Series 2 Episode 4: Baby bats in mourning
March 22, 2012 § 3 Comments
Honestly, it’s really hard to try to organize my thoughts about Episode 4. I loved it. That said, it’s not exactly easy to discuss exactly why I love it. I can’t decide if it’s the slower pacing, the better characterizations, the improved staging, or that we really only had one story to focus around this week: Eva’s death and its aftermath.
As to whodunnit, it’s Agnetha what done it. And she’s just as forceful, bossy, and unremorseful as her character ever is as she sets up all the evidence so the Police won’t be a bother. Ty is just as easily swept into her machinations as he was into Eva’s, with Dawn waiting in the wings to pick up the bossing duty.
There’s a wonderful sequence at the start of the episode as Ty, clearly on the edge of shock, is manipulated through a series of clean-up steps, ending with two cars in the forest, one body, and a bit of bother to get all the evidence sorted out. Agnetha remained batshit psychotic throughout.
It struck me as I watched — hey, this is what gods do. It’s admirably mythogical — after Freya murders Hel, she and Hod dispose of the body in the woods, making it appear as if Hel had stumbled to her death. In turn Hel promised Freya revenge once she arrives in Helheim (“Hunger will be your plate for eternity”), and her godly aspect ascends. This, this, is what happens in those stories, and here it is happening on-screen in modern day Auckland. It was just a gorgeous juxtapositioning of myth to life and really highlighted what this show is about. I mean, anyone can murder their daughter-in-law and convince their long-since-abandoned son to help hide the body, but the myth bit, that’s what sets TAJ apart.
That’s not to say that Colin was fooled by all this, even in the slightest. He instantly knew that things weren’t kosher on the death front — for whatever “kosher” equates to in Norse God terms.
Instead, we have another terrific scene — this in the most beautiful morgue room that has ever graced dead people. I’d kill for an office like that. Leaving aside that the room dressing seemed unusually high end even with its little wheeled medical cart in the corner, there’s Colin and Ty identifying the body. And there was so much to love. Colin insisting that Ty call Eva by name, Colin’s attack on Ty once the officer left the room, Ty’s emotional response and defence of Eva, and the smart, smart camera work looking down at the two of them and intercutting the fight scenes. I really liked this sequence.
I particular appreciated how much Cortese focused and didn’t overplay his lines. I’ve complained in the past that both Colin and Agnetha have been written over the top, to comic villany. This wasn’t. It was nicely restrained, and because of that, more moving and more menacing in the end. Let me add how much I appreciated that Agnetha chuckled throughout the episode but never descended to cackling.
Both Mike and Olaf were well-used this week. Mike, like Colin, sussed the true situation out and provided the firm fraternal support that Ty needed. I know I should complain that Mike moved from depressed and useless to strong and reliable too quickly once he won the bar, but I rather like this version of Mike. There were several great scenes between the two, and I particularly appreciated the “gods among men, brother — bloody Johnsons” moment.
Olaf brought humor and charm to his thankless task of exposition. He was world weary and funny, and clearly continues to get on well with Ingrid. I thoroughly adored the hungover!Olaf!reborn!Baldur sequence, which could have simply been a data dump but turned out delightful.
In the end, Eva’s earthly vessel was sent on its way, and each group stood apart before the bonfire in their little narrative clusters.
Can’t wait for next week. Here’s hoping I get to see it before Autumn.