Chekhov’s Amnesia

September 26, 2013 § 44 Comments

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 9.01.31 AM

The episode got off to a shocking start. Loss of life. Massive property damage. Anders’ poor little fishies. There is nothing nothing the other brothers have done that match up to Mike and Hanna’s little flagrante delicto. Generally the phrase “the earth moved” should not be applied literally. Also, the giant snake jokes wrote themselves.

It was a satisfying development — not just one that mirrored the earthquake in the original pilot, but one that lent gravitas to the reflective moments that followed. As each character struggled to come to grips with the inevitable, we were reminded that the gods were a little bit bigger than just an argumentative family. Their reach extended to the ends of the earth, and their power could move the world.

In this, Ty’s amnesia storyline from the start of this year actually steered around to provide an ending for the series.

Ty: An unfortunate side effect of my losing my godliness is that Dawn has wiped me from her memory banks.
Anders: Oh, that’s genius! And she has no idea who you are?
Ty: To her, I’m your brother she’s vaguely heard about, who turned up on her doorstep for the first time today and made a dick of himself.
Anders: Oh no. This is too good!

Without the gods, we move on from these people and the show. We get to say goodbye to the characters as they begin new, mortal lives.  (Although keeping with good storytelling, Colin’s red stone of glowy bits offers a potential way back in should the opportunity offer itself.)

Dawn and Ty relentlessly worked through the eventuality, ensuring that he would have her to return to. In a series of clever moves, they planned for a re-mortalization through video tapes and naked-baked-baked-goods. (Was this a little Go Girls/Ben tribute by the way?) This led to a perfectly realized reconciliation, full of feels and tears. Loved it.

An all too brief moment with Anders had Colin teasing him about being a clientless PR man without the magic behind the PR. As I remember what happened to Ty’s fridge repair business, I suspect Anders will have some major adjustments to work through — fortunately there’s Dawn there to take charge and get things back on their feet, plus Mike’s casino work on the $200k they’d socked away. I really wish we had had more time with Anders but I know there was a lot of ground to cover in the ep.

The eternal love between Axl & Zeb was challenged and then re-affirmed through pizza and beer. Axl’s story ended up as sort of the anti-bildungsroman, returning as it did to the happy committed Spongebob/Patrick relationship. Gaia (now free from Idun) didn’t even rate a mention, but it was always Zeb that mattered. I’m rather pleased on this front. (And if there ever were a 4th series, those Zebisodes might have come in handy.)

Michelle died and lived again. (“You don’t seem very dead.” “I got better.”)  As others mourned her forthcoming loss, Michelle “love is a bitch — that’s me” never lost her edge. Her line to Anders (“It’s not necrophilia if the corpse has a pulse”) showed she’d never stoop to being a woobie. I thought a particularly nice thing that Odin remembered his promise to her, even when deAxl’ed. Worldwide snark would never recover without Michelle.

Mike and Hannah will presumably start a new life as she deals with the loss of her brother off-screen. That’s a pretty big deal, even with so much else  going on. Good thing Mike made sure to apply some Ullr at the casino and insurance at the bar to ensure the financial woes that plagued him in the past won’t be a problem in the future — assuming the insurance company even remembers he exists, that is.

As Mike, Anders, and Michelle gambled, Olaf, Stacey, and Ingrid caroused, Axl and Zeb gamed, Ty baked, Colin burned. Everyone prepared for the end in their own way. When the gods left, both the characters and we the audience had lost something magical, special, and unique.

Parting is, indeed, sweet sorrow. The Almighty Johnsons’ series finale mixed sadness, hopefulness, and gentle possibility to create a satisfying conclusion for a marvelous show. We will not soon see its like again.

Gonna miss you TAJ.

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§ 44 Responses to Chekhov’s Amnesia

  • richie in california says:

    Thanks so much for this website. I have no idea what can replace that now empty space in my life.

  • kat in uk says:

    sad its ended i though we would see them as gods!

  • richie in california says:

    Here’s an admittedly silly thought that cheered me up to no end.

    Now that they are all mere mortals, looking for what come next … just imagine what would happen if they followed in the steps of the West family (of Outrageous Fortune fame). And, who knows what role(s) Siobhan Marshall would play.

    Happy Again 🙂

  • Ratatosk says:

    I felt very similar last night to how I felt after the last ep. of Outrageous Fortune aired – sad to see the best thing I’ve ever seen on television finishing, but satisfied that the ending was what it should be, and slightly weirded out by who Pascal/Hannah ends up with.

