My mother always said: “Better late than never.” Well I am not sure if she actually ever said that, but I figured it was a good excuse as to why this post is so late. Yes, tonight there is a brand new American Gods episode. Yes, we have not discussed episode 3 yet. Today you will have to make do without Nora’s expert opinion, but let’s just do it!
Heart vs. Feather
Mrs. Fadil, a Muslim woman, dies when she falls off a stool in her kitchen. She is not aware of her death, until Anubis comes to take her. Mrs. Fadil is confused as she is a Muslim, but Anubis tells her that the story she heard as a child were enough to plant a belief in her. Which is why he is there to guide her to the afterlife. They end up in a desert, where Mrs. Fadil’s heart is weighed against a feather, to determine if she led a good life. She passed and has to choose a door. Mrs. Fadil asks not to be sent to the world her father is in, as he abused her. Anubis urges her to choose, but then she asks if he can choose for her. Which he does.
I do think this sequence symbolises that we can believe in different things, be it Gods or other things, and still find that in the end it doesn’t matter. In the end, all that matters is whether we’ve lived a good life. That should always be the most important thing.
Another mysterious good-luck coin
In the second episode, Shadow lost a game of checkers and basically his life. In this episode, he goes up to the roof where he finds the third and youngest Zorya sister. She tries to get him to believe in something, and reads his fortune. Zorya says that he doesn’t care about losing his life and is afraid to acknowledge his pain. She gives him the moon, in the shape of a small coin. Zorya makes sure that he promises not to give it away this time. Inspired by their talk, Shadow wakes up and challenges Chernobog to another round of checkers. Shadow appears much more confident and persuades Chernobog to play with him. Luckily for his head, he wins the game!
I loved this scene because it showed the transition of a sceptic Shadow fighting against the wonders around him, into a confident Shadow. His entire body language changed and he becomes less passive, which makes him a more interesting protagonist.
“We’re going to rob a bank!”
His confidence does not last long, as Wednesday casually mentions that they are going to rob a bank. Shadow is not keen on this idea, because robbing banks often guarantees a one-way ticket to prison. As Wednesday is about to get some printing done, he asks Shadow to think of snow. Surprisingly, it actually starts snowing, even though no snow was predicted. Wednesday and Shadow have an interesting conversation about beliefs. Wednesday then goes outside and poses as a security worker to steal all night deposits, as he put up a sign that the ATM and night safe are out of order. The police come and Shadow panics, but Wednesday merely hands the cops a card. Shadow is positioned next to a payphone, which rings and the cops ask if he has a guy standing outside the ATM machine. Shadow’s confidence returns and he plays along, successfully convincing the cops that Wednesday is supposed to be there.
I think Mr. Wednesday is still one of the most amazing characters in both fiction and television. I keep mentioning how Ian McShane does a terrific job of portraying him, but it has to be said a million more times. This scene perfectly illustrates what a con man he is and more importantly, that we shouldn’t only believe in the things we can see.
Bad Luck Sweeney
We meet our favourite leprechaun Mad Sweeney again. He wakes up in the same bar, but discovers that his good luck is running out. The bartender’s shotgun doesn’t misfire. When he walks by the side of the road and is picked up by a nice man, the driver gets impaled by a metal rod that fell of the back of a truck. He then realises that he gave his lucky coin to Shadow. He finds Shadow and Wednesday and demands Shadow to give him back his coin. Shadow tells him to go and find the coin in the graveyard on Laura’s grave. Sweeney does go there and digs up the coffin, only to find a hole in it. Laura is gone. Mad Sweeney is not happy.
This sequence is quite a comic relief, although a bit gore. Especially when the metal rod hits the man in the face. Anyway, this is finally the part where Laura comes back to life and into action. I had been eagerly awaiting that moment.
Another Somewhere in America sequence shows us the story of Salim. He has just come to America, where he is trying to build a life for himself. Salim finds a job as a salesman, but after another unlucky shot at sales, he enters a cab where he meets a cab-driving dzjinn. They bond over the fact that America isn’t what the stories said it was. The pair return to Salim’s apartment, where it is shown that the dzjinn has fiery eyes. They make love in the room but also in the desert. When Salim wakes up, he finds that dzjinn has given him the opportunity to start a new life as a cab driver.
What I love about this show is that they are not afraid to go where no other show dares to go. A gay sex scene has never been shown this explicitly on television. They have filmed it in a beautiful and tender way. You barely even notice that it’s two men having sex and it should not even matter. I think a lot of series can learn from the way this sex scene is portrayed, so kudos to the creators!
Tonight there will be another episode. Are you watching? What did you think of this week’s episode?