Review – American Gods S02E03: “Muninn”

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  • Writing - 7/10
  • Acting - 8/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
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Last week on American Gods


Last week on American Gods, Shadow (Ricky Whittle) was kidnapped and tortured by Mr. Town (Dean Winters) on a moving train. Laura (Emily Browning) and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) eventually caught up, but then Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) derailed the train sacrificing Betty (the car), leaving the whole scene in chaos. Salim (Omid Abtahi) and the Jinn (Mousa Kraish) started their own journey, to collect a spear for the Old Gods. Meanwhile, the New Gods weren’t sitting idle. Mr. World (Crispin Glover) reminded the half-hearted Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) of the dangers of the middle ground. A desperate Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) continued his search for Media (an onscreen explanation for the character’s shift in portrayers from Gillian Anderson to Kahyun Kim). Although she didn’t return immediately, she seemed to promise she would.

We Need to Talk About Laura: Women and American Gods

American Gods Munnin (Season 2 Episode 3)
American Gods Munnin (Season 2 Episode 3)

American Gods (the series) would tell you that it is fascinated with Laura McCabe Moon. (Who cares what the book thinks: the author is dead. I will say that it was published before our current obsession with strong female characters.) Starz would insist she’s part of a lineup of female badasses, who always get their own way. However, I’m really concerned about the problem of Laura v. the narrative. Up to this point, Laura’s main scene partners have been male: Mad Sweeney, Shadow, and now Mr. Wednesday. Although she hasn’t met much resistance from Shadow yet, her other two solo scene partners are quick to tell her that she knows nothing about what’s going on. Shadow doesn’t get this much mockery, and it’s clear he understands less of the chessboard than Laura does. For example, Laura sees Mr. Wednesday’s conning ways (has Shadow noticed? I think we’ll find out next episode). However, the narrative, primarily speaking through Mr. Wednesday this season, does not think she can play with him and the other gods. Isn’t he the one who struck her down in the first place? If it was clear that Mr. Wednesday wasn’t holding all the cards, his disparaging Laura wouldn’t be a narrative put down. However, since Mr. Wednesday seems to be correct and in charge, it is. Are you following?

This isn’t just a Laura problem either. Last season, Media impersonated female media figures with an eye towards beguiling through an objectifying frame. Without spoilers, New Media took that to new heights (or lows?) this episode. Bilquis may have that power that brings terror to the hearts of men, but it’s looking more and more like she’s going to be caught in the middle of this war. If American Gods want people to proclaim it as feminist representation, it’s going to have to do more than bring us a sassy but imponent dead girl and two women “using their sexuality” to nefarious or bad ends. Maybe Mama-Ji will bring a change to this trend, but I think she’ll just be another tool. 

Next Week on American Gods

Next week on American Gods, there seem to be arguments aplenty, and the war of gods proceeds.
American Gods airs Sunday nights on Starz at 8pm.
How did you like this 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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