Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Almighty Johnsons Season Two, Episode Eleven: The House of Jerome

In the last episode, Gaia was kidnapped right in front of Axl.  This episode opens with Axl running into the bar and calling for Mike.  Mike, Zeb, Michele and Bryn coming running out and Axl struggles at first to give Mike an accurate description of the kidnappers, but eventually he remembers the license plate and they hop into a van to track Gaia down.

At Anders office, a woman named Natalie comes in searching for him and Dawn says that he won't be back until tomorrow. Natalie leaves her card and Dawn realises that she works for a furniture company which is looking for representation. Dawn sits down and calls Anders, who is in bed with Helen. Anders says that he can come in tomorrow, but Dawn pushes him to get out of bed by stressing that this is a good business opportunity.

The Gods arrive at house and find the front door open and so walk right in. They find Gaia laughing and having tea. Gaia asks them if they want to see how the day can get weirder and invites them back to see Jerome. They meet Jerome, and Gaia introduces everyone by their God names.  Gaia has been kidnapped by the living embodiment of Māori Gods.

Anders walks into his office and when he doesn't immediately see Natalie, he is not impressed.  When Natalie leaves the bathroom a still very drunk Anders tries to charm her, though he cannot remember the first thing about the woman.

Back at the house, Mike wants to know why they have kidnapped one of their Goddesses.  It turns out that there are two prophesies and the Māori believe that Gaia is actually Papatūānuku. They believe Papatūānuku will rise from the earth, meet with her God Māui and they shall all gain their God powers. Axl interjects to assert that Gaia is one of them, but when he asks her to confirm this she responds, "Axl, I have no idea about anything anymore. My whole life has been a lie since the moment Bryn snatched me from my parents."  This causes the Māori to stand up in anger. When Gaia admits that Bryn raised her, George points that Brynn raised her after he killed her mother and her father. Brynn say, "I'm so sorry," before running away and George tells the other Māori not to bother with the chase. 

Everyone decides to have a drink and Axl takes Gaia to the side to suggest that they should go home. They don't get to talk long because they are quickly interrupted by Jerome, who wants to know if Axl is trying to steal Papatūānuku away from the Māui. Axl again asserts that Gaia is not Papatūānuku and is in fact only his flat mate, but Jerome cuts him off and says, "Papatūānuku is nobody's flat mate and she is all powerful."  It turns out that Jerome is only actually a demi-god and this causes Michele to ask, "if Papatūānuku is all powerful, then why is she bothering with a demi god?" Jerome does not directly answer her question and instead gives some pointless bullshit philosophical response, which causes Gaia to run.  When Axl and Jerome attempt to follow Gaia, Michele warns them off.

Mike gets on the phone and leaves a message for Olaf, though he believes that this is pointless.  George enters the room and says that they have liberated Gaia, which Mike denies. Mike says they don't even know if they are real gods and then he goes on to ask what Punga is the God of.  When George challenges Mike about his powers, Mike points out that he found them. George says that Māori Gods are very rare and Mike counters with saying that they found Gaia first.  George gets the last word by saying that they were there first. I like the fact that George pointed out that they are the people who are indigenous not the Norse descendants. They agree to hold a hui to discuss the situation and Mike et al leave.

At a bar, Dawn is lecturing Anders on how straight laced the people he is about to meet are. Anders tell her not too worry and claims to have taken appropriate steps. Natalie arrives and shortly thereafter Helen, who he introduces as his wife. 

When Gaia returns to the flat, Zeb jokes about creating a survivors of kidnapping group and points out that her father is in a bad way. Gaia says that Brynn is not her father and leaves the room.  When Zeb tells Axl that he believes this is cold, Axl responds, "it's a long story Zeb."  

At the bar, Mike and Michele walk in to find Olaf waiting. Mike tells Olaf that they met Māori gods and wants to know if Olaf was aware of their existence. Olaf says no and that he is here now to formulate the rescue plan. Michele points out that they already rescued Gaia. When Olaf says that this is good, Mike tells him that it's not because Gaia is as likely to be their goddess as theirs. Mike is pissed and says, "you are a fucking oracle and are supposed to see things coming, not wave to them as they recede into the distance. Oh bye bye prophecy, sorry I missed ya. You're always late, loaded and generally retarded when it comes to having your shit together. As far as being a family oracle goes, you're crap mate. You're a fucking waste of space and the next time you bugger off surfing when we need you, do us all a favor and don't come back." I don't know about you, but I didn't see that coming at all.  All of the Johnsons while usually irritated with Olaf, have always pretty much tolerated the fact that he is irresponsible. Also of course, I have to mention that the use of the word retarded is absolutely ableist.

