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This week on ‘American Gods’–Let it snow

This week on ‘American Gods’–Let it snow

I’m assuming if you’re here then you’ve seen the third episode of American Gods. If not, you might want to go ahead and jump ship now because this show is about to be spoiled more than milk left on the counter for three days during a Texas summer…

Please be advised. Improper language shall ensue.

Guess what? You’re dead!

It’s a funny thing, cooking dinner for your family only to get a knock on your door telling you you’re dead–this is what happened in the first scene of the third episode to a woman who I’m calling Unsuspecting Woman #1.

She opens the door to a Black man to whom she is very rude, and before she can hurl any further insults he points to her dead body on the floor. “He” is Mr. Jacquel a.k.a. Anubis, the Egyptian god of funeral rites who ushered souls into the afterlife, usually depicted as a jackal or a man with a jackal head.

Even though Unsuspecting Woman #1 is Muslim, her teacher once told her the ways of Old Egypt, of the gods and mythologies, and she remembered them. For that, Mr. Jacquel will take her “to the scales.”

Once there, Mr. Jacquel takes her heart out of her chest and weighs it against the Feather of Truth. If the heart is heavier than the feather, then the soul is devoured. If it is as light as a feather, then the soul is worthy of entering the realm of the dead. Unsuspecting Woman #1’s heart is light as a feather and is given her choice of five portals to go through. But she takes too long to go through the door, and the cat hilariously pushes her through.

Shadow Moondreams

Shadow wakes up on Czernobog’s couch to a breeze from an open window. And because he has a neverending case of the curiosities, decides to climb out the window and onto the roof. Here he meets Zorya Polunochnaya, the other Zorya sister who was sleeping. While the other sisters are known as the Morning Star and Evening Star (guardians of the sun), Zorya Polunochnaya is the Midnight Star (guardian of the moon). So she’s up late into the night, looking at a remarkably beautiful night sky, talking about constellations and impending doom from her mythology.

She offers her help protect Shadow on one condition: he has to kiss her. I mean, I don’t blame her for that one :). She’s not impressed by her fist kiss, but she makes good on her promise and literally gives Shadow Moon the moon.

Now that Shadow’s feeling himself again, he goes another round of checkers with Czernobog. The result is a new deal. Czernobog will go with Wednesday to Wisconsin, and then he will kill Shadow.

Also, will somebody please get Czernobog a pedicure?

Meanwhile, Wednesday is feeling up on Zorya Vechernyaya and asks her his fortune. She tells him he’ll fail, but he only accepts it as his fortune today, believing (like so many of us) that his fortune can always change tomorrow. Zorya, however, warns Wednesday that the new gods will kill him.

What happens to a leprechaun straight outta luck?

For starters, said leprechaun may find himself at the opposite end of a gun in a bathroom stall. Then said leprechaun may find himself heading towards Wisconsin with no transportation. A sketchy looking Good Samaritan pulls up to Mad Sweeney looking worse for wear walking on the side of the road and offers him a ride. Almost immediately, in a scenario straight outta Final Destination, a pipe flips off of a truck and smashes straight through the driver’s skull.

Mad Sweeney realizes something is up and rummages through his endless supply of coins. Now he knows that his special coin is missing, and he needs to get it back.

Talk about a magic stick

In New York, Salim is struggling to make a halfway decent living and is met with failure after failure. He’s selling worthless tourist trinkets, realizing his life is shit. When his taxi driver falls asleep in traffic, Salim wakes him up and sees flames where his eyes should be. The driver is a jinn–a supernatural creature created from fire from Arabian/Islamic mythology.

The jinni (whom we saw very briefly in the previous episode), also discusses his frustration with his current misunderstood status to Salim. Because yes, the jinn have been anglicized to what we now know as genies. “I do not grant wishes,” he says.

