American Gods Recap: “Head Full of Snow”

Banner by The Spaniard

 

Shadow looks to get a reprieve from his deal with Czernobog. Mr. Wednesday needs to run an errand before the road trip can continue. And that scene everyone is talking about.

Beware the Goddess of Spoilers…

“The daughter, not the father”

On an uncomfortable couch in the Zorya household, Shadow is unable to sleep. Can you blame the man? Soon the sun will rise and his head will be bashed in by a blood-thirsty god. Looking for some fresh air, Shadow ascends the fire escape to the roof. There he meets Zorya Polunochnaya. The youngest sister is sweet and a little strange. She reveals to Shadow she and her sisters monitor the stars, hers is the midnight watch. “It is a bad thing chained up in those stars,” and if they don’t guard it, it will escape and devour the world.

Polunochnaya chides Shadow for throwing away the gold coin he won from Mad Sweeny and offers him a replacement in exchange for giving her a first kiss. “I can give you the moon” she says after plucking the moon out of the sky and handing him a silver coin. Shadow suddenly wakes back on the couch in the living room and looks out the window, but there is no fire escape and the silver coin is in his pocket.

Feeling lucky, Shadow challenges Czernobog to another game of checkers. If Shadow wins, Czernobog will go to Wisconsin and will get his one swing at Shadow’s head there. If Czernobog wins, then he gets two swings at Shadow’s head. Shadow wins the game much to the anger of Czernobog. While the second match rages on, Wednesday and Vechernayaya go for a walk to flirt and discuss the coming war. “They will win,” warns the older sister. “They will kill you this time.” But he is not deterred.

“Yeah, I like marshmallows”

Wednesday and Shadow head out in the morning, but Wednesday needs to make a significant withdrawal from a bank before continuing on. And by withdrawal, I mean rob a bank. Shadow is pissed at the plan, he just got out of prison. His employer tells him not to worry and to think of snow. Wednesday gathers supplies while Shadow daydreams of icicles forming. When he wakes, it has become almost blizzard like conditions outside.

Keeping watch across the street from the closed bank, Shadow observes with amazement as Wednesday, dressed as a security guard, places out of order signs on the ATM and night drop box. Merchants dropping off deposits for the night hand over their cash to Wednesday, happy to not deal with the sudden bad weather. He even fools the cops with his charm, a business card, and a Shadow willing to play along with the charade.

Bad Luck

Mad Sweeney is ostensibly down on his luck. He is tossed out of his favorite bar after the owner takes a shot at him. A nice stranger giving him a ride is promptly killed by a pipe falling off a truck in front of time on the highway. That’s when Sweeney realizes his lucky gold coin is missing. He tracks down Shadow in Chicago to get it back. To Sweeney’s horror, Shadow tells the leprechaun he tossed the coin on his wife’s grave. Mad Sweeney makes his way to Indiana dig for his coin only to find it is not in the grave, and neither is Laura. She is in Shadow’s hotel room.

Somewhere in America

The first glimpse of the goings on elsewhere is the story of a Muslim woman, Mrs. Fadil, who dies after a fall at her home. She does not realize she has died until the Egyptian god Anubis comes to take her to the afterlife. Her belief in the old gods as a child is why he came for her when she passed. The polite god assures Mrs. Fadil her family will grieve for her and will name a child after her, but she correctly guesses it will be a “bulls-it middle name.” After weighing her heart against a feather, Anubis deems Mrs. Fadil best is good enough and allows her to choose her afterlife from one of four doors.

In New York, a traveling salesman from Oman is not doing too great in the big apple. In the cab ride to his hotel after a meeting that didn’t happen, Salim bonds with the driver over their shared misery of not being liked or understood. Seeing the fire in the cab driver’s eyes, Salim realizes he is a djinn. “They know nothing about my people here,” the djinn wearily declares. “They think all we do is grant wishes.” But the jinn does grant a wish to Salim after a knowing touch. The djinn follows the salesman up to his hotel room where the two become cosmically intimate. The next morning, the djinn is gone along with Salim’s clothing (notice last episode when we briefly saw the djinn at the diner? He was wearing Salim’s clothing). The djinn leaves his clothing, I.D., and cab information, giving Salim a chance to start anew.

Thoughts

That was a huge gamble the producers took showing a graphically gay sex scene between two Muslim men. Not only was the moment beautifully shot, but it is clear they were expressing love and intimacy between the two men. Brilliantly done!

If I were a truly clever writer I would have been able to come up some great rubbing of the lamp jokes when the djinn dropped his towel and barred all.

Wednesday mentions there are many incarnations of Jesus to represent various people’s depictions of him. He even snarks the White Jesus is “doing very well for himself” and “could stand a little more suffering.” I love this clever dig at the far right Republicans who claim to be good Christians while reveling in the suffering of others.

Also, check out The Collective’s coverage of American Gods at SDCC 2016 here!

Till Next Week!


About the author: The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale

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