Hod is back, baby

August 22, 2013 § 31 Comments

TAJ3-39-ep-8-Dean-OGorman-as-Anders-Jared-Turner-as-Ty-c-SPP

I’m going to be honest. Wasn’t particularly crazy about this episode. Sure, there were things I loved: badass Turner (!), morally conflicted Anders (“Why does everyone say ‘for once in his life’?”), gameplaying Mike (“I accept”), nekkid Barrington (THANK YOU TAJ TEAM!), and pizza delivery boy Axl.

All in all, this was the episode I was dreading: god-heavy, special effect drunk, cheesy with little subtlety, no emotional truths.

Dawn got her memories back with all the nuance of a large, Norse hammer. Anders got to say “no” to rape — hardly redemption when the story was so over the top. Axl and Zeb were back together, the spongebob-and-patrick of TAJ world without any resolution of conflicts. Olaf exposited with a convenient walk-on from a local god of the sea.

TV-wise, it was…average. An entertaining hour if nothing else. But compared to last week and the season leading up to this, it was a sad disappointment. Except of course for:

TAJ3-4-ep-8-Ben-Barrington-as-Olaf-Emmett-Skilton-as-Axl-c-SPP

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§ 31 Responses to Hod is back, baby

  • Freddie AppsHero says:

    What threw me about this episodes was how many characters were played out of character; evil Ty, conscionable Anders, flustered and angry Colin. I liked the ep as a whole, but like every other episode this season, it’s asked more questions that it’s answered.

  • drjuliebug says:

    There were some things about the episode that were over the top — some hokey dialogue and the like — but it followed the grand TAJ tradition of wrapping up a thread that in a more mainstream show would have been dragged out longer and in a more predictable way. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of either Colin or the family feud, but it’s probably on the back burner for now. Or in the freezer. Something like that.

    Axl’s scenes with Zeb were a little strained, which is unusual. But their relationship has been strained, so no biggie. I’m glad to see them sharing a flat and a quest again. Also glad that they’re working with Ingrid. And glad that Olaf is being all oracular and stuff.

    I expected Lance and Dawn to dump each other at some point, but the way it played out was disconcertingly abrupt. That said, I actually enjoyed the Colin-Lance showdown. Around women, Colin is indeed an evil creep, while Lance is a well-meaning but clueless Neanderthal. It was kind of like seeing the class bully punched out by the annoying kid who turns his eyelids inside out on the school bus. I’m glad Dawn’s no longer with Lance, but for some perverse reason I don’t want him to completely go away.

    Anders continues to amaze me this season, mostly by doing the right thing even when his instincts tell him to either roll over or run away. I think that the campaign caused him to take a long and pitiless look at Colin — and stare down the worst of himself in the process. Anders has always been greedy, callous with women, and infuriating to his family, but Colin is worse by every one of those measures. (Including his treatment of his own family; he was awful to Eva.) Meanwhile, Ty called the manipulation of Dawn by its correct name — attempted rape. Anders may really have been smacked down by the clue train this time.

    I loved Dawn’s shock when she remembered Ty, because it didn’t happen while they were trying to make a connection with each other. It happened while he was angrier and more violent than we’ve ever seen him before. And he was breaking Colin’s arm. And it was snowing in the alley. Dawn looked terrified. I’m sure their Facebook status is still complicated.

    Well-played, Mike. I bet Colin loses the election too. 🙂

  • Ratatosk says:

    I actually really loved this episode, and from the facebook page, it would seem I wasn’t the only one, so I was surprised to read your summary this morning, and have been wondering what’s different.

    For me, this was like the one where Anders talked Axl down from the roof. In a country where the taciturn kiwi male is the hero of our literature and films, and which tends to sideline women, I knew that TAJ sisters all around the country were, like me, cheering when Ty told Anders that what he was doing was rape; when Mike out-talked Loki and saved the family; and best of all, the edge of your seat ‘please, please do the right thing’ moment when Anders was using his powers on Dawn, for what was hopefully the last time. No wonder Mike got so well rewarded…

    And because Axl has yet to learn the skill of communication, the make up with him and Zeb was pretty typical for that age-group where the way to sort out a difference is with a muttered ‘so are we all right then?’, and a ‘cheers mate’ down at the pub.

    What I have noticed is that all their powers are increased when the brothers are working together – it’ll be interesting to see what happens next week when the goddesses reveal what they’ve been up to with Yggdrasil. And now that they’ve got Loki out of the way for a bit, and Ty has worked out a way to be both Hod and (presumably) happy, they can start dealing with that serpent (I love that they’ve chosen to reveal it in the year of the snake).

    Cheers for the write-ups KG – it’s great to have a reason to think about the gods all day, and I’m with you on Olaf.

