The Almighty Johnsons 3.03 "Bergerbar" TV REVIEW
Writer: Tim Blame
Director: Geoffrey Cawthorn
THE ONE WHERE Axl is having trouble getting over Gaia’s departure and his moods are causing Zeb considerable trouble getting a new flatmate. Axl is also failing college and wants nothing to do with Anders; problems which Mike wants to help fix. Olaf reckons he can help by just getting Axl stoned, resulting in Mike calling all the brothers together to clear the air. Elsewhere Colin/Loki returns and isn’t happy about Ty’s plan to sell his house because Loki bought the house for his daughter Eva and doesn’t care that she left it to Ty in her will.
VERDICT This episode serves to tie up the various plotlines of recent episodes and draws a line under the fallout from last season and the repercussions of the start of this season.
It’s understandable for Axl to be affected by losing Gaia and taking an episode to deal with the fallout of her departure is good, but we are glad that by episode’s end we, and the characters, are able to move forward.
Using thoughts of suicide to show just how hurt Axl feels is well handled. The first attempt on the rooftop is seen and depicted as little more than a silly, drunken, spur of the moment decision and is handled with the Johnson’s usual comedy and irreverence. If you were worried that this trivialised the depths of his despair, then the slower, more thoughtful second suicide attempt scene more than balances things out.
As we see Axl hold the nail gun to his temple and contemplate killing himself, Emmett Skilton manages to show the conflicting thoughts Axl is having perfectly without a single word. We know the character isn’t really going to kill himself, but for a few second there Skilton really made us understand that the character is in pain and seriously thinking about it.
Elsewhere in the episode Ty seems to have lost his abilities to fix fridges when he loses his ice-controlling god power. Ty also tries to sell his house which brings back the character Loki/Colin which ends very badly. Add to this the fact that he gets a job at Stacy’s cycle courier business where we meet new character Lance who, it turns out, is dating Dawn and it’s bad news all round for Ty. Honestly, the guy just can’t ever get a break. The show’s makers must like to see Jared Turner do his “hurt little puppy dog” face as often as possible.
It’s great to see Colin/Loki back on the show because we just love the character. Sure, he’s no Tom Hiddleston, but he does bring a gleeful level of chaos to proceedings and is played brilliantly by Shane Cortese. The scenes of him merrily dancing as Ty’s house burns down around him brought a big smile to our faces. Just what Mike’s warning off will do we don’t know, but we doubt it’ll stop Colin for very long.
The rest of the episode deals with Mike and his efforts to mend bridges and clear the air; Mike wants Anders to apologise to Axl and Ander’s flat refuses. Anders does try to help out in his own unique way, but that just ends up causing more problems. Olaf thinks getting Axl stoned will solve everything and Mike just gets more and more exasperated. We do love to see Mike always trying to keep this madcap bunch together; he seems to spend all his time slightly angry at every member of his crazy family and it’s a joy to see the character constantly wound up.
Eventually everything looks like it’s sorted and, as we said at the start of the review, the episode leaves us with a clean slate and opens up the show for new and interesting things for the rest of season three. As ever this episode of The Almighty Johnsons is full of great character moments for much of the main and supporting cast, has great comedy moments and some excellent drama. We really could rave about this show all day long and we’re looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen next. Maybe we’ll even find Frigg.
BEST GOD No 1 Loki’s return is as brilliant as you’d expect. His threat to burn down Ty’s house and his subsequent dancing around while doing just that grabs him a “god of the week” nod this week. We’re just really glad to see the character back and causing mayhem.
BEST GOD No 2 Mike uses his game-winning skills to repeatedly throw a nacho into a very small sombrero. Each successful throw wins the brothers a bottle of tequila. We like the gods using their powers for mundane things like this because, let’s face it, we all would wouldn’t we...
BEST GOD No 3 While Axl stands semi-naked atop a building contemplating suicide Anders uses the voice of Braggi to shut up a gang of rowdy onlookers. He finds that his power works on the whole crowd and ends up making them all do foolish “hands on your heads”/“hop on one leg”-type antics while completely ignoring the plight of his brother. Anders is always great for doing exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time and this just typifies the character.
OLAF GETS HIS KIT OFF Olaf sports his regular short shorts this week but Axl is seen sans clothes several times. First he’s wandering round naked while Zeb tries to show a prospective new flatmate around. Later he’s seen interviewing another possible flatmate while wearing just y-fronts. Finally he’s seen standing atop a building wearing nothing but his underpants and the merkin Ingrid makes for him.
BERGERBAR The episode’s title comes from a traditional meeting of brothers which is meant to clear the air. For the Johnsons boys it involves going out and eating and drinking as much as they can until they’re too pissed to be angry with each other anymore. It’s a great opportunity for some comedy and to get all the Johnson boys together for a little fun and, after some serious fallings out, it’s nice to see them not at each other throats for once. Let’s hope it lasts.
GIFT OF THE WEEK You all know what a merkin is right? Ingrid makes Axl a merkin to wear at the Bergerbar. Apparently tradition dictated that Bergerbars took place high in the mountains and a warm groin was a good thing to have. Who knew?
Zeb: "Axl... Dude... You’re tenting... Without any canvas..."
Olaf: "Life’s like... a cardboard box."
Olaf: "It has sides. It has a bottom that can fall out and a lid. You can’t put anything in unless you open that lid. Axl’s bottom has fallen out. I can open his lid."
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