Wooby wooby woo where are you?

September 6, 2013 § 27 Comments

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Dear TAJ writers,

Please would you consider keeping Dawn permanently stoned? Like, forever? Because stoned!Dawn is pretty awesome. She can become besties with Olaf, Stacey, and Ingrid until the inevitable lightning bolt smites her from the story and Ty forever.

Thank you,

The KG Blog

Seriously, there is nothing better than stoned-out-of-her-head Dawn where we finally got to see some internal character.  We still don’t know much about her beyond the fact that she likes the West Wing and rap music, but Ep 10 did more to develop her as an actual human being with flaws, fears, and dreams than the two and a half series that preceded it.

There was a lot of great stuff happening in this episode, but finally giving Dawn an actual voice and a viewpoint was pretty much its strongest element. I loved how vulnerable she was, and how she was thinking and doing her research, not just acting as a passive participant in the story.

I also loved clingy!wooby!Ty’s concern for deeply!stoned!Dawn despite his relative lack of screen time. Now, I can’t wait for the wedding and Colin’s violent revenge, which has yet to be fully expressed.  I’ll be all “Bye Dawn” but now I’ll actually miss the character.

In less drugged-out parts of the story, Axl’s quest hummed along to the point where he’s nearly found his Frigg. He, Zeb, and Ingrid track down Honir to a nearby rest home. On the one hand, the story is still being told as a three stooges episode with the typical comedy beats, and yet at the same time Skilton is doing some superb glowering, especially as he reassesses Mike.

I love the knowing looks and the sly digs, he’s delivering so Odin-ly, especially the pizza delivery scene.  Axl has just had a big wake-up call. Sadly, he’s viewing this through mythic terms instead of reaching out to Mike, who gods know, is in a particularly bad place right now.

The real weakness of this story is, sadly, Mike. We’ve had too much telling, not enough showing here. Instead of seeing Mike struggle with the Ullr-derived gameplaying and ambition, we haven’t had enough moments where the story developed his growing imbalance with his onboard god. We haven’t been getting into Mike’s head enough.

Although all the external components of his story have been going well — his conflicts with Axl, Michelle, Anders, and Ty — we really could have used some Mike time as he slowly gave into those irrational internal demands. While his break-up with Michelle worked great for her character, on his part it felt unearned.

I know that the groundwork has been laid over time, gambling with Olaf and losing control, talking with Karen about her father, that superb non-communication with Michelle a few eps back after she came back from her first healing, but the story feels incomplete to me.  It’s more a sense of “Oh, that’s where they were going” instead of being led there by what we’ve seen, what we’ve felt, what we’ve experienced.

Mike is Axl’s “real” father in most ways. Their relationship fail right now falls right into place with the Campbell Hero’s Journey, just as the goal is in sight. Yes, Axl needs to grow up and become the man, but this was too abrupt. When Axl went all one-eyed-Odin last week, he should have finally seen what we’ve all been picking up. Instead, it came as a big shock out of nowhere, and instead of empathizing with his Eureka moment, us viewers were left picking up the pieces. It’s one of the few disappointments for this year’s series, because everything else has been so strong.

Michelle is really getting her moment in the sun, though. As Anders did in earlier eps, in limited amounts, she’s growing and changing. On her part, this is a lot more profound because she’s actually trying to move past her normal cynical bitchiness to something of meaning. With the woodchipper, Mike destroyed more than a Macguffin, he attacked the one thing she found meaning and pride in. Hopefully the ripples from that unforgivable act will keep playing forward in the upcoming episodes. I’m now actually rooting (American sense, not NZ sense) for a Mike and Michelle resolution after this.

Ingrid was the “hero” of the episode with her psychic nosebleed trope and Norse-varient Sherlock visuals. It was good to see her take an active role even though we didn’t really get to see any real emotions from her — from her triumphs, from her pain and the cost of that triumph, or anything else.

So in the end, I’m giving this ep a mixed review. I think the bits I loved outweigh the bits I didn’t. There were some spectacular moments, and the shock of that ending was truly jawdropping.

Long live the Master Baker (heh).

