American Gods Review: Head Full of Snow

There is only one thing that the American Gods have in common: the fear of being forgotten. America may have gotten its start many moons ago, but the melting pot structure forced many changes to those we’ve met so far. In last week’s episode, Bilquis’ ornaments and altar are found in a museum and the Zorya Sisters are stuck in Chicago in a hole of an apartment. Also, what happened to the father of the Zoryas? The Sun God, Dazbog, is briefly mentioned twice, so he must be one of the Gods who have faced extinction. It’s up to his daughters to keep watch of the beast in the stars from eating the world.

But what makes a believer? Mrs. Fadil is a Muslim woman who falls to her death, but questions as to why the ancient Egyptian God, Anubis (Chris Oti), greets her instead of Allah arise. The stories told to her by her grandmother (Tita) forged Mrs. Fadil to continue to believe in the stories of Gods from her land, no matter how life may have veered her from these fables. When Mr. Wednesday claims that belief is simply the ideas of the people around us and our fears, he’s right. Most of these Gods come directly from lands that “know themselves,” and are deep in the cultures of people and has taught many civilizations how to govern themselves. The folklores are enough to bring forth these supreme beings, and bring comfort to those who truly believe. Meanwhile, it doesn’t matter if the Gods have their own agenda – as long as they have followers, they are still here. Ye of little faith are enough to give them power, no matter how distilled they are compared to their non-humble beginnings.

What’s a god to a non-believer? Who don’t believe in anything? – Frank Ocean

The cinematography of the show is beautifully crafted – forced to think of snow, Shadow daydreams of cars riding off marshmallows from his hot cocoa, while copy machines create the perfect snowflake, and repeating it until the town is having a mini snow storm. From the editing to these visuals, the scenes are something to be in awe of. It’s hard to say for sure if Shadow has his own power, or if Mr. Wednesday’s powers are magnified due to Shadow’s imagination – but there is a connection that we have yet to uncover. The plan to rob the bank is successful and the duo have enough to continue on their journey to Wisconsin.

Shadow has a hard time believing in any of the events around him, which, can we blame him? Not only is he in grief-mode due to Laura’s death, but Mr. Wednesday doesn’t make things easy. The quest is to force unwavering belief in Shadow. Other Gods, such as Zorya Polunochnaya, give further instructions and help. In what is one my favorite scenes, the youngest Zorya reads Shadow about his lack in faith and his will to survive during an encounter on her cold rooftop, which forces him to defend his head from Czernobog in a checkers re-match. Shadow wins, but it’s still up to him to get that this new world is real.

In another Somewhere in America segment, we are introduced to Salim (Omid Abtahi), a Middle Eastern man that just arrived to America to sells baubles of shit. His words, not mine. Salim deals with an insulting blow of waiting all day for a meeting that never occurs, but afterwards gets in to a cab with a man who happens to be a djinn. The intimacy of relating to someone that knows where you stem from is deep, especially in a crowded city that make outsiders feel lonely. The cab driver is a djinn (Mousa Kraish), who doesn’t create wishes, but the chemistry between the two is as fiery as his eyes. They arrive in Salim’s hotel room to explore that chemistry. And while completely sexy, it’s also moving; the sex between the men is choreographed to be loving, spiritual, and the scene shuffles back between reality and other worldly, lost to each other in a desert. The djinn does grant one wish: he gives Salim a new life as a cab driver.

Observations:

  • Neil Gaiman has always had an affinity for threes in women; The Three Fates, or The Crone, the Mother and the Young Girl have always appeared in different pieces of his work. The Zorya sisters’ are another enjoyment of this build up.
  • Zorya Vechernyaya (Cloris Leachman) and Mr. Wednesday have horizontally tangoed, multiple times, in the past. This could either make you giggle like a loon or gross you out. I’m in-between both, because HEEYYYY CLORIS!
  • Speaking of Cloris, I love that jacket she wore. I also loved how Ian McShane adoringly combed her hair.
  • Let’s see how well Shadow takes his delusion as he sees Laura, up from the grave, waiting for him on his motel room bed.

Photo Credit: Starz

Iris

Iris likes long walks through bookstores, with a cup of coffee in hand, and tries with all her might to find new spaces in her home to arrange the books she should have bought on her Kindle instead. Rinse, wash, repeat. You can find her on Twitter.

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