American Gods – Ep. 6 “A Murder of Gods”: A Review

Posted: 06/07/2017 in Uncategorized

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The most bizarre series on television…at least until Preacher’s return on June 25th continues to dazzle with a two tiered story line. The main arc features Wednesday continuing his recruiting efforts via seeking out an elder god ally, Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen) with Shadow (Ricky Whittle) in tow. The second features the joyful return of Samir (Omid Abtahi) as his path crosses that of Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) and Laura Moon (Emily Browning). Many hijinx ensued and another superior run was presented. My review follows below.

Both arcs killed but I have to give a slight tip of the hat to the Moon/Sweeney run. A nasty enmity peppered with vicious and hilarious insults through a ‘chance’ encounter via a cab they are attempting to steal opens the door to a road trip which could act as its own self contained mini movie as all three characters are duly engaging. The story  lines intersect via Wednesday deliberately messing with Shadow’s head, and sabotaging Laura’s attempt to reconnect with her husband. Wednesday does help his right hand man however as he help ‘clear’ a wound given him by a sentient and malevolent ‘tree’ in last week’s outing. Shadow again questions what is real and the demonstrations of power and will from Wednesday in this episode alone should push him to embrace the hard reality around him. Wednesday’s explanation that his world has always been there on the periphery teases the battle to come. A visit to recruit an ally introduces an old god and formerly ally, Vulcan, who now runs/owns a town and presents armaments as a new vessel of worship hearkening more to a god of war than one of volcanoes. Vulcan is an original character brought forth in this series. The banter between the two elder gods plays well, though Vulcan’s behavior towards Shadow seems unnecessarily adversarial. A key moment at the bullet making factory, the key employer of the town, maintains the theme of sacrifice.

A really cool sequence that promises to bring more down the line introduces Jesus and the notion that not all gods require solely their believers’ sacrifice. The earlier declaration by Wednesday gains ground in this run:

‘You’ve got your white, Jesuit-style Jesus, your black African Jesus, your Mexican Jesus, and your swarthy Greek Jesus.’

He continued, ‘There’s a lot of need for Jesus, so there’s a lot of Jesus.’ That different actors play different incarnations has due resonance including both Jesus act of saving a drowning man and the aftermath of an illegal border crossing with commensurate religious imagery. The scene was not a lengthy one but it did present the notion that not all gods are war like or self-involved.

Laura’s attempt to catch up with Shadow, the literal ‘light of her life’ brings her into contact with Sweeney who offers a bargain in exchange for getting her ‘true life’. His discussion on “math” was funny as hell, as were her retorts and the comedic contempt each has for the other. His calling her “dead wife” and later “soup” is gallows humor at its purest. The return of Salim who is a metaphor for what Laura would like to be, someone with a new life and appreciation for such, had powerful delivery. Though Sweeney is a general bastard, his advice to Laura seems both hard won and sincere. The three of them riding together was superb. She questions Salim’s quest to find his Jinn sporting something akin to envy. Salim offers compassion and empathy even to Sweeney who mocks the cab driver and former salesman’s  sexual orientation though not maliciously. All moments between the trio including Laura’s return to her family home had impact. Salim’s praying and giving thanks to God for his life brought grace to this run. His wry humor and acceptance brought both heart and a softer edged levity. The trio’s story seems well worth watching.

Wednesday’s obtaining  Vulcan’s pledge to join him is capped off by his request to the weapon builder to make him a superior weapon befitting the old ways. Vulcan’s allegiance is ably stated in his earlier pronouncement about his current ‘glorified state’: “I was a story people forgot to remember to tell. And they gave me a gun. They put power back in my hand, and I gotta tell ya, it feels good. Every bullet fired in a crowded movie theater is a prayer in my name. And that prayer makes ’em wanna pray even harder.” The gift becomes a curse from one god to another and the stage is set for some pretty epic events in this season’s remaining two episodes. Shadow’s reaction to Wednesday’s actions was perfect, presenting his perspective again as that of a rational human being. American Gods is assuredly simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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