Starz continues to bring us a beautifully shot, confusing at times but brilliantly crazy show. See what we had to say about it and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
The Coming to America scene is different from others in that it’s animated and showing us a god who has been completely forgotten. We’re also seeing some breaks in the ranks of the new gods and Wednesday seems genuinely shaken at points in this episode. What do you think this indicates about the coming war between the new and old gods? Are the new and the old more alike than they would like to admit?
Cara: Up to now the new gods have seemed all-powerful and almost unstoppable, but now we’re seeing that perhaps in some ways that is all a façade. Wednesday has shown confidence in his ultimate success, but here we’ve seen that there are things that he seems deeply concerned about. I think, and hope, that we’re starting to see that the inevitable march of progress isn’t as inevitable as it seems.
Alex: So far it has seemed that Wednesday is a weakling compared to the new gods, and nothing from this episode changed my mind. Technology Boy fears Media, who fears Mr. World, who fears Wednesday, but I have no idea why this is. I feel like it’s coming from more than just a place of respect, and I’m still thinking the new gods just want Wednesday for Shadow.
Roz: I keep thinking of this one French saying: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Technology and the advent of media change lives, but we still want to feel important, feel necessary and feel wanted. Both sets of gods want the same thing: recognition. But what that Coming to American scene showed me was how easy it is to be swayed by the new, by the shiny, by the now. That first god was the it, and then it wasn’t.
Mynda: The Coming to America scene gave us a better explanation of how the gods came into existence and yes, both gods suffer from the same need of worshipers. I am enjoying how things are not black and white, good or evil. It is still unclear exactly what Big W has in plan for Shadow despite Sweeney’s warning to Laura not to trust him.
We finally see what happens when Laura and Shadow meet for the first time since she’s come back to life. Laura wants to forget the past and focus on the “miracle of me sitting here posthumously.” She claims to know now how much she really loves Shadow, but she still seems to be focused mostly on her own needs and wants. When she asks Shadow if he is still her “puppy,” he says no. So, where do Laura and Shadow stand now?
Cara: I think Laura really botched her reunion with Shadow. We’ve seen that she genuinely loves him now, but at their first meeting she just seems to take for granted that Shadow will joyfully take her back into his life. I do love her unapologetic attitude towards all aspects of life and death, but I also wonder if it’s helping her accomplish her goes in this pseudo-afterlife.
Alex: I don’t think there was a way Laura could have avoided botching their reunion since she knew Shadow knew everything. She could have made a desperate attempt to tell Shadow everything he heard was a lie, but she’s smarter than that by now, and I greatly appreciate the fact Laura is trying to win Shadow back by being completely open and honest about her actions. I do think she’ll be able to seduce him again in the future.
Roz: Laura is the least of Shadow’s problem right now and I think he would rather focus on whatever is going on with Wednesday and this war/battle than his wife’s betrayal.
Mynda: Old habits die hard and it appears Laura’s seemingly selfish demeanor has followed her beyond the grave. I suspect it is more a matter of her being sure and certain about her faith and love in Shadow regardless of how he may feel about the matter.
Laura also seems to be having some trouble accepting the physical reality of her current existence. She thinks a fly trap and a warm bath will be enough for Shadow to forget that she is a walking corpse. If Wednesday’s comments on “cat piss and oven cleaner” indicate anything, she smells pretty bad. Mad Sweeney points out that eventually her body will rot and fall apart, and he will get his coin back. In the morgue, she’s bothered by the way her breath leaves no steam on the mirror. Is Laura in denial about what’s to come for her? And, what does she need to do before her next meeting with Anubis?
Cara: The references to Laura being a walking corpse definitely seem to be more noticeable. She needs to find a way to lighten her heart before she returns to the afterlife, but so far she doesn’t seem to be accomplishing that. Laura is watching out for Shadow, and that’s great, but I think she’s going to need to learn to be a little less selfish. I also find it interesting that Mad Sweeney keeps speaking the truth, but no one wants to listen to him.
