Series 2 Episode 3: The one where stuff happens

March 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

I may have been disappointed with last week’s episode but Hel [sic] did the Almighty Johnsons ever deliver the  goods this week. Between Eva, Gaia and BRYN (!), stories developed, plots moved, and most importantly, people actually talked to each other. If there were a non-gender specific version of the Bechdel test, then episode 3 would have passed it with flying colors. Well done, show.

You might notice that this week’s write-up is several days off. Thank you to Russ who saw my tweet about access to the show and responded with some DVRed goodness. I really thought I’d be waiting to continue watching until the DVD came out — and I may be back to that position next week, but for now I’m so pleased I managed to watch this week’s episode. Thank you.

This week centered on two stories, with bits of other matters sprinkled like nonpareils on top of the bread and butter. This episode was all about the Gaia story and the Ty story. And that worked beautifully. I’m really glad that the show took the time it needed to step back and just let these stories play out as they needed to.

On the Gaia end of things, she’s just escaped from Alcatraz Waiheke. Although normally a highly repressed character, struggling for internal and external control, there’s something about her exposure to Bryn and island life that drives Gaia completely batty (no, not a Eva reference here — but the two stories did show a lot of overlap on certain themes).

Gaia was boozing and dancing and flirting up a storm — and I have to say, Castle-Hughes is thoroughly charming and engaging as drunk!Gaia, a nice switch from the normal bitchy!overcontrolled!nurse!Gaia we knew and loved from last year.

Again a reason that we need more BRYN! Even if he’s locking up his daughter and using 24-hour surveillance — or reluctantly agreeing to turn over that security detail to two college kids.

There’s more going on here than just “Hey Dad, I’m moving out and going to live my own life.” Between Bryn’s smack-down fight with Axl as he easily tossed a 6’4″ Odin across the hallway, and well-played concerns about Gaia’s safety and need for help (seriously girl, getting drunk and picking up guys in bars?), we’re looking at tantalizing plot developments that will surely play out beyond this single outing.

It’s hard to discuss this sequence coherently because between Zeb and the welcome return of his underoo pajamas, the whole “let’s tie Zeb up with Saran wrap”, Gaia politely declining Jacob’s offer of marriage with her knee, and a host of other small but essential developments, I was squeeing from start to end.

More Bryn please, writers. Thank you.

And also thank you for opening the conversation about Maori and gods. Whaitiri, perhaps?

Then there’s Ty’s story. There were some spectacular moments here — especially when he and Eva finally interacted like a normal couple, talking about having children. The answer for that by the way would have been “No” — if you can’t take care of yourself, you don’t start creating baby gods — but it was so perfect, and so in-character for that sequence to have happened. Eva was delusional and sweet and dangerous and warped and Ty related to her so well.

Now I’m rather sad that Eva’s gone because we could have had more of that — more of the honest but wrong interactions, and less of the crazy-eyed mania that we got over the last two weeks, and in the bar sequence this week. I suppose Ty’s going to be arrested now, especially after that bar sequence. I really hope the writing doesn’t go that obvious.

As for whodunnit? Most likely it’s Agnetha — doing something meaningful, and something true to her character. Coming from an abusive marriage, having that relationship with Ty, and finally striking back instead of hiding in her child’s room and allowing the abuse to continue. (I totally had that globe desk-light when I was a kid by the way). It would be a good path for her to take, and something real to take her from being a cartoon overall.

Sure, this frees up Ty moving forward, allowing him to go back to Dawn — but I trust the writers remember why he broke up with her in the first place. Ty + Hod + Dawn is one god too many in the couple. Without a hodectomy, Ty isn’t going to be able to go there. (And another favorite moment, just for the record, was the discussion about food in bed and vacuuming after — it was such an aside, such a light touch, and yet it really explained who Dawn is.)

There were almost no special effects this week outside of Eva’s final godbarf — and thank goodness for that. Real dialog, real emotions, real plot drove the episode and it worked for me in a way that the last two did not.

This, this is what we need more of. Well, this and BRYN! We need more Bryn. But that goes without saying — as did Bryn himself tonight. Sadly, I know that a little Bryn goes a long way and I don’t expect to see him again until towards the end of this series. Especialy if I’m assuming correctly that we’ll have the Gaia!God reveal this year.

Great episode. Loved it.


§ One Response to Series 2 Episode 3: The one where stuff happens

  • justanothermortal says:

    Loved it. It was funny, clever, sad and very Johnsons.

    In lesser hands, the Bryn business would have been too ridiculous, but worked brilliantly in the context of the show and I totally agree, there has to be a “Gaia is a goddess”-type explanation behind it.

    Although I thought they did her storyline really well, I’m glad to see the back of Eva – there’s only so much self-destructive craziness I can take. Terrified as to what Loki will do when he finds out though! I initially thought Michelle might be the culprit, but I think you’re right and Agnetha is the most likely suspect. I’m having a bit of trouble reconciling the woman who loved Ty so fiercely all those years ago with the woman who was happily planning to have her other son Axl killed last year without a second thought, but I guess raising four gods must really mess with your mothering instincts…

    Anyway, favourite bits for me were “the thing” (Heh), Anders’ hilariously meta conversation about giants and dwarves, and Axl facing Bryn down. I’m still giggling now 🙂

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