American Gods S01E06: “A Murder of Gods”
Note: This review will not have explicit spoilers for either the book or this episode of American Gods other than what is in the summaries for both pieces of media. However, this review will have explicit spoilers for all of the first five episodes of American Gods.
This Week on American Gods:
On this episode of American Gods, Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) escaped from the New Gods and met up with an old friend of Wednesday’s (Corbin Bernsen). Meanwhile, Laura (Emily Browning), Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schrieber), and another character start an interstate road trip of their own.
American Gods is now doubling down on the road trip aspect: two road trips for the metaphorical price of one. It’s not yet clear whether the two trips will converge sooner rather than later, but both trips are likely to be full of fun banter and important revelations, as this episode demonstrated. Shadow now knows a lot more about what is going on than he did before the confrontation with the new gods (all of whom were conspicuously absent from this episode). American Gods also managed to tie in two very real issues affecting America today (neither of which I will spoil for you). The first of these takes place at the beginning of the episode and is easy to spot. The second of these ties in Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen) (which is a hint for those of you versed in Greek/Roman mythology) and feels like a real connection without being patronizing to those who feel strongly about the issue in question.
This episode dealt with both consequences and new beginnings. Wednesday, Shadow, Laura, and Mad Sweeney are all still reeling from the revelations of last episode. However, all four of these characters, as well as the third member of Laura and Mad Sweeney’s road trip and Corbin Bernsen’s Vulcan, use the pieces of themselves that they’ve retained from the fallout and build a new beginning with what’s left. Regarding Vulcan specifically, he’s an example of a path of Wednesday’s not taken. There are clear positive and negative consequences with Vulcan’s long ago choice, consequences that may have been Wednesday’s if their situations were switched. Without spoilers, it is fair to say that he also changes the game with regard to the war between the old gods and the new, as does the show only background of Mr. Wood. Both of these characters may be a couple more clues indicating that the reveal towards the end of the novel may not go as it did in the book.
There are only two more episodes left, and I don’t know where Michael Fuller and Michael Green plan to have Shadow and Wednesday go next. Will they reach Wisconsin, where it’s been said that a murder of gods will await them (nb: since murder is, in actuality, the collective noun for crows, what do we think is the proper collective noun for gods? Tell us in the comments.)? The combination of new and old elements make American Gods impossible to predict, which makes it very refreshing. I guess that we’re all along for the ride.
Points to remember:
- Vulcan’s commentary about sacrificing oneself and the inherent pun in the episode title
- Commentary about sacrifices in general
Images via Starz.