    And in the TAJ world still playing in my head I see Axl winning back Gaia after he’s won over Zeb, and Olaf and Ingrid growing old and battier together, but what I’d really like to see is a one-off feature length special showing what happened to all the other god/goddess/giant/dwarf characters at the time of ascent… I keep imagining Suzie in a pub full of locals wondering who the hell she is…

    A big thanks to the writers, cast and crew for reflecting the NZ I know and love back at me, and for keeping me on the edge of my seat for most of the last half of the season. Can’t wait to see what you do next.

    A big thanks also to KG for giving such insightful critiques and creating a place where I could get my TAJ fix when stuck in a nation of numpties who would rather watch rich people race boats.

    • dragonzflame says:

      Yeah, that was my ‘fridge’ moment. What happened to all the other god vessels at the time of ascent? Did Gaia stop on Tottenham Court Road and glow for a second in front of a street full of mortal Londoners, then go back to work and find nobody knew who she was? What about Derrick and his neighbours? Suzy and the pub regulars? Delphine and the mortal she ran off with? All the other god vessels we never got to meet?

      And what about the Maori Gods? (I would so watch that spin-off!)

      But with all that, what a stunning, beautiful, sublime episode. Dawn and Ty have only grown on me in the last few episodes (the naked cupcake baking was a highlight), and that Dawn video was just magnificent. That montage of everyone watching the sunrise was one of the best few minutes of TV ever, anywhere. It was so good I immediately flicked over to TV3+1 and watched it again, while listening to The Lesser Gods.

      “A big thanks also to KG for giving such insightful critiques and creating a place where I could get my TAJ fix when stuck in a nation of numpties who would rather watch rich people race boats.”

      – I can’t say it better, so I’ve just copied and pasted. (Though I’ll also add “rather watch rich people race boats and talentless idiots ham it up for scripted and rigged ‘reality’ shows”.)

      • richie in california says:

        ditto the Maori Gods spinoff. count me in …

      • drjuliebug says:

        I like to think that Axl immediately phoned Derrick, Suzie, and Gaia with some explanations. And perhaps an open invitation for Gaia to come home!

      • kiwigods says:

        I suspect that Zeb’s cell phone call history would be a bit of a hint, not to mention all the photos around the apartment.

      • Ratatosk says:

        Yes, I loved that montage too and agree about the best few minutes of TV ever… I think the biggest block towards getting NZers to watch was that you kind of needed to be in from the first episode. I ‘made’ several of my friends watch the DVD’s of seasons 1 & 2 because I knew that once they realised what they were missing out on, they’d be hooked – they were.

        As yes to a spinoff about the Maori gods – I miss Kirk Torrance!

  • drjuliebug says:

    I barely managed to hold it together — until the last Zeb/Axl scene, at which point I lost it.

    Perfect ending. I’m sure I’ll have lots more to say later. Just not now.

  • Conrad says:

    Great ending to a great show. Thanks for all the great recaps. I’m curious as to how it will be received in the states. Here’s hoping it’s an enormous success and everyone involved gets the recognition they deserve.

    Oh and there’s only one c in ‘Chekov’.

  • James says:

    I loved the ending. I believe that was probably the best series finale I’ve ever seen. It resolved everything, without feeling to rushed. And it manged to do a Ragnarok (Apocalypse) storyline without an obscene amount of CGI, but instead, keeping to the true nature of the show, had it be character driven and kept as real as a show about Norse gods can be. I loved how Axl didn’t have to end up with Hanna, with whom I never really felt a connection, but is instead free to fall in love and marry whom ever he wishes. And Michelle Langston, WOW! She really knocked the last few episodes out of the park! The entire cast and crew did a tremendous job, not with just this episode, but with the entire series. Take a bow you guys, you deserve it! I’d also like to thank Kiwigods for this blog. I’ve read every review you’ve done for this show and I’ve always respected your opinions. Cheers!

    P.S. Did anyone else noticed Bifrost the rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard and Asgard? It was behind Colin when he said to the Johnsons that he’d like to say it’s been a pleasure knowing them…

  • Freddie AppsHero says:

    I have no idea what I’m going to watch every week now. I agree with everyone that it was a great ending.

    I really wish I knew what Colin’s crystal (ruby?) was about. The only other loose end I can think of is in ep 12, when Hanna says she’s on Michelle’s side regarding not wanting the gods to ascend. Maybe she just said it because Michelle had a knife in her face.

