SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen episode five of American Gods.
Quote of the Week- “Gods live and gods die.”
This episode opens with Mr. Ibis narrating an animated sequence. It shows the first tribe that made the very difficult trek to North America across the land bridge from Siberia in 14,000 B.C. He notes that they had brought their god with them. Upon their arrival, they do not find the bounty that they had expected; instead they find exceptional hardship. They had also lost several members of the tribe in the trek across the frozen tundra.
The new lands did not provide the sustenance that they needed, so they prayed to their god. In those days, the barrier between people and the gods was not as strong. Their god answered their prayer, but his answer was costly to them. They had to join a different tribe and worship a new god to survive. Eventually, their god died because he was forgotten.
In the present, Laura waits in Shadow’s room for him to return. The flies are attracted to her decaying flesh. Shadow enters and he asks her what she is doing there. He throws a pillow at her to make sure she is real. Laura throws the pillow back at him. Shadow tells her that they have issues to discuss, specifically her and Robbie. Laura tries to deflect the conversation to her “resurrection” but Shadow wants to discuss what is important to him, which is her affair. He wants to know everything.
Laura starts to relate why she had an affair with Robbie. She tells Shadow that she believed herself when she said she would wait for him, or at least, she gave herself the benefit of doubt when she said she would wait for him. She waited 13 months before starting an affair. He asks her why it was Robbie. She does not give a concrete reason, she just did it because Robbie was convenient. She does tell him the truth about how they died.
Laura tells Shadow about her afterlife, but she does not mention Anubis or being judged. Also, she fails to tell Shadow that she saved him from dying when he was hung. She asks him to get a cigarette to calm her, and possibly him as well.
Shadow goes for the cigarettes. As he returns to his room, someone is watching him from a car in the parking lot. In the room, Laura is soaking in the tub to warm her skin, in the hope that Shadow will want to touch her. Outside, a raven goes to Wednesday’s door to report to him.
As Laura and Shadow continue to talk, Shadow tells Laura that he knew something was about to happen and somehow, he knew Laura would die. Shadow again talks about a big storm coming across the country. Laura leaves the tub and kisses Shadow. As they kiss, some of Shadow’s golden essence flows into Laura and for a moment, her heart beats.
Laura is thankful for the coin and the life it has given her. He tells her someone will come looking for the coin. She tells him that it is hers now. Laura wants to know if Shadow is still her puppy. At first, he smiles with a hint of his old love, but gradually it changes into something darker as he tells her that he is no longer her “puppy.” There is insistent knocking at the door. It is Wednesday.
Wednesday wants to go out for a drink. Shadow tries to keep Wednesday outside as Wednesday smells a horrible scent coming from Shadow’s room. While they are arguing, police cars arrive with sirens blaring. Shadow and Wednesday are arrested for bank robbery. From the room, Laura watches as her light is taken away.
Meanwhile, Technical Boy is leaving a nightclub and walking toward his car when the street lights start going out. He is captured by the same type of device he used to capture Shadow. Media has taken him and she is outrageously dressed as David Bowie.
In a British accent, she chastises Technical Boy for his treatment of Shadow. She tells Technical Boy that he has an image problem with Mr. World. He was tasked to ask a few questions of Shadow, which somehow ended with him being hung from a tree. Technical Boy responded that Shadow was not being truthful with him. Media tells Technical Boy that he must apologize, since he was beating up the wrong person. Technical Boy asks her to take his apology to Mr. World. Media explains that Mr. World expects Technical Boy to give a sincere apology to Mr. Wednesday and to Shadow. She explains to Technical Boy that his actions have put gasoline on the embers that Mr. World had almost extinguished.
Back at the jail, Shadow is being interrogated by the police detective. Although Shadow continually asks for a lawyer, the detective does not stop talking. She tells Shadow that he must have powerful enemies. She asks him how else would it be possible for such a provincial police department as theirs, one that is two state lines away from the crime scene, be able to catch them. She explains that the police received detailed information via fax about Shadow’s and Wednesday’s GPS location, license plate number, mileage, and even the VIN for their vehicle. She shows Shadow aerial pictures of them entering the bank. At this point, Shadow decides to talk. In the other interrogation room, Wednesday plays the part of a demented old man who was either taken or escaped from a senior citizen home. Finally, he agrees to tell the truth, which he does. The detective, who is questioning him, does not believe the tale of old gods being recruited to fight the new gods.
At the motel, Mad Sweeney kicks in the door to Shadow’s room and demands his coin from Laura. He grabs her around the throat and looks down her throat. He sees his coin embedded in her esophagus. Laura then thumps him with enough power to throw him against the wall. Sweeney begs for the return of his coin. He tells her that the coin should have been given to the King of America, not to Shadow. He demands the coin again but he uses a very profane word in his demand, which causes Laura to break his finger.
Laura steps on Mad Sweeney’s hand with the broken finger and demands answers. She promises him that if he does not answer that she will kick him in the nether regions. She tells him that her kick will start in that area and end in his throat. She has already done this to one of Technical Boy’s minions.
Laura asks Sweeney how he knows Shadow. He tells her that he was instructed by Wednesday to pick a fight with Shadow to get the measure of the man. Sweeney offers Laura many other coins but she recognizes that none of the other coins are as valuable as the one Shadow gave to her. Sweeney tries another tack. He tells Laura that her body will rot and he will retrieve his coin then. He offers her a drink from his flask. This was a just a ploy, as he grabs Laura and attempts to drown her. Unfortunately for Sweeney, the police arrive. They were called by the other tenants of the motel after hearing his screams of pain. They handcuff Sweeney as he protests that Laura is still alive. Laura lies at the bottom of the tub, pretending to be “dead.”
