American Gods Recap: “Lemon Scented You”

Things go from strange to outright terrifying for Shadow as he meets the only being Mr. Wednesday fears.

Beware the Goddess of Spoilers…

Undead Marriage Counseling

Picking up where last week left off (I’ll get the that opening later), Shadow walks into his hotel room to find Laura alive(ish) and sitting on his bed. He throws a pillow at Laura’s head just to be sure, but his dead wife sitting on his bed is “about par for the f-ing course” for his life lately.

Laura is a little irritated Shadow wants to talk more about her infidelity with Robbie than the miracle of her resurrection, but she eventually turns the conversation back her way. Taking a hot bath, Laura purrs “I thought it might be nice if I were warm to the touch… I don’t want you kissing cold lips.” She confesses her continuing love for him and the two share a kiss causing her heart to beat for a brief moment. Before the two can work out how their marriage will survive Laura’s infidelity and death, Wednesday, and Shadow are arrested for bank robbery.

Unlucky Leprechaun

Laura contemplates her next move as Mad Sweeney comes busting in the door. “Give me my f-ing coin, dead wife,” Sweeney spits out as he grabs Laura’s throat. He briefly sees his coin down her esophagus before she uses a couple of fingers to flick him across the room. After a brief scuffle, Sweeney laughs at Laura. All he has to do is wait for her to decompose and he will take back his lucky coin. The warmer her body is, the faster the disintegration. The Leprechaun attempts to speed things up by shoving her back into the bathtub still filled with warm water, but two police officers looking to search Shadow’s room catch him in the act. Laura plays dead in the tub as Sweeney is dragged away.

Space Oddity

Technical Boy is summoned by Media, who is fantastically dressed as Ziggy Stardust era David Bowie. She scolds the young god, “tasked with asking a few questions, you hang a black man from a tree.” Technical Boy expresses she pass along his apologies to Mr. World, but Media cuts him off. The apology is to be given to Wednesday and Shadow. “Wednesday was suffocating, the spark was smoldering,” the goddess quotes the late musician she is embodying. “And then you came along, putting out fire with gasoline.” Technical Boy doesn’t think his apology will stop Wednesday’s recruitment tour, but Media assures him Wednesday needs just a small amount of belief the New Gods are not out to kill him for them to win.

“A brand-new, lemon-scented you”

After Shadow and Wednesday are questioned by detectives and left in an interrogation room together, a spider (hi, Anansi!) picks Wednesday out of his handcuffs. Wednesday fearfully tells Shadow they need to escape quickly. The two men then hear lots of commotion and gunshots from upstairs just before Media arrives, this time as Marilyn Monroe ala Seven Year Itch. The enigmatic Mr. World follows, lighting up the flooring like Michael Jackson in his “Billie Jean” video.

It is clear this is a god to be feared as he sweetly smiles and summons Technical Boy to apologize to Shadow. Getting down to business, Mr. World and Media tempt Wednesday with an offer. They launch a satellite missile named Odin at North Korea, making his name famous once again. Wednesday rejects the offer, it is exile they are really offering. The New Gods leave Wednesday to think it over as Media gives him Technical Boy’s two front teeth as a peace offering.

Wednesday and Shadow escape the police station filled with dead cops just as the police officers who arrested Sweeny arrive. As the two cops go to investigate the shot-up station, Sweeny bolts.

Coming to America

The Coming to America animated vignette focused on the group of people who crossed the Barrier Straight into what would eventually be North America. Led by a priestess named Atsula and their god Nunyunnini, the people are met with hard times. Atsula communes with Nunyunnini for guidance and the god sacrifices her so his people will find salvation. The prosperity of the survivors leads to the death of Nunyunnini. The tribe was absorbed by another group and their ways forgotten.

Thoughts

I think this story was chosen for this episode because it backs up Wednesday’s reasoning for turning down Mr. World’s offer. The mass destruction would make Odin famous and give him influence, but it would be as hollow as the New God’s power. “All you do is occupy their time. We gave back. We gave them meaning.” Nunyunnini knew if his people died out, then he would for sure be forgotten. He made a choice to help them endure which eventually resulted in his death, but the sacrifice assured their survival.

What do we get from technology? From media?

Entertainment. Escape. Fake connections. Knowledge at our fingertips that is quickly forgotten. Are those things fulfilling us? Giving back to us? I say this as I worship squarely at the altar of Media, as do you by being here (the irony!).

But seriously, Gillian Anderson’s Media is so amazing, who wouldn’t want to worship her? Anderson’s Marilyn was a perfect depiction of modern pop culture’s version of the deceased starlet. Part dizzy sex-goddess, part walking conspiracy theory. “Don’t believe what they say about an accidental overdose.”

Technical Boy’s apology is a brilliant representation of all the insincere social media apologies issued over the years. “Hanging a dark-skinned man was in very poor taste. We’re in a weird, tense place racially in America, and I don’t want to add to that climate of hatred.” Instead of a mea culpa for nearly killing Shadow, the god focuses on the fact that Shadow is black.

I have no words for Crispin Glover’s performance as Mr. World.

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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