Episode 5 of American Gods starts off with the story of the medicine woman Atsula.
She is told by her god that a great evil would kill all her people. We then witness her death by what looks like a weird buffalo.
Shadow and Laura reunite
Picking up from where the Git Gone episode left off, we then see Laura Moon waiting on Shadow’s bed in the motel room.
Shadow walks in and is straight to the point. He does not want to know how Laura has arisen from her grave — he wants to know exactly what happened between her and Robbie, which led to the sex act of death.
Laura describes how she and Robbie got together and tells Shadow that she waited 13 months for him. A baker’s year. She then asks Shadow to go out and get her some cigarettes to calm her nerves.
When Shadow returns with the cigarettes, he finds Laura in his bath.
She says she is warming her kin in case he wishes to touch her. There is a a moment when they kiss and the kiss seems to animate her as we see her skin adapt a translucent quality where we see her heart beating.
She asks Shadow if she felt alive. He says yes.
Laura then tells Shadow that she is watching out for him because he is in serious trouble.
Even Gods can get arrested
Shadow and Laura’s reunion is disturbed when an informed Mr. Wednesday knocks at their door.
He tells Shadow that he can’t sleep and invites him out for a drink or five.
Shadow, realising that Wednesday is not going to take no for an answer, reluctantly agrees to go with him.
But as they are about to have some mead, several cop cars pull up and arrest Shadow and Wednesday for their somewhat unique bank robbery.
Media channels David Bowie
The New Gods are looking to address the pressing issue of Mr. Wednesday, but Technology Boy has thrown a Molotov cocktail into the mix by having Shadow Moon lynched.
To address this, Media summons Technology Boy on behalf of Mr World and explains that he has to apologise to Wednesday for his actions.
Media is dressed as David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and has some fantastic dialogue throughout this scene.
Dialogue which both references Ziggy as well as the historical 1938 radio dramatisation of War Of The Worlds, which was narrated by the late Orson Welles.
Technology Boy does not take to Media’s news very well.
At the police station the arresting officers are grilling Shadow and Wednesday for information about the bank job.
They show both Wednesday and Shadow what looks like CCTV stills taken from overhead.
Shadow is not caving in. To every question he answers “lawyer”, until he is shown the photos and offered the chance of a deal.
Wednesday for his part acts like a complete loon and pretty much tells the truth — that he is recruiting Old Gods to help in his fight against the New Gods.
After a while the police decide to lock Wednesday and Shadow in the same interrogation room, in hopes that they can get something tangible from them in the form of information.
Give me my bloody coin
Back at the motel, Laura Moon is getting read to leave when Mad Sweeney the leprechaun bursts through the door demanding that she give him his coin back. Laura refuses.
Sweeney tries to attack Laura, but she is too quick and pretty much gets the better of him.
Mad Sweeney then tries a different tack by offering Laura one of his other coins.
She doesn’t go for it.
Turns out that Sweeney’s gold coin, which is only meant for royalty, is what has resurrected Laura and is what is keeping her upright.
We also learn that she has to give the coin back to Sweeney willingly — which is not going to happen.
Sweeney then says he will wait for the sun and the moisture in the air to rot her skin off so he can retrieve the coin himself.
Then he proceeds to try and drown Laura in the bath — a bizarre thing to try on a dead person.
Shortly after the police arrive and arrest Sweeney and have Laura taken to the morgue.
A meeting of the Gods
While sweating in the interrogation cell, Wednesday and Shadow get interrupted by Media who is dressed as Marilyn Monroe.
Shadow recognises her as Lucille Ball. He remembers his conversation with her from Episode 2.
Following Media comes the mysterious Mr World, who is looking to try and negotiate some kind of merger with Wednesday.
To this end he has Technology Boy come in and apologise to Shadow Moon.
Wednesday tells Shadow not to listen or interact with Mr World. Of course Shadow ignores him.
What follows is a dialogue about individualism versus branding and franchises. Mr World wants a merger with Wednesday as apposed to a war and tries selling him on the idea by showing a clip show of the various ways in which you can brand the name Odin.
World says that as the new breed they are watched by many. Wednesday argues that being watched is all the New Gods have going for them, and that the Old Gods gave something in return for people’s worship.
It is very apparent that the New Gods, specifically Mr World and to some extent Media, are about controlling narrative. But to what end?
Mr World and his entourage leave, but before they do Media hits Technology Boy with a serious blow, which knocks his front teeth out, as a gesture towards Shadow.
Wednesday and Shadow then proceed to escape the police station while being chased down by a tree.
Outside the station Sweeney is brought in, but the car he is in gets upturned and the officers in charge are incapacitated, which allows the leprechaun to make his getaway.
Escape from the morgue
At the morgue a mortician is doing his rounds when he hears a sound.
As he passes by a few cadavers to investigate, he sees one of the cold units beginning to dent outwards.
When he steps a little closer the door flies out at him knocking him out and Laura Moon steps out of her storage compartment, retrieves her clothes and takes a few moments to fix herself in the mirror.
Some final thoughts
Overall this was a pretty fun episode, but it was also a huge information dump.
Five episodes in and it is still not too clear why Wednesday is doing what he is doing or what the New Gods are up to either.
The story seems to be driven for most part on the characterisations and from what I saw of Wednesday and Mr World’s interaction, the two seem to be very similar to each other.
Other than that, there isn’t really much we know about why they are at odds.
The stuff with Laura Moon and Shadow was strangely fun, but funnier still was Mad Sweeney getting the snot knocked out of him while trying to get his coin back.
Hopefully next week’s installment will offer up some answers to the connection between Wednesday and the New Gods…