The road to Ty is paved with inept fanatics

July 26, 2013 § 23 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 10.26.30 AM

OMG(s). Ty! No one messes with Ty. Got that, TAJ writers and production staff?

Is it getting too repetitive when I say “Yet another terrific episode”? Because you know what? It was! With tension and character, and fun and excitement, this was a darn tootin’ good ‘un. I don’t know who was writing this week, but whoever it was, they got Anders right. It was a perfect Anders ep. I suspect CJ will be dancing with glee when she gets around to seeing it.

Unlike last week (also a TERRIFIC EPISODE™ but not a great ANDERS EPISODE™), this week put us right in Anders head. From Loki’s seduction (Cortese is wicked insane in this role) to the overall lack of respect and appreciation for Anders facing his fears and putting things right with the (rather stupid weren’t they) fanatics, you could see him crumble. He fell from the shred of principle (Anders doesn’t offer higher than “shred”, so this was a pretty prestigious moral place)  to the valley of Loki manipulation.

Worse, Loki is always playing his own game, so Anders’ is at his most vulnerable (yes, even for ANDERS LEVELS OF VULNERABILITY™). He is ripe for an exploitive situation that won’t end well. Anders tries and tries and tries, and no one ever spends a moment to pat him on the back — even when he just fixed everything for everyone. Again. The look on his face as everyone cheered Stacey was heartbreaking and cynical.

These people will only have themselves to blame when Anders turns to the dark side after exhibiting several episodes of self-sacrificial Anders Heroism (from only sleeping with Gaia reluctantly, to brainwashing the Tech administrator, to speaking sense to the murderous fanatics).

I was convinced Axl’s B story was going to involve a church girl, so imagine my surprise when I got (a) the wrong plot and (b) the wrong brother. That was a really good misdirection, and I can’t wait to watch again with fresh (non-conspiracy) eyes.

She was exactly what she said on the package, and at not a single time during watching did I get that. Interestingly enough, neither did Axl — who tried to sweep into her life as a hero and love-at-first-sight prince. It was a lovely wake up call at the end when she explained exactly what was going on — exactly what she’d been saying the entire time through. It was a really good (and necessary) shock to the system to both the viewer and to Axl that an entire non-mythic world exists out there, and that he’s gotten a leeeetle bit too caught up in the whole tragedy thing, especially when you bookend this ep with last week’s disturbing nail gun scene.

I particularly liked that the episode included the ocean–attack, giving an extra (perhaps Njord-induced) bit of “you-wouldn’t-believe-the-world-I-live-in” punch to an absolutely normal, human scene parter. It plays even better knowing that she wasn’t the aware-of-the-gods-church-lady.

Each episode cannot provide a showcase for every character so we didn’t get much of Ty this week, but what we got, whoa, it was brilliant. From the attack (and he’s not even a god anymore) to the Lance/Dawn kiss, it was absolutely perfect. As much as I snicker at fanfiction hurtfic, I am digging the hell out of the newly mortal Ty angst.

If that weren’t enough, we got Michelle-Mom conflict action. It too was fabulous. (I better watch these superlatives. Might not have any left for next week.) I loved seeing Michelle wincing in psychic pain as Mum did her oblivious self-involved dance. (By the way, I like these digs far better than the set they used in the first series.)

In all, this week exemplified damn good writing. It was all character based, all focused on moving the plot along. Yes, I did find the fanatic story a bit of a let down but you know what? I don’t care. The rest was so very, very good that it surely made up for a plot fizzle on that end.

Now I’m just hoping that Anders figures out how to start his own church.

