After last week’s explosive episode of American Gods, where the show slyly tackled such issues as immigration and gun control wrapped in a tale of old and new Gods fighting each other, we officially had the first dud of an episode. Instead of continuing Wednesday and Shadow’s road trip, we opted to have a part “Coming to America,” part secondary road trip episode, focusing on Mad Sweeny and Laura Moon as they continued the quest of her resurrection and him getting back his lucky coin.
Continuing the Coming to America theme that has continued for just about every episode of the show, we focused on, this time the theme of immigration to the new world connected to Gods focused on British prisoners who had to come to the new world by means of indentured servitude. Before slavery was the main means of production and commerce in the New World, lawbreakers were sentences for a certain amount of years in hard labor on the fields of the British colonies. Through this process, we meet a young Irish girl named Essie McGowan, who looks eerily similar to Laura Moon.
Essie was raised with the belief of fairies, pixies, and leprechauns. Every day, she gave an offering to them by leaving either a saucer of milk or food on her windowsill. As a result, she had good fortune. Unfortunately, when she didn’t bad fortune. After having a romantic tryst with the head of a household, the smitten young lord gave her his family’s namesake necklace. The next day, his mother accused Essie of thievery and the weak man did not back Essie up. As a result, she got her first (of many) tastes of the British court system. Sentences to servitude in America, she was going on her own hellish passage across the Atlantic, where some of the prisoners died on the journey. Using her feminine wiles, she seduced the captain, who spared her life, essentially commuting her sentence and taking her back to Britain with him. When the captain, later on, had to travel, he left Essie at him home with the promise of a speedy return. However, something changed in Essie as the accusation of being a thief, turned her into an actual thief. Robbing the captain of all his belongings, she left his home and carried on in as a professional thief.
However, her antics finally land her back in the slammer. However, this time she’s not sentenced to America, she’s sentenced to death. While waiting for the sentence to be carried out, she ends up in a cell right next to Mad Sweeny’s. The two talked about their upcoming sentence and try to find the silver lining in the New World. Before her hanging, she runs into the prison warden and once again works out an escape via sex. That causes her to become pregnant where she can’t be executed and her sentence to America lands her forced to be a wet nurse for a landowner in America. The man eventually falls in love with her, commutes her sentence, and marries her. She keeps on getting out of a jam by having sex with her jailer. She continues giving her offerings to Mad Sweeny into her old age, but those in America have no patience for tales of leprechauns, so she keeps things to herself. Before she dies of old age, Mad Sweeny approaches her and thanks her for all her years of service. The two hold hands as she passes away.
Meanwhile, in current times, Mad Sweeny, Laura Moon, and Salim are continuing their road trip. Thanks to Mad Sweeny never shutting up, he reveals where the gathering of the Old Gods will be (Wisconsin). As a result, Laura tells Salim where he can find the Jinn and he then takes his taxi and drives off. Sweeny and Laura continue to try and find her means of resurrection in Kentucky.
Without a car to drive, they hijack an ice cream truck. After all, she needs to stay cold as her rotting flesh is continuing to rot. The freezing temperature of the ice cream truck sustains Laura while vexing Sweeny. Their friendship is completely different than Essie and Sweeny’s was in the past. Their love/hate relationship continued until Laura swerves off the road trying to avoid hitting a rabbit (probably the Old God Easter). The ice cream truck crashes over, forcing Laura through the front window. He decomposing body rips a little and Sweeny’s lucky coin falls out of her body, leaving her lifeless. When Sweeny awakes, he finds it on the road and is happy, finally getting his wish.
Then Sweeny remembers the last time he saw her cold, dead body. Turns out Sweeny was there when Laura died in her car accident that led to her death. He probably used his coin to create probably bad luck for her and Robbie on the road. He then tells one of Wednesday’s Ravens that it was done, meaning that Wednesday is responsible for Laura’s death as a means for him to get in contact with Shadow. This causes Sweeny to have a moment of sympathy and he opts to put the coin back in Laura’s belly and she comes back to life. Of course, she’s none the wiser, so their endless banter continues as they continue to drive towards her resurrection.
For a penultimate episode, this one was a little weak, especially after last week’s episode. It would have been better if this episode switched places with last week’s episode as it was more impactful. The episode did deliver strong acting performances from Pablo Schreiber and Emily Browning in both the past and the present. One thing that was interesting this episode was the soundtrack as Mr. Ibis was listening to jazz music the whole time. It’s not supposed to work for the episode (since it’s in the 1700s), but it worked out well. Hopefully, next week will continue the tale of Wednesday and Shadow as Wednesday gathers all the Old Gods together to launch a strike against the New Gods in the season finale.
American Gods airs Sunday nights on Starz at 9:00 PM EST.