“Birthday Month” was not what I was expecting. While the typical Axe Cop formula was there, it ended on a down note. Of course it had its crazy moments, but we finally get a glimpse into why Axe Cop is a little…emotionally stunted, perhaps.
Axe Cop’s backstory is thus: his mother was a schoolteacher and so never had time to cook a full meal. Her modus operandi was to serve candy canes which Axe Cop’s father loved but Axe Cop hated. He especially hated the rainbow cherry flavor. One day, his parents died from eating poisoned candy canes, and he vowed never to eat them again.
I’m always interested in seeing where Malachai and the writers intersect, and this episode had me wondering if Malachai had ever experienced an upset stomach after ingesting dozens of candy canes or if he often wished his mother would fix something else for dinner. Maybe the writers had busy mothers too. Wherever they get their inspiration, it is seamlessly woven together and the ending always comes back around to the beginning. Hint, hint.
Axe Cop decides that he’ll be celebrating his entire birthday month instead of just his birthday, and he buys himself a present from Flute Cop since he already knows what Flute Cop would get him (a butler). They take a trip to the beach and an unfortunate incident occurs: the massacre of mermaids due to a misunderstanding of facial expressions.
Axe Cop believes that all the mermaids are bad because of their “evil faces” but after he chops a bunch of mermens’ heads off, the last one demands to know why Axe Cop killed his friends. Axe Cop then realizes, in discussing his reasons, that mermen call scowls “smiles” and our version of a smile is their grimace. Axe Cop is thrown when he realizes that he’s just killed a bunch of good guys. He even sheds a single tear.
I think this is a really interesting point, that we can’t always judge people’s actions or facial expressions by our own. It also reminds me of misunderstandings between people groups, or cliques, where the lifestyle or choices of one people group is incomprehensible to other groups because of a lack of education or communication.
To cheer Axe Cop up, his friends pool their money for his birthday month secret surprise present together and, I assume, hire a private detective who reveals the killer of Axe Cop’s parents: Bad Santa. His thirst for justice rekindled, Axe Cop visits the South Pole planet and confronts Bad Santa, who informs him that the poisoned candy canes were for Axe Cop, because he was such a good boy.
After the confrontation plays out, Axe Cop is back home, reflecting on his birthday month with Flute Cop, who thinks it was an overall success. “Happiest day of your life, right?”
And then the saddest thing I’ve ever heard Axe Cop say. The happiest day of his life was when his parents died. He was both sad, that his parents had died, and happy, because he never had to eat candy canes again. “That’s not true,” he says, processing. “I wasn’t happy or sad. I was medium. And medium’s the happiest I’m ever going to be.”
A rather sobering thought.