  • Karen is Lofn. (Pronounced more like Lervin), traditionally goddess of inappropriate hookups although TAJ may turn her into the Goddess Party Planner.
  • The engineering jokes never stop. I loved the bit about bracing.
  • The nunpuppet! Snappy!
  • “Interesting Symmetry” — goddesses dating outside their weight class?
  • SMITAGE!
  • Again, we get Mike’s magical-riddle-mystery-tour ability. Why doesn’t every conversation with him start with “Guess who” or “guess what”? For example, “Mike, guess how Axl can solve all his problems?” or “Mike, guess where Frigg is right now? And her name? And her cell phone number?” (I suppose it only works if the asker knows the answer? Pity.)
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§ 23 Responses to The road to Ty is paved with inept fanatics

  • drjuliebug says:

    I absolutely loved the tone, the dialogue, the pacing — everything about this episode was what Anders would call “f***ing genius”! I was on the edge of my seat while Olaf and Stacey infiltrated the god-hunter cell in the church. And, at the same time, hugely amused that Olaf was goofily bellowing the same hymn that he butchered at Grandma Hansen’s funeral in Season 1!

    When Axl started getting mysteriously zapped in the water — while Manic Pixie Dream Girl noticed only that the surf was getting very rough — two possibilities came to mind. One was that MPDG was the present or future Frigg — which she probably isn’t — and the other was that Njord was somewhere nearby, controlling the sea. So I did suspect, before the ending, that Njord was the man in Karen’s bedroom.

    Do you think that Anders’ Bragi power-up is being remotely controlled by Loki? No one else besides Anders seems to have suddenly become more powerful than usual, and it’s convenient that it’s happening at the exact time that Colin needs his skills. I’m really looking forward to the power dance between those two.

    I agree that Ty got some of the best scenes. Worst, he had to know that the man who tried to kill him was a god-hunter, while Lance just saw a mentally unbalanced stranger with a knife who was randomly attacking his co-worker. And, of course, Ty fought the preacher off until Lance jumped in, but in the bar afterwards, the conversation is all about hero Lance protecting helpless Ty. Although — did we see a glimmer of recognition from Dawn when Ty offered her a glass of her favorite wine?

    Oh, and which goddess is Karen? I couldn’t really hear that line.

    • kiwigods says:

      Karen is Lofn. (Pronounced more like Lervin), goddess of inappropriate hookups.

      While watching, I was all “I know that hymn!”, followed by laughter at all the talk of smiting. (So glad they didn’t but delighted that they mentioned it at all.) The nun puppet was pretty outrageous as well.

      MPDG will be MPDG to me forever. Thank you for that name!

      Interesting suspicion about Loki — not sure he’d have the ability to do that though, but curious!

      • drjuliebug says:

        … hehehe … Wish I’d come up with Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but it even has its own Wiki entry now! And I almost forgot that this one was named Tansy, like the flower.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manic_Pixie_Dream_Girl

        They did a great job of keeping up the suspense with Tansy — was she or was she not a god-hunter? I think what clinched the “not” was that she actually had sex with Axl, even though her “God is Love” tattoo was revealed when she undressed. The godhunters were prudish, ascetic sorts who were horrified when Anders successfully seduced one of their spies in Norway. Attacking gods with crossbows and knives, yes. Bedding them, no.

      • Ratatosk says:

        given that Loki’s a known gender-shifter, I can’t help wondering if the nun puppet was a clue that he’s going to play the honest, god-fearing factor and run for mayor as a nun…

    • Susannah says:

      I am intrigued by the Bragi powers thing. I don’t know how Loki could or would amplify them in such a way, but there’s certainly something going on. It occurs to me that Mike’s powers haven’t really been tested in a while (just finding people and playing silly games, nothing on a grander scale) and I don’t think any of the others have powers such that you’d notice an increase in them in day-to-day life.

      So my suspicions are either 1) Axl is becoming Odin more closely and/or getting closer to Frigg, leading all their powers to increase, or 2) Yggdrasil is involved here. There was that freighted line about how their powers would be great if only they could access them – juxtaposed right on top of a scene of Michelle healing herself. So maybe she’s the most powerful goddess at the moment, but the power can spread now it’s being tapped? Or maybe Anders has spent most time with it apart from her? Not sure, but I think my money’s on this option.

  • Susannah says:

    Well that final scene made me swear at my screen in an approving fashion. I was wondering when that shoe would get around to dropping.

