Review – American Gods S02E02: “The Beguiling Man”

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  • Writing - 6/10
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Overall - 6.5/10
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Last Time on American Gods


Last week, American Gods returned for its second season after nearly two years of absence. Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane) assembled the Old Gods to convince them to fight. Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) (a lover, not a fighter) tried to convince the Old Gods to unite with the New. However, Mr World (Crispin Glover) got Zorya Vechernyaya (Cloris Leachman) killed, devastating her assembled colleagues. Additionally, while most eyes were on the gods, Laura Moon (Emily Browning) notices that someone has taken Shadow (Ricky Whittle).

It was also announced late last week that American Gods has received a new showrunner and season. I didn’t think that a show could survive this kind of showrunner turmoil, and it still might not, not really. Hopefully, it won’t take another two years for the show to come back after this season ends. I have no idea where I’ll be then.

American Gods Focuses on Its Central Believer

Emily Browning and Pablo Schreiber in American Gods (2017) Photo by Jasper Savage - © 2018 Starz Entertainment, LLC
Emily Browning and Pablo Schreiber in American Gods (2017) Photo by Jasper Savage – © 2018 Starz Entertainment, LLC

A fair portion of this episode centered around Shadow’s capture and torture by Mr Town (Dean Winters). It’s not particularly fun (although the episode doesn’t get bloody till the last 15 minutes or so), and I feel like a warning is needed for those of you who may have chosen to read this before watching the show (no judgement, I do that sort of the thing all the time). The question Mr Town is asking via torture is “Why are you part of the Old Gods team?” As Shadow’s brain tries to answer the question, he flashes back to one particular summer with his mother (Olunike Adeliyi). Even though we learn a lot about Shadow here (played by Gabriel Darku), he remains the enigma the story turns around, and Mr Town’s question remains unanswered.

Back to Mr Town. It is not quite clear what his deal is, other than working for the New Gods. That’s somewhat ironic, considering he’s searching for Shadow’s own way. For all we know, he could be a more violent manifestation of the All-State Mayhem Man. He and Shadow are in equal contention for the episode’s eponymous label. Although it isn’t clear why he’s acting for the New Gods, it is clear what answer he wants from Shadow. The answer he is trying to receive is “I shouldn’t be,” since that would be an unexpected blow to the Old Gods in general and Wednesday in particular. Each side needs as many active believers as they can get.

There are a couple of other plot threads in this episode as well of course. The episode begins with the Old Gods departing after Zorya Vechernyaya’s death, newly convinced to fight the New Gods. Laura and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schrieber) try to find Shadow, (which barely counts as a spoiler, given previous character beats). Mr. Wednesday tries to gain more power for his side in an unexpected manner, even surprising Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones, whose inclusion here seems based in producing comic relief in an episode without much). Mr. World and Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) are trying to shore up their side as well, to mixed results. However, this episode primarily focuses on Shadow and the tortured torture, to its detriment.

Next week on American Gods

Media returns in a new form (Kayuhn Kim).

American Gods airs Sunday nights at 8pm on Starz.

What did you think of this week’s episode of American Gods? Talk about it with us in the comments or on social media!


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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan needs books to function, and therefore can infodump quite a lot about them, particularly when they're either science fiction or fantasy.

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