Saturday, August 10, 2013

Almighty Johnsons Season 3, Episode 6: And Then On To Norsewood

Axl is still on a road trip with his dad when Mike calls to check in – and Zeb speaks to him, much much angrier, about Axl leaving and not knowing when he’s coming back and driving off Amelia. Axl makes the very good point that Amelia did actually stab him. Zeb makes excuses for her and demands Axl come back or he’ll sell his stuff for rent – to which Axl declares he may not return at all. Which worries Mike, as well.

Axl then jumps down a hill in a giant plastic ball and Mike is left to pay Axl’s portion of the rent to Zeb, again. Poor Mike. Poor Zeb (who is also being traumatised by Ingrid).

Karen asks Mike when Axl and Joe are returning and Mike tells her he doesn’t know – and that he doesn’t intend to go hunting for them using Ullr powers. Karen reveals that her father was the previous incarnation of Ullr, something Michele doesn’t know because Karen’s father committed suicide. She cryptically warns Mike not to go down the “Odin road” and then clams up because Michele walks in; ready to mock Karen for expecting Joe to come back.

Joe and Axl are having a great time with lots of outdoorsy activities which I’m sure are so very very fun if you’re odd and like hurtling down a river in an overblown plastic bag. But Axl begins to think about going home; but Joe keeps stalling and distracting him. Leading to Joe deciding to take Axl fishing.

After a long delay while Joe gets fishing equipment (and, for a moment, I thought he’d abandoned Axl). He has managed to find a boat – which surprises Axl because he expected to be fishing off a pier. But by boat, Joe means crewing a fishing vessel; he’s got them a job crewing a Korean long-liner. And it’s going to Korea. Joe did not quite get the point of a father and son fishing trip. Joe talks about Odin and Njord going to see – his dream; but not Axl’s. Joe says Axl doesn’t have any dreams – he said, and Axl lays down exactly what he wants. He wants to go, with his father, to where he grew up and he wants to know why Joe abandoned them – then he can figure out who he, Axl, actually is.

Joe turns and leaves – mocking Axl for not wanting to go on his “huge opportunity”, doubting whether he’s really Odin and demeaning his “nice little life.” Oh, and Joe has also given away the car they were driving (Olaf’s car) to bribe their way on board. Nice man. This is where Sleipnir would come in handy.

Michele tells Mike, again, how she’s ready to kill her mother if they don’t move out soon. Which drives Mike to work more on the bar to make it livable and wishing he could afford to hire a larger team – which grandfather Olaf skewers as silly because, as Ullr, Mike is quite capable of rustling up more money. Mike pulls the “I’m living my life on my own terms” card and Olaf reminds him that Mike is Ullr, Ullr is Mike and denying his godly skills is just denying himself. Mike uses his excuse of being blacklisted at the casino – Olaf suggests disguising himself as an “old Asian lady” or, y’know using the god-of-the-hunt power to track down another source of gambling (like the net? Internet gambling, Mike! It’s convenient!)

Unfortunately, Mike doesn’t have access to the net it seems, and he takes Olaf to a shady underground gambling place (Olaf acting as his intimidating bodyguard) which I’m sure will end up with him getting his legs broken. Which Olaf warns him about as Mike starts racking up his winnings and that he can actually leave a card game. Which is when Axl rings to tell Mike to pass on to Karen that Joe isn’t coming back, that their father is, indeed, an arsehole and that Olaf’s car is missing. Axl also has a temper tantrum, decides he wants no help at all from the family (who he has decided are all his enemies) and dramatically throws his phone away – before realising what he’s done and scrabbling after it.

Mike returns to the card game while Axl rants and rages until someone asks if he wants a lift –the same man who was watching them last episode. The man, Martin, offers to take Axl to Norsewood – but it’s fairly clear he’d be willing to take Axl anywhere. He creepily suggests Axl sleep while he drives…

The goddesses also meet with Michele working out her frustrations, briefly putting down Stacey for being Fulla and not taking the whole “oppression of the gods” seriously (to which Ingrid responds that Sjofn is the goddess most in need of constant male god attention – and she should know, goddess of wisdom and all that). Then they get to the main topic – Stacey does work for one of the godkillers (he’s a printer, they always need couriers) who is obsessing about Michele. Because Anders used his mojo, the man doesn’t remember trying to kill gods but Anders, being Anders, also made a silly comment about them worshipping Michele. Which was backed by Bargi power AND Michele using Yggdrasil to heal his arm (after breaking it). Yes, Anders accidentally gave Michele a cult.

She meets with the man (Ingrid along because, well, anything for a laugh) and he promptly averts his eyes and falls to his knees. After much genuflecting he reveals that his sister is 26 and has such severe arthritis that she uses a wheelchair and is in constant pain. He asks Michele to heal her. Michele refuses, walking away – not willing to be a sideshow act and “life sucks, blame your god.” Which, considering he was using that all powerful god as an excuse to try to murder her, I can’t say I entirely blame her.

Ingrid, being more compassionate – and wise – rushes after her. She asks why Yggdrasil gave Sjofn the power to heal – but also raises the possibility that the Norse gods lost so much of their power because people stopped believing in them. And this man believes in her as will his sister. She can form her own cult and it may give them the power they seek – a power the male gods don’t have.

Zeb returns to the flat and finds lots of silk, music and Ingrid in a low cut blouse and assumes Ingrid is offering sex for rent; the very idea makes Ingrid faintly nauseous. And she and Michele chuck Zeb out – while he protests that none of them are paying him rent. The whole setting is so they can create impressive ritual to increase mortal belief and help a religion grow.