    (And was that the interesting symmetry? Mother/Father and Daughter/Son relationships? If so, Njord told her the gods his sons are, but not their human names? Ouch…)

    • kiwigods says:

      Njord left long before Mikkel ullified

      • Susannah says:

        That’s right, so he did. Hmm. Well then either he’s kept track of them (though it seems unlikely), or Loki has told Michelle’s mum things (also unlikely as she didn’t know Mike was a god) or…. that line is about something else.

        Still no idea what though.

  • drjuliebug says:

    Anders did have a recent up-close-and-personal encounter with Yggdrasil, which could have been at least a partial power-up source. It was also a nice touch to have Michele first break and then heal Bevan’s elbow with her stick!

    BTW, the writing credits as they appeared at the start of the episode: Natalie Medlock (yes, that Natalie!) and James Griffin.

  • JKW says:

    Wholeheartedly agree that this season is really showing its shine – and the time the writers have taken to hone the craft of story telling.
    Some thoughts….

    I’m wondering if the seeming increase in power is either purely the gods choosing to stretch and test their godly muscles… and say in Anders’ case finding out that their power is much more than than just pulling chicks and talking round PR people. OR perhaps its a sign that the Odin is stirring? All this suffering and growing Axl has been doing – could it be a sign of the whole ‘ For the man to become a god, the god must first become a man’ shtick? I’m less inclined to lean towards the Ygg – as its been clearly stated that its for Women only. (and I wonder what Micheles’ power hungry mother will think of it if she finds out)

    On the strange electricity in the sea – I’m not sold on it being a Njord affair.
    The two possibilities i did muse on: Either Tansy was in fact a goddess. I lent away from this after they shagged, as you would have expected some indication then that they might have recognised this.

    The other more interesting option is something I got wrong from season 2… When Eggther left he said something was stirring. I had originally thought it was Jotenheim (the land of the giants). However it may instead have been Jörmungandr is stirring – the Midgad serpent, who happens to live in the sea.

    This is all really reminding me of season 3 of Buffy – where the writing, acting, humour and pathos all came together so well. Even more now that Loki want to be Mayor! Perhaps he will end up turning into the midgad serprent in a final climactic battle at Mikes ex-bar, where they are forced to freeze the thing to the ground eh? 😉
    Now we can only hope that it gets picked up in the USA, and international sales helps float the show..I’m still hopping its HBO rather than Syfy.

    As a final question to fellow readers -i was quite startled to read the entry on MPDG (many thanks Dr Julie!) Especially as i have always liked Harold and Maude. I had preferred to consider that film as a modern riff about a daoist philopher in the vein of Chuang Tzu taking on a disciple, rather than a mopey indy boys fantasy.
    I’m curious what others think – does Tansy ring true as a person? Or does she appears purely as a trope. At least from my perspective i’ve met people that at least appear to fit the MPDG depiction to some degree. Or am i just a sucker for the thinking man’s crumpet syndrome eh? troubled…
    PilgrimJake.

    • drjuliebug says:

      IMO the MPDG label doesn’t have to be pejorative — it doesn’t mean that Tansy was a poorly realized character. She was simply an adventurous and eccentric young woman who met and hooked up with Axl for a subplot involving some unencumbered fun. It also provided suspense because of the godhunter issue, setting up the twist at the end.

      If the writers treated any of the goddess regulars as a MPDG, it would be more problematic. Closest example is probably Ingrid, but her eccentricities and troubled past are too stark and too well-developed to put her in that category. They skirted a sister meme — the Magical Minority — with the Maori gods last season. (In the U.S., that trope usually involves an African American supporting character whose main role in the plot is to help a white character find himself.) I think they successfully subverted at least part of the trope by the last episode of Season 2, but at times those characterizations — and I loved the Maori gods — made me a little uncomfortable.

      Back to Tansy: I’m more interested in her parting comments to Axl — that maybe the next woman he meets will be the one who makes things better. I don’t think it implies any special insight on Tansy’s part, but it’s the kind of small clue that often turns up as a larger plot element. I predict that if that scene is replayed in an intro later this season, that episode will find Axl getting more deeply involved with another woman.

