American Gods: Head Full of Snow (Episode 3 Recap and Review)

Another new episode of American Gods, and another week of low action with a lot of world building and character develeopment. Is this bad? No, in fact, the episode flew by and we were shocked when it was already over when the cliffhanger hit, but sadly it left us wanting more, but isn’t that the point of a cliffhanger?

Cliffhanger or no, the episode notably lacked any scenes with Bilquis or a true “coming to America” opener, and we were disappointed with those exclusions.

Tgon comemnts: Viewers seem to be okay with the slower episodes, as viewers from episode 2 to episode 3 actually rose .006 million based on the “Sunday cable ratings.” So catch up before the new episode with our spoiler filled recap below, with screenshots for your viewing pleasure (but nothing graphic of that scene– you know the one)

Courtesy of Starz

The episode didn’t open with an explicit “coming to America” flashback, but instead with a present day event in a New York apartment building. Mrs. Fadil is preparing dinner and talking to her cat when an unexpected knock at the door interrupts her during a dramatic chair tilt when she climbs to get some spices.

Mrs. Fadil is a riot and tells her guest he has the wrong floor, and when he insists he doesn’t she casually tells him to go ahead and rob her, she has a few valuables he can take but she is busy making dinner. Then he reveals his identity, he is Anubis, and she fell from that chair and died and he is there to collect her soul for judgement. Heck of a plot twist 2 minutes in to kill an enjoyable character we just met (who do they think they are? Supernatural?).

Courtesy of Starz

Tgon comments: Although not an explicit “coming to America” scene, the story of why Anubis is presenting himself to a Muslim woman is nested in the dialogue. When she was young her grandmother told her the stories of the old Egyptian mythologies and she believe, and she remembers, and for that he is thankful and wants to reward her with a trip to the scales (he’s gonna weigh her heart against a feather and you can read up on Anubis mythology if this seems cool to you (it is)).

Courtesy of Starz

There interaction is amazing and the actors nailed it, and when he lead sher up the fire escape (which transitions to a desert overlooking peak during their climb) the cinematography and effects are absolutely stunning. And, unlike Supernatural, she gets a happy ending with her heart passing the test and him deaming her life good, and she goes happily into the afterlife, followed by her cat of course.

Courtesy of Starz

In the next scene we find Shadow waking in the middle of the night, still in the apartment of the Zorya sisters and Czernobog (it wasn’t a bad dream). He notices the window to the fire escape is open and climbs up to the roof. True to form, they give us one of the most beautiful Chicago night sky sequences, which is our first clue it’s a dream.

Courtesy of Starz

On the roof he meets the youngest Zorya Sister, the one he was told was asleep, sick in her room and not do be disturbed. She is observing the sky through her telescope and explains the big dipper (also known as Odins Wing or The Great Bear–shoutout to Ursa Major), and she casually tells him that there is a bad thing chained in the stars and they watch for it it ever came out it would be the end of everything. Heavy stuff, right? But not the point of the episode, so we hope it comes back into play layer. She then proceeds to read his fortune and how he believes in nothing but will soon “believe in everything” but he lost something  (no not his wife, no one cares about her),but losing his life to Czernobog–remember he’s about to be executed in the morning. She tells him that was a mistake and to fix it and that she can give him protection. She then plucks the moon out of the sky and hands it to him in the form of another coin. She comments how he had the sun and lost it (Mad Sweeney’s coin?), so don’t lose the moon she gave him, and then tells him to wake up.

Courtesy of Starz

Shadow works fast going to Czernobog and manipulating him into a rematch–we were impressed with his cunning and quick thinking using the old gods perceived weakened state to play on insecurities, it really helped establish Shadow as a contender that’s more than just muscle.

Courtesy of Starz

He of course wins the rematch and buys himself until the end of the trip, but we have a hunch the main character isn’t going to die. During the rematch we get a scene of Mr. Wednesday seducing the eldest Zorya Sister, and when they kiss a storm comes–very ominous but without reading the books we can’t speculate on the implications for you, but keep it in mind for later. But for now Mr. Wednesday and Shadow need some capital for their trip and plot to rob a bank.

Courtesy of Starz

With a break from them we then get a glimpse at what Mad Sweeney had been up to since episode 1. A bad run in with the bartender the day after the fight where his luck didn’t make him untouchable, and then being picked up as a hitchhiker, which seems like goodluck until the very nice man helping him gets Final Destinationed by a pole flying off the back of a truck. At that point Mad Sweeney realizes somethings amiss and finally checks and figures out he doesn’t have his lucky coin and goes to find Shadow. He does and Shadow tells him he tossed it on his wife’s grave and if he wants it he can go get it–and he does, and we finally get the not-so-big reveal that Laura isn’t in her grave.

Courtesy of Starz

Back to Shadow and Mr. Wednesday, the bank heist is rather underwhelming, and more an exercise in Mr. Wednesday being cunning and getting Shadow to believe in him. There’s also the thought exercise to get Shadow to project thoughts to make it snow, intended to help him not focus on the illegal actions, but ends up working to everyone’s surprise. The heist ends with them back on the road and nearly hitting a wolf in the storm–and, again, while we don’t know the significance of it, we’re sure it will come again later. Then the episode ends with Mad Sweeney finding Laura’grave empty (with a hole the coin burned through) and with Shadow finding her in his hotel room, alive (presumably).

Courtesy of Starz

And with no Bilquis this episode we saved the new characters and sexual gods for last! Salim, played by Omid Abtahi, I’d a salesman who gets constantly shit on in his life and sales career. He tries to stay positive and is a very nice man, even to the super b*tchaikovsky receptionist that made him waste his whole day.

Courtesy of Starz

After he struggle to get a cab, he gets picked up by the man we saw Mr. Wednesday talking to at the diner in episode 2, who is revealed to be all djinn. Salim recognizes him for what he is and after they have good life talk, he invites him up to his room and we get a very graphic sex scene between the two man.

Tgon comments: while a sex scene is probably never necessary in any way, if this was uncomfortable to watch, remember the lgbt has had the sit through more straight sex scenes and this one doesn’t compare.

Courtesy of Starz

This sex scene did further the plot however as we see the djinn’s fire pass into Salim and he wakes up changed and with a new identity and Iifeand shares his body with the djinn.

So the episode lacked action but made us really warm up to Shadow, even if he summons snow, and with the Laura cliffhanger we won’t be late for episode 4!


Author: Michael

Game of Nerds writer, comedian, tumblr enthusiast, twitter user. @Bonersniper for all things.

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