Nope, this is not the opening line to some really lame joke told by your Trump loving uncle at that family Thanksgiving dinner you go to every year, whether you want to attend or not.
(Actually, I am giving too much credit to the Trump loving uncle, as I am sure he would be using terms way more offensive than genie, zombie or leprechaun. Or he is just not literate enough to even come up with those terms, actually. But I digress.)
No, the above actually just happened, on television at any rate. And I got to watch it happen!
Yes, I am referring to the sixth episode of the awesomeness known as American Gods.
Although let me update that description a bit:
A really tall guy calling himself a leprechaun, although he is not exactly one, a gay Muslim smitten with his jinn lover and an asshole dead wife walk into bar…
Okay, that is much better!
And really, Mad Sweeney, the dead wife and the guy who had sex with a jinn and got a new life really did get together, and somehow ended up going on a road trip together, and they stopped at a bar that has brought really bad…luck…
(Well, someone had to say it!)
And you thought your family vacations were crazy!
Well, let’s tune into some craziness now, as in the crazy good show known as American Gods.
In other words, time to dissect and review episode 6, titled A Murder of Gods.
And, as always:
The show opens with a group of Mexican immigrants crossing the bordering into the United States in the middle of the night. Their leader instructs them to swim, if they wish for a new life in America.
One man finds himself slipping under the water, unable to swim. However, a man grabs his hand and pulls him out. The man also appears to be walking on water, and it is implied that he is an incarnation of Jesus Christ.
The group of migrants makes it to the other side of the border, but they are met with gunfire, from a group of white Americans who have rosaries wrapped around their hands and prayers engraved on their guns.
The incarnation of Jesus is caught in the gunfire, and is killed by the bullets. His hands are riddled with bullet holes, and when a tumbleweed blows across his face, it leaves behind a wispy crown of thorns.
The show then flashes back to the present. Shadow and Wednesday have escaped from the police station. Shadow was injured after being attacked by the living tree, and feels movement in his wound. Wednesday pulls out what is essentially a living splinter, and tells Shadow that he was attacked by a being he calls Mr. Wood. Mr. Wood is the god of forests and trees, and has sided with the New Gods.
Shadow tells Wednesday that his dead wife has made an appearance. Wednesday appears surprised, and is in a hurry to leave the motel. As they are leaving the motel, Wednesday catches a glimpse of Laura in the rear view mirror, but does not acknowledge her.
Laura is angry because her vehicle was impounded by the police, as she was believed to be dead. Mad Sweeney comes back to the hotel, as he is still searching for his coin, and Laura is the only one who can give him back his coin. He tells Laura that he can take her to someone who can resurrect her for good. Laura reluctantly agrees to accompany him, and the two search for a car.
While Laura and Sweeney are searching for a vehicle in the hotel parking lot, they come across Salim, who is still driving the taxi given to him by the jinn. Salim is still searching for the jinn and hoping to reunite with him. Sweeney tells Salim that he can take him to the jinn, and Salim agrees to drive Laura and Mad Sweeney to their destination.
In the meantime, Shadow and Wednesday have made it to Wednesday’s next stop: Vulcan, Virginia. The town is picturesque, but strangely empty. Wednesday and Shadow happen to glimpse a funeral being held for an employee of the nearby gun factory, who was killed by an accident on the job.
The header of the town is man named Vulcan. Wednesday has known Vulcan for many years, and wants Vulcan to align with him and Shadow. Vulcan was formerly the god of volcanoes. However, Vulcan is not sure if he should take up Wednesday’s cause, as he has found new relevance as the god of guns and bullets. The occasional accident at this factory also satisfies his requirement for sacrifice.
Shadow is extremely uncomfortable in the town of Vulcan. He notices that the townspeople do not like or trust him. Vulcan also points out a hanging tree in his backyard, further adding to Shadow’s discomfort.
Vulcan finally agrees to stand with Wednesday against the New Gods, and he forges Wednesday a sword. However, once Vulcan is finished making Wednesday the sword, he reveals that he is actually on the side of the New Gods and has no intention of joining Wednesday in his battle.
Wednesday swings the sword and beheads Vulcan. He pushes the body into the vat where the bullets are forged, and urinates into the vat, cursing Vulcan’s factory, much to Shadow’s astonishment.
And yeah, tons of it in this episode. No shortage of it, in fact.
And this week the “ermahgerd award” goes to…
The idiot leprechaun, aka Mad Sweeney!
I know I haven’t talked much about our favorite idiot leprechaun in my reviews, so shame on me! Not that he hasn’t been a great character, it’s just that he has been a bit overshadowed by almost everything else in this show, and I need to keep my reviews from getting totally out of control, after all.
Well, this week he is getting his due. Mad respect (see what I did there), bro!
