Episode 9

April 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

As the end game draws closer, things continue to get complicated in TAJworld.  Next week, several storylines are ready to play out, awaiting some kind of conclusion. These include the Ty/Dawn relationship, the Mike/ComaRob/Val triangle, the Bragi/Sjöfn romance (Yay, “Lawyer Bitch” jealousy line!), the ongoing Oracle Comedy and Surfing hour, and, of course, the larger Search for Frigg. These arcs don’t even take some of the ongoing mysteries (like the Hunt for Njørd and Freya-the-tree) into account. With all that weight of expectation, can next week possibly deliver a preponderance of closure on these storylines?

By the looks of the promo, it seems that the Ty story is going to run headlong into the Frigg story as Axl’s unbreakable contract  and last-minute cold feet mean that Ty is likely to have a big showdown with Loki. Cold meets fire. Clash of the Titans Norse Gods. Ty front-and-center in the family shot at the end, looking ready to start battle — or more likely given the state of his eye and Anders’ untucked shirt — just finished with battle.

I personally think that maybe Hod could die. I wouldn’t like to see that happen but is any other Ty/Dawn resolution possible? Letting Hod die could return Ty to being a simple mortal, could leave his relationship with his brothers intact, and allow Ty and Dawn to sail happily, figuratively, and (depending on Dawn’s ability to negotiate leave-time with Anders), perhaps literally into the sunset. Narratively speaking, it’s a really easy place to take the story.

But I would really miss Hod. I’d still prefer if Ty had the option of finding a goddess (a la Idunn) who could live with Hod without deicide. Sure, Hod’s a challenge — but happy people aren’t especially interesting characters. And I really would like to see more of Ty’s story and his struggle in series 2. This was a particularly powerful Ty episode and it would be such a shame to sideline him due to an already resolved happy ending if the story moves on to next year.

Speaking of Ty, what about the title of the episode, namely “Hunting Reindeer On Slippery Rocks”? To date, each episode title has been spoken out loud at some point in the episode. I simply cannot remember this line in this episode. You’d expect Olaf, who has connected Ty to reindeer in the past to say it, but I’m at a loss. Olaf had plenty to say on other matters, quite unexpectedly so (to say the least), but not about reindeer as far as I can tell.

The Oracles got screen time this week as well, but mostly as a functional (albeit dippy) couple. Anders’ interaction with Ingrid stood out. I like how ably she countered his bitchiness — although why anyone would trust the obviously duplicitous Agnetha remains beyond my comprehension. Agnetha and Loki are doing a bit too much self-satisfied evil cackling for my liking; this, despite the fact that I adored Loki.

His lighthearted interactions with Axl, Mike, Eva, and especially Stacey were pitch-perfect. I can’t imagine a better casting choice. The actor played every line as a god who knew slightly more than everyone around him and who was having a ton of fun manipulating that situation. His turn as the exasperated father, too, was just spot on. You could kind of see why he sent his daughter to psychiatric care rather than sitting her down and explaining that she was a goddess.

That’s because Eva continues to grate. She’s a horrible choice for Axl, doesn’t have the time of day for Stacey, and is so busy hating her father that she’s forgotten to grow up. And I’m not entirely convinced that she’s Frigg. Her few redeeming qualities, namely her ability to classify and judge hunks of meat with a glance, aren’t exactly happy hippy-dippy Frigg-sign. Perhaps Stacey will serve whomever she thinks is Frigg, regardless of a person’s actual friggitude.

I’m slowly drawing to the conclusion that not only is Eva not Frigg, that Gaia may not be either. All last week, I had predicted there might be a birthday party this episode or next — and I was tickled to see that there actually was. However, I was counting on Bryn “massaging” the date of Gaia’s birth for school or something like that, so that instead of turning 22, she was in fact turning 21.

I thought this could set up the next series with Axl betrothed to Eva and in love with Gaia/Frigg, with full-powered 60-foot-tall-with-beard godhood still out of reach for all participants. It could also, I thought, bring in the possibility of cross-pantheon marriages with Gaia’s mom having been some sort of Maori goddess.

Gaia’s 22nd birthday not paying off with anything but horrific injury for Zeb seems to put paid to that idea. Like Odins before him, Axl simply looks like he’ll choose love over godhood — rejecting Eva and moving forward with a relationship with Gaia. As for Zeb, we weren’t shown a lot of his injuries — how bad they might be — but the incidental music hinted strongly that this was some kind of divine retribution for messing in the affairs of gods.

I’m still hoping that next week, we’ll see some kind of Zeb/Ingrid re-union, but that may be a little production-staff Easter egg that simply does not pay off.

Another possible payoff might be an encounter between Agnetha and the Johnsons, after Agnetha dropped this suggestive line during her conversation with Loki: “I’m a bit over anything that involves being in a forest.” Oh really? Like being a tree, perhaps? Again, it’s unclear if this points to her being Freya, and whether her lines about her marriage break-up referenced Njord shooting through. Agnetha isn’t exactly my vision of Freya, the vision of loveliness that caused Loki to end up as a pregnant mare, eventually giving birth to Sleipnir, but if I wanted happy happy untwisted Norse mythology, I wouldn’t be watching a show called the Almighty Johnsons.

As a final thought, on a show that does sport that suggestive name, I found it particularly apt, not to mention hilarious, that each family owned a literal set of stones that they brought out for ceremonial use.

Random thoughts:

  • I’m still annoyed that Vár was blonde instead of brunette.
  • The mountain bikers interlude was brilliant.
  • Brain damage from a tragic freezer accident? Deja Outrageous-Fortune-vu.
  • Agnetha is at the wedding. So if there can be a payoff, there will be a payoff there.
  • The Energy Spot guy fights cold with insulation.
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