[rating=9.00] “Lemon-Scented You”
“Gods are great, but people are greater.”
After last week’s Laura-centric episode that let Bryan Fuller and company fully indulge their creative urges, this week’s American Gods brings the coming conflict back at the forefront. Complete with an unexpected turn of events, and an elaborate CG opening which resumes the “coming to America” narrative, and shows us our first truly forgotten god.
Beginning where the last two episodes have left off — with Laura Moon (Emily Browning) waiting in the motel room for her widow, Shadow (Ricky Whittle) — the two get little a chance to hash out their issues. Outside the motel, cops show up and arrest Shadow along with Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) for the bank robbery they pulled off a couple episodes back, confining the two protagonists to a single location for the new gods to make an attempt at a peace treaty.
Prior to this, Technical Boy (Bruce Langley ) gets a taste of his own medicine when Media (Gillian Anderson), sporting a full-on Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie look, uses the oculus-type device to pull him into his own weird little world. Once there, Media scolds him for the way he’d treated Shadow, and she demands that he apologize for doing so. Technical Boy is, of course, an insolent little shit about it, but as soon as Media drops the name “Mr. World” into the conversation, he has a noticeable change of tone.
Back at the police station, Shadow tries to remain steadfast in saying nothing but “lawyer” while being interrogated, until the Detective Buffer (Tracie Toms) starts to explain the “gods’ eye view” photos they received of him and Wednesday outside the bank came in through a fax machine. One that “hasn’t been turned on since fax machines.”
In the other room, Wednesday simply puts on his senile old man act, freely discussing the sequence of events that led them there, knowing exactly how ridiculous it would all sound.
It isn’t until the cops put Shadow and Wednesday in the same room that things take an abrupt turn. First, Media, now donning the classic Seven Year Itch look, complete with the skirt being playfully blown up from underneath, floats into the room. (Quick aside, no one seems to be having more fun with her character than Anderson — and for good reason). Following her is Technical Boy, and making a grand entrance is the afore-mentioned Mr. World (Crispin Glover).
As the three new gods surround Wednesday and Shadow, Mr. World makes his pitch — after a brief, all-around tone-deaf apology from Technical Boy to Shadow about the lynching, complete with an incredibly snarky line about racial tension in America that he “doesn’t want to add to.”
Wednesday then asks if they’re calling for a truce, which Mr. World refutes, explaining that they can’t have a truce if they’re not even at war. “You might have been, but I wasn’t,” he tells him before making his pitch. A merger — as Media calls it — allowing for the old gods back into the fold, to bring back their influence on people’s lives in new and and untold ways.
“Mild, medium, chunky. They get their choice, of course. OF COURSE! But they are buying… salsa,” screams Mr. World in pitch-perfect mania, making his case not only sound reasonable, but downright convincing.”Valhalla rebranded,” screams Media in her breathy, Monroe-esque voice, turning the four walls around them into a animation-saturated multi-media onslaught.
Wednesday, of course, doesn’t seem like he’s falling for it, and Mr. World tells him to ruminate on the decision before he and the other new gods leave. Now, with the two also free to go (Shadow was unchained by Mr. World, while Wednesday had his cuffs undone earlier by a spider-sized Mr. Nancy), they see the police station was left in a state of pure carnage and destruction, distinctly undercutting the smooth, seductive delivery of Mr. World’s pitch.
Meanwhile, back at the motel room, Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) comes to get his lucky coin back from Laura, which seems to be keeping her in her reanimated state. And giving her a near-unstoppable level of strength to the point that she wipes the floor with him — and manages to get a piece of vital information on how he became involved with Shadow in the first place. As he tells it, Wednesday hired him to pick a bar fight with Shadow to see what he was made of, and that (most importantly) Wednesday is “not to be trusted.”
This leaves our protagonist in a rock-and-a-hard-place situation, being courted by both new and old gods while neither are clear what their intentions are — though both seem to hint at increasingly motives.