single biggest We Lost Everything Again event ever seen on ABP?
Finally, we get to see some of what remains and what doesn't remain on Brown Star Ranch. If we wanted to see anything from this episode, it would be all the fake things the Browns pretended to build over the past three or four seasons completely reduced to ash. So it makes total sense that ABP would give us 30 seconds of it as the credits roll.
Here's Birdy's house. I hope the rat-fur slippers escaped unharmed.
This looks like what's left of Noah and She Who Will Not Be Named's tent.
Noah's diaper launcher will not be passed down for generations.
And then there's this.
The barn? I really can't tell. It doesn't seem to match most of the other aerial shots I've seen of the barn. It doesn't look like the area of the Bush Abode, either. [Update: It is the barn.]
— Ryan Berenz (@RyanBerenz) October 13, 2020
And that'll do it for Season 12-ish. There's a season review/Lost Footage special next week called "Back to the Future." (How original!) I'm skipping that. I'm guessing you will, too.
I finish every ABP season hoping that we've seen the last of the Browns. Every season, I've been disappointed. I sense that I'll be disappointed again.