The Ways Of The Dead
After last week’s slice of hedonstic, deity action, American Gods returns for another dreamy episode. While there isn’t much in the way of plot progression this week, the introduction of several new faces and deeper characterisation for our main players makes this an enjoyable, but somewhat slow-paced, episode.
With a distinct lack of the New Gods this week, the fifth episode of American Gods begins much like it did last time out, with another dream sequence involving Shadow Moon. Facing a mirror, he brings a knife up to his neck only to see his head engulfed by flames.
Awakening in Cairo again, Wednesday leaves Shadow to his own devices as he reels over his dream, instead meeting up with Salim and the Jinn for a road trip to meet another fellow Old God. Unfortunately, he rejects Wednesday’s offer to join him in the upcoming fight leaving Wednesday back to square one again. Aside from some interesting narrative work around the complexion of religion and faith itself, there isn’t a whole lot to this storyline this week.
Drunk and stumbling through the streets, we catch up with Mad Sweeney taunting a statue of Jesus before falling in a heap on the ground. As he looks up, Laura stares back at him in disapproval. From here, the two reconvene and talk at a nearby bar with a couple of Sweeney’s old friends. Adept in the way of voodoo healing, Laura is confronted with some harsh truths around how she feels about Shadow thanks to these two mysterious figures.
Succumbing to her desires, Laura has an intimate night of passion with the strange man while Mad Sweeney has an intense night of his own. This leads to both of them having a pretty heated discussion in the morning together where Laura accuses Sweeney of conspiring with Wednesday and working against her.
While Wednesday and Laura embark on their own journeys, the third storyline showcased is certainly the most intriguing. Working as a racial narrative about discrimination in America, Shadow learns more about the ways of the dead while Ibis and Nancy invoke a heated discussion of their own. All of this leads to a confrontation between Shadow and the fiery God he saw at the start of the episode in his dream.
As American Gods continues on its path toward the end of its second season, the fifth episode ultimately feels like a bit of a filler. There’s not much in the way of progression and the distinct lack of New Gods gives the episode a missing antagonistic link. Still, there’s enough here to pique the interest and hopefully American Gods picks up next week after this somewhat pedestrian episode.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!