    • James says:

      Or maybe cause she knew her brother (Heimdallr) would die? I don’t know.. Also I think maybe Colin’s stone contained a bit of his god spirit, similar to the “ember” of Hod Ty had left in him. I don’t know, it just sort of looked like a bit of that god-barf was floating in it. :/

      • drjuliebug says:

        Maybe it was because she didn’t want to be pressured into a marriage with Odin. She’d already been through two divorces. I think she knew from the beginning that Axl was Odin, but that her human self had little in common with him.

  • Mr*Nkgnto says:

    So everyone forgets our Godly crew?
    I’ve been wondering if anyone that knew them from before their 21st birthdays and their ascension to ‘Godhood’ can remember them.
    Zeb obviously doesn’t, but he knew Axl from before and INTO his Godhood. Does anyone that knew them before their 21st and hasn’t seen them remember them? Total nerd question but I love this show. Thank you KG for a space to squee about the best show on TV. Love it!! I signed the petition on the Facebook page.
    Go sign it and let’s hope we get a Season 4 and more.
    Bravo Mr Griffin and Co. TAJ for the Win \,,/

    • bluewheke says:

      I was also wondering if any of Stacey’s business clients would remember her…? Presumably not, which could be annoying!

  • PilgrimJake says:

    My heart weeps for Thor.

    He thought he would stop being a goat farmer when the ascension went down….

    • Freddie AppsHero says:

      It did get a little confusing at times; at the start of the ep, Colin told Anders to cheer up because they were about to become gods. But didn’t they already know at this point that they’d be left behind?

      • Hayden Frost says:

        I’m pretty sure Colin is being sarcastic there. The great irony being that they are becoming gods, just not in a way that will ever benefit them.

        Any other possible confusions may stem from the fact that the ep was edited down quite brutally to fit time constraints. If you know how some scenes were originally constructed the editing work is actually pretty damn impressive.

      • kiwigods says:

        At the end of the last ep, Olaf and Ingrid remark they’d gotten things a bit wrong. By the start of this ep, everyone is reacting to the news (which took place off-camera) that the gods were leaving to Asgard without the mortals.

    • kiwigods says:

      Plus, his daughter and her husband and child are all mortals…

  • Oh the tears!

    I really liked the warmth that was felt throughout this episode as the characters battled with the concept that they would seen be god-less and forgotten. I enjoyed the Mike-Michelle-Anders scenes, especially the part where Anders forgoes a chance to Bragi one last time in favour of spending time with his brother and his friend. I loved the Dawn video, I was stoked with the Zeb/Axl moments.. so much goodness.

    If this is really the end, which I imagine it is, they’ve done a good job of finishing gracefully and not leaving too many crazy plotholes. I didn’t consider that Olaf would start to age until he mentioned it – devo 😦

    I am curious as to what Colin threw to the ground. It was a small but significant action that will lead nicely to a fourth season, gods be willing.

    Overall, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this season and I’ve loved coming to KG to read the review and the comments. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Maria says:

    I’m at peace with it. The best ending to a TV show I’ve ever seen. (Okay, the hint of a possible return if allowed with Loki’s red rock shiny bit.) But in a way, to have such an ending stands out to highlight the talents of the cast, the crew, the brilliant writers – and if they accept the inevitable, so shall I.

    Brilliant show. Shall stand the test of time, even if for the moment it never had the rating numbers to reflect it. I think of all the films that were ignored when they came out, considered flops – and fifty years later are top classics.

    At least we knew the worth to The Almighty Johnsons when it first aired. And I shall hold it in my heart with a smile. Mr. Griffin – I am in awe.

    And for this blog – a big THANK YOU! I shall miss it.

    Cheers to the cast, writers, crew, and all those involved. Thank you!

  • Susannah says:

    I am really happy with this. On the one hand, I think this is the first drama series I’ve watched in years that’s had a happy ending, but that’s just making it feel a little odd to me and is in no way a bad thing – I actually like happy endings, it’s just that I also like watching painful stuff happen beforehand. And normally shows that have painful stuff happening tend to end in at least semi-painful ways too. This was just… sweet, and rather life-affirming. I particularly loved Axl’s version of dealing with the fallout, where he didn’t force the issue and make sure that Zeb would remember him, he just had confidence that their friendship was strong enough it would grow back. That’s kind of why Axl has always been the heart of the show (even when I’ve found other characters more interesting) and I’m glad it came back to that.

    In other news, yes Michelle Langstone is amazing and did so much with all her scenes in the last run of episodes. Her pathetic foetusness in Mike’s apartment was just endearing and heartbreaking. And then the Mike/Michelle/Anders trio was just brilliant and made me wish for better relations between all three of them earlier on in the show, because of course all the cynical snarky people make great entertainment together.

