Season 1/ Episode 5/ Starz
We’re officially over the hump with American Gods. The first half of the season is filed away and can never be changed and we’re headed into the back-9. We’re surely in for a major treat with these last four and I’m sure “Lemon Scented You” showed you that.
After finding out that Laura’s a zombie and that she’s been following Shadow across the country, they finally get their reunion. Not a crazy dream sequence. I’m talking face to [rotting] face. But before we get to that, the episode starts with another story of an old god, one which may be the most important that we’ll see.
The opening of the episode is different from the rest in that it’s entirely animated. This decision makes sense given that the setting is a time period long gone. I’d have to guess immediately post-Ice Age? (If we have any anthro majors out there, help us out.) We follow a tribe of travelers as they make a voyage into new lands with their gods of old. As they begin to starve, they have no choice but to take on the traditions of another tribe’s faith, thus leaving their god behind. Over time, we find out that gods are capable of death, but only when no one believes in them.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled debauchery.
Shadow walks into his hotel room to find Laura and the week’s worth of horseflies that follow her everywhere. He’s understandably in shock and stops as soon as he sees her, only to throw a pillow at her head to see if she’s real. Shadow’s no sucka though. He doesn’t let his wife’s return from the grave distract him. She died while having an affair with his “best friend” and he needs answers. NOW.
Laura starts off by dodging the question but Shadow stands firm before she explains that she waited a full 13 months – “a baker’s year” – before sleeping with Robbie. Then she blames it on the grief of her cat dying and a bunch of other excuses ripped straight out of a Tyler Perry movie yet to be made. After clearing the air, the tables suddenly turn. Laura’s the one asking questions while Shadow remains aloof. Are they going to get back together? Are they still loyal – ha! – to each other? Who knows. Shadow leaves the room and comes back to find Laura sitting in the tub to give him something warm to hold. *CRINGE*
While Shadow’s had time to deal with Laura’s death and their permanent separation, she never did. So she’s still thinking that there’s a chance they end up together besides her being, you know, dead. Laura, honey… THIS IS NOT ‘WARM BODIES!’
Stepping out of a tub to show someone your Y-shaped Frankenstein scars is not good foreplay. Still, because he’s still grieving, Shadow freezes as Laura kisses him and Laura’s chest lights up as her heart beats for the first time in days.
After giving Laura the biggest curve of her entire life/afterlife, Shadow answers a knock on the door to see it’s an inquisitive Wednesday. (One of his ravens casually knocked on his door and told him what was up, because that’s a thing in this show.) Shadow’s insists on staying behind to talk to Laura until a police car pulls up and arrests the pair.
In the next scene, we come across Carrotrow Kenny (a.k.a. Digital Kid). He ends up on the other side of the motherbox thing that sucked Shadow in in episode 1 and has a face-to-face with Media, who looks more like David Bowie instead of Lucille Ball. Media tells Kenny that his attack on Shadow has lit a fire under Wednesday and only intensified the looming war between the old gods and the new. Kenny refuses to apologize as Media warns him of the consequences of his actions.
Back at the police station, Shadow and Wednesday are both being interrogated by a couple cops. Wednesday’s interrogator is getting absolutely nothing because he’s dived back into his “helpless old man” routine. The funny thing, though, is that Wednesday actually tells him the truth. But it’s so incredible that he assumes he’s lying.
Meanwhile, as an ex-felon, Shadow’s doing his best stoic impression until the cop lets him know someone BIG is coming after them. The police have received “some anonymous tip” of their location, sent to them from a fax machine — a fax machine that’s been off for years. She knows everything about Shadow. Laura, his release from prison, everything. But something tells me he’ll never be the guy who rats on a god.
Back at the motel, Laura finally soaks up that feeling of rejection and gets dressed. Suddenly, Mad Sweeney kicks open the door asking for his coin back. But there’s two main things in his way. 1.) He can’t take it by force. 2.) Laura’s body may be falling apart but she has the strength of 25 weightlifters who can send a man flying across the room with a finger.
Sweeney warns Laura about Wednesday, just as he tried to warn Shadow. Then he tries to bribe her to give him back his lucky coin, which is currently lodged in her body and not coming out anytime soon. But Sweeney has a brilliant idea. Laura’s still decaying. Eventually, her body’s going to fall apart. All he has to do is be there when it happens and take the coin for himself. Or he could just kill her now. Which he tries to do by…drowning… a… dead woman…?? (His brilliant idea turned stupid really quick.)
After all the commotion they cause, the police show up and arrest Mad Sweeney because all they see is him on top of a dead girl who’s lying motionless in the bottom of a tub.
[Note: From now on, or until I come up with something better, Laura will be referred to as “Dead Wife” quite liberally. The name’s more than fitting.]
Back at the jail, the police put Shadow and Wednesday in the same room to talk things over. Wednesday’s act ends as soon as the cop leaves the room because the photos they showed them came from “a particular god’s eye view of the world.” A small spider is seen popping Wednesday’s handcuffs – Anansi? – while Shadow berates him with all of the new questions he has.
BOOM! There are crashes outside and everything goes dark.
Media appears in the form of Marilyn Monroe only to be followed by Carrotrow Kenny and Mr. World (Crispin Glover), a new god who apparently has leadership over the rest. The meeting becomes a last-ditch attempt to prevent a war from happening.
Mr. World is a flatterer, to put it mildly, and Wednesday tells Shadow to not say a word. Too bad Mr. World knows pretty much everything that happens in the, well, world. Mr. World puts aaaaalllllllllllll of Shadow’s information out there, from his blood type to the face he makes during his vinegar strokes. He’s no joke, clearly.
As a peace offering, Carrotrow Kenny comes in to apologize to Shadow for lynching him the first time they met. (As if that’s something you can apologize for??) Mr. World throws him down on the table and offers Shadow an opportunity to punch his front teeth out to make things square. Shadow doesn’t take the offer but we do get another look at Kenny’s ridiculous hair!
The new gods make their sales pitch. They acknowledge that Wednesday’s been around longer than they ever will be and want to work with him to better both of their means. This also may have given us our first official confirmation that Wednesday is Odin as they offer him his very own Odin satellite over North Korea to be worshiped by the masses
Wednesday, forever the individualist, delivers a powerful monologue to basically tell the new gods to f*ck off and shove their deal where the sun don’t shine. The new gods walk out of the interrogation room as Kenny protests them leaving Wednesday behind instead of killing him on the spot. “Fuck respect,” he says as Mr. World knocks out his front teeth himself.
CLEARLY, Mr. World believes in big exits as much as big entrances.
As Shadow and Wednesday leave the interrogation room, they see the police station’s been ripped to shreds as the new gods came and went. Everyone’s dead, including the officers who were interrogating them. Suddenly, a tree grows out of a chair and chases them out of the station, with its sharp branches growing and stabbing Shadow as he turns a corner.
Out front, a squad car pulls up with two officers in front and a handcuffed Mad Sweeney in the back. The cops go inside to investigate only to be killed. Sweeney takes the opportunity to kick out the back windows and run away.
Back at the local morgue, a worker hears a banging coming from an ice box. Instead of calling someone, he does what anyone in a TV show does and looks into it himself. The drawer holding Dead Wife suddenly shoots off, probably killing him in the process. Dead Wife crawls out, finds her clothes, and walks out as if nothing happened.
Check out what’s coming in Episode 6, “A Murder of Gods,” before you get that recap next week.