Episode 2.05 Writer: James Griffin Director: Charlie Haskell
THE ONE WHERE Axl goes on a night out in drag and wakes up as a girl.
VERDICT If last week’s episode was this season’s first five star turn then this week’s is the season’s most bat’s-arse effort and is definitely worthy of a five too. The age-old plot device of body/gender swapping comes to The Johnsons, but it wouldn’t be The Johnsons if they didn’t stamp it with their own unique style.
Siobhan Marshall, as Axl in female form, does a fantastic job for a guest star thrust so centrally into a pretty arc-heavy episode. She also excels at the comedy aspects of playing a man suddenly finding himself trapped in a woman’s body. Marshall manages to mimic the body language of the lanky Emmett Skilton’s portrayal of Axl, and as you watch her walk around or sit with legs splayed on a sofa you don’t, for one moment, feel that this isn’t Axl you’re watching.
Her/his exasperation every time he/she tries to convince family members and friends that she/he is Axl is very funny and the various, “We’ve got a nutter on our hands,” reactions or appreciative glances at various body parts each time the female Axl is revealed are a joy to watch. The fact that every single friend and family member seems to be a bit perverted, and to have the hots for female Axl, is spot on for this show.
Meanwhile the fallout from last week continues to spread as Dawn begins to suspects Ty of killing Eva which results in a pretty heated confrontation. Never going to have a smooth ride those two…
Axl also discovers Dawn’s suspicions and is led to confront Loki/Colin about who might, or might not have been involved in Eva’s death. All the while Agnetha – another stand-out performance from Alison Bruce – continues plotting away to keep her and Ty safe from suspicion. We can’t help but think that this is all going to end badly for the matriarchal goddess. Especially considering Dawn’s growing suspicions.
Ty seems to be moving on from Eva quite well, and considering just how crazy the relationship had gotten it’s no surprise. Here he’s having woman problems of a different kind as Ingrid, Olaf and Stacy spend most of the episode slowly filling his apartment with a staggering array of emptied wine bottles. These gods sure know how to party.
Gaia is back this episode and is still exhibiting the party girl attitude which – considering Axl’s concern, and the seeming reason for his female transformations – seems to be something that will be explored further later. What’s the betting it all turns out to be god related?
On the whole this is another great episode, with the arc being moved on a little, and with a tired old plot device bring turned on its head in away only this show could. And as for how the “Axl is a girl” issue is resolved… well, could you see any other show having that as the solution?
BEST GOD This week’s best god has to be Axl. Going to bed a man and waking up as a woman is some feat. And as pretty much every character says; Axl makes a damn fine lady.
CINEPHILE OF THE WEEK Zeb proves his geeky credentials again this week as he rattles off a few film titles featuring body-swapping or gender-swapping as a main plot device. The films he mentions are “Big, Freaky Friday and Hot Tub Time Machine.”
PERV OF THE WEEK Pretty much everyone shows very little tact when presented with Axl in female form. Mike, Olaf, Colin, even Michele all make comments about or stare lecherously at the new female on the scene, but Zeb manages to top them all with his “friends with benefits” line. He’s a creepy little bugger.
OLAF GETS HIS KIT OFF They’re all at it this week. Grandpa Olaf is back to his shirtless ways, first after crashing overnight in Mike’s bar and later when he appears naked in Ty’s kitchen. Ty shows off some man boobs while sculpting ice this week too. Zeb wanders about in his long Johns again and also sports an underskirt at one point. Even Axl is seen wearing very little in both female and male forms.
BEST LINES Female Axl:“Do not think it, because you are wrong.” Loki/Colin:“I hear you, my lord Odin.” Female Axl:“Good.” Loki/Colin (after Axl leaves): “Well, he’s way more ballsy as a woman… And a much nicer arse.”