Series 2 Episode 10: “No touching the giant, okay?”

May 3, 2012 § 8 Comments

This week was a lot quieter, a lot talkier, and I feel terrible for not liking it nearly as much as it probably deserves. It wasn’t a bad episode but here’s where an imaginary ghost of a creative writing teacher long since gone is tapping on my shoulder, whispering “show don’t tell”,  and reaching over to my bowl of pretzels and stealing the last one.

Basically, there were some terrific bits, especially the Derrick jokes (“He’s a friend of Odin”/”Oh you’re that kind of Odin” “This is Ty, who is Hodr”/”Sorry to hear about that, mate”/”Tell me about it”), but there wasn’t enough real plot development, there was too much milling about, and I missed conversations that brought characters into conflict or resolved into emotional truths. Those bits are usually what I really like about this show.

Even BRYN! felt off, repeating his mantra about “I am your father no matter what” several times and Derrick was all “Kill Giants, kill!” and Gaia was all “This is too much”. Some of the strongest actors in the ensemble, and they just felt underused, even though they had lots of screen time. (In the interests of full disclosure, I could watch Derrick–with his tiny Mjollnir–offering to rip people to pieces for hours on end, but I expect more from Gaia and Bryn.)

Compare and contrast with last week, with Bryn expressing his love as we flashed back to him holding a bloody knife over baby Gaia’s low-rent cradle, with Ty and Anders ripping on each other, getting drunk, and questing for Ander’s destiny. This week just didn’t feel as fully fleshed in terms of twisted character detail. And Zeb’s “reverse Stockholm solution” and “choose the chicken, not the stick” guru speech felt like a huge reach.

Okay, whining over. Let’s talk about what I liked. For one thing Giants vs Asgardians plotline. Thumbs up on that! Very Jotunheimish, even if the whole Loki story had to be ejected to make way for Bryn, the short giant fill-in.

Then, there was Ty, expressing what it’s like to meet your soul mate, saying, “[It’s as] if your soul is given wings,” obviously referring to Hel. (Update: Or, oh no, Dawn? Or — better yet — Helen!, Thanks Dave!) Oh you sweet romantic. This was, of course,  in contrast to Anders, er, more prosaic description of his Idunn encounter. Which was pretty hilarious.

I’m not sure what’s going on with the Ty/Helen/Apples plot — is he going to try some hod-emesis through rotten apples (shades of Snow White?) or something like that? (Update: Or force some God-ness into Dawn? Gefjun or Weth?  Heh.) Or is there something else. Bah, it will probably take another episode or two and we’ll find out then. In any case, Olaf had a couple of really good lines in this one, especially the one when meeting Helen.

I  enjoyed the opportunity for Mike and Gaia to experience some one-on-one time. He’s back to responsible eldest this week, and was the solid support she needed to start confronting her forthcoming change in status. Then Gaia went off to walk with the goddesses, who started briefing her on her expected new role and it was back to exposition blah blah exposition. Sorry.

Speaking of goddesses, finally Michelle is getting a plot line! YAY! She’s had so little to do this series and I’ve been waiting for a good story to land in her lap. Of course, being Michelle, she’s far more proactive than just waiting for a plot so she helped herself to the Ygdrassil branch, started experimenting on Mike, and things look like they’re on track. I seriously hope this isn’t just an excuse to turn her into a resurection machine, especially for Ty’s antideification plot line. (I really do not want him to succeed at happiness.) Michelle’s a really good character and I’ve missed her machiavellian take on the world. From Colin’s passive girlfriend to Mike’s default love interest, the show hasn’t done enough with her. Remember last year with all the scheming? I want that back.

In the end, not much happened but you know what? I’ll still take a talky unfocused episode of TAJ over most other shows airing right now. There was plenty to enjoy even if the hour as a whole wasn’t as good as some of the other episodes this year.  And the coming attractions show that we’re heading off to meet the in-laws (so to speak) as the long-awaited Maori gods enter stage-right. (I called it as soon as I saw the van, by the way.)

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§ 8 Responses to Series 2 Episode 10: “No touching the giant, okay?”

  • Sophie says:

    Good call on the Maori gods – I’d been hoping they’d turn up since the first series! Because how could Norse gods exist if the rest didn’t? That’d be far too Pakeha-centric for Kiwi tv, plus a waste of a good angle 🙂

    Bless Zeb though. Maybe he learnt his weird psychiatrist routine at LARP club??

    Did you catch Helen’s snigger when Derrick called Anders an a**e-licker by the way? They may have been big on the exposition, but the sneaky naughty details remained at least.

