After a string of lackluster episodes, American Gods is back to delivering quality content everyone should be watching.
We get a coming to America story, a fight, multiple gods, a reveal, and an escape without a gratuitous sex scene; this is one of the best episodes so far, even if we got no Bilquis or news on the djinn.
The episode starts in an unusual way–an animated telling of the crossing of people over the land bridge from Siberia to the Americas–and their bringing of their own god, Nunyunnini. The sequence is brief and rushes through a story that could be it’s own episode, but it more so serves to show that the old gods were more directly connected with people, exist in this universe because of people’s belief in them, and (as stated later by Mr. Wednesday) had a more symbiotic relationship with people and gave back.
Nunyunnini is not referred to again in the episode (we will keep an eye out for a later reference), but instead refocused on the reunion of Laura and Shadow. Nothing new is revealed, though she doesn’t mention saving him from the lynching or meeting Anubis.
She sends Shadow to get cigarettes and he comes back to her naked in a tub, because she wanted to “warm up for him.”
Tgon comments: keep all your dead bodies out of water (especially warm wat), as it speeds up decomposition. Keep your corpses freah by storing them in cold, dry places.
He ultimately turns down her advances and shakes his head “no” when she asks if he’s still her “puppyy”, but there’s a moment when she kisses him that her heart beats and she gets her human senses back.
Their time together is interrupted by Mr. Wednesday, who wants Shadow to come talk things through with his, but even that then gets interrupted by the police.
A female detective we liked (and foolishly got attached to) reveals the tip off came to an unplugged fax machine they’d never use and contained GPS coordinates and too much information–they also received strange pictures of Shadow and Mr. Wednesday’s criminal activity.
After the police took Shadow, Laura isn’t left alone long, as Mad Sweeney bursts in to retrieve his coin. Juiced up Laura takes zero shit from anyone and tortures some information out of him. Laura’s combination of cutesy and badass is odd to watcg, but extremely interesting and plays nicely against Shadow’s typically stoic demeanor
Tgon comments: it’s nice to see Pornstache from OITNB having a hard time and getting his ass kicked.
Police bust in and pull Sweeney out of the tub where he’s holding down Laura in both frustration and an attempt to rot her body so he can snatch his coin–we learned she has to willingly give it to him (not happening) or he has to wait for it to rot out of her. Laura plays possum while the police arrest Sweeney and is taken to the morgue, which she escapes in the final scene of the episode.
Sweeney eventually escapes arrest while Shadow and Mr. Wednesday are being questioned and the new gods arrive and cause a ruckus.
In a one off scene before the action we see the obnoxious douchey tech god boy leaving a ravenous and being jumped by one of those head face-huggers he’d used on Shadow. He is transported into the mental cyber limo where he has a chat with the media goddess–now in costume as David Bowie. She scolds him for his assault on Shadow and says Mr. World (presumably their leader) wants him to apologize and extend an olive branch. We don’t know much about Mr. World but, surprisingly, not only is more quickly revealed, but we get to meet him directly in this episode.
Back with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday the detective (did you get as attached to her as we did?) gives the two time alone. Note the light flicker right before she leaves? Mr. Wednesday somehow enlists the help of a craft spider to undo his handcuffs–remember Anansi we’d only seen in the “coming to america” storyline a few episodes back?
Before they can escape however the door opens to reveal the media goddess as Marilyn Monroe, whom Shadow recognizes as the Lucille Ball imitation. It throws shadow off how she levitates–presumably an intentional display of her power, and it isn’t long before footsteps are heard approaching and we meet Mr. World.
He seems to have an overwhelming presence and reconfigured his face and seems to be a data/information god incarnate (world for world-wide-Web perhaps?), who gives Shadow an over personal amount of details about his past to show his dominance. Mr. World seems like a volatile and dangerous character and we were highly impressed by the lighting design and how it added to each characters persona in this scene.
After introductions and tense, albeit meaningless, conversation, Mr. World summons the tech god boy to give an official apology (Shadow remains classy and doesn’t take the offer to “knock out his front teeth). The conversation then transitions to the new gods offering Mr. Wednesday a chance to join them under rebranding (one option includes naming a bomb after him, letting him go out with a bang–and ND here is where they say , magic words “a new, lemon scented you”). Mr. Wednesday realizes they finally see him as a threat, and declines their offer to surrender and die out.
The new gods eventually tire of the discussion going nowhere and prepare to leave when the tech god intersects and did demands to know why they don’t just kill him while they have them. Mr. World gets angry and gives a speech about the old gods’ knowledge and wisdom, and how he should be respected–which the tech god blows up about and media shuts him up by knocking his front two teeth out by blowing a magic kiss.
Mr. World’s last words to Shadow are “I’m not your enemy,” and we assume there’s symbolism related to Mr. World undoing Shadow’s cuffs when Mr. Wednesday hadn’t–but that’s for a later episode.
Leaving the station looked like one of Shadow’s nightmares, with flickering lights, mangled cops (our detective didn’t deserve that), and something resembling the bone orchard growing out of the cubicles and a victim–while watching them.