The Almighty Johnsons 2.09 "Everything Starts With Gaia" REVIEW

TV REVIEW Hunters and Dwarves and Giants, oh, my...

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The Almighty Johnsons 2.09 "Everything Starts With Gaia" TV REVIEW

Episode 2.09
Writers: Tiffany Zehnal, James Griffin
Director: Charlie Haskell

THE ONE WHERE Gaia is acting strangely. Revelations come thick and fast. Dwarves, giants and a mythical hunter complicate matters. Axl might finally have found his Frigg. Ty hits the pubs with Anders and bumps into an old flame.

VERDICT After a steady drip, drip of arc stuff over the season so far, and some mostly stand-alone episodes, things go into overdrive this week with lots of revelations and backstory.

While some of the revelations seem a little bit too convenient, the episode still manages to take you along for the ride; having the more outlandish revelations being handed over with a large dose of humour helps matters.

We kind of always suspected Gaia was either going to be a big stumbling block between Axl and Frigg or turn out to be Frigg herself, so it was no real surprise to find out she’s a potential Goddess and a potential host for Axl’s mythical beloved. The tale of her past has not been fully fleshed-out yet but what we’ve had so far is intriguing. It’s to the writers’ and the actors’ credit that none of this feels forced or unbelievable. We can’t remember such an information and backstory-heavy episode in any show ever feeling this natural. The five player scenes in the café, where most of the revelations are made, are a sheer joy to watch. The scenes of Michele, Stacy and Ingrid throwing an impromptu “Welcome Goddess” party for Gaia, without actually telling her that’s what they’re doing, is excellently played too.

The revelation of Bryn, Gaia’s dad, being a giant and Jacob, Gaia’s ex, being a dwarf, is brilliantly handled in Olaf’s stand-out scene of the episode. Add to that the fact that being a short giant and a very tall dwarf make then both just look like normal humans and you have a joke that just keeps on giving throughout the episode.

That both Bryn and Jacob were sent to kill Gaia to stop her ever meeting Odin and both ended up falling in love with her and deciding to protect her instead is a bit of a stretch. One is easy to swallow, but both of them? The backstory does explain about Bryn’s over protectiveness and the general weirdness that Gaia has always spoken of concerning her island home though, so that at least makes sense.

Oliver Driver’s Eggther, who is some sort of giant god hunter or watcher of dwarves and giants, is another stand-out comedy role this week. We want to know if that’s his real accent or not. His scene with Zeb in the Smart Car is especially funny.

Elsewhere, Anders is still unhappy with everything that happened while he was away and especially mad with Mike. His and Ty’s pub crawl is amusing and couldn’t come at a worse time considering what the rest of the Johnsons are dealing with. Having them bump – more than bump in Anders case – into Helen, who is the incarnation of Lounn (Anders’ mythical preordained love) looks to throw a spanner in the works for future episodes. Ty had a brief relationship with Helen back in season one but when he discovered that she was destined to cause Anders nothing but grief they severed ties. It looks like his sacrifice might have been in vain.

Overall this is another strong episode for the show. The revelation of Gaia as the possible Frigg was always going to be a bit of a dilemma but it’s handled well; as we said earlier, it’s always been pretty obvious that she would be instrumental in the story and making her The Frigg is both expected and a little disappointing, so taking that course could a risky one. Surely it’s got to all go horribly wrong somewhere down the line? Watching the various gods and goddess come together to deal with all the drama which unfolds in this episode was a real treat; we don’t get to see them all together that often and it’s always great to see.

The episode ends on something of a cliff-hanger with many things only half-explained and other plots yet to be completely resolved. Is Gaia definitely The Frigg or just a potential host? Who wants Gaia dead? Were Jacob, Bryn and Eggther all sent by the same people? Who were her parents? Given her reaction to Axl and Bryn, will Gaia actually even believe everything she’s being told about Gods and her destiny? We can’t wait to tune in next week and get some answers. The thought of Thor turning up to kick some Eggther arse isn’t something we’re going to miss either.

BEST GOD Olaf’s nose is on top form this week, smelling out dwarves and giants and generally being all Oracle like. Apparently giants smell like pie and dwarfs smell like fear. Eggther smells of offal.

WHAT YOU TOLKIEN ABOUT? After being thrown out of the bar by Olaf, Jacob the dwarf makes a comment about “tossing the dwarf” being so stereotypical these days.

OLAF GETS HIS KIT OFF There’s a quick peek at Mike’s bum when Axl and Gaia interrupt his and Michele’s sexy fun time. Apart from that there’s no flesh on show at all this week, although we could have done with less of Emmett Skilton’s gyrating boxer shorts.

FRIGGWATCH FRIGG!! As mentioned in the verdict section; this episode is all about the revelation of Gaia as the possible Frigg and her backstory. Friggtastic!

MISSING GOD Still no Loki this week. However Thor makes a brief but welcome return. And we can expect more of him next week.

Olaf: "What’s up with the giant and the dwarf in the bar?"
Axl: "Is that the start of a joke?"
Olaf: "Often it is. But right now it’s because there’s a dwarf and a giant in the bar."
Mike: "Are you stoned Olaf?"
Olaf: "My drug status has nothing to do with this Mike. There’s a giant and a dwarf in your bar."

Or maybe:

Mike: "What have you got to do with this anyway, friend of Snow White?"
Jacob: "Awwwh. That is such an offensive term to us dwarves."

Steven Ellis @Steven Ellis

The Almighty Johnsons airs Mondays at 10pm on SyFy

• Read our other The Almighty Johnsons season 2 reviews

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