The Almighty Johnsons 2.12 "You Call This The Real World?" TV REVIEW
Writer: James Griffin
Director: Murray Keane
THE ONE WHERE Axl and Gaia are on the lamb and end up finding a B&B called Brigadoon; Anders’ new relationship starts to change; Ty’s dream of being with Dawn moves one step closer; and Loki has been up to his usual mischief even while missing form our screens.
VERDICT This episode feels very much like a pause for breath. The plot moves forward plenty – the characters and the various story strands starting to converge for next week’s finale – but there’s a real sense of everything coming together in smooth and natural way. This really is a well-written show, with things we thought inconsequential coming to the fore in interesting ways. Kvasir, Loki, Agnetha’s money, Mike’s bar (and why the door is never locked), Yggdrasil… all are mentioned here and all have new meanings brought to them.
With Axl and Gaia having run away it’s nice to see the two characters getting some time alone together, seeing how much the two of them care about each other and how understanding Axl is of Gaia’s predicament. Nothing is actually resolved here on the Frigg/Papatuanuku front but Gaia returns home more relaxed and willing to accept her fate. Their interactions with the slightly odd B&B owners were fun to watch and gave Gaia and Axl something to do other than be all angsty.
The Kvasir plot and the return is Loki is just brilliant. It looks like Loki has been playing a very long game and several seemingly mundane unrelated plots and occurrences have all had his hand guiding them. It also seems things have been afoot since the first episode of the season and we – and the Johnsons – were none the wiser. Loki is on top form here; having been discovered, he doesn’t try to hide or deflect, he just comes back with sarcasm and insults. We’ve missed him. Where the revelation that he’s been spying on the bar might go is anyone’s guess, but we bet it’ll be entertaining. The look on Mike’s face as Olaf silently takes him round the bar revealing more and more bugging devices is great. Tim Balme plays the mix of growing anger and confusion perfectly, and all with hardly a word spoken.
Anders’ discomfort with Helen’s reckless influences is an odd turn, as he’s usually the care-free and reckless one; it’s nice to see that he does have some morality and some boundaries. Helen does still manage to talk him into using his powers to sack Dawn because she could get in the way. Ty seems to know that Helen’s influence is behind it all, but seems reluctant to interfere. It’s telling that Anders has trouble making eye contact with people at several points during the episode.
Before losing her job Dawn spends half the episode chasing after the very odd Natalie. We know this girl is up to something but the way she’s short and brash with Dawn every time they communicate is a bit off. Surely if you have some ulterior motive, keeping the people it involves on-side would be in your best interests, rather being a bit of a bitch all the time. We’re still not sure what Natalie is up to as little has been given away so far but we expect some big revelation next week.
The Maori invasion of the bar is inconsequential; we just needed to remember they were still around. It gives the opportunity for a few comedy moments from Mike and Olaf, but really could have been handled without the massed sleepover. Once again, George and Mike’s interactions work really well; however the Maori plot is resolved we hope these two get more screen time together in the future.
Another on-going plot concerns Ty, his love of Dawn and his desire to renounce his God powers. This thread has been around since last season and having Ty finally realise his dream is a great moment for the character. He’s always been the most unhappy and uncomfortable of the Johnson brothers and seeing him one step closer to his goal is a punch the air moment. The look on his face as Kvasir reveals what he’ll need to renounce his God aspect and the sly grin at knowing he has everything to hand is played brilliantly by Jared Turner. With the possibility of Dawn heading off to look after her ailing mother, maybe we’ll be saying goodbye to Ty as well as they head off into the sunset together. Or things could go horribly wrong. Yeah, things are probably going to go horribly wrong aren’t they? Now that the God has left Ty, can we expect the Höðr aspect to turn up in someone else in the future?
A great episode in which all the various plots came together brilliantly seamlessly. Even the revelations of things we didn’t know about worked perfectly and now we have the whole picture. Next week is the season finale and, with writing this good, we’re very excited to see how it all pans out. We’re sure it’ll be explosive and very probably throw us a huge curve ball that leaves us begging for more.
BEST GOD Mike’s hunting skills come in handy again this week. Kvasir answers all the questions asked of him and Michele uses her Yggdrasil-powered healing ability to bring Ty back from the dead. Anders uses his sliver tongue to get free food in a restaurant and also to sack Dawn.
OLAF AND HIS COMEDY TALE Olaf’s account of his discovery of Kvasir hiding in the basement, and the way he uncovers Loki’s grand scheme is very funny. It’s a great move to have the least inquisitive and motivated character make such a huge discovery by accident. The comedy created by the differences between how Olaf tells the story and what we see actually happen in the flashbacks is excellently played.
MISSING GOD RETURNS After having been absent from the show since episode six, Loki makes his return. He’s only in one scene but it was a scene worth waiting for.
WHERE’S ZEB? Not much of Zeb this week but you might spot him briefly in the scene in which Gaia convinces the Maori to leave Mike’s bar.
OLAF GETS HIS KIT OFF Axl and Gaia have a sauna which is interrupted by the B&B owner joining them and going commando. Later Axl rides a lawnmower in a thong.
The episode had so many funny moments and conversations that we could have just printed the entire script.
Loki: "Damn, my favourite God on Goddess porn channel off the air. Your little arse bouncing up and down’s a sight for sore eyes. And the things you two do involving the numbers six and nine... SPECIAL!”
Anders: “Aww, Dawn. If getting coffee were an Olympic sport you’d probably finish about fourth, behind a whole bunch of Asians, and do this country proud.
Steven Ellis @Steven Ellis
The Almighty Johnsons airs Mondays at 10pm on SyFy
• Read our other The Almighty Johnsons season 2 reviews