Last week on American Gods, we didn’t spend much time with Shadow, Wednesday or any of the Gods Old or New. But we did get a hell of exposition as it relates to Laura Moon, what she’s been doing before and after her fellatio-related auto accident. Thanks to Mad Sweeny’s coin, she’s now an undead super zombie, capable of destroying the Technical Boy’s drones with a flick of the wrist. Her death gave her a newfound appreciation for her “puppy” and she now wants to find him. Even though she’s back in the real world, the nothingness of death awaits her when her task is completed.
While last week skipped the “Coming to America/Departing America” opening, it returned this week. While we did not meet any new (New or Old) Gods, the central theme of the show is starting to show itself. The theme seems to be about the worship of Gods, as well as the lack of worship. Turns out, Gods need us as much as we need them. If we don’t worship then, then they are forgotten and lose all their power, until they wither away into nothingness. You now see why Wednesday is on this crusade against the New Gods. He doesn’t want to become irrelevant. In the opening scene, we are treated to a very creative animation that presents the story of a group of people traveling across the frozen wasteland to the new world in 14,000 B.C. While they worship their Old God Nunyunnini which has the form of a Woolly Mammoth, things are not going according to plan. Once in America, they join tribes that already exists in this country, and abandon Nunyunnini as they worship new deities, setting up the central theme of the show.
Back in the present, Shadow meets with his former wife Laura who is waiting for him on his bed. I’m glad that he didn’t let her off the hook for the whole “cheating with the best friend” things. While they are setting her up to be a good guy slowly, she’s still the terrible cheating wife at this point for me. She’s not even 100% remorseful for the fact that she cheated on him with Robbie. She does come to the realization that she loves him, it just took her death for he to realize it. Because Shadow is slowly being eased into the world of Gods, she doesn’t freak out like Robbie’s wife did last week. It was funny that he hit her with a pillow to verify that she was in fact, real. He’s had the type of week where his dead wife reappearing is not out of the realm of possibility, but he still needed to make sure. It was the weirdest couple’s counseling that’s been on TV in quite some time. The only thing that would have made it even weirder is if Wednesday showed up and mediated the therapy session. After going to get some smokes, Shadow and Laura continue to chat while she takes a bath. She’s truly dead as she can no longer taste a cigarette. However, the two are still drawn to each other and after he gives her a kiss, she feels his light, which actually causes her heart to start beating. Towards the end of the show, it will probably be revealed that whatever otherworldly powers Shadow has (since he’s obviously the child of a God) will be the key to completely resurrecting Laura.
After conversing with a crow, Wednesday shows up at Shadow’s room where he wants to two of them to go and have a drink (more talk about his plans obviously). Before they can get out of the motel parking lot, the police come and arrest them. Turns out that bank scam really did count as a bank robbery, and Shadow also has crossed multiple state lines without letting a parole officer know. That’s something that will land him right back in the slammer. As the police begin interrogating the two separately, Shadow knows the drill. He repeatedly uses the best answer to any police interrogation, “lawyer.” Even though they got caught by two small town cops, they aren’t dummies and know something else, something much bigger is going on. The woman who interrogated Shadow reveals that he and Wednesday were gift wrapped to them (via fax of all mean) by someone who had access to satellites, drones, and every other technical means. This means that someone very powerful is after them, and she wants to get to the bottom of it. Wednesday on the other hand, is giving his interrogator the rouse that he is some senile old man. When asked about what he and Shadow were doing in Chicago, he finally does reveal the truth, that he is one of the Old Gods who has been recruiting the Old Gods to take on the New Gods. Naturally, the officer doesn’t believe him. Ian McShane seems to be having a blast with this role.
The Technical Boy is out doing whatever he does when he’s summoned and teleported to the same high-tech limo that he summons Shadow to in the first episode. There he has a chat with Media (not in Lucy form, but instead David Bowie form), who requires that he have a parlay with Wednesday. She chastises him for attempting to lynch Shadow. She even comments Shadow’s color and the optics of doing such a heinous act (something that passed through my mind as it was happening) on him after a simple conversation was all he was supposed to do. We get to see this episode that the Technical Boy is perfectly the whiny narcissism of the stereotypical millennial. While the Technical Boy will apologize to Mr. World, he is required to apologize to Wednesday and Shadow, something he obviously doesn’t want to do.
Laura was still waiting for Shadow at the motel when Mad Sweeny come to the hotel demanding his lucky coin back. Their confrontation his hilarious as we get to see the full extent of Laura’s undead strength is. Mad Sweeny was more than a match against Shadow in a fist fight. Against Laura, however, a simple pluck sends him hurling against the wall. She’s not ready to give up the coin as it’s the source of her staying alive, and it’s lodged inside her stomach. Mad Sweeny cannot take it by force either, she has to give it up willingly. The tall leprechaun does comment that eventually he will have it as her rotting flesh will fall apart and he’ll just recuperate it. Just then, the police enter and arrest Mad Sweeny as he’s trying to strangle her in the bathtub. Laura, being dead, just plays along and Sweeny is arrested by the police.
Back at the police station, the police allow the two of them to talk together before giving it another go around, Mr. Nancy (in his spider form) helps Wednesday get out of his handcuffs. Because of a number of resources devoted to setting him and Shadow up, Wednesday knows who’s after them, and it’s time to get out of there. Wednesday, who’s always in control, seems fearful for the first time on the show. Soon enough, we get to see just what he is fearful of. Media makes her second appearance on the show in the form of Marilyn Monroe. She literally is floating on air as she makes her entrance. Actress Gillian Anderson seems to be in competition with Aubrey Plaza (Legion) to see who can give the craziest awesome performance in a trippy show. Both should probably be nominated for something during awards season next year. Media was just the warm up though as in walks Mr. World (Crispin Glover) the leader of the New Gods.
Glover walks in like Michael Jackson in a Billie Jean video, with the tiles lighting up as he walks on each one. He clearly has immense power. As he talks with Shadow about his masturbation history, his mother’s sexual history and gives us the ins and outs of salsa, he’s literally “the world” and all its knowledge wrapped into an individual. This first meeting was not one of antagonism though. Mr. World then forces the Technical Boy to apologize to Shadow for lynching him a few episodes ago. The arrogant New God acknowledges that it was in poor taste to lynch a person of color. He offered Shadow to knock out the Technical Boy’s teeth, which he declines. Mr. World wants to work out a truce with the Old Gods. He even comments to Wednesday that he is not at war with them, he even offers to help the Old Gods with branding as Media puts on an “infomercial” for what they can offer Wednesday, a rebranding of him to be the face of a nuclear weapon against North Korea, the “Odin Satellite” which would give him all the power and relevance he needs, and new “lemon scented you.” Wednesday sees this offering and rebukes it. Mr. World allows the two of them to leave, to the disdain of the Technical Boy. As the youthful God yells at his leader for not killing Wednesday, he screams at the neophyte God that Wednesday is older (and wiser) than he will ever be in the best “respect your elders” speech.
For now, it’s still a Cold War between the Old and New Gods, but don’t take Mr. World’s kindness for weakness. He offered the carrot, but he also has a stick. Literally, a stick as a giant tree monster which killed all the cops in the police station lunges at Shadow after killing the cops escorting Mad Sweeny to the police station arrives. We won’t yet know which New God that giant tree is, but it’s clear Mr. World has resources, and vast power. If they are not careful, they will have war between the Old and New Gods.
American Gods airs Sunday nights on Starz at 9:00 PM EST.