American Gods

American Gods 1×03 – Head Full of Snow

"You are on a path from nothing to everything."

9dd21-american-gods-103-recap

What a brilliant episode.

Let’s start with that hauntingly beautiful teaser as the God Anubis (magically played by Chris Obi) comes for a middle-aged woman who falls while cooking. The entire sequence as he leads her up the building into the desert (where he judges her good deeds by balancing her heart) is a thing of beauty. The scene manages to convey an eerie dreamlike quality, and I genuinely couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen. Everything from the woman saying she doesn’t want to go to an afterlife where her abusive father is, to that epic “This is not Queens” moment,  helps make this scene supremely memorable. Wow!

 Head Full of Snow is also notable for introducing the third Zorya sister, Zorya Polunochnaya, who watches over the stars where an imprisoned beast threatens to destroy the Earth (foreshadowing perhaps?). Her scene with Shadow is pretty mesmerizing (notice the beautiful set design here), as she plucks the moon from the night sky and gives it to him. Erika Kaar is wonderfully seductive here, and I’d love to see more of her going forward.

Then we’ve got the captivating subplot between Salim and the cab driver who turns out to be Jinn (or genie). Omid Abtahi and Mousa Kraish both do tremendous work here – they inject a whole lot of heart into an unexpected union that culminates in what is probably one of the most graphic sex scenes (same-sex or otherwise) that I’ve ever seen on a TV show. From the fiery ejaculation to the desert transformation, it pretty much tops Bilquis’ vagina binge from the pilot. Also intriguing to note: Salim is a Jinn now (as he takes over the cab license).

Finally, we’ve got Wednesday and Shadow hatching the most genius bank robbery of all time. Their plan with the ATM is amazingly clever, while also raising the compelling possibility that Shadow might have powers (he makes it snow with just a thought). Hmm… could he end up being a God himself?

Bits & Shadows

– Notice that this week’s teaser is “Somewhere in America” not “Coming to America”.

– Elegant touch: not showing us the woman’s fall. We only later realize when Anubis arrives that she did not evade that shaky stool.

– Notice how the woman adjusts the apron on her dead body. Funny. I also love how she asks Anubis to taste her dish.

– So why did the cat follow them? Is it because felines have a sixth sense? It’s also interesting that it’s the cat who ultimately pushes her owner through the big door.

– How great is the flirtation between Wednesday and Zorya Vechermyaya? It’s not often you see a senior citizen romance on TV that’s not played for laughs. The chemistry between Ian McShane and Cloris Leachman is off the charts! But what did Wednesday do when it rained? Did he unleash the beast?

– Zorya Polunochnaya mentions that Shadow already has the sun (I’m guessing that’s Sweeney’s coin). Also she’s a virgin, and she manages to steal a kiss from Shadow.

– Shadow notices that there’s no ladder outside his window in the morning. Ha!

– So many funky visual touches: the HUGE clock as Salim waits for his appointment, and the colorful subtitles filling the screen in the cab convo.

– It’s a small moment, but notice how Salim adjusts his seat after the cab driver says someone shat in the backseat.

– It’s a quick moment but you can spot Media’s eye watching Shadow and Wednesday in the security camera as they walk out of the bank. Nice bit of continuity from last week.

– Ricky Whittle’s delivery as Shadow admits he likes marshmallows is priceless.

– The most unforgettable visual this show has done yet: the car driving over the marshmallows in Shadow’s cup. Wow wow wow.

– So satisfying: Shadow playing along from the payphone when the cop calls. He even offers him a job!

– I love all of Wednesday’s dialogue. Every.single.line.

– Mad Sweeney doesn’t get too much screen time this week but it’s all hilarious as he endures a streak of bad luck (like his driver getting impaled in the face) leading to him going to Laura’s grave to retrieve his coin. Big shocker: she’s alive. Honestly the show has been telegraphing this twist for a while but I’m still curious to know more.

Godly Quips

Zorya: What have you done? I can taste you on the rain. What else can I taste?
Wednesday: War.

Wednesday: Do not bleed before you are wounded.

Wednesday: That woman thinks Jesus suffered for her sins. They’re her sins. Why should Jesus do all the suffering? Shadow:’Cause his dad sacrificed his ass.
Wednesday: Don’t blame the parent. Plenty of suffering and blame to go around, although that White Jesus, well, could stand a little more suffering. He’s doing very well for himself these days.
Shadow: And how many colors does Jesus come in?
Wednesday: Why, you got your White Jesuit-style Jesus. You got your Black African Jesus. You got your Brown Mexican Jesus. You got your swarthy Greek Jesus. You’ve got-
Shadow: Well, that’s a– That’s a lotta Jesus.
Wednesday: There’s a lotta need for Jesus, so there’s a lotta Jesus. Now, the Mexican Jesus came here the same way a lot of Mexicans do. Illegally. Oh No, that’s not being racial. You can ask Him. He’ll tell you. He waded across the Rio Grande, his back as wet as the epithet suggests.

Wednesday: It’s either real or it’s fantasy?
Shadow: Yeah, that’s how the world works.
Wednesday: Yeah, says the man who hasn’t seen it. Shadow, at best, you suffer from a failure of imagination. We’re gonna have to fix that.

Wednesday: You are pretending you cannot believe in impossible things.

Shadow: Did I make snow? Did you make snow?
Wednesday: Well, if you choose to believe you made snow, then you get to live the rest of your life believing that you can do things that are impossible. Or you can believe it’s a delusion.
Shadow: No, see, delusions feel real, okay? That’s why it’s a delusion. None of this feels real. It feels like a dream.
Wednesday: What a beautiful, beautiful thing to be able to dream when you’re not asleep.

Wednesday: The only thing that scares me is being forgotten. I can survive most things but not that.

Conclusion
The show’s strongest episode yet. Fantastic!

Nad Rating
A

2 comments

  1. I finally decided to catch up and wow this was absolutely mesmerizing. I wasn't really hooked on the show yet but now I think I just might be.

    That opening scene with the God taking that woman up to some desert location and balancing her heart…my favorite scene on television this year. It was all incredibly fascinating, I too really couldn't keep my eyes off the screen.

    “It's not often you see a senior citizen romance on TV that's not played for laughs.” SO SO true, I love this line and this subplot! Amazing.

    “the colorful subtitles filling the screen in the cab convo.” I died at those subtitles! So funky and crazy. It's amazing how much this show can pull off something like this without coming off as lame.

    “the car driving over the marshmallows in Shadow's cup.” Also epic! Watching this show made me question just how any of this was made.

    And I'm excited to see what Laura will be like. So glad I decided to give this show a chance! Really enjoying these reviews..

  2. And I forgot to mention the gay sex scene! Super shocking! So many mesmerizing visual touches in this episode, it's almost impossible to count them all.

    I also love how the show sometimes goes from widescreen to full screen for no apparent reason. The entire first sequence was in widescreen if you notice then almost everything else wasn't! So strange and intriguing.

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