Saturday, July 20, 2013

Almighty Johnsons, Season 1, Episode 3: Bergerbar

Zeb is interviewing a new flatmate now Gaia is gone (noooooooooooo Gaia, come back – no-one blames you for sleeping with Anders, Dean O’Gorman is just too irresistible, all reasonable people understand that!) the mess of the apartment is a barrier, her playing the accordion can be worked round – Axl coming out of his room naked? A definite deal breaker.

Poor Zeb is finding it very hard to fill that room with Axl’s depression/angst/active sabotage (and lack of clothes and personal hygiene). And poor Mike who is, of course, expected to bail him out. I’m not quite sure taking him to play pool is the best solution for Mike (since he always wins) but gives him a chance to talk to Axel – and Axel to be moody, bad tempered and in no mood to listen. Emo Odin is in the building.

Mike goes to Olaf for advice (oh gods no!) and Olaf says he’ll handle it (NOOOOOOO! In what universe is this a good idea?!).

Olaf’s method of handling Axl involves getting him very very high indeed so he became “one with nature” (as opposed to “upholstered” which means “one with the couch” which was Olaf’s lesson for a younger Mike) and pretty unable to communicate. Or stay on a sofa. Or do anything except giggle helplessly.

A sober Axl goes to see Mike to ask everyone to stop helping and finally talk about his depression. Loving Gaia and investing in her as Frigg. Which failed. Then loving Gaia despite the gods which also failed. And now being without Gaia, unable to cover his own rent and nothing special – and being Odin makes it worse because he’s got a big duty and all this apparent power that he can’t even touch, making him feel more a failure. And to add salt to the wound, the one thing he could be proud of – his family – betrayed him, with Anders sleeping with Gaia. And he’s failing his course for non-attendance.

All in all… ouch.

Ty isn’t finding things easy either – humans not remembering him also affects an old customer who doesn’t give him the same goodwill he’d had. Also, Hodr, lord of all things dark and cold, had a distinct advantage when it came to repairing fridges. He goes home and… sells his house. Quickly – even when his estate agent says he could get more for it. Ingrid, helping him pack, who apparently lives with him at the moment (I missed that – also this may be the first scene where Ingrid is not drinking, about to drink or actually drunk) questions him giving in both his career and his house in the same day (also where will she stay); but Ty wants to restart his life. Stacey suggests working for her but he’s contemptuous of being a cycle courier – which she shoots down, having no time for such snobbery.

And we have a visit from Colin, yes Loki. Oh shit, everything goes to hell when Loki shows up (as it should). He’s pissed that Ty is selling the house since he gave it to his daughter (Hel) after she married Ty and before she died – except, as Ty points out, she left it to him in her will, which cleared probate and not once did Colin try to stop it or challenge it. Colin is determined that Ty won’t sell the house because… because he’s Loki, he doesn’t need a reason!

Ty goes house shopping and finds a perfect one (Ingrid likes it because it has a second bedroom, Stacey says Dawn will love it – though Ty insists it’s not about Dawn, honest). Ty is ignoring Colin but Stacey is the sensible one – Loki is never irrelevant.

Mike goes to see Anders to try and get him to apologise to Axl and Anders reiterates that he didn’t want to have sex with Gaia. He was magically and divinely compelled and he even feels violated and a victim, also, Axl killed him – though he says it in unfortunate Anders style. Mike thinks Axl is becoming outright suicidal and tries to shame Anders but he refuses to apologise for something he had no control over.

At home, Michele advises Mike to stop being Axl’s father, let him fail, learn and grow from it; she says Mike is mollycoddling Axl.

Right, time to lighten the mood and traumatise us all with Colin’s dancing. Oh dear gods, that’s awful. Yes to loud music and, of course, in Ty’s house. And he’s realised that said house is not ensured – because that was something else Eva (Hel) and Ty relied on Colin to do. And Colin can create fire. And even worse, Ty doesn’t even have his Hodr powers to put out the flames. Ty runs to save Ingrid and get out.

They arrive at Mike’s house – Ty’s has been destroyed and Colin escaped before anyone saw him. To add – the fire spread to a neighbour who will be holding Ty liable, so any money Ty gets from the land will be lost as well. Michele, never Colin’s biggest fan, again suggests killing him, but Ty asks them both to leave it, he doesn’t want to start a war (Michele suggests Colin already has – which is a fair point). Mike feels the need to call and threaten Colin, not achieving a whole lot of anything.

