Series 2 Episode 7: Ingrid is stupid but we still love her
April 12, 2012 § 3 Comments
None of the characters in the Almighty Johnsons are ever going to win a Nobel prize in Physics or the Fields Medal. When an entire episode centers around Axl being the smartest and wisest in the clan, you know that the story is about to go straight to silly-ville. But the Almighty Johnsons has never been about book smarts. There are no Jethro’s or Loretta’s in this clan. Its focus has been, instead, emotional truths. And more power to the writers for doing that.
Of all the dim bulbs in TAJ land, Ingrid may lay claim to the most extreme case of intellectual challenge, but without a doubt she is also the most sympathetic character: thoroughly likable, charming, and batty. So when she starts acting all out of character this episode, hooking up again with her old felonious boyfriend it seems a bit jarring.
Except when you think about it for more than a second or two, there’s that underlying reason propelling her charcter into his rather disreputable (not to mention poorly groomed and highly unsavory) arms.
We all of us need to be needed, to feel valued and special and important. And Ingrid hasn’t been getting that from anyone. Not from Olaf, who lives in a surf-filled bubble, not from Ty, who hasn’t quite made the move in his mind from being imposed upon to being a real flatmate, and certainly not from her sisters-in-the-cause Michelle and Stacey. (I don’t even mention Agnetha, who had nothing but cold condescension for her.)
In other words, Ingrid is perfectly set up to turn to Denny — scum of the earth who he is — because he truly does need and value her. As the goddess of prudence, she can plan anything. So what if her skills are only being used to create a few heists and to fund a pointless magic shroom farm? At least he’s giving her the things she needs: respect and a place in his world.
Have I mentioned yet how much I have been hoping for an Ingrid-centric episode? Finally, we get to spend time with her, explore a bit of her ex-mental-patient world, and while it’s a truly sad place viewed with outside eyes, Nash imbues her with a depth of dignity — except, perhaps, as she’s performing unspeakable acts in the rear of Axl’s car. Repeatedly.
I especially loved how the story wove her back — not with Olaf, the obvious destination, but with Ty, with the potential of building a true friendship and creating a relationship that’s not just her being a helpless leaf upon the wind.
As for Ty’s story, I utterly loved it. Turner was brilliant and this was exactly where his narrative needed to go. Now let me be clear and upfront here. As much as I have been predicting that there needs to be an exploration of hodectomy, I am thoroughly and utterly resolved that I don’t want Ty to get off hod-free. I much prefer my Ty to be tortured, miserable, and dramatically interesting — and a simple happy ending for him would be a betrayal of his character.
Turning to Michelle, and then Mike, and then finally and most importantly to Ingrid created just a beautiful tale for the week. The characters actually talked to each other and developed Ty’s inner struggles without it all being a simple exposition dump. This was really gripping and a terrific place to take the story.
The final leg of the narrative triangle was Axl. Yes, he’s still finding his way, but his helping Ingrid so he could underhandedly score points with Gaia — and, of course, because no one else could take her seriously — was just lovely. It was obvious where the story was taking him but it was really nice to go along for the ride regardless. Halfway through this series, he is clearly at a much different place than he was 6 episodes ago. He’s taking on more responsibilities, becoming a more proactive force within the storyline, and really pulling on the mantel of leadership that Odin must accept to become, well, Odin.
As for other matters, I’m really so pleased the writers out-and-out acknowledged that there’s another word for the nonconsentual situation Michelle put Stacey into last week. I felt rather out-of-step in not being a big fan of the last episode. (Comment feedback both on this blog and through private email did seem to break down on gender lines though, as to whether people thought it was squicky or hilarious.) Putting that out into the open there like that did help me feel a bit validated.
Anyway, there’s only one more really important point, and it’s this: ANDERS IS BACK.
Not only is he back, but he came back in the most andersliciously possible way — displacing Dawn while she was asleep in
her own his bed. His unfettered egocentricity and his complete disregard for the wellbeing and needs and of those around him will certainly bring back a lot of fun to the proceedings.
A few final thoughts:
- Whoever played Denny was brilliant. Perfectly despicable.
- We are once again being teased with Ingrid/Zeb hints.
- Throughout all the Mike and Michelle scenes, I kept wondering if he was standing on an apple box and how much her back hurt her.
- I really don’t want any of the characters to get rich. I hope Michelle invests it in some kind of ill-founded scheme and it all goes to losses.
Here you go, CJ. Enjoy!