Their shared frustrations and experiences create a somewhat melancholy bond between the two, and Salim gives his driver his hotel room number as he’s dropped off. Okay, sir! Back in his hotel room, he and the jinn get p-retty hot and steamy, and there is one hell of a fiery orgasm. Like… Wha…

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This show is so beautiful.

Salim wakes up the following morning to find his partner and his belongings gone with the wind with only the jinn’s clothes, keys, and various IDs left behind.

Let’s rob a bank

Ever the con artist, Wednesday plans to rob a bank because he’s broke and war costs money. If there’s one thing we all know about war, it’s that. Plus, this is Odin we’re talking about here. And if there’s one thing we all know about the Viking god, it’s that he loves war. But Shadow is fresh out of prison and hell bent on not going back, so he’s not having it. All Wednesday wants is a little faith–literally–and tells Shadow to think of snow. Lots of it. Wednesday needs a distraction for his con job, and that distraction is a snow storm.

And if you blinked, you might’ve missed that Media was watching Wednesday and Shadow through the bank’s security cameras.

In the meantime, Wednesday and Shadow go to a print shop for some fake business cards and a conversation about Jesus ensues. Wednesday even seems jealous of him. Jealous because of his popularity and all of the need for him in America. “He’s doing very well for himself these days,” Wednesday says, arms folded tightly across his chest. You see, Jesus is not on the verge of being forgotten. And that is Wednesday’s biggest fear.

Shadow drifts off to sleep, and when he wakes up, there’s snow! Just what Wednesday wanted. But… snow wasn’t in the forecast. Now Shadow’s head is all messed up, and he begins to question what’s real and what’s not.

While Shadow and Wednesday argue the differences between reality and fantasy, Mad Sweeney shows up asking for his coin. But Shadow threw his coin away on top of Laura Moon’s grave, and the leprechaun is once again outta luck. He still plans on meeting Wednesday in Wisconsin but has to make a pit stop at a cemetery first. Unfortunately, his coin is gone (damn, homie). But so is Laura’s body…

In the car, Wednesday and Shadow have a conversation about what it actually means to believe in something, and look at that! Shadow actually gets paid! He goes back to his room to unpack everything that’s just happened and get some rest, but guess who is sitting on his bed? His dead-but-not-so-dead wife, Laura.

Character of the Week

This one was hard. Wednesday came through with the funniest con and the fire quotes about faith and Jesus–about Americans not really knowing who they are. He almost had it. I wanted to give it to him. But the jinn literally nutted fire into somebody then bounced. He wins the episode.

Quotables

“You believe in nothing, so you have nothing.” ~Zorya Polunochnaya

“There’s a lot of need for Jesus, so there’s a lot of Jesus.” ~Wednesday

“White Jesus could stand a little more suffering.” ~Wednesday

“We remember what’s important to us.” ~Wednesday

Final Thoughts

Death is all around this episode from the arrival of Mr. Jacquel to warnings from the Zoryas and Laura’s resurrection from the grave. It’s a reminder that one of the main roles of religion/faith is to provide comfort with the idea of death so that we may believe there is something greater beyond our physical existence.

Speaking of religion, we also get a taste of the many colors of Jesus when Wednesday spits his knowledge of Americans and our copious need of him. Black, African Jesus. Brown, Mexican Jesus. White, Jesuit-style Jesus. All the Jesuses. He’s not at risk of being forgotten anytime soon.

Also, the cinematography in American Gods is excellent–every scene is like a moving painting. And the scene with the jinn and Salim has to be one of the most beautifully shot sex scenes I’ve seen on television–if not the most beautiful. That music!

And if you’re at all confused about the old gods and have no idea who they are or where they came from, that is precisely the point of it all. We (the audience) don’t know them because they (the old gods) have faded/are fading away here in America, which is the very thing that Wednesday is fighting against. You see how meta this is?

Believe.

 

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View Comment (1)
  • The line/phrase “Nutted fire then bounced” reallllly just took me out the game lol great review!

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