Of course, Axl and Zeb have a spare room – ideal for Ty and Ingrid. (Zeb wonders about rent, Mike talks about good Samaritans, Zeb is confused by Christian parables being spouted by Norse gods. Heh). Oh and Ingrid and Ty will have to share a bed (fine by Ingrid – but then, everything’s fine by Ingrid). Moving on the fixing things, Mike drags Axl to see his college supervisor to convince them to make an exception for him. Mike has no good excuses – but it’s ok, Axl has already graduated! Why? Anders got there first and he is a lot more persuasive than, well, everyone. Of course Anders being Anders, his excuse is that Axl was “helping his sister Michaela transition to Michael.” Really Almighty Johnsons? No inclusion but you throw in trans jokes? I wish I were surprised but I don’t expect better.

Mike tries to use the news to cheer Axl off, but Axl is more focused on Anders being a prat and just doesn’t care if he passes or not. In face of Axl’s depression, Mike decides they need a Bergerbar. Which is a Norse thing involving brothers getting together

Where Ty and Ingrid go, Stacy and Olaf soon follow and Olaf and Ingrid try to brighten up (while I’m sure I’d happily strangle her in person, I do like how bright and cheerful Ingrid is, nothing ever brings her down) Ty over losing everything in the fire – since he has a chance with a clean slate. And Ty takes Stacy up on her offer of a job as a bike courier. Which means he meets Lance, fellow bike courier and general odd person as well as continuing Almighty Johnson’s love of having tall people stand next to Ty (he’s not that short, honest)

Mike calls round all the brothers (apparently the penalty for saying “no” is to have Mike steal your stuff), Ty is touched to be included even though he’s human and Olaf is sad that he isn’t because he’s not a brother, he’s a grandfather and doesn’t count. And Ingrid is very encouraging and happy Axl is going and even made a man-merkin for him to wear. A merkin, for those blessed not to know, is a pubic hair wig. And she’s made him one because bergerbars traditionally happen in icy cold places and ball warmers were a good idea; though why she made it for a meal in New Zealand is faintly bemusing but it’s Ingrid, she means well.

To the restaurant and another rule of the bergerbar is that all grievances are left at the door. And lots and lots of booze is consumed. Lots of talking and they seem to be getting on and laughing (though not Axl) and playing drunken pub games, throwing tortilla chips into a tiny sombrero (tequila is involved – free tequila every time they get a chip in. And yes they use Mike’s magic for free booze) and since Anders apparently has sex in the bathroom with a woman eyeing him up all evening, the other three pin him down and pour an ice bucket down his trousers. And Axl forgives him (while also saying that he’s an arsehole). With that they call it a night – probably because tackling and ice-bucketing caused some consternation among their fellow diners. And the bill is astronomical.

And Axl, thoroughly plastered, strips down to his Merkin, stands on top of a high place and addresses passers by as god – one of many, pouring out his woes to the night; he teeters on the edge and is encouraged by a crowd of drunken fools who don’t realise it’s a genuine suicide attempt. Mike tries to get Anders to Bragi-power them, but he protests it only works at one person at a time. But when he tries, it works and, if anything, is supercharged. He’s not persuasive, he has outright complete control over the crowd.

While Anders has the crowd, Ty has climbed up to Axl and tries to talk him down while Axl does an amazingly goof job of portraying extreme drunken grief.

The next day, Ty rides around on his bike, and returns to being super-creepy with Dawn offering her his direct number in case she has a super-urgent delivery. Stalking is not romantic! Stop! And Dawn is dating fellow bike courier, Lance

Mike wakes the hung over Axl and growls at him never to pull a stunt like that again. And he has a job – helping Mike with his renovations since he’s now a qualified builder – and Mike is paying his rent anyway.

He goes to work and things seems good – until Mike briefly leaves him alone and Axl puts the nailgun to his head and holds it there – before going back to his building

Ok, Anders has a way of expressing things that makes you want to hit him repeatedly. But removing the Anders-esque from what he said he also had a point; not that an apology wouldn’t be a bad thing, but he was a victim. One thing that was expressly clear was that neither Anders like each other or even find each other attractive. In fact, they actively dislike each other. It was divine power that forced them into bed together – that really does make Anders a victim.

I want to know how much time has passed since Gaia left, because it’s not defined; after all Axl being depressed pretty soon after his fiancée breaking up the engagement and leaving the country? That’s pretty reasonable and may need time to grieve rather than Mike deciding he needs to move on.

Ty’s desperate stalking of Dawn is rapidly destroying the sympathy I have for him.

I want to know what’s happening with Ander’s new super power – why have his powers escalated? Has he always been able to control crowds but never tried because he thought he couldn’t? Even the nature of his control seems greater – direct control not deep persuasion.

One thing that continues to sell Almighty Johnsons is the acting, both the light hearted and the deeply sad – it really does carry the show.