At the jail, Shadow is put in the same interrogation room as Wednesday. Wednesday manages to get his handcuffs off with the help of a spider who owes him a favor. Wednesday tells Shadow that they have to leave. He appears, if not frightened, then at least apprehensive about something as the lights flicker. Shadow grabs Wednesday in a powerful grip and demands to know what is scaring him. They hear sounds of fighting and gunfire outside the room before the lights go out and the interrogation room door opens. Media floats in, dressed as Marilyn Monroe from the Seven Year Itch. She tells Shadow, “Happy birthday Mr. President,” as she floats into the room.
Shadow is unable to process how Media went from Lucy to Marilyn. Media tells him that she is in beautiful technicolor now. She explains that she did not commit suicide but that a CIA spook jammed a needle into her eyeball. Wednesday says that he has no business with her, but Media tells him that they want to change that. The cameras in the room all go dead as Mr. World (played by Crispin Glover) enters.
Mr. World tells Wednesday that he is glad to finally meet him in person. He admits that he did not realize how huge Mr. Wednesday is. Mr. World looks at Shadow as Wednesday tells Shadow not to say anything to him. Mr. World releases Shadow from his handcuffs as he tells Shadow that he knows him. Shadow says that he does not know him but then Mr. World gives Shadow very personal details that only Shadow knows. One important detail that Mr. World mentions is the recurring nightmare Shadow has of the Orchard of Bones. Mr. World’s head becomes pixelated as he goes on a tirade about how all of the details about everyone is recorded in his head. He appears to be lost in the realization of all this information when Media clears her throat and brings Mr. World back to reality.
Mr. World whistles, then has to whistle again as he asks Media if Technical Boy is still sulking. Technical Boy enters and apologizes for lynching Shadow, as he realizes that the lynching of a dark-skinned man in America taps into a hatred that he does not want to feed. Mr. World is not satisfied with this apology. He grabs Technical Boy and slams his head on the table. He asks Shadow if he wants to knock out Technical Boy’s two front teeth. Shadow answers no. Mr. World absolves Technical Boy, using signs of a pseudo-Catholic rite, before he tells him to sit.
Technical Boy offers to help Wednesday evolve into the new, technical world. Wednesday asks if they are offering a truce. Mr. World replies that he was not at war with Wednesday, even if Wednesday was at war with him. He is offering him something else. Media says it is a merger. They are offering Wednesday an upgrade to a “brand new lemon-scented you.” Mr. World explains to Wednesday that his brand of rugged individualism does not work anymore in a global environment.
Mr. World directs Media to present a video show on the walls of the room. The video shows the launch of the Odin guidance satellite, which will happen over North Korea the following month. It will be able to guide missiles to targets in North Korea. She tells Wednesday that 27 million people will know his name. He will be rebranded.
Wednesday slams his fist on the table, which causes the video presentation to cease to exist. He compares himself to a grain of sand which irritates an oyster. He is their irritation and they want to cover him. At this point, Mr. World is done trying to convince Wednesday to join them. He is preparing to leave when Technical Boy demands that they do something with Wednesday as they have him in their power. Mr. World educates Technical Boy about Wednesday. He explains that Wednesday is older than Technical Boy will ever be and that he has more wisdom than Technical Boy can imagine. He further explains that Wednesday deserves their respect. This infuriates Technical Boy to the point where he becomes profane and disrespectful to Mr. World. Media blows a kiss at Technical Boy, which is so powerful that it knocks out his two front teeth. Mr. World tells Shadow that it is his gift to him. As Mr. World leaves, he tells Shadow that he is not his enemy.
Shadow sits absolutely dumbfounded as he asks Wednesday if it was all real, did all those things actually happen? Wednesday answers that they are still happening. Wednesday and Shadow leave the interrogation room and escape through the police station. The station looks as if it has been blasted by a bomb as they see dead bodies amid devastated furniture.
They make it to the front of the police station where they see a police car arriving which has Mad Sweeney in it. They head back to another exit. As they are cautiously working their way to the rear door, a piece of wood pierces Shadow’s abdomen. This piece of wood has grown from a tree that has mysteriously appeared in the police station. This tree continues to grow as Shadow struggles to free himself. He finally manages to dislodge the branch before escaping down the corridor. He finds Wednesday at the rear door which he kicks open and they both escape into the mist.
In front of the police station, the two patrolmen from the police car enter with guns drawn since they cannot raise anyone in the station via radio. After they enter, Mad Sweeney hears gunshots, so he kicks out the window and escapes with some difficulty.
Meanwhile, at the morgue, every coroner’s worst nightmare happens. He hears a sound coming from one of the refrigeration units. It is Laura, who kicks the door so hard that both it and the coroner fly across the room. Laura gets out, dresses, and leaves.
This is another incredible and oddly amusing episode. We meet Mr. World, who is clearly a powerful player. Shadow and Laura are brought together but it is bittersweet reunion. Shadow sees things that are beyond his ability to comprehend while Laura is oddly complacent about the incredibly amazing things that have happened to her. Media is shown to be a very powerful and no-nonsense player. Oddly, Shadow still has not guessed that he is a significant piece in the war between Odin and the new gods. Also, he has not guessed that Wednesday is actually Odin.
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