Series 2 Episode 11: The Kiwi DaVinci Code

May 9, 2012 § 12 Comments

Where do I even begin? So much happened this week, and it was presented with smart, confident writing that pushed the story forward, delivered plenty of belly laughs, and created a great hour of TV entertainment.

Let’s start with Mike then. Because Mike, finally got a good scene to work with.

Did you not love how he ripped into Olaf about those dueling prophecies? This is what Mike’s character should be: plenty of yelling, frustration, and humor. Mike was again at the forefront of the family  (finally) as he described his deep disappointment with Olaf’s less than perfect oracular skill set. Dear TAJ writers: more of this, lots more of this, pretty pretty please with cherries on top. Thank you.

And Barrington was the perfect foil. I love how crestfallen he was, and how his lip quivered just a bit as Mike stormed off. He didn’t get much screen time this week but played a pivotal role in smelling out (literally. heh.) Kvasir the Pee God, presumably setting things up for next week.

This week Zeb was MIA for all intents and purposes. Also mostly in the wings this week was Ty. Ice Ice Baby didn’t have much to do, but when called upon to fill an important role in the Maori welcoming ceremony, he fully committed to There’s Something About a Magpie. Yes!

Don’t let me overlook the writing here. What made that scene work perfectly, made it!,  was the way all the characters couldn’t continue the verse after “send their stringers winging down the line”.  Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Anders got his own “B” story, as Helen seems to be moving into his life a little more forcefully than he’s capable of handling. From wedding rings to bed pillows, Idunn seems to be claiming her Bragi without qualms. Not that she’s not a handful herself. Well versed at lying, drinking, and manipulation, it looks like Anders has met his match. It was a great deal of fun seeing him come to realize how deeply he’s trapped.

As for Natalie, I really like her.  Her publicly displayed cross, her Latin greetings to an unknown colleague, the hints at her interest in the Hofting — they all add up to a delicious mystery. It feels very Robert Langdon/DaVinci Code to me. With just two episodes left, there’s not far they can take this story but I hope it’s aiming towards a set-up that propels the family to a third series conflict. I think Natalie would make an awesome villain going forward.

I was less enthralled with the Gaia story, especially with BRYN!’s story. Well, at least he’s not dead. Sure, he’ll be exiled again and busy growing weed, but maybe (hopefully) Gaia will realize she needs his twisted paternalism in her life and we’ll see a bit more of him next year. I may be a wee bit biased, but leaving my BRYN! to stand outside a driveway felt like a deep waste of his character.

Although I enjoyed meeting Gaia’s long-lost family (The actors were well chosen, the storyline seemed logical) I thought the chauvinism, even to highlight Axl’s worth as a good friend, was overplayed there as well. We do, though, need more deity-rapping.

The heart of the story, Axl and Gaia, was as always, just lovely. Both got just enough scenes to remind us who we are rooting for and why we care for these characters, and they got to run away–together. Go on, guys, have a nice vacation. Bond. Have fun. No, I don’t think for a second we’re getting a happy ending here, but it’s fun taking the trip (literal as well as figurative) along with the two of them.

On the Goddess side, Nash did a lot with the little she was given. Ingrid ruled in each of her scenes, from bopping with the singing to propositioning Maui, she was superb. As for Gordon, when your resume mentions acrobatics, is it a wonder that someone writes an Yggdrasil scene in there for you? She also worked well at that awkward picnic, with her Fulla comic relief. But it was Michelle who really came out of her shell, took control, and established that the goddesses are a force of their own moving forward.

(I should note that I was impressed how Yggdrassil seems to enhance one’s mortal abilities, not one’s god ones. Michelle’s healing, Ingrid’s interest in the supernatural, and Stacey’s acrobatics. Nicely played, writers, nicely played.)

Just two episodes left. I’m guessing they lead up to Gaia’s birthday, and if I’m right, it would be a crime against  us all if they left us hanging without commissioning a third series.

