April 25, 2012 § 18 Comments

A giant and a dwarf walk into a bar.  An oracle starts sniffing them and then tosses the dwarf out on his ass.

Oh how I love you, “The Almighty Johnsons”. Because any show where this is the starting point rather than the punch line of the story is truly a treasure — not just in tiny New Zealand but in the whole wide world.

It’s beginning to look more and more like the writers of TAJ are getting their ducks in a row to wrap up the entire story. With the Frigg reveal on the horizon, with favorite characters reappearing from past episodes, and with an obvious trajectory for the last few episodes it looks like the epic is drawing to a natural close.

We’re about to see Gaia comes to terms with being a goddess. I’m looking forward to her apotheosis and to Axl having to prove himself to her as a romantic interest. But consider the status quo: Mike is happy, Anders has found his true (tragic) love, Ty could be happy with Dawn if he got hodstrated, and Olaf, Ingrid, and Stacey are close to accommodation.

As for Zeb? Well, there will always be a Zeb who smells slightly of minced offal with condiments, pickles, and soggy lettuce. I don’t think there is greater happiness in the world than to hang with his friends, to work in the Fast Food industry, and to get regularly drunk.

At first, I wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or not that Bryn (1) wasn’t Bryn, (2) wasn’t human, (3) wasn’t a vegetarian, and (4) wasn’t gay. At least I can hold out hope that he still is a nudist and likes to paint vegetable portraits. After all, some of Waiheke must have sunk in over the last 20 years.

But throughout the hour one important fact held true — he loves and cares for Gaia, even with his twisted and inappropriate parenting technique. Despite being a vertically challenged giant, he’s still the man who raised her, who guards her, and will work with the opposition to make sure she stays safe.

I’m deliberately going to skip any deep discussion of Jacob. His character has never been fleshed out, and the punchlines he filled in for this episode were at best mildly amusing.

I enjoyed the goddess gaggle, as they drank, smoked, and came to the conclusion that Gaia was about to become one of them. Perhaps it all came a bit too easy, but it’s not as if Gaia=Frigg hasn’t been a theme for two years of episodes. The interplay was adorable and the Mike/Michelle dynamics were the best they’ve been all this series.

The shining part of the episode, however, (outside of BRYN!) was the Ty/Anders interplay. Just the right amount of camraderie tempered with cranky filial tension, it was a pleasure to spend scene after scene with the two of them as they recapped recent happenings, talked about life in general, and just had fun together.

I didn’t predict Helen/Idunn as a plot development (did you?) but once it happened, it was basically Chekov’s Gun. Of course the character that was shown in the first act had a role to play in the last. Here’s hoping there’s a Taming-of-the-Anders twist with the remaining four episodes.

Finally, there was Thor. Pants down of course, because this was a pants down episode across the board. He’s back, he’s insane, and he’s ready to kick scandahoovian badly-accented giant-butt.

Can’t wait to see what happens next week — I’ll be bringing a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

  • Of course the natural reaction to being told that you’re part of some silly Norse (and Maori) fairy tale is to break down laughing, especially when you’re still half intoxicated.
  • Dwarf tossing! Just for you, Chris!
  • Who saw the Anders/Helen development coming? Apparently we all did, in the final squirm-inducing “TOO MUCH INFORMATION” reveal.
  • Hopefully it wasn’t just me who thought the choice of rental car for Eggther was utterly brilliant.
  • I am reliably informed that NZ makes uniformly good pies. Where’s my pie?

§ 18 Responses to Series 2 Episode 9: BRYYYYYNNNNNNNNNNN

  • anise76 says:

    I am loving your reviews of TAJ. I’ve learned to wait until after I’ve watched the ep, though! My hubby and I are sat here every week after we “acquire” the new episode trying to figure out where things can go AFTER (if) they reveal that Gaia actually IS The Frigg. Be interesting to see if either of our theories actually pan out…

    • kiwigods says:

      Thanks for the kind words! I think it’s pretty likely that she is — but the writers are always welcome to suprise me, especially if it means another season

  • Starbug says:


    Great to see Axl and Gaia front and center again!

    I jumped out of my chair when I saw the apple martini special on the bar chalkboard. Knew what was happening to Anders even before Ty did. 🙂 And If any Idunn can break the toxic Bragi cycle, it’s probably Helen. Could Anders have met his equal?

    I finally see the appeal of Bryn. Until this ep, I think he was the TAJ character I’d most want to punch in the face in real life. (And it takes some doing to top Colin or Eva in my book, but of course they were SUPPOSED to be over-the-top villains.) Bryn makes a much better protective mini-giant than he did an overprotective dad.