And the reason why Mr. Mad is getting his due (other than the fact that he is just plain awesome) is because he provided much needed humor in a episode that was kind of heavy (and that heaviness has nothing to do with the Earth’s gravitation field.)
This was a pretty serious episode, and we will be talking about that shortly.
But let’s take a few minutes to appreciate what one third of the opening line to entry brought to the table in this episode.
“Did you have a genie in your bottle? Did you rub one out of him, darling?”
Yeah, leave it to Ginger Minge, er Mr. Mad.
(Here, let me save you the trouble of googling “ginger minge.” You are welcome!)
Salim shows up (I was glad to see him) and is obviously a smitten man looking to reunite with this lover.
And the love scenes between Mad Sweeney and the jinn were beautiful, and sent a powerful message.
So OF COURSE Mr. Mad (who has the maturity level and sense of humor of a 12 year old boy, on a good day) has to make a crack about a genie in a bottle and rubbing him out. OF COURSE.
He is a leprechaun, after all. And they appear to have the maturity level of a middle school boy.
And we have Laura. The Beavis to Sweeney’s Butthead.
Every time he calls her “dead wife,” I find that strangely moving. Maybe because it makes me fall off the couch laughing.
In fact, I have demanded the my husband call me “alive wife.” When you have been married for awhile, you need to come up with more endearing pet names. So I think alive wife (especially if said in an Iris accent, although if he doesn’t, it is certainly not a deal breaker) would qualify as an endearing pet name.
(And maybe if I am really good, he can call me “asshole alive wife!”)
“Mad Sweeney: I’ve done the math. This times that equals you’re a cunt, divided by the only way I’m going to get what I need is if you give it to me, equals the only way you’re going to give it to me is if you don’t need it. Like my friend Jesus Christ, the only thing you need, dead wife, is a resurrection.”
“Laura: Did you just name drop Jesus Christ like you know a guy who knows a guy?”
And somehow, we got the word “cunt,” and the name dropping of Jesus Christ in one breath.
Only you, Mad Sweeney. Only you.
So, back to the aforementioned heaviness.
You have been warned.
I have loved the opening scenes, known as the “Coming to America” sequences. They provide insight into religion, culture, assimilation, immigration, etc.
This one was no different.
While this “Coming to America” sequence was not the best of the series (I think Anansi or Salim and Jinn hold that honor), it is (at least so far) the one that will stick with me the most.
The image is a familiar, almost to the point of a cliche: A group of migrants are crossing the Mexican border into the United States. They are willing to do anything to cross over, in the hopes of making a better life for themselves. So they must swim over.
And they are greeted by something else that has become unfortunately all too familiar: a group of “patriots” who have charged themselves with “protecting” our borders.
Both groups call themselves Christian.
However, the definition of Christianity varies drastically between the two groups.
For one group, Christ appears and helps a man swim, so he does not drown. And he takes a bullet for his believers, sacrificing himself so that at least some of them may live.
For the other group, Christianity is used to not help, but to hurt others. Even the guns have Bible passages inscribed on them.
And the fact that Christ dies in this scene is actually somewhat fitting, as we can argue that people who commit these acts in the name of religion are in fact killing Christianity, as these acts are in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ. Many feel that Jesus was there to help the drowning, not to kill someone crossing a border.
And this episode had Vulcan.
Vulcan was the god of volcanoes, But then man gained understanding of volcanoes through science, so Vulcan had to find a new use, or get phased out.
So Vulcan became the god of guns and bullets.
And is appeased by the occasional sacrifice at the bullet factory, because it is cheaper for the insurance companies to pay out in the event of a death, as opposed to following actual safety regulations (true story!)
Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?
After watching this episode, I had to ask myself this question.
The town of Vulcan is a sort of island.
Most people are employed by one place: the bullet factory.
The town is all white, and its leader is an old, white guy.
And it appears the old white guys has “rallies,” even though he has already established himself as the leader, and people march for him.
Sound familiar at all?
Shadow is also uncomfortable in the town of Vulcan, and rightly so.
Vulcan so nicely points out the hanging tree in his front yard, that had probably been there forever, so he should not get rid of it, since it is tradition, after all.
When I firs heard of Vulcan. I thought he would be metal. Metal AF, maybe. After all, the god of volcanoes, turned into the god of guns. How is that not metal?
And he still was metal, kind of.
But he personified the direction this country has taken in recent times: the old white guy, obsessed with his guns, demanding that people pay attention to him, and one who puts profits over people.
So my feelings were not too hurt when he “died” (I am sure that death on this show is just a minor technicality) and Wednesday took a leak on his remains.
Win for Wednesday!
Well, that’s it for A Murder of Gods. Join me next week as we review and dissect episode 7, titled A Prayer for Mad Sweeney.
Tune in next week…
Same bat time, same bat channel!