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§ 12 Responses to Series 2 Episode 11: The Kiwi DaVinci Code

  • Amanda says:

    This is so mean! Here in the UK series 1 has only just finished and no news about when series 2 will start 😦

  • James says:

    They were at the top of their game this week. Amazing episode. So much was revealed, and a lot of doors have been opened, leaving more then enough storyline for only two episodes. So hopefully rather then cramming everything into those episodes, we can get at least one more series. Please?!??

  • Starbug says:

    I think Gaia will unite Papatuanuku and Frigg in one avatar. That has to be where they’re going — she has both Norse and Maori god ancestors, and she’s clearly going through goddess puberty. It really looks like the alleles are co-dominant!

    Latin? Yikes, can’t believe I didn’t catch that. Could Natalie be Juno, or someone equally Roman and frightening?

    I also felt vindicated while watching Mike rant at Olaf. I love Olaf as much as anyone else, but if he were my relative, I’d scream at him at least once in a while too.

    Jerome probably is a sweetie, but Zarquon, he’s dim. Not much of a rapper, either, although the beatbox guy is pretty good.

    The Johnson brothers are now deemed the gods of Hawkes Bay rugby songs! (When Ty becomes the episode’s comic relief, the show really is venturing into new territory!)

    • kiwigods says:

      Both Papatuanuku and Frigg? Together? It would get awfully crowded in that there Gaia. (Don’t get me started about vesselhood, which I’m convinced is a recessive gene.)

      As for Natalie, I was thinking no — either that the cross was significant, that she is Christian, and that she belongs to some order that’s dedicated to driving out pagan gods, *or* that we’re seeing an Aesir/Vanir smackdown about to start. (I’m thinking the former due to the latin “Go with God” thing.)

      (But wasn’t it awesome that Ty *was* the comic relief? All intense and serious about it, with full heart?)

  • supertrinko says:

    Easily my favourite episode of the season. They’ve really opened up some possibilities bringing in Māori mythology.

    Did you read the Q&A with James Griffin on facebook, he seems to be hinting at something regarding Gaia/Frigg/Papa and Jerome/Maui.

    I’ve started looking into my Māori myths and legends, recall a bit from school, but need to look into it in more detail. I did the same with Norse mythology which gave hints at what might happen in the show.

  • Sean Denys says:

    This episode was phenomenal. If anything, too much awesome stuff happened, it was kind of an information overload. My take on a few things:

    – Natalie was wearing a Christian cross, and she also wiped herself down with sanitising wiped pretty hard, as if she’d been disgusted with something. That makes me pretty sure that she’s some sort of Catholic zealot.

    – I can’t help but notice that no specific prophecy on the Norse side that points to Gaia being Frigg, while the Maoris have a specific prophecy that Gaia is their goddess (can’t remember her name).

    – The way that Tyr was written as Gaia’s drug dealing father was brilliant. In the first Thor ep, Thor mentions that he met Tyr in jail. Now we know why Tyr was there.

    – Additionally, Tyr was killed when Gaia was still a baby, which means he’s probably been reincarnated and is due for a comeback, same for Gaia’s mother.

    – The other excellently written bit was Kvasir living in the bar. That explains why it was always unlocked. And since it means he has a key, it could indicate that Kvasir has thrown his lot in with the bar’s former owner, Loki.

    – Can anybody translate what Ingrid said when she held Yggdrasil? Could be interesting. But it’s kind of a long shot if it was Old Norse.

    – On a personal level, I felt that Mike was very harsh on Olaf (even though it was acted and written very well). There’s no reason why he would be able to predict the existence of Maori gods, the same way that the Maoris didn’t realise that there were Norse gods until they met Tyr.

    – I found it amusing that the Maori gods seem to believe in Yahwah and follow Rastafari religion.

    And that’s about it. Didn’t expect that to turn out into a wall of text.

  • Starbug says:

    Lots of great Dawn-Anders scenes too. I’m a Futurama fan, and in the scenes where Anders tried to flatter the stone-faced Natalie, I couldn’t help thinking of Anders as Zapp Brannigan and Dawn as Kif Kroker.

