The Almighty Johnsons 3.01 "An Orchard Of Trees" REVIEW

TV REVIEW Back to New Zealand we go, tra la la la la

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The Almighty Johnsons 3.01 "An Orchard Of Trees" TV REVIEW

Episode 3.01
Writer: James Griffin
Director: Murray Keane

THE ONE WHERE In the aftermath of Gaia’s rebirth as the goddess Iðunn, Axl isn’t very happy and the rest of the family wonder what’ll happen next. Meanwhile, Anders can’t stop thinking about Gaia and Ty attempts to woo a Dawn who has no memory of who he is. Olaf and Ingrid decide an intervention is needed.

VERDICT The above synopsis makes this show sound like a soap-opera; it’s all about relationships. But that’s one of the strengths of The Almighty Johnsons ; mixing the mundane everyday troubles we all have to face with a sense of the epic and the magical.

This episode kicks off with the fallout from season two: Mike and Olaf are out getting rid of poor Helen’s body; Michele and Stacy are getting rid of any evidence that religious assassin Natalie ever existed; and Axl and Gaia are trying not to be awkward with each other. Meanwhile the various other gods and goddesses discuss and ponder the ramifications of Gaia’s unexpected rebirth.

All the on-going plots are given a little time; there’s mention of the magic branch Yggdrasil and what Michele plans to use it for and Ty’s new lack of godliness is causing him problems; he even bakes cupcakes to try to impress her but neither she nor Anders are very impressed. It’s also revealed exactly what Anders whispered to Dawn last season (See BEST LINE) and just when things are starting to go well for Ty, Dawn has a flashback to being locked in his fridge by crazy Eva last year. Ty spent a lot of last season looking like Dexter the serial killer and now that’s exactly what Dawn thinks he is. The guy just never gets a break.

On the whole it’s a great little episode which doesn’t stop to give you breath; we’re back in the Johnson’s crazy world with barely a pause and we slip back into their universe very easily. All the characters are given interesting things to do and there is real tension on show as the ramifications of Gaia’s rebirth sink in.

That Gaia and Axl overcompensate for the revelation of Gaia’s new Iðunn god persona is heartbreaking and we can’t help but think they’re just trying to avoid the obvious and that their relationship is doomed. Olaf and Ingrid’s attempted intervention is great; it’s nice to see the usually scattiest members of the bunch stepping up and showing why they’re the oracles. Having both Gaia and Axl react differently to the intervention is quite telling and again points towards a relationship with serious problems. Anders’ efforts to stay well clear are a nice way to show that even this normally hedonistic, uncaring character has boundaries, but as the episode ends we realise that his attempts to be honourable aren’t going to be enough to avoid godly urges. Just what the fallout from Gaia turning up at his door will be we can’t wait to find out.

The theme of personal choice versus godly destiny is interesting and we wonder if that’s going to be the recurring theme this year. With Axl and Gaia trying to deny their destiny for the sake of being together versus Ty’s abandoning of his godly power to be with Dawn given a lot of room in this episode, this could lead to some interesting drama if given time to breath.

In conclusion we’re glad to see the Almighty Johnsons back. It was touch and go for a while as to whether they’d get a third season and we’re very happy that they did; there’s nothing quite like this little show out there and we’re glad to get another season with these brilliant characters.

BEST GOD There’s a mysteriously conjured tree and Anders tries to use his persuasive power to help Ty with his Dawn problem. But the highlight has to be Mike using his power to win a "guess the number of screws in a jar" game. We heartily approve of Mike using his god powers to pay less at the hardware store.

BEST TROLLY RUN Mike’s trolley dash around the DIY store becomes mad-cap comedy as Michele tires to sabotage his efforts after she said she loved him and he didn’t reply in kind. The result is an abandoned trolley dash as Mike turns the whole thing into an admission of his love for Michele. Awwww.

OLAF GETS HIS KIT OFF Olaf spends the entire episode in his trademark shorts but we are treated to a glimpse of Axl and Zeb’s undies. Calm down ladies.

MISSING BEARD Anders finally gets rid of the beard he was sporting last year. And when someone comments on it he denies ever having a beard at all. We wonder whether Dean O’Gorman was sporting the face fuzz because of his The Hobbit role.

UNEXPECTED TREE Axl, Gaia and Zeb wake up to find an apple tree growing out of their sofa. Everyone assumes Gaia made it but the revelation that it was Axl trying to create his own safe Eden is a nice one.

FRIGGWATCH With the revelation that Gaia is neither Frigg nor Papatuanuku we wonder if the real Frigg will finally appear this year. We’re keeping our eyes peeled.

BEST LINE Any of the Ty/Anders conversations concerning Dawn could have made it into this week’s quote of the week, we decided to go with this on:
Ty: "You told her I was gay."
Anders: "No, your cupcakes did."
Ty: "You whispered to her, I saw you. You told her I was gay. You’ve done it before."
Anders: "No, no, no, I told her that you were hung like a lion"
Ty: "What?"

From the rest of the cast we picked:

Stacy: "You know, for someone who travelled all the way from Norway to slaughter us, she sure travelled light."
Michele: "Maybe that’s how religious fanatics travel."
Stacy: "True. She did have two bibles..."
Michele: "One of which is the Gideon’s Bible, Stacy... They’re in every hotel room."
Stacy: "Really?"

Steven Ellis @Steven Ellis

• Episodes of The Almighty Johnsons season three are airing in the UK on Syfy, Wednesdays, 10pm
• Read our previous reviews of The Almighty Johnsons

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