The godhunter arrives with his sister, Kay (and Ingrid does take money off them, unbeknownst to Michele) and Michele ruins all of Ingrid’s ritual by being so very practical and brusque. Having held Yggdrasil in the bedroom, Michele touches Kay’s joints and light glows around her hands. It’s quick, simple, anti-climactic – and at the end Kay can walk without pain. Much hugging follows – though Michele backs off and tells the “Jesus-freaks” to whooa.

Mike continues to push his luck in the gambling den, winning way too much from clearly impatient, angry men. After he wins a lot of money off someone who stabs eyeballs, Olaf drags him out, punching him when Mike objects. As Olaf says, it would help if Mike didn’t turn into a complete wanker when he was in his Ullr zone. Olaf takes Mike back to his bar/house and lectures him on that point – winning and making money he agrees with, but Mike is smug in victory and doesn’t know when to stop.

Mike is confident he can control it, much to Olaf’s doubt. Olaf asks about his morality – but Mike is sick of everyone relying on him – Michele pushing him about the house, constant demands for money, constantly picking up after Axl. He’s tired – and if he can make it easier without hurting anyone, he’s going to do it

At Ander’s office, Anders has hired a load of interns to help with his campaign to make Colin mayor. Female interns. Young female interns. Young female interns who are all models. Dawn isn’t impressed and, shockingly, Colin actually backs Dawn. Of course he also takes the models to his “very large yatch” (literally, not a euphemism) and Dawn doesn’t let Anders go with.

This gives Dawn chance to voice her concerns about the campaign – because it it’s not a serious campaign and Colin is just a “rich dick getting his rocks off” it will hurt the firm’s reputation. Ander’s argues that the firm has a reputation for helping rich dicks do whatever they want. Hey, at least he’s honest on the whole point of PR. It turns out Dawn is so passionate about this because she loves politics and the whole reason she wanted to get into PR was to get into politics. This is important to her and she demands Ander not mess it up for her.

Taking it seriously, Anders hires a new team using government job creation schemes (the interns seem to be elderly, racial minorities and a little person – which is an unpleasant first for most of these groups in terms of representation on the show; but also acknowledges people who are most likely to have difficulty in the job market.) which Colin viciously opposes since they’re all ugly. Colin  demands they be fired and puts Dawn in charge of hiring a replacement team.

Anders has another meeting with Colin in which Colin is an arsehole (of course), asking him if Colin is really serious about the campaign and it’s not just another Loki trick. Colin wonders why it matters so long as they’re getting paid, but Anders insists it does so Colin quickly changes track and assures Anders he is serious. He also assures Anders it’s his battle as well because Colin is funding the campaign with Agnetha’s (the Johnsons’ mother, Frejya) nest egg. Because it being their stolen money really gives Anders reason to be involved. Colin logic.

Anders takes this and instructs Dawn (after she has been warned about Colin from Ty) to charge absolutely everything they can to Colin’s account. Which is fine but Dawn mentions the campaign spending cap – which both Colin and Anders dismiss. Anders lays out how he expects to open the campaign and Dawn notes the complete absence of any discussion of policy from them and she disapproves (Anders adds that Dawn disapproves of most things – you get used to it). Dawn very accurately (and excellently) explains exactly what is wrong with their concern and Colin asks what she’d do to make his campaign sound less like a penis-extension.

Dawn gives her own campaign ideas which sound… nice but very… insulated. Is there really nothing more terrible facing Auckland than public drinking fountains and dog parks? Colin decides Dawn’s “little people” opinions are ideal – and moves the campaign launch to Dawn’s house. And she hasn’t even tidied. Poor Dawn.

Tea and biscuits at her house (Dawn mildly freaking out) for the huge crowd and Colin arrives – pulling together everything Dawn said, he spins a pretty decent speech about the everyday working person he wants to represent. Which Dawn seems extremely happy about. After the successful launch Colin thanks Dawn and apologises for invading her home – he sounds sincere. So you know he’s lying.

When Dawn leaves Colin continues to work on the every-man campaign wanting posters focusing on normal people rather than him – including Dawn prominently. He calls her their litmus test into the “chimp” mind. Colin also asks if Anders is having sex with Dawn, which he denies. It looks clear that Anders is worried about Dawn

Zeb returns to the flat to find rent from Ingrid – which she got from charging for the healing (though she didn’t realise how much Auckland rent was). Mike returns to the flat, not telling Michele about the money he won – and breaks the bad news to Karen. And Martin dumps Axl in the middle of nowhere, telling him it’s where he “needs to be”. 

Axl goes into the bar he’s been dropped outside where he gets a free beer (bar tender claims a “mispour”). And he learns where he is – this is Derek’s home. Thor. And Derek himself is at the door yelling and causing problems – until he sees Axl and greets him with a “my lord.” Derek is upset – someone has taken Mjolnir.  But he rejoices because Axl can now get it back - and he vomits on Axl’s shoes.

Anders treats Dawn like crap nearly constantly – but I am glad that, this episode, we not only saw overt recognition of Dawn’s skills but Anders also trying to protect her dream. He realised how important going into politics was for Dawn so seriously tried to ensure the campaign is legitimate with Colin. Even more, as Colin wants to use Dawn more and more, Anders looks concerned about her falling into Loki’s traps.

Axl has had an awful season, admittedly, but he’s 23? His tantrums feel a little teenager-y. Less whining, more ODIN!

I love Michele’s overwhelmingly practical brusqueness when it comes to healing. But I can also see her reluctance and understand it – these were people who tried to kill her after all. And are ascribing her healing to a different deity.

While Mike needs to learn limits (and maybe keep Olaf around) I kind of agree with him. This season particularly, Mike has been a much nicer, less autocratic person – but he’s also something of a doormat, everyone relies on him and he gets little, if any credit for it.