  • Chris says:

    A few pointers for non antipodean viewer.

    Yes Asparagus Rolls are a real thing. Consisting of a slice of buttered white bread (crusts cut off), and a piece of asparagus cooked, based on childhood experience, until it’s colour turns khaki.

    Jandals are the kiwi term for Flip-flops or thongs. A concatenation of Japanese and Sandals.

    Wanker see Onanist.

    and butt-cracks don’t get blurred on telly by default.

    • A gussy roll is standard fare at a barbie, along with those terrible cocktail onions and dip made from French onion soup and Philly cheese 😀

    • Susannah says:

      Wanker is perfectly good British English too. Maybe not so good for the statesiders though…

      And I’m going to have to try making an asparagus roll soon.

      • Maria says:

        In our family – we wrap the asparagus in a thin slice of deli ham before rolling in the bread.

        Interested to see how the standard American audience will react to the slang, that many Commonwealth residents can grasp on that basis alone. (Look how the Harry Potter books were reworded for the Americans – “lift” was changed to “elevator” etc.) Unless they release the show on American TV with subtitles? 😉 It will be interesting. Glad the show is being sold as is – rather than the “concept” being sold with the Americans remaking it so it’s “better”.

        – no offence meant to any Yanks reading this! Lived there for years – great people and country too. Cheers!

      • kiwigods says:

        Does anyone not know what a “wanker” is?

      • Susannah says:

        I think I’ve seen it used in US shows (thinking particularly Buffy/Angel) as a kind of comedy twee English insult. Like how they think ‘arse’ is the posh version of ‘ass’…

      • kiwigods says:

        What do the British call the hindquarters of a donkey?

      • Susannah says:

        …you mean an ass’s arse? They are pronounced differently, you know. 😉

        (No, we’d call it a donkey’s arse anyway. ‘Ass’ here only really comes in through US tv into slang for either jackass or arse – not for the animal.)

    • drjuliebug says:

      It wasn’t until the second viewing that I realized just how the asparagus was kicking in, and why it was important. Olaf wasn’t just providing Axl with a warm spot in the ocean — he was using “asparagus pheromones” to signal Tigilau! I just didn’t quite hear the explanatory dialogue the first time. 🙂

  • I liked aspects of this episode but on a whole I wasn’t too impressed.

    The alley scene was awful. I mean, I like BAMF! Ty a lot but it felt a bit forced and cheesy. I felt the same about the Colin-Dawn-Lance interaction. The saving grace in that scene was Anders mutterings about Lance being a effing loser. I really, really like Dawn as a character and I think the actress is wonderfully talented but I don’t think she had a real chance to shine in that scene.

    My thoughts about Mike and his game with Colin – he has protected his family, sure, but what about Dawn? Zeb? The goddesses? And so forth.. Loki still has the potential to cause some serious damage.

    This episode was a closer and opener of stories and I look forward to the next episode, which I hope is a bit meatier.

    OH and I like this aspect of Anders that we are seeing. I don’t think it is out of character because people adapt and change and grow, as we have seen with all of the Johnsons. Anders admitted he cared about Dawn and in his interaction with Colin he was open about protecting Dawn. When he spoke to Ty, I think he slipped back into expected behaviour – flippant, mostly immoral and such. But I don’t think he was ever out of character.

  • Maria says:

    Fascinating episode. Just finished watching it here in Canada, and have to force myself to stay off the internet to avoid spoilers – even little hints such as “the mayoral campaign is over due to betrayal.” 🙂

    So the scene with Mike turning the fight with Colin into a game…intrigued how they would script such in the dialogue and how they came to it. Mike did say to Loki to stay away from anyone he knows, so that would technically include all goddesses and Dawn too. Suspect this is not the last of Loki. Hope not!

    Anders still being Anders but now showing us (himself too?) there is more to having god powers than just having fun. It’s not all about rooting. The responsibility he feels for Dawn was well played, and how he could walk that thin line of claiming to do what Colin expected and yet not achieve what Colin wanted was good. He knew he got himself into the job / situation with Colin and did not race off to his brothers to help fix it, make excuses for himself this time. How he tried to resolve it on his own. Weak to have Ty and Anders out in the alley – too easy.

    Ty showing more anger – because it revolves around his love for Dawn and / or his hatred of Loki – or he can now harness the powers of Hod almost at will – perhaps more practice needed….I immediately thought that if he can control it that way with anger and strong emotion, then he can turn it off when the moment is right so to speak. (If Dawn isn’t too afraid of his strong temper now.)

    Disappointed in the easy resolution and slim aspects of the story line for the sea serpent. I hoped for something stronger, even if brought out later.