    The only note that felt slightly strained in all the happiness at the end was the Mike/Hanna thing – particularly with Mike emotional about Michelle (oh gods I just remembered Michelle asking Mike if he killed her, ugh that was so good) – but I can forgive it because it basically served the plot point of Mike and Axl being all okay again, which is how things should be. The rock paper scissors was a lovely moment.

    Ah, I don’t know, I felt like all the happiness was a bit too much in the moment as I watched it, but as I get further away from it (a whole half an hour or so now) I am more and more at peace with it as a very satisfying ending to a very enjoyable three seasons of tv. I am so, so glad that it seems like they took a lesson from the near-cancellation last year – that would have been a horrible place to leave our characters forever. This is much, much better.

  • richie in california says:

    Episodes of Zeb’s “God Among Us” are on YouTube.

    Gods Among Us – episode 4 = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilV-5j01CF0

    Gods Among Us – episode 5 = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TzfhZq6IMU

    Featuring Ben Barrington and the brothers… Part 6 has not yet been posted, as far as I can tell. I think of this as a good way to deal with Post TAJ Depression.

  • drjuliebug says:

    KG, are you still planning a wrap-up with James Griffin in the near future? I’d love to post some questions for him. (And, of course, for Hayden and anyone else from the show who drops by this blog!)

    Thanks ever so much for all of your work on this blog, of course! Will it remain up for the time being? Given that the show is still in progress in the UK and hasn’t started yet in the US, your reviews would be terrific catch-up resources for people who miss an episode.

    Looking forward to more great New Zealand TV in the future, too!

  • Pilgrim Jake says:

    Time for the q & a thread

  • drjuliebug says:

    Sorta-fridge moment: When Anders complains that Bragi is going to be the weedy little weakling who gets bullied in Asgard, maybe we’re actually getting insight into Anders’ life as a little boy. I can picture him as the shortest and least athletic kid in the class, the butt of jokes and pranks from other boys, getting no attention from the popular girls — and cultivating his trademark snark in self-defense.

    Because — Bragi isn’t at all a wimp. He’s not a warrior, but he’s the rock star of the gods. Or, perhaps more accurately, a combination of rock star and toastmaster. Of all the gods, he’d probably be the most fun at parties!

    • richie in california says:

      so, i’m just being silly again — another spinoff series could be
      The Almighty Johnsons meets In Treatment (the HBO series starring Gabriel Byrne), dealing with the issues of no longer being gods … I did say this was a silly idea …

  • Pilgrim jake says:

    A few things from the app.
    There are quite a few more scenes with tigilaou around the immanence of ragnarok.
    Also an interview with James that strongly hints at where a season 4 might head.

  • CarpeJugulum says:

    Just want to say thanks so much for the blog. Only discovered it for this season but you kept me giggling through. 🙂

  • TezaHud says:

    I’d also like to say my thanks for this blog. I’ve read it from the beginning and so often I would have questions and thoughts about the show only to come here and discover you and your readers with the same ideas.
    By the way, have you seen Zeb’s YouTube series yet? It’s pretty funny. Fills the hole a bit… http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkxwnMK6SG070TrR1mcChkw/feed

  • just another mortal says:

    *wipes away tear*

    Having been daft enough to pick this weekend of all weekends to go away, I’ve only just caught up with the finale. Oh gosh. It was sweet and powerful and lovely and moving and a fitting end to a story which was sort of about gods but really about brothers and friends and family, and human failings – I’m going to miss these guys. That Zeb/Axl moment at the end…. *sobs*

    I have to echo everyone else’s comments kg – thanks for the smart, insightful, brilliant posts and the great place to hang out and talk about the show. And thank you for being the person who introduced me to the Johnsons in the first place. You gave me the gift of Anders, so I owe you big 🙂

  • bluewheke says:

    Thanks so much for this blog – I’ve been enjoying it over the course of this series. I’ve only just caught up on the final ep as I was away last week. Was interested to see your comments about Mike/Ullr’s final fling at the casino ensuring that the Johnsons would be OK financially. But we see Michelle gambling (and losing) and I am sure that afterwards, Anders says to Mike “did you have to let her lose all of it?” (Mike replies “she was having fun”). Did anyone else get that?

  • dresdenfalls says:

    It’s ready made to spin off in multiple ways if they don’t get another season, Maori gods, – as already mentioned. What about an Italian American (Mafia style) Series about the Roman gods, A Greek show about the Greek gods. Having a connection to Almighty Johnsons is easy, Gaia is in London. Here’s Hoping there is a plan….

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