  • just another mortal says:

    Oh ANDERS, your family might not appreciate you, but I do!

    You’re so right, kg – Anders was always going to succumb to Loki because “Mike doesn’t love (him) like (Loki) does”. All Anders ever needed was a few kind words and an acknowledgment that he’s saved all your skins more than once, Johnsons, come on!

    I worry about the dark Loki road he’s on now. *whimpers*

    Although I look forward to plenty of scenes exploring it with him. *brightens up and dances a jig*

    In non-Anders chat, Ty’s scenes were indeed great. The look on his face when he went to get Dawn’s drink and Lance was preening – aw, poor Ty. I preferred his story to Axl’s – I’m a bit tired of Axl moping and I find the MPDG trope in general annoying, although I thought the misdirection was brilliantly done.

    Re Michelle – I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Although I like Karen a lot more….

    CJx

  • Pilgrim jake says:

    I’m also keen to see how the family reunion will play out next ep. Particularly from olafs’ perspective. How does the grandfather who has stuck by the family feel when his wayward son returns into the picture? It’s one thing for him to say he couldn’t stand Freya – but another for him to disappear from his kids lives even into adulthood. Presumably this will be a person with little filial feeling – unlike the other johnsons..

  • drjuliebug says:

    My spousal unit weighed in with this question: Why were the remaining members of the godhunter squad so clueless? Natalie was borderline ninja. Maybe not a complete pro, since she let Helen distract her from her mission to kill Anders. But the rest of them were more like the Judean People’s Front — all talk but little taste for danger. No athletic crossbow virtuosi there — just an out-of-shape knife-wielding preacher who was no match for a fit but unarmed bicycle courier.

  • Alan says:

    The NZ godhunters seem to be a blatant retcon. I doubt the NZ branch was planned last season. They’re introduced and nullified all in one episode, so it was pretty pointless. They seemed very ineffective compared to Natalie’s tradecraft in infiltrating and murdering.

    At least when the giants and dwarfs came for them, it was an arc over several episodes and while Gaia’s gay vegetarian dad may not have been conceived as a giant to begin with, it was papered over pretty well.

    • Pilgrim jake says:

      I suspect that Brynn was always known to be giant – as there were lines from him about grinding bones. I agree that the godhunters do feel like a bit of a rewrite to mute their import. I wouldn’t entirely write them out yet though. Am now expecting them to pop back with huge number of babies and start worshipping Michelle as a new healing goddess to complicate matters.

  • Ratatosk says:

    Can’t help wondering if Michelle’s comment to Karen that she should go back to her ‘own home’, includes Michelle’s Dad, who I’m guessing will be brought in later to try and win her back. If so, I’m putting my money on him being Aegir, which would make for some great showdowns between him and Njord

  • drjuliebug says:

    Fridge insight: This is the first time Anders has done anything close to seeking real power — and he’s obviously uncomfortable with it. He’s amoral, but he’s not evil, and you can see his uneasiness at the prospect of getting in over his head.

    From the beginning of the series, it was clear he wanted his full Bragi powers via Odin, but he’s never been visibly obsessed with either enriching himself or becoming powerful in the mortal world. He’s clearly well off and he likes luxuries, but he’s not spectacularly wealthy. He uses the powers that he has, but mostly for casual sex, regularly for his own business, and occasionally to help his brothers. He was genuinely conflicted when Helen talked him into conning a restaurant into comping a huge bill. He’s also a bit lazy — he spends the minimum time necessary to keep his business running, and leaves most of the work to Dawn.

    Even when his powers only worked on one person at a time, he could have become rich, famous, and politically connected, either within or outside the law — but he didn’t choose to do that. Now, all of a sudden, he can control crowds, his family and friends have injured his pride, and the most dangerous character around is enticing him with frassloads* of money and a share of serious power. Look out, world — and look out, Anders!

    * Frass = caterpillar poop. Trust me — I’m an entomologist. 🙂

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