American Gods – Ep. 5 “Lemon Scented You”: A Review

Posted: 05/30/2017 in Uncategorized

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Continuing its game of ‘oneupmanship’, American Gods delivers another tour de force episode with  ‘Lemon Scented You”.  This ep was gonzo from the get go with its bizarre animation and prehistoric god tale opening the narrative. The notion of ‘gods are bastards’ is once more powerfully illustrated. The ep had tons of personal moments and chess piece/ big game sequences that assured this show’s second season renewal is justifiably earned.

Gillian Anderson stood out terrifically in this run. As “Media” a modern god, she speaks through classic entertainment figures to reach a broader audience. Her Ziggy Stardust David Bowie depiction was just – superior. She effortlessly speaks in a British accent, her tone and mannerisms presenting a brilliant homage to the man himself. Her using “Technical Boy’s” own machinations…literally- to broker a meeting with him and push that he should apologize to Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Wednesday (Ian McShane) opened the field to the inevitable presence of the god of modern gods, “Mr. World” (Crispin Glover). Glover kills the performance, showing his trademark zaniness but reigning it in so that we grasp he is ridiculously powerful but still understands  the value of the old pantheon gods and affords them proper respect.

The meeting between Shadow and his formerly living wife Laura (Emily Browning) was perfect. Her being there, nicely cleaned up and sanitized with a huge run of fly paper keeping the insects off her is absurd. Her smiling prettily as if all is well and their relationship can readily be rekindled was star making performance on Browning’s part. She is given a fairly unlikable, harsh character to play and what she does with her performance is stellar. She makes you care at least a little about a character who has to die in order to discover her humanity and the notion of true love. Whittle, unlike his novel version, is allowed to stretch with this role, giving Shadow layers and depth. His flinging a pillow at her face as his initial reaction is funny and odd. His wanting to know she was actually there and not some delusion, after all he has recently encountered, was fantastic. The back and forth between the two fluctuates between funny banter and deep tragedy. She now appreciates him and wishes to move forward. He keeps coming back to her betrayal and understandably cannot. Her matter of fact declarations are simply how she is, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and we feel for him.

Her disrobing, giving undeniable testimony to her true state is jarring. Her later act of laying in a tub of water, submerging just below her nose so that she can warm her mouth that he might kiss warm lips is again…jarring. The two sharing the briefest of intimacy gives credence to the idea that he literally is the light of her life. A move by the modern gods disrupts their meeting and draws both Shadow and Wednesday into an arrest for robbing a bank several counties over via their earlier grift. Wednesday’s conversation with his raven is as magical as every spoken word of gesture via the craft of Ian McShane.

After an interrogation and the understanding by a local police officer that there is a larger game afoot, the real game comes into play. Wednesday’s tactic of simply speaking the truth to the officer who interrogates him up to and including ‘the leprechaun’s a fucking idiot” was terrific and segues masterfully to a face to face between Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) and Laura. That many of the scenes in the tv version are not in the novel and are an extrapolation which captures the heart of Gaiman’s work are testimony to the talent behind this show. Laura’s war of words and superior cunning made for an exceptionally good bit of entertainment.

The meeting of old and new complete with Anderson’s spot on…and levitating…Marilyn Munroe entrance killed. Her unnerving Shadow continues to play well. Her speaking in Munroe’s breathy tone while sharing intel on what might very well have happened regarding the star’s demise had proper oomph. Mr. World’s introduction and presentation of his abilities were masterful from both a performance perspective and dazzling visuals. The pitch by Media and World with a chided Technical Boy gave a glimmer of their end game as well as an outing of Wednesday’s true identity…indirectly. Wednesday’s “I am the sand in your oyster” speech was perfect form and duly defiant.

The coming together of characters and the push toward a larger scale confrontation is being served out glacially and with the promise of end game or end times delivery, that is just fine. American Gods remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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