    Best banter (paraphrased, I guess:) “I had to pretend I was gay.” “I had to pretend I was straight!”

    Best development besides the Axl-Gaia plot: Ty and Anders bonding over a prolonged bar-hop.

    Second best development: Derrick is back!!!!! No mere outhouse can hold Thor!

    I’m going to go away and SQUEEEEeeeeee for a while now …..

    • kiwigods says:

      The Bryn appeal lies in the fact that (a) he’s completely nutters and (b) he thinks he’s doing the right thing. I hate poorly motivated antagonists. Bryn is a perfect one.

      I’m still a little ticked off about the non-vegetarianism reveal, though.

  • purplejo says:

    This was a wonderful episode, absolutely chock full of giggles! I really enjoy your reviews by the way.
    As soon as Olaf started sniffing, I could tell we were in for a doozie of an episode, and that revelations were about to be made about Bryn (and Gaia). The car was hilarious, the accent was TERRIBLE, Thor was very welcome, the sniffing was great. I am completely at sea with the Apple Martinis and “Helen” – I think there is something I missed in Series 1, I’ll have to go back and rewatch.
    Something from your last week’s review was very firm in my mind this week: you are right about Dawn – she is way more interesting when Anders is around. Hurrah.

    • Starbug says:

      Helen appears in “God’s Gift to Zebras” — ep 3 of season 1, I think. Watch that one and all will be explained!

  • Cath says:

    Hurrah! Yes you’ve quite nailed it I think. I find myself quite unrepentantly addicted to this show. I’m waiting to see if Gaia/Frigg will be swayed to the impending fact of her Godess-ness once she’s sobered up some. Also will Anders get his comeuppance? Although I have my doubts where the perpetually arrogant lad is concerned. Poor Ty, you just want to bundle him up in Merino mink and feed him chicken soup, provided you don’t get frost bitten for your pains.

  • says:

    The fact that Gaia has been identified as a frigg means she won’t be. She hasn’t had the god upgrade yet – no-one knows who she will be. Too obvious for such talented writers. There last show lasted 6 years….
    Saying that, she will be a goddess but not Odin’s beloved. Odin has a couple of goddess connections in mythology. Freya – who turned out to in TAJ to be his mother… and also, in norse mythology, Odin is connected to the winter goddess Skadi. Frigg is still to be found

    Love the series…may it go for 2 more series aleast. 🙂

    • StueyNZ says:

      I agree. Gaia hasn’t had the godess upgrade yet. So in order of probability we’ve got:

      1> She is the Frigg, but hooking up with Axl/Odin isn’t what she wants to do – just for another series or two you understand.

      2> She isn’t the Frigg

      3> The Godess Upgrade goes wrong in some wierd and highly hilarious fashion.

  • says:

    ps Frigg’s companion is Eir, a goddess associated with medical skills. hmmmm

  • Jay says:

    Olaf’s giant-dwarf-in-a-bar bit was the best. And of course Axl was the last at the table to figure out Gaia’s the Frigg.

    Was disappointed that there was no magic created by Bragi and Helen. I loved the apple martini snow.

  • ojay says:

    For the record, in Aus/NZ an outhouse is also known as a thunderbox. Love the summaries, Erica. Love your work.

  • Starbug says:

    Did anyone else crack up laughing upon discovering that the giants had the marsupial heart DNA tested?

  • CJ Cregg says:

    I just adored this – brilliant on every level, and utterly hilarious. Loved Ty and Anders on their day out together. Anders doesn’t just make Dawn more interesting, he makes everybody more interesting – Ty didn’t whine once when he was with Anders, unlike he does around everyone else. And can I just add a quick round of applause for the Top Gun shoutout – “Come on, Iceman, my wingman” which made me grin. Can’t wait to see Anders and Helen’s story play out. I hope his heart is engaged as well as hers, even if he ends up breaking it.

    Loved the Gaia/Snow White-type story (“Friend of Snow White” – Hee), the psycho giant and his tiny car and love for chicken(even the terrible accent just made me laugh harder). Every single thing Olaf said and did was comedy gold, as was just about every second line of the script.

    As for where they go from here – I think StueyNZ is right with his first option: Gaia (like a lot of us 😉 )has never liked being told what to do, and even though she wants to be with Axl, I’m pretty sure she will react very badly to being told she *will* be with Axl and refuse to countenance the idea. Which gives the writers time to spin out more story if they get a season 3. Pretty please, people who commission NZ dramas, give us a season 3?


  • Sophie says:

    Well here’s a surprise (for me anyway): Bryn the Short Giant might not be vegetarian, but Odin is!

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