After a strong premiere episode that managed to world build, story build, and nestle it all between decent action scenes at the beginning and end, it’s no surprise that Episode 2 left us a little disappointed.  The dramatic irony of us as an audience far exceeding Shadow’s understanding was fun in the first episode, but is almost sad in the second, and if it carries on too much longer it’s going to alienate him from the audience. I mean, come on, Shadow, weren’t you clued in by the show’s title?!

TGON Disclaimer: That was a joke, we understand most normal people would probably have some reluctance on embracing a supernatural world and might just think they’re losing it after a lot of trauma. And without further ado, our spoiler filled recap and discussion is below.

Episode 2 starts with another great coming to America story, and this time it focuses on the story of Anansi, the West African, and subsequently Caribbean. According to our good friend Wikipedia, traditional mythology Anansi is a “folk charcter” considered to be a spider spirit of all knowledge of stories, but further reading implies he’s the son of a sort of “sky father” god figure, so he would still fall in the god, or at least demigod category.

American Gods – Anansi; Courtesy of Starz

The scene is set in the bottom of a slave ship, with a slave offering a pleading prayer for Anansi to intervene and save them. Anansi does appear to them, and resales them with the story of what their future will be now that they’ve been captured and becoming slaves, and is very charismatic and able to turn the captives’ confusion and fear into anger, and tells them he will release one of them and their job is to burn the ship and kill everyone. It’s a hell of a sacrifice, and the men know that burning the slave traders ship means they’ll die as well, but after Anansi informs them they’re as good as dead and it would be better to die for a cause, they are convinced, and hs frees them and they burn the ship.

Unfortunately, we don’t see him again for the rest of the episode, but his screen time was powerful and memorable.

American Gods – Motel America; Courtesy of Starz

Back to the main storyline, Shadow is still reeling from being tech assaulted and lynched at the end of episode one, and goes to find Mr. Wednesday, and hopefully some answers.  Mr. Wednesday gives a slightly angry, but too calm reaction, stating and that the [new gods] don’t have a “fucking clue” but Shadow doesn’t care about what they know. He wants to know, or in his words, “where’s my fucking clue.” But clues weren’t in the agreement and Mr. Wednesday placates him by labeling it an “occupational hazard” and doubling his salary, followed by a fairly sentimental moment where Mr. Wednesday says he is angry and has a plan, and any assault on Shadow is an insult to Wednesday.

Their slight connection at the end of this scene gives a sense of Shadow finding a new place he belongs and a duether step into his new life, adds a contrast to the next scene.

American Gods – dick in the box; Courtesy of Starz

The next several minutes are wasted in a very boring sequence where Shadow boxes up his and Laura’s home (and gets his clothes, which presumably don’t fit his new beefed up prison bod), while he is haunted the whole time by the box of personal belongings from the accident. Out of natural human curiosity Shadow goes through her phone, which magically has enough charge after two-ish days to still turn on at 23%, with full brightness for him to instantly go to her texts and see a suspiciously brief conversation between her and his best friend to hook up, and have a glimpse of his dead best friend’s huge, veiny penis. We aren’t going to post a screenshot of a dead man’s dick pick, but if you want it for scientific purposes go ahead and slide into our DM’s.

American Gods – Laura’s Phone; Courtesy of Starz

After Shadow finishes packing up, he rendezvous with Mr. Wednesday, and they have another slight bonding moment about Shadow’s wife and how he’s only obligated to feel bad for so long, and then Shadow is given a list of items to go buy (gifts for other gods they’re going to be meeting with).

While shopping Shadow is talked to by the display televisions, or more so, Shadow is talked to some kind of new age television goddess in the form of a Lucille Ball “lookalike”

American Gods – Lucy Ricardo; Courtesy of Starz

TGON Comnents: this actress looked nothing like Lucy, but she did a fine job

She talks to Shadow about how the tech god kid was wrong to underestimate him, but he won’t make that mistake, and makes attempts to recruit him.  This fails, probably because it’s weird and he thinks he’s going crazy, but seemingly also because he has bonded with Mr. Wednesday.  She did have one of our favorite lines of the episode: people give her their time and attention, it’s better than lambs blood.

American Gods Lucy in Color; Courtesy of Starz

Shadow returns to Mr. Wednesday, and sees the tail end of a meeting with a strange man whose eyes seem to glow red, which adds to the weirdness of Shadow’s day and he discusses the weird occurrences with Mr. Wednesday, who is still keeping Shadow in the dark to the realities of their world, and gives him a perspective we really liked: “Either the world is crazy, or you are,” followed by, “when it feels like the universe is singling you out for unique abuse, ask yourself, “would I rather be ignored?”‘

And then they’re off to Chicago to meet with a Slavic god, we also learn of Mr. Wednesday’s “no highways” rule.

American Gods Zorya sisters, Courtesy of Starz

Upon arriving they meet Cloris Leachman, aka one of the three Zorya sisters  (Slavic goddesses), who take care of the apartment and are friends of the Slavic god Czernobog, who Mr. Wednesday is there to recruit.  When Czernobog arrives he doesn’t welcome Mr. Wednesday kindly, and doesn’t intend to join him, and we are skipping a lot for layers of subtext, backstory, and exposition, but tl;dr: Czernobog challenges Shadow to a high stakes game of checkers. [We told you this episode left something to be desired]. But the stakes are high and leave us with a cliffhanger: if Shadow wins, Czernobog joins them, if he loses Czernobog gets to use his hammer and kill Shadow. Of course Shadow loses to the old God, but he gets to live until morning which is apparently a week away in episode 3.

American Gods Czernobog; Courtesy of Starz

Once again, we saved the Bilquis snippets for last–one scene of her absorbing a few more men (and a woman) into her vagina, which we’d like to say was far less impressive and less well acted and dramatized  [and holding the guys head while it shrinked and looked vaguely like a baby was weird, even for us.]

American Gods Bilquis; Courtesy of Starz

The better scene was when she was in the museum, looking at a statuette, presumably of herself, and messes with a display case with some magic and it’s super cool, but unexplained and is something for us to be curious and excited about.

American Gods Bilquis; Courtesy of Starz