After a stellar episode last week filled with emotion and fantastic new characters, this week seemed to have fallen a little short, although it did exceed expectations in a few areas.
To mix it up, this week’s episode opens with a ‘Somewhere in America’ segment instead where a women in Queens learns she has died after Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, comes knocking to inform her. Remarkably she is calm and the two head up the tallest fire escape and find themselves in a desert where he rips her heart out and weighs it against a feather to see if it is heavy with misdeeds. Luckily for her, it balances and she leaves through a portal to another world.
We then return back to Shadow who still remains at Czernobog and the Zoyra sisters (band name, is good?) household. He wakes and also finds himself climbing a fire escape, but instead he discovers the other Zorya sister, Polunochnaya. While she isn’t present in Slavic culture and was created for the novel by Neil Gaiman, Polunochnaya tells Shadow about how the sisters watch the sky to ensure the celestial bear does not escape and destroy all they know. She continues on by telling his fortune and says he has nothing because he believes in nothing. Polunochnaya asks Shadow for a favour, which ends up with her smooching Shadow so her first kiss is done and dusted, and in exchange she plucks the moon from the sky and gives it to him in the form of a Silver Liberty-head dollar. “Don’t give it away,” she cautions. “You’ve been given protection once—you had the Sun itself,” and she is referring to the coin received from Mad Sweeney in episode 1, and we find out more on that later.
Shadow then wakes up, again, but he has the coin so it must have happened? Regardless, he offers to play Czernobog again for the same terms and eventually goads him into accepting. The two battle it out once again, but this time Shadow wins so Czernobog agrees to go with them. While this is happening, Wednesday is with Zorya Vechernyaya and asks for his fortune, and even though it says he will lose the battle and will also die this time, he doesn’t mind because that’s merely his fortune for that day. The two then kiss in reminiscence of their good ol’ days, but it seems as though Wednesday pulls one over on her as the skies begin to rumble and Vechernyaya knows something has happened. Shadow and Wednesday prepare to hit the road again, but while Shadow gazes outside, he realises there is no fire escape—so just how did he get up there? The poor guy faces a lot of questions in this episode.
Mad Sweeney is back hungover and asleep on a toilet and wakes to find a gun pointed at him. The cocky leprechaun says nothing will happen, but when a bullet is fired, Sweeney is caught by surprise.
While walking the highway, a good samaritan offers him a ride, except the driver soon ends up with a pole through his mouth. Sweeney soon realises something is amiss and begins digging through his pockets of coins and learns he has given his lucky coin to Shadow.
In the second ‘Somewhere in America’ segment, a salesman walks through New York City and patiently waits for his appointment for almost 7 hours. After an uneventful day, Salim (played by Omid Abtahi) grabs a taxi to return home when he encounters the driver (played by Mousa Kraish) to also be another lost soul down on life. A connection quickly forms between the two as they share stories and at one point, he sees the driver’s eyes filled with flames. Salim then tells a story his grandmother told him and it turns out the driver is an Ifrit, otherwise known as Jinn or, a Genie (but not a Genie). The Jinn explains his frustrations about how the world believes he grants wishes (so basically don’t call him a Genie) and when they reach Salim’s destination, he is invited inside.
Now many fans of the book believed this scene would be scrapped, but instead the showrunners delivered an intense and intimate scene between the two men, which is quite incredible to build that level of chemistry within only a few minutes for two entirely new characters. They share a passionate scene, with somewhat strange visuals as the Jinn’s fire fills him. When Salim wakes up, he finds his clothes and companion gone and in place of them, the Jinn has left his own along with his identification and taxi keys. Essentially, the Jinn did grant him a wish by giving Salim a chance to live and start over. For those with a keen eye, you will have noticed the Jinn last week wearing Salim’s clothes!
Back to Wednesday, who is currently in the midst of planning to rob a bank, although Shadow is reluctant to assist since he’s fresh out of prison. The two pull off a different kind of robbery by merely donning security guard clothing and placing out-of-order signs on the bank’s ATM and deposit box. So naturally when people come to drop off their money, Wednesday takes it and Shadow provides cover by pretending to work at the security firm when the police turn up and call to confirm the story.
The heist wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for Wednesday guiding Shadow to clear his mind and to just think of snow. As Shadow thinks of snow and sees both ice and snowflakes form in his mind, the town is hit with some snow. While this part of the episode was strange and potentially confusing for some, it’s all about opening Shadow’s mind up to the possibility of there being more to the world and instilling belief into him to aid him in what is to come.
The duo hit the road once more and arrive at a new motel whilst Mad Sweeney rocks up to Laura’s grave with a shovel in hand to dig her up. While Shadow checks in and heads to his room, Sweeney sees his coin has burned through Laura’s coffin and she’s no longer in there. Cut back to Shadow and he is welcomed with “Hello puppy” by none other than his recently deceased wife.
Overall, this week’s episode was a let down, although it could be considered to be a cleanser after last week’s episode. While it featured a few great lines, Mad Sweeney and an intriguing bank robbery, the episode was quite heavy with its focus on belief so it can start to get the wheels churning in Shadow’s head. As mentioned before, for viewers who haven’t read the book, the series still remains quite overwhelming in regards to its steep entry, meaning viewers may have trouble in keeping up with the series and story. However, I will say this, its visuals, cast and portrayal will keep me watching to see just what happens.
American Gods returns next week with ‘Git Gone’.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!