American Gods 103 - Head Full of Snow
PREMIERED SUN, MAY 14 at 9PM ET/PT
Official Synopsis: Shadow questions the terms of his employment when Mr. Wednesday informs him of his plan to rob a bank, because, every army needs a source of funding. And just when he thought his life couldn’t get any more complicated, Shadow returns to his motel room to a surprising discovery.
Writing these reviews is getting harder with each passing episode.
I sit down to make my notes as the characters dance across my computer screen, but instead of writing down thoughts I’m engrossed in the story. That’s clearly not a bad thing. A TV show that doesn’t engage you is even harder to review.
So let’s pick up with the phrase that has been the focus of each episode: “Somewhere in America”
Today, we’re going to be talking about Egyptian myth.
Unlike the previous episodes, the introduction doesn’t take place in some distant time, but right now and right here. The Egyptian God of death comes to pay an old woman a visit.
The digital effects team does a marvellous job of creating that world. The Galaxy unfolding in the sky, as a woman’s heart is weighed against a feather.
One of the things I loved about Neil Gaiman’s work, that has been carried into the show, is the love of the mythology. It doesn’t feel judged, it feels presented. Here is what is believed. Go with it.
We come back to Shadow, sleeping the night before his death. Losing the checkers game has meant he’s going to be bashed in the head come sunrise.
The last episode we met 2 of 3 sisters. As Shadow lays awake before his impending death he meets the third on the roof of the apartment building.
All fortune tellers she looks into his eyes “You believe in nothing, so you have nothing.” We aren’t talking love at this point. Later in the episode Shadow and Wednesday talk about fantasy and reality and that the world exists to Shadow in that binary state. It either is or it isn’t.
Do you believe that something you don’t believe in can be? Do you believe that it’s possible that there is a bigger explanation out there than what you know?
We’ll come back to that idea a little later.
After the interaction with the sister, and picking up a new coin (like that isn’t going to be important later) Shadow challenges the God to another game of checkers. If Shadow wins the God will join Wednesday on his mission, and kill Shadow when’s he’s done. If he loses…well, Shadow plays on the arrogance of Gods well.
We take some time away from the travelling pair to meet an Egyptian man trying to make it in America.
After waiting all day to meet a man who clearly doesn’t want to meet him he finds himself in the back of a cab with a fiery-eyed creature at the wheel.
A Djinn, stuck in America. Stuck at a terrible job. The two talk about the old country, about being here and now, and eventually that leads to a night together, where the Djinn’s energy transfers bodies.
In the morning the new body hopes back in to the old cab.
As I mentioned earlier the talk about belief plays out over Chinese food and car rides. Wednesday asks Shadow if he always believed in love. Shadow says that he only did once he met his wife.
“So you didn’t believe till you did, and then the world changed because you believed.”
If that’s true of love, what else might it be true about? Shadow still can’t believe the world beneath the world, even though what he’s seeing doesn’t add up, doesn’t compute, he refuses to see what we all know..there is something bigger.
As the episode ends Shadow’s life is once again confronting death. But this time…it’s not his death he must confront.