‘Alaskan Bush People’ Recap: Rock, Paper, Skipper

A scene from Rock, Paper Skipper, episode two of 'Alaskan Bush People'.
A scene from Rock, Paper Skipper, episode two of 'Alaskan Bush People'.Courtesy Discovery

It’s starting to get intense on Alaskan Bush People. We were left last week on the mountain with shots ringing in the air from Browntown. It was a serious cliffhanger, with Bear and crew running down the mountain toward the homestead. Right away, we find this was no false alarm: Billy, the family leader, had a serious seizure and his future health is laid to question.

The show fills us in with some backstory: Bill fell into a week-long coma in 2006 and has been suffering from worsening seizures ever since. It’s serious enough that the production crew breaks into the show and offers to fly him to a hospital in Seattle. The family begins to argue about what should be done, arguing over whether the virtues of bush-living are worth the sacrifice of modern medicine and amenities. Bam and Ami understand how serious Billy’s condition is, urging him to at least consider flying to Seattle — but he won’t have it.

Once recovered enough to speak, Billy makes the call: “I’m where I belong, I belong in the forest.” The family is galvanized by his declaration, with even Bam and Ami agreeing that if this were his last 24 hours, it shouldn’t be spent on an operating table.

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“Guys like us don’t die in hospital beds,” says Bam. But guys like Bam do die from Alaskan winters, so even though pop is down for the count, it’s no time to have teary eyes or idle hands. Besides, there are grizzlies on the prowl in Browntown.

During the night, the family catches a massive bear sniffing around the cabin, and although a few warning shots from Noah send it packing, they discover that even bigger bears have been competing for the territory in their backyard when they come across the carcass of a bear that’s been killed and ripped apart by another bear just on the perimeter of Browntown. The bears are particularly fierce this time of year, as they need to hoard as much as they can for their upcoming hibernation. 

Not unlike the Browns. With Billy feeling marginally better after his seizure, he sets the family to work gathering: the girls go picking for berries (armed in case the bear returns), while the boys will be tasked with building a tin roof on the cabin to take care of recurring leaks.

This means traveling by boat to the scrapyard in nearby Hoonah for metal, hauling it back to Browntown, and getting it all on the roof. Ultimately the roofing job is another test from Billy; they pull it off, and he reveals his next mission for them — a 35-mile, three day journey by sea from Browntown to Gustavus for a hauling job that would be very lucrative for the family. 

The episode ends with them pondering the dangerous, icy seas; the prospect of leaving Billy and the family with the growing bear threat behind; and the winter ever ahead. 

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