American Gods Season 2 Episode 5 – Reaction Breakdown Review

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The episode opens on a village. Hounds come upon a woman’s body laying dead. There are a group of villagers assembled in an angry mob. There was a man, who is identified later in the episode as Will James, in the process of being lynched. An image of Laura flashes and it’s assumed that she was the woman who appeared dead earlier. It appears Will James is being lynched for her murder. During the lynching the robe breaks and the mob immediately begin attacking the body. He is shot several times, kicked and poked with sticks. The body is then drug through the streets on display.

Shadow awakens from this dream by the sound of Bastet meowing. He goes to the bathroom, looks in the mirror, and his eyes are changing colors. Suddenly there is a ghost of Will James behind him and he whispers something to him that I was not able to make out. Shadow then has the urge to pick up a blade and hold it to his own throat, it appears he is possessed. The hold is released and shadow drops the blade.

Mr. Wednesday is planting the seedling he obtained in a previous episode. He then begins to pee on it and possibly says a spell in another language. He tells it to grow well and Shadow enters and chastises Mr. Wednesday for peeing on the plant and Mr. Wednesday refers to it as the World Tree. Wednesday is then preparing to leave and tells Shadow he should spend the day with Ibis.

Ibis asks Shadow if he’s comfortable sleeping under the same roof as the dead and Shadow replies as long as they stay dead, Ironic since Laura is neither.

Finally we catch up with Mad Sweeney. He is in New Orleans drinking his fill. He’s talking to statues and passing out drink on what looks like an offering or a memorial. He is awakened by Laura. He admits that the further he is from her, the worse his luck becomes. They go to a bar and before entry Sweeney compliments the boy sitting at the door on his shirt and tosses a coin in his jar. As the enter the bar, a woman says that Laura has to leave because she is dead. Sweeney says he wants a parley. A man in a top hat is also with the bar woman and he welcomes Sweeney.

In the next scene we catch up with the Jinn and Salim. The Jinn mentions that he was born on a Thursday under the desert sun. Jinn’s were being forced to convert to Islam but he refused. Jinn asks Salim if he really believes there is only one true God. Mr. Wednesday shows up, honks his horn and says that he was there to pick up two men from the city of Sodom. He takes another stab at his joke, asking Jinn if he was actually in Sodom. Mr. Wednesday asks how was the meeting with Yahweh, as he could be a prude at times. He hustles them along as the King of the Dwarfs is waiting. Salim questions the Jinn following Wednesday and the Jinn responds that he had been hanging around Odin’s neck in an amulet for years and Odin freed him.

In the next scene we catch up with Mr. Nancy who is in Historic Downtown Cairo. He is walking around and crosses paths with a young man who we then follow as he goes to buy drugs. The police show up immediately and a chance ensues. The boy is caught by the police as he is distracted and stops to stare at a pole on fire. Will James’ head is burning on top of the pole which seemingly goes unnoticed or is unseen by the police as they arrest the young man. In the next scene, we learn the boy has been killed and his name was Jamar Goodchild, a relative to Ruby Goodchild. Ibis mention that his wounds are posthumous and are the same as Will James. It seems as though the boy died as he stops to stare at the pole and perhaps a police beating followed, similar to Will James’ lynching.

Ibis goes into storyteller mode and gives an account of Will James’s story. An eyewitness saw James cross paths with a white woman earlier in the day so when she showed up dead, there was no question that Will James was the perpetrator. As Ibis tells the story, Shadow is transported to the scene and Will James is speaking to him telling him to remember that he has to die. Shadow asks Ibis why Will James was haunting him. There is a quick scene of Salim defending Allah to Jinn and Mr. Wednesday and Mr. Wednesday is marketing himself as a better God. Then we move back to Cairo, where Ruby has stopped defending Jesus and her pastor is trying to convince her not to make any rash decisions to leave Cairo. It is somewhat suspicious that he wants her to stay in Cairo more than he’s trying to restore her religious belief.

Mr. Wednesday and crew final arrive at the Dwarf King who initially shuts Mr. Wednesday down stating that his war is not his affair. There are some Game of Thrones similarities in this seen as the Dwarf King uses the phrase “it is known” and he says that he is not a warrior he is a builder. There is some discussion about carving runes, 18 charms, runes fading and a little bastard; however, it is somewhat unclear what they’re speaking about. I’m sure if it will be made clear later or if it was something I missed in a previous episode. (Let me know in the comments). At the end of this scene, it seemed important to note that Mr. Wednesday points out to Salim that his monotheism is misguided.

Back in New Orleans, the man in the top hat has been identified as the baron also known as Baron Samedi. It’s unclear to me if he is the same as Papa Legba, but I think they are separate deities. However, the woman we met was Maman Brigette, Baron’s wife. The pair are voodoo deities. Maman Brigette makes Laura a drink and she gags maggots, which is followed by the blowing of cigar smoke in her face causing horripilations. Sweeney urges them to get on with it and there is a compact struck.

Ibis and Shadow are discussing Will James and Ibis explains that Will James cursed his people because he felt abandoned by them and Shadow does not understand and wants to know why. Mr. Nancy is annoyed with Shadow asking all the wrong questions and refers to him as Mr. Wednesday’s puppet. Shadow is annoyed and leaves but his car is stopped by a dog in the middle of the street. Back at the parlor, Anansi makes it clear he is in support of himself in the wars to come as he tries to convince Ibis that he can keep him in business with fresh bodies without them having to be brown bodies.

Shadow follows the dog and is lead to the burning head of Will James. Shadow questions James about taking black lives and James responds he worships only death and takes those without hope. He tries to explain it but Shadow becomes sick and throws up. He tells him Walk with my burden when you share it with the world, I will release you.

Laura and Sweeney are still trying to get Laura healed. As the scene moves on, Sweeney is off with Brigette and Laura is with Baron. The Baron demands 2 drops of blood infused with love. Both are seduced into having sex with the deities but it appears as though they are with each other at points.

Back in Cairo, the pastor changes the message he had been preaching and tells the congregation that every time he said it would be okay he was lying. He tells Ruby to leave Cairo and if she finds a better place let him know. This is a complete different tune than he was singing earlier so i’m thinking one of the two times he was possessed, probably this time. Shadow enters the room and his eyes are changing colors as he is possessed by Will James. I’m not sure if Will James is a representation of a God of just a a vengeful spirit, or the third option is that I completely missed who/what he is. As Shadow is sharing Will’s story he is released and changes back.

As the episode ends, we get another look of the world tree and it has grown substantially. Laura wakes up and gets dressed, it’s the morning after, and both she and Sweeney are both pissed off as Brigette and Baron are gone. Sweeney says one way or another he will get his coin back and Laura calls him out about being Mr. Wednesday’s puppet. Sweeney responds that he hates Wednesday more than he could explain. It is clear that there is much more to that story.

Another great episode. Still catching up on Season 1 reviews, I’ll be back soon with my review of Season 1 Episode 6.

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