  • Dave says:

    “Then, there was Ty, expressing what it’s like to meet your soul mate, saying, “[It’s as] if your soul is given wings,” obviously referring to Hel.”

    Probably, though given their relationship it was his soul was given a diver’s helmet and a pressure suit. What I actually wondered when I heard it, if it was more of a reference to Ty’s previous fling with Helen herself. One that he gave up to avoid the situation she now finds herself in…

  • Starbug says:

    I would concur that Ty was probably talking about either Helen or Dawn. If he was talking about Eva, it would have been more along the lines of “It’s as if your soul was given burn scars, bad hallucinogens, and multiple facial injuries.”

    I really like where things are going with Anders and Helen, because it’s subtle. If our resident lovable (?) cad and our favorite polyamorous barkeep had suddenly become besotted into magical fluffy bunny world, it would be terribly abrupt. But they are, uncharacteristically for both, cuddling up on a couch swapping racy limericks a whole day after hooking up. Okay, it’s not Twilight. But spending a whole day with a recent bedmate is quite a change for both of them. Remember that this is the same guy who slept with one of the two women he hired for a bar promo, and by the next day had forgotten which one. And in the scene last season where Ty broke things off with Helen, her perspective seemed to be that he ended it because he saw her flirting with other men. And he did nothing to disabuse her of that idea — otherwise he’d have to explain the Bragi thing, which clearly wasn’t in the plan.

    Helen, BTW, looks distinctly haggard now. Not surprising given her tale of bankruptcy and emotional breakdown since we last saw her.

    Most of Chekhov’s Guns in TAJ are subtle anyway. When Mike got shoved against a tree during the Eggther confrontation, it was obvious that he was hurt, but it happened in the background without a lot of immediate fuss. And then it became important when Michelle got hold of the Yggdrasil branch. (And didn’t Michelle determine in ep 8 that the branch has effects only on gods?)

    I loved Zeb’s moment, even if it was over the top. We were expecting Axl and/or Gaia to save the day without bloodshed. Instead, it was Zeb. And the flashbacks with Zeb and Eggther were hilarious!

    Looking forward to meeting the gods of Aotearoa next week!

  • James says:

    This week’s episode was not my favorite. It felt as though the writers were forced to make a two-part episode, as there was too much to be told in an hour. But unfortunately two hours felt stretched.

    Last week’s episode (I’ll be calling it Part 1, as that’s essentially what it was) was great, it was fast paced with lots of big reveals, Bryn’s a (dwarf) Giant, Bragi met Idunn, Gaia’s (maybe) going to be the Frigg, just to name a few. And it ended in a cliffhanger that left you wanting more.

    But unfortunately what made ‘part 1’ so good, may have hurt the story as a whole. Some of those reveals should have been saved for this episode.

    But I feel what hurt the episode the most was the Eggther plot.
    While it forced Bryn to finally come clean with everything, it also forced ‘Part 2’ to pick up exactly where the first part ended. Meaning we had to spend the majority of this episode with Gaia coming to terms with the fact that not only Gods and Goddesses exist, but she herself is soon to become one as well. This all lead to a whole lot of exposition that quickly became tedious, as the Eggther plot forced Gaia to understand and at least partially accept this fact in a couple of hours as they had to save Zeb, something that took Axl a whole series to learn to accept.

  • anise76 says:

    I actually LIKED the fact there was a lot of dialogue. Sure, the action eps are great, but there was the opportunity in this episode to develop a few of the more subtle plot points that had been lurking in the background.

    Just a shame the version I saw had serious issues when Gaia went to see Mike!

    Anders and Helen, though… I look forward to seeing the effect they have on one another, and what significance the apples end up having; after all, in mythology, the gods need Idunn’s apples to stay young. Could get interesting.

  • picardigan says:

    I particularly enjoyed the rather cheeky ad for this episode that TV3 ran: ‘Avengers, assemble! New Zealand style… (cue Derrick bitching about the fucking traffic on the motorway)’

  • I agree that this wasn’t as good as last week and dragged a bit, but it was still fun for the most part. I quite liked Zeb’s solution even if it was completely implausible – at least it gave us those very funny flashbacks. And Anders and Helen are great together, but in a believable way for both characters, as Starbug said.

    I wasn’t overly interested in anything the goddesses had to say, though, and I really don’t like Michelle so I’m not looking forward to more time with her but hopefully the writers can work their usual magic on that story and make me enjoy it anyway.

    Surely Axl and co have set themselves up with another problem though – they may have talked this particular giant round, but when he gets back home, will his people not just send another one to kill Gaia? And it’ll be even easier since they know exactly where she is and what she looks like?

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