Guys, what else can I say?
Life, ya know?
Sometimes it just gets…
It’s that time of year where it’s definitely not winter.
But not really spring or summer, either.
Is rain a season?
In other words, the month of March.
It’s 792 days long, after all.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we had something to look forward to, on a weekly basis?
Say, on Sundays?
Well, we actually do now…
American Gods has returned to us, finally.
So now the month of March is shortened to 790 days.
Hey, I will take those two days wherever I can get them.
And for the second episode, I *only* had to wait a week to get my fix…
I mean, a week can be long…
(Especially in the month of March, where they have approximately 3.841 days a piece, but I digress.)
But luckily, the band (as in an asshole dead wife, leprecunt, a lovelorn cab driver, a wisecracking Trickster god, along with a few other er colorful characters) is back together, to provide us some relief from lifey-ness that is the month of March.
So join, as I review and dissect the second episode of the second season of American Gods, titled The Beguiling Man.
And, as always:
The episode begins in the parking lot of the diner. Czernobog laments the death of Zorya, and swears revenge. Mama-ji reluctantly agrees to help Wednesday and the Old Gods, stating that Wednesday has brought war to her doorstep.
A wake is held for Zorya in the parking lot. Wednesday and Anansi leave in Wednesday’s car. The Jinn also leaves, to look for Wednesday’s spear. Salim persuades the Jinn to bring him along, and the two leave on the Jinn’s motorcycle.
Laura is angry that no one seems concerned about the disappearance of Shadow. Wednesday assigns Mad Sweeney to accompany Laura on her search for Shadow.
While he is being tortured by Town, Shadow recalls his arrival to America with his mother when he was a teenager. Shadow’s mother intends to spend a summer in America. However, Shadow’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, and that stay becomes permanent. Shadow’s mother passes away later that summer, leaving Shadow alone in a strange land with no close friends or family.
Bilquis meets with Mr. World, who tries to persuade her to work for the New Gods. Bilquis refuses the offer, stating that she will not fight.
Laura and Mad Sweeney continue the search for Shadow, guided by the light that Shadow emits, but is only visible to Laura. Laura confesses that she is an atheist and finds any God to useless.
It is evident that Laura’s body is falling apart, as she still has not been able to return to a living state. Sweeney offers to take her to New Orleans to consult with a deity, but warns Laura that there will be a steep price to pay.
Laura becomes frustrated and gives up the search for Shadow. Mad Sweeney tells her not to give up, and transports her to a bridge above a railroad track. Laura then realizes that Shadow is on a train, and jumps into the train, with Sweeney following her.
Laura and Sweeney fight Mr. Town’s body guards and make their way to the room where Shadow is being tortured by Mr. Town. A battle ensues, and Laura saves Shadow.
So, who gets the ermahgerd award this week?
Actually, let’s take a moment to talk about the “gerds” er Gods in question.
In other words, religion, faith and what they mean to different people and how people express that meaning were themes this week, which I found to be pretty interesting.
We have Salim.
No matter how lifey life gets (and being shot at in a diner is pretty lifey), Salim is devoted to his religion, and takes the time to properly pray.
In a show about religion and its impact on people, Salim is (somewhat ironically) one of the few pious and devout characters.
It is clear that religion plays a big part in Salim’s life, and is a driving force for him.
Along with the Jinn…
Yep, Salim just can’t get enough of that Jinn juice…
Oh, and speaking of the Jinn…
Just how much cooler can this dude get?
Not only is the guy’s dick (literally) straight flames, he gets to go off on a quest to retrieve Odin’s sword.
On a motorcycle!
With a lovelorn cab driver for company, to boot (or is it booty?)
Anyway, back to faith and religion.
Let’s move on to the subject of Roadkill Rhonda aka Laura Moon.
(Yes, the nickname Sweeney came up with last week is still in my head. Sue me.)
Now, Laura states that she is an atheist.
Per last season, she doesn’t believe in anything.
She refers to Sweeney and company as “things” made by man, and seems to scoff at religion.
But, is she not a zealot?
The way she seeks out Shadow and follows his “light” (A guy named Shadow having that much light. More irony.)
One could almost call her a zealot, right?
And why do people become zealots?
Oh, yeah, religion!
In a way, Laura is as devoted to Shadow as Salim is to Allah.
Shadow is the driving force in Laura’s life (or life after death, in her case), just as Islam is a driving force for Salim.
Take either one of those forces away from either one of these folks, and their lives fall apart (or if you are Laura, you fall apart literally. Ew.)
So, even in the non-devout, having something to hold on to is important.
We will come back to the subject of faith in a bit.
I want to talk about some other aspects of this episode.
First of all, we finally got to meet Mr. Town.
What a Vulture, right?
This guy works for Mr. World, and it shows.
We didn’t get to see a lot of him, but I think that Dean Winters is good casting for this role, and I hope we get to see more of him in future episodes.
Winters made Town look business-like. Calm and cool, unlike Mr. World, who looks like he is thisclose to becoming completely unhinged.
So a perfect partner to Glover’s Mr. World.
And, let’s get back to Sweeney and the asshole dead wife.
God, those two are just so perfect together.
Can we PLEASE have a spin-off show with just Laura and Sweeney?
I could watch those for hours…
Just a zombie and leprechaun…
Er, an asshole dead wife and a leprecunt, kicking names and taking ass…
So, let’s get back to that subject of faith again.
One of the more interesting parts to this episode was the flashback to Shadow’s childhood, and the death of his mother.
Now, this may not have “advanced” the plot very much, but it gave us some insight into Shadow’s character.
It also gave Ricky Whittle a chance to show off his acting skills, as he did not have all that much dialog, but was able to convey a range of emotions on that pretty face of his (along with the gratuitous shots to his semi nude body. Not that I am complaining. Far from it.)
This flashback gave Shadow Moon an origin story of sorts.
Shadow is American, but has not lived in America. Instead, he has spent most of his childhood abroad, as his mother was employed as some sort of ambassador. Likely, he has spent most of his time in the company of adults, and has not spent much time with people his own age.
So, Shadow is not technically an immigrant, but his story does share some parallels with the other stories about immigration that we saw in the first season, as he is trying to navigate a land that is supposed to be his home, but really is another world to him.
At the worst possible time, Shadow’s mother falls ill, forcing Shadow into the responsibilities of adulthood.
Coincidentally, Shadow meets a mysterious stranger at this time. The stranger teaches Shadow his signature coin trick.
(So, does anyone want to conjecture that this stranger’s name rhymes with Schmenedsday? I don’t bet much, but this is one bet I would be comfortable with.)
Tragically, Shadow’s mother passes away, leaving her only child in land that is not his home, with no friends or family.
Of course, Shadow is pushed towards religion, in an attempt for him to find comfort after his mother has passed away.
However, there is no comfort to be found. Many are able to find comfort in religion during times of crisis, but Shadow is not.
Often, someone who is unable to relate to any sort of religion is made to feel an outcast. It is clear that Shadow feels that he is an outcast. He is shown faith, but does not feel anything.
This causes Shadow to retreat deeper into himself, becoming a man of mystery. A shadow, if you will.
It takes being tortured by one of Mr. World’s shady operatives for Shadow to express himself.
On one hand, the expressions on his face are because Shadow is being electrocuted.
But on the other hand, those are expressions of anguish of a deeper sort.
The expression of a pain so deep that nothing, either earthly or supernatural,
And so began Shadow Moon.
Well, that’s it for The Beguiling Man.
Join me next week for the scoop on episode 3, titled Munnin.
Same bat time, same bat channel!