  • I guess Rich Guy was a one-shot spot, then? Do they get to keep the 200k?
  • I hope someone had a lawn bag to pick up the Yggdrasil mulch.
  • Mike is going after Frigg on his own. Why? What is motivating him at this point?
  • I felt bad for Honir. No healing then. We need more geriatric Gods.
  • Friederic Larsen looks about 60-odd years old. It would be a hoot if Friggy Larsen is in her mid 40’s.
  • There’s a brother in that photograph. Martin aka Heimdallr? After all, his DNA sequence seemed to tie Frigg, Honir, and Heimdall together.
  • (Also, are those kids actually the children of someone in the production staff?)
  • I hate that Michelle doesn’t get custody of that cool new apartment — after all she did a lot of the work.
  • Anyone zapruder the whole Ingrid scene for funny clues and Easter Eggs?
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§ 27 Responses to Wooby wooby woo where are you?

  • Freddie AppsHero says:

    “Mike is going after Frigg on his own. Why? What is motivating him at this point?”

    It’s simple mythology; classically, Ullr is a pretender to Odin’s throne. He deposed Odin and spent a decade ruling secretly as Odin. Mike is just doing what the Ullr spirit urges him to do.

    What I love about this series is that there’s this lore that exists independent of the show, that you can go out and read to get a better grasp of what you see on TV.

  • Ratatosk says:

    “I hope someone had a lawn bag to pick up the Yggdrasil mulch.”

    Considering it was Martin operating the mulcher, that is probably an option, but I’m not sure they’ll go there – it was a great way of killing a prop that was getting a bit too powerful

    • Freddie AppsHero says:

      I thought it was him. Everything leads to Martin, doesn’t it?

      I’m almost tempted to say that Martin is a gender-bended Frigg. But the ep seems to pretty strongly indicate that he is indeed Heimdallr.

  • Pilgrim Jake says:

    I ended up reading the app screenplay prior to watching the ep,
    Here is one of the variations for amusement sake.
    When Ty meets Olaf early on to discuss his worries….
    ‘Zeb’s mortal’, explained Olaf, as he and Ty strolled through the park overlooking the waterfront. ‘He and Axl have been romantically involved for some time now. And no bad things have happened to him.’
    ‘He caught on fire, remember?’ said Ty.’Plus you cant compare their bromance to my relationship with Dawn. Its kind of insulting.’
    ‘Love is love, man’ pronounced Olaf……

  • drjuliebug says:

    For a long moment I expected Axl, Zeb, and Ingrid to walk into the nursing home and find that Gaia had secretly returned and was working there.

    Mike is definitely still a puzzle right now. In a sense, he’s already been ruling as quasi-Odin; besides being the de facto head of the family, he was unknowingly the regent when Axl was a child. (Back to the pilot ep: “Cause I’m still your big brother.”) I think Ullr is compelling Mike to play power games against Odin that Mike doesn’t fully understand. It’s much like Hod and Hel driving Ty and Eva into a dangerously sadomasochistic marriage, even though the human Ty would never have freely chosen that kind of relationship, and the human Eva seemed to be merely morose and temperamental before meeting him.

    I don’t like the Michelle-Mike breakup at all. Not just because I like them together, but because it seems forced to have them break up over their first serious quarrel. Michelle’s character development has been one of the best surprises of S3. She’s also brought out some of the best Mike moments this season.

    And, KG: Not only was I thinking the same thing about the wood chipper, but I love your use of “Zapruder” as a transitive verb!

  • Wow, Mike is a whole barrel of messed-up right now. I applaud Michelle Langstone for the way she carried out the break-up scene. The hurt in her eyes – oh boy! I didn’t expect the break-up in this episode. Truth be told, I don’t expect a reconciliation. I wouldn’t mind seeing Michelle strike out alone for a while.

    I like the idea suggested by drjuliebug that Mike just doesn’t realise what is happening to him, a la Ty and Eva. Mike can be a controlling arse at times but he seems to be pushing the boundaries at present.

    I really enjoyed seeing Dawn interact with Olaf. Refreshing! Although I found the Dawn/Ty stuff a bit sugary I don’t mind too much because the EPIC FORESHADOWING (“nothing bad will happen, right?”) suggests that this sugar is going to melt and turn bad.

    I didn’t quite get Anders in this episode. He was a bit douchey but it was all a bit vague. I felt like they wrote his lines just to put him in the episode. I know that there are episodes where some characters won’t feature too heavily but maybe they could have done this a bit better?

    NEED MOAR STACEY.