    And I wonder if we’re going to find out what Helen and Natalie discussed on that unseen hike!

  • justanothermortal says:

    I was about to write that I didn’t really love this episode, then I re-read your post, kg, and all the comments, and then remembered all the things I really liked about it. Mike telling Olaf off was long overdue, agreed, and Mike did have a brilliant episode. His chats with George were great too, as father figure to father figure.

    Anders gradually being cornered by Helen was of course fabulous. And the singing and rapping was absolutely hilarious.

    However, I found the Gaia story just a bit too much. I agree with you about the chauvinism – it was massively overdone. I can buy that Jerome and co might have been taught to expect the women in their family to clean up after them, but random women visitors? Really? Also, I thought Gaia was a bit too willing to hang out with Jerome and co, and call Jerome a great guy, given they had actually just snatched her off the street, bundled her in a van and declared “You are ours. End of.” All that trauma would send me screaming off down the road, rather than even contemplating spending time with these folk, no matter who or what they thought I was. I get that Gaia is very confused now and everything in her life is not what she thought it was, but too chummy with the kidnappers for my liking, given she was unhappy with Axl and co for suggesting her destiny too – at least Axl and Mike didn’t kidnap her. Having said that, I did love Gaia going back to Axl, her friend, again. That bit rang true. Aw.

    Back to Anders just for a moment, though. I take it he had never actually met Natalie? Struck me that that might be why he couldn’t remember her, and her saying they’d met in Norway was just an excuse for her to meet him and get access to him and presumably the rest of the Johnsons. Also, it seemed obvious his usual powers didn’t work on her – she looked like she could barely stand to be in the same room as him for most of the time. Did he not notice because he was too a) drunk and b) preoccupied with Helen boxing him in?

    • kiwigods says:

      It made me so happy that Anders got as much screen time as he did this week. I loved him trying to drunkenly cope with Natalie being sprung on him by Dawn, too.

      I’m pretty sure that he crossed Natalie’s group’s radar while in Norway, but I wasn’t convinced he’d met her directly. I think we’ll likely find out more. Either way, I’m fine with it.

      As for usual powers, not sure — because Anders was so out of sorts throughout the episode, I’m not sure he was trying to do anything. We didn’t get the normal sleezy music cue, did we?

      • justanothermortal says:

        Hmm, you’re right – we didn’t get normal sleazy music cue. I guess he *was* too out of sorts to use his powers on Natalie. I look forward to him trying them…

    • Sophie says:

      “I can buy that Jerome and co might have been taught to expect the women in their family to clean up after them, but random women visitors? Really?”

      Yup, same here. I’ve not been to many marae, but when I have it’s the hosts who clean up. That said, there have always been women in the hosting crowd, but I’ve seen blokes in the kitchen there too!

      “I thought Gaia was a bit too willing to hang out with Jerome and co, and call Jerome a great guy, given they had actually just snatched her off the street..”

      True, though I also think she wasn’t angry enough about the fact that Axl n co clearly knew that Bryn had killed her parents, and had left her to find out from a bunch of strangers! Even if one of them is her half-brother.

  • Sophie says:

    I’m sure i remember a line somewhere way back about the Christians in Norway burning homes of the Nordic god-incarnations, hence sailing away to NZ on the Hofting.. so my guess is that Natalie is a descendent of those anti-pagans come to finish the job. Maybe.

    As for Gaia, I have a theory.. So many cultures have gods of the same essential things, but they don’t all appear to be incarnated at the same time. So maybe there’s a genetic component to godhood, e.g. Frigg & Papatuanuku are both matriarch-type goddesses, as Odin & Rangi would be, but I don’t see Rangi wandering around out there. Maybe when the patriarch-god essence came round to reincarnation, it manifested as Odin because the vessel was of Nordic descent.. but Gaia could go either way, because she is of both Nordic & Maori descent.

    I clearly have too much time on my hands, hmm? 🙂

    Either way I’m with Michelle: why would Papa settle for Maui? Mythologically he’s not her type, nor the other way round.

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