Would Czernobog kill Shadow? That’s the cliffhanging question posed by the previous installment of American Gods.
Since we’re dealing with all powerful deities on this series, who’s to say our hero wouldn’t actually get his brains splattered all over the floor by the Slavic god of evil and be reborn with Mr. Wednesday’s help? I mean, a lucky coin brought Laura Moon back from the dead, right? More on that later, but first our “Somewhere in America” vignette introduced Mr. Jacquel.
That’s right, that poor woman had fallen never to get up again. Crazy that she had died and didn’t even realize it until she spied her body on the kitchen floor. Mr. Jacquel (Chris Obi) informed the woman that her family would care for her body properly. She wondered why Anubis (Egyptian god of the dead) would come for her when she was Muslim. Interesting that as a girl she was taught the Egyptian ways. I mentioned in my previous review, that traditional Eastern European instrumentation helped set the tone during Czernobog’s scene. The same can be said about the gentle Middle-Eastern musical tones that accompanied Anubis’ long walk upward to the scales. It was pretty disturbing the way the Egyptian god ripped her heart out of her chest. Did the woman feel compelled to share her deepest, darkest secrets? Though Mr. Jacquel assured the dead woman that her best was good, and chose her door… why did her damn cat push the lady inside? Was it the right door? Had she followed the right god?
Back at Czernobog’s place, Shadow slept peacefully apparently having accepted his fate. A deal’s a deal, I guess. Until this point we had still not met the mysterious third sister, who slept throughout the last installment. Would she somehow save Shadow’s life or bring him back from the dead? I loved that he couldn’t pronounce her name. This youngest of the three sisters explained they watch the sky for a “bad thing” that’s chained in the stars. I had no clue what she was referring to, but Wikipedia shed some light on the winged doomsday hound, Simargl. Since the series just started, it’s doubtful the hound will break free and devour the constellation causing the universe to end. However, it was interesting learning more about the Vechernyaya sisters because I wasn’t sure how they fit with Czernobog. I’m assuming these old Slavic gods help maintain a certain balance between them. She offered to help Shadow for a “disgusting” kiss, but would her protection help? I guess it did in the end.
I was surprised Czernobog agreed to another game. Did he really fear he’d gotten weak killing cattle with a bolt gun? Those turn of events seemed way too convenient, as Shadow would win the second round and old Czernobog would end up falling in line for Mr. Wednesday. It’s certainly not how I imagined things playing out, but it was the easiest alternative. Will he still try to kill Shadow later on? Zorya reading Wednesday’s fortune and informing him he would fail sounded like a season finale cliffhanger to me. Will we lose Ian McShane for the recently announced Season 2? Westworld proved any major character was dispensable, as we’re not sure Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Ford will be back next year. Do you think American Gods will pull something similar with the Mr. Wednesday character?
Yes, last episode I wondered where Mr. Wednesday was going to get the cash to pay his new bodyguard. Why, robbing a freakin’ bank of course. Nothing Wednesday does is predictable though, so he simply grabbed some deposit slips to kick off his little con. Did Wednesday cause the snow storm, or was Shadow actually the one responsible? Was it Shadow’s faith that helped fuel Wednesdays power? Is that Shadow’s true purpose? While it’s too soon to tell if Shadow’s more than a mere mortal, I tend to believe Wednesday worked the weather to his benefit. Either way, Shadow seemed to think he’d caused the snow meaning he’s officially caught up in Mr. Wednesday’s schemes and manipulations. Robbing the bank was easy enough, wasn’t it?
Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) was experiencing an unlucky day (as did the good Samaritan that picked him up), and he soon realized his magic coin was missing. I knew right away, we would be seeing Laura Moon (Emily Browning) again by the end of the hour. How will their reunion go, and not just because she’s dead but the whole cheating thing I mean? Will he forgive her?
The second “Somewhere in America” section reintroduced the Jinn (Mousa Kraish), the mythical being of fire who Mr. Wednesday met with last episode. Salim (Omid Abtahi) waited patiently for hours for that appointment and the guy never showed. The salesman sure was having a rough go of it, but I never expected his encounter with the Jinn to lead to that intense sex scene. The two had an instant connection, so you understood this was more than a one night stand. The scene was graphic, but tastefully shot and I love that American Gods tackles subject matter that may make folks uncomfortable. Listen, love is love and though we might not be used to seeing gay sex depicted on screen this explicitly, it was handled well. Did the Jinn transfer his life force to Salim when they made love? Is the Jinn’s lover now more than human or was his wish to be a Jinn? He repeated the phrase, “I don’t grant wishes” but I’m not 100% sure what went down. If you can shed some light on the matter, please share your theories below…
While the pacing was much slower this episode, we did meet some new characters and learned a bit more about others like the Slavic sisters and the Jinn. I can’t say I have a clue where this story is headed, aside from the fact war is brewing. All I know for sure, is that I’m enjoying my time in the insane world of American Gods and I’m thrilled the series will be back next year. Though I haven’t read Neil Gaiman’s novel, it’s easy to get a sense you’re watching something unique and well put together. I don’t mind feeling a little lost in the world of American Gods, knowing that Bryan Fuller will deliver all the right answers before the season ends. Sure, we’re in for a massive cliffhanger, but that’s okay as long as by Episode 8 we’ve got a better sense of what’s going on. Right now I feel as lost as Shadow is, which I’m sure is by design. As he begins realizing his place in all this, so will the audience. Bring on Episode 4 “Git Gone.”
American Gods airs Sundays at 9/8c on STARZ.