    Ingrid ❤ x 1000. FINALLY, Ingrid has the chance to be her cheeky, charming self. I like the idea by another poster that Martin (totes the woodchipper) is the brother of Frigg and is trying to help young Axl towards her. Why doesn't he just come out and say "YO GUYS, MEET MY SISTER"?

    Three episodes to go. Wonder where this will lead!

  • drjuliebug says:

    Slightly OT: I just got mentioned by name on “The Lesser Gods”! (Dancing the happy bug dance!)

    Back to our heroes: I’ve seen speculation elsewhere that some of Yggdrasil’s power may remain in the hands of the goddesses. I hope so. I’ve wanted to see more of Stacey’s super strength and Ingrid’s clairvoyance ever since the first reveal last season. For Stacey and Michele, their Yggdrasil powers had more to do with their human forms than their goddess forms. (Michelle as healer because she’s a physician, although that’s not a Sjofn power: Stacey as gymnast with super strength because she’s athletic, not because she’s Fulla.)

    Ingrid’s a bit different. Yggdrasil was to her what Ritalin is to someone with ADHD. 🙂

  • Pilgrim jake says:

    And here is my (clinging desperately to earlier) prediction…
    That they are led in a chase to find honirs children and are led in a merry chase to the brother – coma rob!
    Clutching at twigs here…

    • drjuliebug says:

      Scary thought about Coma Rob: Rob and Mike were longtime friends, probably near the same age. The bar fight happened soon after Mike turned 21. What if Rob is a god, but is slightly younger than Mike, and his injury occurred before his 21st birthday?

      In the S1 scenes where Val and Rob watch video of their engagement party, they mention Rob’s mother, who died before Rob woke up. No mention of Rob’s father, so maybe he was either deceased or estranged.

      If so, it could explain why Rob (a) wasn’t disfigured or permanently disabled, and (b) woke up speaking old Norse. If neither of his parents was around by then, and Mike had no idea about Rob’s situation, there would have been no one at all around to explain it to him.

  • drjuliebug says:

    I’ve found a lot of online Dawn-is-Frigg speculation, too (dating back to S1, actually.) I don’t really think that’s the case, despite her super-bridesmaid powers, because she’s encountered Axl many times since he turned 21, she’s obviously over 21 herself, and they would have had some reaction to each other if she were Frigg. Nothing between them suggests that they have any affinity, other than her being the girl friend of one of his brothers and the employee of another. Still, she looks a lot like the girl in the photo, and we know that her mother lives alone.

    How about revisiting the Suzie hypothesis? The Saga=Frigg idea does have some legs. She said her parents died in a car accident, but maybe her father was only disabled instead of really being killed. Also, Tom called her “sis” once in the bar, although that may just have been a pet name for a friend. But maybe he really is her brother and they’re the two kids in the old photo.

    This guessing is going to be a distraction for the next three weeks!

  • Pilgrim jake says:

    It’s also with some amusement that I noticed the Ullr entry on Wikipedia now includes a reference to TAJ.

    Am wondering if someone from here did the update. Maybe the American showing will get a whole plethora of passionate skiing fans now….

  • dragonzflame says:

    I still semi-expect Gaia to come back and, in some kind of deus ex machina, get rid of Idun and become Frigg.

    I get what you mean about this Mike storyline – it feels a little to me like they went ‘oh crap, we need to wrap this up’ and so they’ve had to move the story on fast, without much room for showing over telling.

  • Maria says:

    And still no gossip / news of a fourth series yet?

    Intrigued how they shall tie up the last episode.

    • dragonzflame says:

      I’m virtually certain there will be no fourth series. Especially not now that Julie ‘Let’s make it all reality TV’ Christie is on the new MediaWorks board. (For overseas people, the company that owns the channel that TAJ is shown on recently went into receivership, and they’ve had to do a heap of restructuring. This almost undoubtedly means much more reality TV because it seems to be all the New Zealand viewing public will watch. On free-to-air, at least.)

      The ratings just aren’t strong enough here. We were lucky to get series 3, as it is.

      • Pilgrim Jake says:

        The only other question is — does international viewership make any difference to chance of being renewed? If it is a modest success in the US, and 4 other countries are paying — can this tip the balance against mediocre NZ ratings??
        No idea how these things work… Bring on the Kickstarter campaign!

  • drjuliebug says:

    If TV3 doesn’t find another season worth their while, I wonder if international viewership could persuade another network to pick it up, either as a full season or a wrap-up miniseries.

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