The Almighty Johnsons 2.13 “Does This Look Like Asgard?” REVIEW

The Almighty Johnsons 2.13 “Does This Look Like Asgard?” TV REVIEW

Episode 2.13
Writer: James Griffin
Director: Murray Keane

THE ONE WHERE Ty is no longer a God, much to Mike’s dismay. Gaia has a date with destiny, but a spanner is thrown in destiny’s works and everything goes horribly wrong. Anders discovers just how much sex is too much sex.

VERDICT So here we are; the season finale… It’s all been building to this. Will Gaia be Axl’s Frigg? Will Ty finally get Dawn. Just what has Loki been plotting? Are Anders and Helen really destined for ruin?

Well, most of the questions get answered, and not a single one of them in a way we’d expected. Once again The Almighty Johnsons throws plot twist after plot twist at us and does it with style, comedy and balls.

The episode starts with a montage of the various characters in various beds, waking up happy. This sets alarm bells going straight away. And when it’s revealed that Gaia and Axl spent the night together you know everyone is doomed, although the portentous mood is broken slightly by Ty’s four-in-a-bed dream. It’s to the show’s credit that a scene like this makes you pause for a second to wonder if it is a dream sequence or not.

After the “look everyone’s happy, this can’t possibly last” montage is done we get down to the bones of the episode. It’s Gaia’s birthday; the day she gets her God aspect. The day everyone’s been waiting for. We’re treated to a slow build up as the Goddesses whisk Gaia away for a pampering and Axl is left to entertain the distrustful Maori who’ve turned up to claim their Papatuanuku.

Nobody loves Zeb

It’s Hayden Frost’s Zeb who steals these early scenes, first by being the only one to have bought Gaia a birthday gift; then by trying to get an invite to Gaia’s Goddess ceremony, and being refused by Ingrid; and finally by trying to get the Maori to invite him instead. After getting no lines, and a blink and you’ll miss him appearance in the last episode, Zeb is comedy gold here as the always-left-out mortal.

The Gaia plot is left to one side as the various other storylines move towards their conclusions, or rather their huge crushing twists. Mike’s on the warpath and wants to kill Loki after last week’s revelations. Who does he need to do this? Ty’s God aspect. Ty’s recently-departed God aspect. We missed angry Mike and his reaction to Ty’s Godlessness is great. As is his reaction to seeing Loki at the ceremony. Being the cool, calm, collected one is what Mike tries to be, but when he fails he does it with an almighty anger. We like angry Mike.

We knew there’d be a catch to Ty denouncing his God power last week and the consequence is a particularly cruel one; it seems any mortal he ever met now doesn’t remember him. His anger when he realises that Dawn has completely forgotten him is heart breaking. Will he have to win her over all over again? And just what does Anders whisper in Dawn’s ear after he convinces her to come back to work for him? We wouldn’t put it past Anders to hinder rather than help Ty in this situation.

Grrrrrr!

Meanwhile, Anders and Helen have a renegotiation of their relationship and it feels like this plot is the light relief with all the serious stuff happens elsewhere. That is until Natalie turns out to be from a group of religious God-hunting fanatics with murder in mind. Having the actions of Natalie be the spanner that interferes with the main Axl/Gaia plot is a stroke of genius. The expressions on both Anders and Axl’s faces when it’s revealed just who Gaia has become is brilliant.

It feels like a slight let-down to suddenly have the concept of a “Constant Goddess” revealed just before it becomes a major plot point, but we’re willing to let it go as it’s such a great moment when the reveal happens. We knew things weren’t going to be straightforward from the moment Gaia was revealed as a possible Frigg, but having her become the recently-killed Iðunn is particularly cruel, and the possibilities it leaves are huge. Will Anders carry on with Gaia/Iðunn as he did with Helen/Iðunn? Would that relationship be just as doomed? Will Axl be able to get over Gaia and does this means there’s still a Frigg waiting out there somewhere?

Oh, frig!

The only thing that isn’t revealed is why Loki has been spying on the Johnsons. We didn’t mind; it means Loki will be back next year and more Loki is a good thing. With Michele’s growing power hinted at and the idea that there are God-hunters who now know Norse Gods are living in New Zealand there’s plenty of plot threads to pick up next year. We’re just glad the show will be back next year. It was touch and go for a while.

The hunter is hunted

All in all it’s a very understated finale. Don’t get us wrong; it’s a great finale, it just doesn’t feel like a finale for most of the episode, but that’s no bad thing. It has all the quirky comedy, great writing and drama one would expect from the Johnsons, but it saves all its big shocks for the last ten minutes and boy are they worth the wait. With death and heartbreak at every turn, the show pulls off some great revelations and throws just about everything into disarray with a perfect mix of melodrama and comedy timing. Just where this will go next year is anyone’s guess and we can’t wait to find out.

Smug bastard

BEST GOD This week the best God has to be Loki. He turns up near the end of the episode and basically steals the show. And he uses his powers to well-timed, dramatic effect. (See below)

BEST DEATH Death in this show isn’t exactly a regular thing. But when it does come, that rarity makes it even more shocking and dramatic. The two deaths here couldn’t be more different. Natalie’s shooting of Helen is shocking because you don’t expect it. You expect Anders to use his sliver tongue or bravado his way out of the situation or to just do something. His blind panic as he sees Helen fall with a crossbow bolt in her chest is gripping because the character is just as thrown as the audience are. Natalie’s death at the hands of Loki, on the other hand, is spectacular and gruesome.

He’s a fire starter, twisted fire starter

OLAF GETS HIS KIT OFF There’s naked shoulder action from everyone this week. The episode starts with a montage of the various Johnsons waking up in bed with their various partners. There’s also a hilarious fantasy foursome.

Four in the bed and the little one said...

BEST LINE

Leon: “This is good tea. What is it?”
Axl: “Tea bag.”
Zeb: “Gaia buys it.”
Jerome: “So I shall look forward to drinking it every morning, with Gaia making it for me.”
Axl: “Good luck with that fantasy, given that she woke up in my bed this morning.”

Or maybe…

Anders: “As a woman, what’s an acceptable level of sex in a relationship?”
Dawn: “Excuse me?”
Anders:“You’re a woman, you’ve been in relationships. What’s the right number of times a day, as a woman, you can say before nymphomania kicks in? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against nymphomania as an affliction. In a woman it’s much more appealing than having one giant eyebrow, but it’s really hard work. My dick hurts Dawn. It really, really hurts.”

Steven Ellis @Steven Ellis

The Almighty Johnsons season two has finished airing in the UK on SyFy

• Read our other The Almighty Johnsons season 2 reviews