Anders is at the restaurant and is attempting to charm Nicole, when she interrupts to ask about his family.   When Anders says the names of the Johnson brothers, Nicole points out that they are good Scandinavian names.  Anders says that their forefathers came for Norway in the 1870's and Nicole asks if they came on the Hofting - which is the ship that the Norse Gods left Norway on. Nicole covers her questions by claiming that she made it her business to read up on New Zealand, especially any links to Norway. Anders admits that his family came on the Hofting and Nicole adds that they were among the first Norwegians in New Zealand.  This should be setting off alarm bells for Anders, but he seems to just be blithely going along. 

Axl approaches Bryn who says, "leave me alone fore I am lower than low." Axl responds by saying, "for a giant, you are seriously pathetic."  When Bryn responds that Gaia hates him, Axl reminds him that he did kill her parents.  Bryn answers, "they weren't parents, they were two scumbags undeserving of the title, keeping a baby like that in squalor and such an evil place" We get a flash to Gaia as a child and Brynn standing in the same room with her, with her dead parents on the ground.  Bryn goes on to add that "it was a professional killing, quick and humane, more humane than those two deserved. It was like ridding the world of a cancer. There's never a good reason to kill, but this is as close as you will ever come" We get a flash back to Brynn carrying an infant Gaia away from a tiny shack which is on fire. Axl interjects to say that he needs to tell Gaia, but Bryn believes that killing someone's parents is a stain that will never rub out and therefore; he and Gaia are done.  Bryn is waiting around for the judgement he will receive tomorrow for killing two gods.

Back at the hotel, Natalie notices that Anders and Helen are not wearing wedding rings and finds this curious. Helen says that she and Anders live such busy lives that they are forever misplacing them.  This time, she says they just forgot to wear them. Natalie excuses herself and Dawn makes a crack about how cold Natalie is. Anders and Helen both leave and ask Dawn to sort out the bill.  Away from everyone else, Natalie is on the phone with someone who asks her if she is sure and she responds, "I am," and then asks for permission to proceed.  The man she is talking with says that he needs to talk to the council.

Olaf has fallen asleep at the bar and when he wakes, he sees Kvasir. When Kvasir disappears into an office Olaf follows him but, he discovers that Kvasir is nowhere to be seen.  Olaf starts feeling the walls and discovers one of them is hollow and sneaks into Kvasir's lair, where a fist fight immediately breaks out between the two.

On the phone with Mike, Anders is not at all pleased that he agreed to hui.  All he can do is complain repeatedly how long the  Māori talk and points out that when they are done talking, this is when the dust up happens. Mike tells Anders that he will be there because they might need his oratory skills, but Anders says, "pass."

In the morning, Axl goes into Gaia's room to find her bed made and her absent.  Zeb volunteers to go in her place but Axl tells him no because he is not Gaia and instead asks Brynn if he is ready.  At the supposed house of Jerome, all of the Gods are gathered and Ingrid says, "I've always had a thing for brown boys, they're quite naughty." The fetishizing doesn't take long to happen does it? Up until this point Gaia was the only character of colour. Ty wonders why Olaf isn't there, but Mike says that it wouldn't help. Axl shows up without Gaia and when the Māori show up, Mike is forced to say that Gaia is missing.

Leon invites them all inside except for Brynn, who is told to wait until they are ready for them. Gaia makes an appearance and starts to sing, but not in English. When Michele attempts to have a seat next to Mike, she is quickly informed she needs to sit behind the men. George thanks the Norse Gods for delivering Papatūānuku to them and promises that henceforth they will be seen as strangers who became friends. Jerome then stands and does the most ridiculous rap about being a God and Leon does the beat box, as George struggles not to shake his head in disgust. Of course the brown people rap  They then sit and indicate that it is time for the Norse to speak.  Axl thanks them for the warm welcome and says one God's Papatūānuku, is another God's Frigg." There is silence and so Michele points out that they need to stand and sing something. Axl, Ty and Mike stand and sing a song appropriately called the Magpie Song.  Then comes the back and forth exchange of bullshit philosophy, I do however think it is important to note that the Māori repeatedly point out that they are indigenous to the area.  I wonder if this is a subtle way to point out the colonization of New Zealand? Given the history of The Almighty Johnsons, I am probably reading too much into this.

