Now I REALLY don’t want to hear anything else from anyone about how confusing AMERICAN GODS is, because this week’s episode, “Lemon Scented You”, just answered all of our questions and explained everything that’s going on. Mkay?
This week, we return to starting with a Coming to America vignette, which was a beautifully animated tale about a Siberian nomadic tribe living in 14,000 BC traveling from Sibera to what will later become America. The tribe worships an ancient God, Nunyunnini, a gigantic mammoth head, and prays to it for prosperity. As the tribe becomes accustomed to their new land, however, Nunyunnini becomes forgotten, and eventually withers away.
For those of you paying attention to Mr. Wednesday, this Coming To America tale actually gives an example as to what he claims to fear the most “being forgotten.” This is the first time that we as an audience fully understand what’s at stake for the Old Gods if they are no longer worshiped. We understand why the threat of the New Gods is actually pretty detrimental.
We return to the motel room where Laura awaits Shadow. Once Shadow gets over the fact that his dead wife is sitting alive in his room, he questions her about her affair with Robbie… because let’s ignore the fact that you’re dead – you cheated on me! Laura gives him an unsympathetic recount of her relationship with Robbie (which did NOT help my already annoyed feelings towards her). She goes on to tell him what happened during the accident, and while this would’ve been the perfect place to explain how she’d seen the afterworld, a blasé Laura skips over the most important details and makes it seem like she just happened to wake up after she died.
After leaving the hotel room to grab cigarettes, Shadow returns to find Laura taking a bath to “warm herself up.” Shadow tells her that the last time they’d talked he’d had a feeling that he was never going to talk to her again. He tells her that he has the same feeling now, and that he knows that something big is coming. Laura, being who she is, ignores this, engaging him in a kiss, which she tells him helps her feel alive. She thanks him for her coin – which he tells her belongs to someone else… I’m sure that’ll be a problem later. Finally, Laura asks him if he’s still her “puppy”, thankfully, he says no. Ya’ll don’t understand how happy I was when he said no!
Meanwhile, Mr. Wednesday is visited by a crow who tells him something disturbing. Mr. Wednesday comes to visit Shadow because some “unfortunate events have conspired against them.” The police arrive, and they are arrested for the bank robbery Mr. Wednesday pulled a few episodes ago. Why is Shadow always getting arrested for other people’s nonsense?
While Shadow and Mr. Wednesday are dealing with the law, we check in with the God of Tech (the prick kid from episode one), who’s being chastised by the God of Media, appearing in the form of what seems to be David Bowie (she previously appeared as Lucille Ball). She tells Tech that she’s been sent to him by Mr. World, who demands that he apologies to Mr. Wednesday and Shadow for attempting to hang him. He refuses, saying that it’s not fair considering Mr. Wednesday is collecting “Monsters” to use against them, but she insists that he made the situation worse by attempting to kill Shadow and he will apologize.
And then ya’ll, Mr. Wednesday finally, explicitly tells us his plan. As the police is interrogating him, he’s asked why he was in Chicago. Mr. Wednesday tells the detective (who I’m sure he knows won’t believe him), that he was recruiting the God of Death in a war against the New Gods.
Shadow’s detective asks if Mr. Wednesday has any enemies. She warns him that whoever is against Mr. Wednesday is huge considering she was sent an anonymous fax with their exact coordinates and information. She tells Shadow that whoever gave the tip used the same technology that helped to catch Osama Bin Laden. This peaks Shadow’s interest.
Meanwhile, as Laura waits for Shadow, the leprechaun breaks into her motel room demanding she give him his coin back. He tries to fight her, but with a couple of lazy flicks of her wrists, she’s able to subdue him. He tells her that that coin is reserved for royalty, and that he gave it to Shadow by mistake. Laura, who has the upperhand in the battle interrogates the leprechaun. She asks how he knows Shadow, the leprechaun admits that he was told to be at the same bar he met Shadow in and to pick a fight with him, so they can see “what he’s made of.” Of course, the person that made the request? Mr. Wednesday. The leprechaun goes on to admit that Mr. Wednesday, who’s real name is “Grimner”, is a God that shouldn’t be trusted. He makes one last attempt at getting his coin from her, but is interrupted by the police who arrests him for what looks like murder.
Back at the jail, Mr. Wednesday tells Shadow that they have to get out soon. This is the first time we’ve seen Mr. Wednesday afraid of anything. They’re interrupted by a floating Maryland Monroe – or the God of Media. As Shadow tries to convince himself that this isn’t real, a new God approaches them. Even though Mr. Wednesday tells Shadow not to say anything, this God recounts every piece of information he knows about Shadow, from his name to blood type, to likes and dislikes, to the face he makes during masturbation. Ew. This obviously is Mr. World. Mr. World summons the God of Tech, who gives a lackluster apology to Shadow for hanging him. The New Gods tell Mr. Wednesday that they can help him, offering a truce to help the old gods “find their audience.” A merger, or an upgrade. They pitch a new piece of technology – a satellite – that will help the Old Gods get the attention that they need. Mr. Wednesday refuses. The group leaves, giving Mr. Wednesday a chance to change. Mr. World tells Shadow that he’s not their enemy.
Mr. Wednesday and Shadow escape their cell, only to find the entire police force massacred. As they’re looking for an escape route after being pursued by some tree creature, the leprechaun escapes, who’s been brought to the station.
What I appreciate the most about this episode was how it really explained everything from the first half of the season. Those of you who are smart enough to have already figured everything out probably didn’t need it, but for me, it was really nice to hear what was happening. I enjoyed the reintroduction to the New Gods, their plan, and their beef (or lack their of) with Mr. Wednesday. I think that the show was able to thread together all of the pieces it’s given us so far really well, and now – for everyone who complained about it- we have one cohesive storyline that everyone should be able to follow.
My favorite part of this episode was learning more about the new Gods. I thought that Mr. World was a fascinating combination of terrifying and intriguing. I thought that their dynamic was strong and presents a powerful threat to Mr. Wednesday and the Old Gods.
On the flip side, this week we’re presented with a new question: should we trust Mr. Wednesday? Are the New Gods correct in the need to merge together? Is Mr. Wednesday holding on to old customs simply for the sake of being stubborn? That will be addressed moving forward and I love that it’s no longer a question of right and wrong, but a question of ego.
Season 1, Episode 5 (S01E05)
American Gods airs Sundays at 8PM on Starz
Writer based in LA. Just trying to write good stuff while deep conditioning my hair.
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Vanessa Jay | Contributor