    Token appearance by Michele and Ingrid, Stacey too. But gave some time for Fern Sutherland to shine in that character that can be somewhat limiting as written.

    A favourite episode so far.

    Now I want a larger. A cold one too.

  • Pilgrimjake says:

    A few quick observations-

    Felt the islander ( Maori ?) sea god to be a continuity issue- Olaf was utterly oblivious to the existence of Maori gods last season. Did that mean they had only made friends since then? Didn’t seem it and didn’t jell with how surprised he was with the Maori gods.

    The significance at the end of ep is presumably that not only does dawn get memories back – but she now has a serious inkling into their godliness !

    And finally — has anyone noticed that mike always seems to get the coolest lines and actions whenever Tim is lead writer on an ep???? 🙂

  • Susannah says:

    I personally loved this episode. I agree there were a couple of moments that were cheesy, but then I think there often are, particularly with Ty for some reason – he’s so reserved most of the time that when he goes big it often seems to verge on hammy.

    But I absolutely loved Anders’ moral backbone being allowed to show in front of Ty and Mike (yeah, it’s not that he’s never had it before, but he really does play to shallow type in front of them normally), loved Ty owning Hod’s powers for once, loved Mike goading Colin to right where he wanted them. Yeah, I’m sure it’ll backfire next week, but for now it felt great.

    Minor dislikes: yes Zeb’s story was resolved too easily, and yes the ocean/Jormungand stuff was a bit too quick.

    Minor likes: Axl’s “I caused global warming” and Michelle’s appreciation of the Johnson family bond – she’s been on the outside looking in on it several times this series, and is clearly drawn to it.

    Minor questions: did Michelle and Ingrid’s redecoration have something to do with the Sjöfn cult? And where’s Axl’s car now, if he drove Olaf to the coast but then Mike drove him back and abandoned Olaf?

    • kiwigods says:

      It was strongly hinted that the Church of Michelle is in full swing, ready to come back and hit them all soon.

    • kiwigods says:

      p.s. The very very best bit was DARK TY, with the snow swirling, with Dawn hearing a bit too much, with Colin in real fear for his life and limbs. And yes, I love the way Anders continues to grow morally (for Anders levels of morality).

      • CJ Cregg says:

        Whereas I just love Anders 😉

        But seriously, he had the best bits of the ep – his reaction to Lance, and his standing up to Colin – followed by Mike turning the tables on Colin. The rest was fine, but I agree weaker than it usually is, and I thought the alley scene started brilliantly but turned OTT quite quickly.

  • Pilgrim jake says:

    Another curious plot point in the episode was in what didn’t occur.
    Once again we have axl utterly clueless to the ensuing battle between Loki and the johnsons – and Ullr taking the reigns of power and authority. I’m getting a sense that there is a point of conflict heading over this. Mind you axle sidelining is not entire unwarranted. Compare zebs knowledge of the mythology with axls – he hasn’t even asked the question ‘ so who Are all the gods I might encounter then??’ A character not much yet for the forewarned is forearmed …

    • Susannah says:

      I do like how Axl just doesn’t bother researching this stuff. Completely in line with his character, yet clearly all the other Johnsons have had to find this stuff out on their own, and it just leaves him looking clueless…

  • drjuliebug says:

    Could it be that Colin/Loki and the Johnson entourage will be forced to cooperate to stave off Ragnarok? Canonically, Loki is a trickster — chaotic, but not necessarily either good or evil. Sometimes he helps his fellow gods, and sometimes he hinders them — whatever he feels like doing at the time.

    As for Americans understanding the term “wanker”: One of my college roommates befriended some New Zealand university rugby players who were visiting the Boston area. After hearing them refer to one another as “wankers” in an apparently friendly way, she called one guy a wanker while she was sitting in his lap. He laughed, and said “Don’t say that!”

    She asked why, and he explained “When your best mate calls you a wanker, you laugh. When your worst enemy calls you a wanker, you punch him. But when the woman sitting in your lap calls you a wanker, it just makes you want to cry!”

  • drjuliebug says:

    Amusing note re the courier-office scene with Dawn, Lance, and Ty: Dawn and Lance were off to see a French movie called “Non Plus de Bicyclette”. My French is extremely rusty, but doesn’t that mean “Neither Bicycle”?

  • PilgrimJake says:

    I wonder what they will have Dawn remember. If she has all her memories restored – then she should also remember that it was her who jilted Tyrone on her doorstep after he confessed his undying love. Or will they keep the memories vague and fragmented, with her recollecting only a patchwork of images? This will be an interesting seasonal arc : – what are her fears of Ty and Anders? She came to work, so presumably she isn’t so terrified that she has headed for the hills.

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