The next morning, Anders shows up at the office in a good mood. Dawn points out that they still have not gotten a contract yet and asks if she should call Natalie. Anders says that she will not be available because as they speak, Natalie is hiking with Helen. Dawn in not impressed with Helen spending the day with Natalie, because Natalie is potentially their best client, and she sees Helen as his drug provider and drinking partner. Anders tells Dawn to relax, because Helen is a remarkable woman and capable of charming the pants off of anyone. 

The Gods have taken a small break for refreshments and when George walks by, Ingrid again comments about having sex with him.  It seems that George was right about the fact that women find him irresistible, despite the fact that he is the God of all things ugly. Jerome breaks up the gathering to say that they are ready to start again and suggests that the women get acquainted with the kitchen, because the dishes need to be done.  Stacey, because she is a handmaiden immediately starts to clear up, but Michele stops her asking, "what are you doing?" Michele orders Stacey to stop, and then tells Jerome  that this is not how this is done and that Jerome can do his own dishes.  Before Ingrid leaves, she slips George her phone number.

Axl takes a moment to compliment Gaia on the greeting she gave when the Norse arrived and asks where she learned to do this.  Gaia says that she is not sure and points out that it might be a sign that she is destined to be Papatūānuku.  

Mike and George are talking as the goddesses leave.  Mike asks if Bryn has waited long enough and so George calls him over. 

Anders returns home to discover he no longer lives in a bachelor pad because Helen has make herself at home.  Apparently she rearranged the furniture to make it look more homely in case Natalie drops by.  Helen says that she and Natalie had the best day and that she almost even smiled. Helen even got wedding rings for her an Anders and tells him that she bought him clothes which are on the bed.  Anders finds that Helen even went as far as to rearrange his bedroom. When Helen leaves Anders to change he fiddles with his new wedding ring and is clearly disturbed by the level of domesticity he is now surrounded by.

Bryn testifies about killing Gaia's parents and says that even though he knows he has he lost Gaia forever, he does not regret his actions and does not expect mercy. Axl interjects to say that he killed a Norse God and they aren't looking for any payback, but George counters saying that it is not personal to Axl because it wasn't his mother who was killed. Axl then says that at the end of the day, Bryn did save Gaia from growing in a bad situation and does not believe that killing him is just. Leon is shocked and asks, "do you believe we're savages?"  Bryn's punishment is to supply them with weed and the proceeds are to be used to fund the road to zion for the house of Jerome.  They tell Bryn to leave and George says that they can reconvene tomorrow to discuss a full treaty.  Jerome tells Gaia, "now we can start to focus on our union. The making of sweet, sweet love, as is our destiny," but Gaia is clearly not impressed. He asks her to stay the night and Gaia says that she has to go and get her beauty sleep and leaves with Axl.

The Goddesses gather and Michele makes a toast to standing strong in the face of God chauvinism.  She then asks to show them something and brings out the limb from Yggdrasil that Anders brought back. Michele points out that Anders is not missing it because it is useless to him and that she cured Axl with it. Stacey touches Yggdrasil and it stands straight up in the air without support, and she uses it like a stripper pole. Ingrid touches it next and starts speaking old Norse as her face is flushed with a golden light and says that she knows all of the stories.  Michele tells Stacy and Ingrid that the power fades, but they will find a way to capture it.

Axl is in bed when Gaia asks to come in. Gaia says that the Māori had no idea what to do with Bryn and that Jerome wanted to use him like a house elf. When Axl calls Jerome a dick, Gaia says that Jerome is a good guy with a great heart but she hates the fact that everybody is talking about her and not to her, like she is a thing and not a person.  She is also upset that she is a major goddesses in two different cultures and that she doesn't have a say in any of this. Axl replies that he can relate beause he feels like he was born into a weird game where the rules keep changing.  It seems that most of the time, Axl just wants to forget about being Óðinn.  Axl says that maybe he will run away one day, and Gaia replies that they should just leave right this way and that she wants to go away with Axl her friend, to figure things out.  Axl agrees to go and asks to get dressed first.  The two of them get in the car and just take off without telling anyone.