Previously on American Gods, “Git Gone”
American Gods has gone off-book in the best possible ways. Everything feels authentic to the original material, yet the changes elevate the narrative beyond the page. Last week, we got a deeper look into Laura Moon (we literally did so again this week), and it looks at though she (and others) will have more to do instead of popping up every few chapters.
Of all the weird shit Shadow has seen, his zombie wife waiting for him in his motel room sounds about right. So it’s understandable that after he confirms she is, indeed, there, he would want to talk about how she died more than how she came back to life. Laura is honest, brutally so, telling Shadow the details of her affair with Robbie. She even includes the moments before her death, but remains quiet about where she’s been between dying and sitting in his room.
Laura vacillates from nonchalant, matter-of-fact, pouty, and flirtatious. She falls right back into treating him like his nickname, but Shadow is not the same man he was before she died. At least, in this moment, he’s not willing to be her puppy anymore.
It’s also interesting to note how the two are approaching this new dynamic in their relationship — he sees her for what she truly is and she believes she loves him now when she didn’t before — and their introductions to the impossible and unexplainable. He’s freaked out and confused. The bad feeling he had from before she died has manifested in her death, his lynching, her return, and the other half dozen or so bizarre things he’s witnessed. He tells her, “Nothing feels okay.” But being alive again and with Shadow feels pretty fucking okay to Laura. The woman who believed in nothing is now counting her blessings and hoping her afterlife means a second chance for them.
For those viewers who, as of last week, were still a bit confused by what’s happening in American Gods, this episode lays it all out.
Shadow and Laura’s reunion is interrupted when Mr. Wednesday comes knocking, literally tipped off about her presence by a little birdie. He doesn’t let on that he knows Laura’s in the room; instead he tries to lure Shadow away to have a drink. Those plans are halted when the police arrive to arrest them both for the bank robbery in Chicago.
While they’re gone, Mad Sweeney seizes that moment to confront Laura (or as he calls her Dead Wife) for his coin. Of course she’s not willing to give up the one thing keeping her alive and uses her new undead strength to kick his ass around the motel room. The rules that govern his magic state he can’t take the coin from her. Instead, he’ll just wait until her dead flesh eventually falls off her bones and then retrieve it. This will happen sooner than later if she keeps taking hot baths, he warns. Their last skirmish ends with him holding under the bath water and then being arrested for killing her when she “plays dead” when the cops arrive.
Fresh out of prison, Shadow knows the game and when the two are interrogated separately, all he’ll do is demand a lawyer. He only agrees to cooperate when the detective (played by the amazing Tracie Thoms) shows him the satellite surveillance of Shadow and Wednesday casing the bank — it’s the same satellite used to find Osama bin Laden and it was delivered via a fax machine that wasn’t even plugged in. She’s convinced Wednesday is involved with or running from some bigger fish and warns Shadow not to take the fall for it.
Meanwhile, Wednesday tries to play the senile grandpa role with his detective, before coming clean with his plans of recruiting old gods to fight the new gods. Of course, the detective thinks he’s crazy. Shadow is left alone with Wednesday in the hopes they’ll say something incriminating, and Shadow recognizes that his new boss is scared. Scared of what?
Glad you asked. After the sounds of gunfire and yelling throughout the precinct, the door opens, and in floats Media as Marilyn Monroe. Shadow just had a conversation with and a kiss from his dead wife, yet the sight of Marilyn’s white heels levitating several inches above the floor is almost too much. She’s just the opening act as Mr. World (Crispin Glover) makes his first appearance — and it’s grand. Crispin Glover just oozes boyish insanity. He apologizes for not meeting Wednesday sooner, but confesses he didn’t truly see Wednesday before. He sees him now.
Technical Boy is summoned and he’s forced to apologize to Shadow for lynching him. He delivers it with all the sincerity one musters when their parents make them apologize for hitting a sibling. Then they get down business. Using their considerable fields of influence, they offer to launch a satellite (named Odin) over North Korea. It’s purpose to spread his name and gain him worshippers. As Media puts it, “Valhalla anew!” Wednesday refuses.
Mr. World prepares to leave amicably, but Technical Boy doesn’t understand why they’re not taking out Wednesday right there. As Mr. World talks about how old and intelligent Wednesday is — and therefore worthy of respect — Shadow is looking at Mr. Wednesday like, “You mean this guy right here?”
After the new gods are gone, Shadow and Wednesday make their way through the police station filled with dead cops. A tree growing out of one of the bodies stabs Shadow in his side before they can get away. Mad Sweeney breaks out of the police car when the two cops who arrested him enter the police station and meet their end. And Laura takes out a poor morgue attendant with drawer door before grabbing her clothes and heading out into the night.
Is Good? (And Other Bits of Note)
The Coming to America animated story that opened the episode was gorgeous. It was an ambitious part of the book to include (it takes place in 14,000 B.C.), and the animation suited it nicely. Though they did change the story slightly from the novel. Still, the heart of the story remained. A tribe of people arrived from Siberia after a long and deadly journey. Their god, Nunyunnini (depicted as a mammoth skull the tribe carries with them), tells them where they’ll find food, but it comes at a cost. When their leader, Atsula, is killed the rest of the tribe shuns the offer of food and peace from the natives in the area. The children are spared and fed, and they grow up in the faith of the new tribe. Nunyunnini is forgotten.
Fun fact: Atsula is voiced by the actress who plays Bilquis, Yetide Badaki.
Mad Sweeney and Laura Moon are the team-up I didn’t know I wanted. I want more.
This episode confirms Wednesday’s identity: Odin. Will Shadow believe it?
Mr. World is #TeamTooMuch. No one should know that their masturbation face is the same as their mother’s; and did he have to put the number of her sexual partners out in the streets like that?
Are Laura’s feelings for Shadow genuine or are they tied to the coin and the fact that he “gave” it to her? There’s a reason she sees him with a permanent halo around his entire body. And it’s not just cause that body is FOINE.
Media as Marilyn was great, but her as David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust was simply stunning. The back of Technical Boy’s virtual limo (as she scolds him and demands his apology to Wednesday) was the perfect setting to debut that look.
American Gods S1E5
"Lemon Scented You"
Starring: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Pablo Schreiber, Crispin Glover, Gillian Anderson, Demore Barnes, Cloris Leachman, Peter Stormare, Kristin Chenoweth, Orlando Jones