Who among us can honestly say that he’s never looked at the second guitarist in a five-man lineup—the guy who doesn’t get to solo—and thought, “What’s he there for?” That question sums up Toki’s place in the world as well as anything does. Tonight’s adventure begins in Brazil (“Thank you, Rio de Janeiro! You’re the best dildos in the world.”), where Swisgaar ill-advisedly sneers at Toki’s plea that he be allowed to perform a solo, to honor a promise he made “to all the kitty cats in the hospital.” If Swisgaar’s icy rejection didn’t make Toki feel unappreciated, the sight of the blond rock god serenading an audience full of bare-midriffed, adoring young groupies would certainly do the trick. Going full Red West, the affronted Toki pens a tell-all book, Swisgaar Is Am Dick, and hits the talk show circuit to share his anecdotes about being on the abusing end of his bandmate. “He used to says my hands am skinny,” he tells the world, “but now he says they am putting on weight.”
Toki’s frontal assault leaves Swisgaar feeling rejected and lost. The media and the band’s fan base, readily identifying with someone who feels bullied, turn on him, and his endorsement deals dry up overnight. They magically drop into Toki’s lap, as does the plum spot of headlining at the upcoming Norwegian ice festival in Lillehammer. Swisgaar looks so pole-axed by this reversal of fortune that it may be that nothing could get through to him, but it might be nice if the other members of Dethklok could commiserate with him in some way that didn’t involved telling him they’re sorry that the book makes him look like an asshole. Nathan and the others have their own distractions. Nathan has bought a defibrillator off Skymall, so that he can use it “to shock people if they have a thing, like a heart attack, of if they’re sleeping.”
He quickly uses it on Murderface, who finds the experience stimulating, but wants to know who whizzed on his lap while he was semi-conscious. (Pickles suggests that he did it to himself, but Murderface isn’t having it. “”How can I pee on myself,” he demands reasonably, “if I’m right here?”) Soon, Nathan, Pickles, and Murderface are all relaxing together, side by side, looking happy and refreshed in their matching sets of pee-stained loungewear. In its way, it’s as touching an image of male bonding as anything in Stand By Me. Luckily, the guys decide to branch out and find things to shock besides themselves. The scene with the beehive could have been lingered on a bit longer for my taste. The scene with the bag of popcorn made me want to buy a defibrillator.
To the surprise of no one, Toki goes a little mad with power, and mad-with-power is a worse look on him than anyone else on this show. He makes a triumphant entrance at the Norwegian concert, dressed and coiffed for his Mick Ronson period, with everything he needs but the confidence to pull it off. With Swisgaar’s warning (“The audience ams a fickle mistress.”) ringing in his head, he almost makes it through a riff before he chokes, and collapses onstage from a panic attack. When Swisgaar tries to use the defibrillator to revive him, it isn’t long before the device gets applied to the magnificent arrangement of giant, shimmering icicles surrounding the stage, with unhappy results for any ticket holders in their way. The closing images, set to a soaring, lyrical Swisgaar guitar solo, make for some of the most beautiful-looking senseless carnage in the show’s history.
- Trying to sympathize with Swisgaar, Nathan tells him that Toki’s book has turned him into “the Ike Turner of guitar.” Yes, of course Nathan knows that Ike Turner was a guitarist. Next question.
- This episode utilizes the seldom-seen longer version of the opening credits. You could complain that this amounts to padding in a 10-minute show, but I prefer to think of it as a conceptually sophisticated acknowledgement that an episode that centers on Toki has only so much story in it, but definition. On the other hand, the out-of-the-blue update on the status of the Revengencers, the feral, cannibalistic tribe of “brainwashed ex-Dethklok fans,” had better be going someplace.