Alex: I agree with this Laura analysis, disagree about Mad Sweeney. He only told the truth after Laura called his bluff about the coins, and he definitely would have tried lying when she interrogated him had he not been certain she could and would literally tear him apart. Sweeney’s a terrible liar, but a liar nonetheless.
Roz: Bryan Fuller loves a living dead girl and I find Laura to be the antithesis of Chuck and George, but there are factors in this world that are different from either Pushing Daisies or Dead Like Me. Part of me thinks that there is a way for the reality of a living corpse might be addressed or it could be like Chuck where we’ll never have to see more than what we have so far. That said, Laura is tempting fate each day.
Mynda: The reality of Laura’s new zombie state is slowly sinking in. When she kissed Shadow her heart beat and Shadow admitted that to him, she felt alive. I believe the secret to her preservation lies on aligning herself with Shadow. The closer she is to him, the more alive she becomes. The question in my mind is this: Is her renewed health a result of her faith/love in Shadow or because of Shadows emerging powers?
Media points out that Technical Boy’s mistake is in strengthening Wednesday’s cause. She points out what seems to be an essential point to the show. She says that it’s not necessary for everyone to believe, there only needs to be “just enough.” All Wednesday needs is enough belief, “maybe just one.” Does this change how you see Shadow? Do you think he’s more important to the story than it may have seemed?
Cara: As we go on, it definitely seems like Shadow is more than just Wednesday’s assistant. He’s Wednesday’s man, and I think that allegiance from Shadow is going to be key. Shadow’s loyalty has been tested, both by media in a previous episode and now by the police, but he’s staying loyal, even if Wednesday may not deserve that loyalty.
Also, I just want to add that I am loving Gillian Anderson as Media. Each incarnation so far has been a very convincing likeness. Overall, the casting in this show is spot on, even down to the smaller bit parts like Jack and the driver that picks up Mad Sweeney. They weren’t afraid to deviate from how the characters were described in the book, and I think they’ve made really successful choices.
Alex: This goes back to my confusion from the first question. We finally got the explicit explanation behind the gods in this episode’s Coming to America, but Media’s hints were very vague. Did she mean a specific “one” or just anyone? Does Wednesday only need Shadow to believe in him? Whose belief is currently keeping Wednesday alive? When is a god officially dead/forgotten? I think I need a notarized list of rules because I’m pretty sure I’m more confused than I should be at this point.
Roz: If Wednesday only needed Shadow then I think the show would be over just as soon as it began. So there is more than just one that Media mentions, but I can’t tell what the critical mass is.
Mynda: I believe Shadow is indeed the secret to all the gods survival somehow. Otherwise, why are they all so interested in gaining his favor?
We’ve finally really met Mr. World. What do you think? What do you see in his relationship with Media and the Technical Boy? How much control does he really have over the situation?
Cara: Mr. World is the one everyone fears. He’s all knowing, it seems. Yet, we’ve also seen that he doesn’t always see everything. Technical Boy clearly feels intimidated him, yet ends up defying him and denying Mr. World of his perfect exit “on a good line.” Even Media seems to lose her temper resulting in that painful kiss blown to Technical Boy. Mr. World’s changing face seemed a little out of place though, and also leaves me with suspicions about his character related to something in the book, but that’s a topic to avoid for now.
Alex: Again, I don’t really grasp what he’s the god of. I’m trying to determine what people worship now that they didn’t before, and I can’t figure out what relates to memory that would grant him that much power if he isn’t Media or Technology. Is Mr. World just global connectivity as a whole?
Roz: I feel like Mr World should be siding with Mr Wednesday but overall Mr World just seems like a sort of menace to every god, no matter how new or old.
Mynda: Mr. World is as mad as a hatter. Even Media had to help him keep on point after his salsa tirade. Media and Big W have more in common with each other than Mr. World. I suspect sides may yet change again.
American Gods airs Sunday on STARZ