In this episode of American Gods, titled “The Secret of Spoons,” the show again open with a glimpse of the “Coming to America” scroll from the 1600s. A man, while being transported, prays aloud to the god Anansi, promising that he will spend his life giving offerings. Just as he finishes, a man in a suit slinks down the steps to explain to the group that they’re about to arrive in America to become slaves. The man (god?) in the suit gives a prophetic speech, projecting subjugation and oppression for hundreds of years to come, even after they’re freed.
The men begin to break free of their chains and decide to burn the ship down to save their ancestors, even if that means they die along with it. Is this Anansi’s way of answering the man’s prayers?
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What Does Shadow Discover About His Wife?
We’re back with Shadow, who is at the hospital getting staples placed into his rib cage after being left for dead by the techno god’s minions. Shadow goes to confront Mr. Wednesday about what transpired, soaked in blood, but he pleads ignorance. After explaining who he ran into, Mr. Wednesday tells him that his injuries are just part of the job, but he makes it clear that he’s insulted by the punk in the limo’s actions toward Shadow and will be planning revenge.
Shadow spends his last night in his hometown having more nightmares, this time of his wife in the room with him. Once he awakes, disturbed, he returns to his home to discover the makings of a welcome home party. He sees visions of her as he walks through the house and immediately begins sterilizing the place by packing his things, all the while eyeing a box on the bed from the police department.
Upon opening the box, Shadow discovers his wife’s wedding ring and cell phone among the possessions recovered from the accident. He’s unable to resist looking through her messages and discovers some sexually explicit photos from his best friend, so Shadow goes on a cleaning frenzy to finish moving all of the belongings out of the house.
As he sees off the moving truck, Mr. Wednesday arrives at the house to more or less encourage Shadow to move on. In the car, Mr. Wednesday mocks Shadow over his coin tricks while insisting that they never take a highway in order to keep the speed of the car slow. His plan is to rendezvous with several prominent people, the first stop of which is Chicago to meet his Admiral.
The pair arrives at a store, and Mr. Wednesday sends him shopping with an eccentric shopping list. As he’s gathering the items, a woman speaks out to him from an episode of I Love Lucy. She offers Shadow a job working with her instead, referring to herself as the future and Mr. Wednesday as the past. Shadow refuses, so she gives him a warning and disappears. It seems as if a war is beginning to brew between the old and the new, but the motives on both sides are muddy, to say the least.
Shadow tries to explain to Mr. Wednesday his encounter with Lucy, explaining, “The world is either crazy or you are.” Mr. Wednesday has a habit of not providing direct answers, instead speaking in brilliantly evasive one-liners. If Mr. Wednesday won’t be transparent with Shadow, what’s stopping him from joining the old gods? I’d pick Gillian Anderson’s team any day.
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A Killer Wager
The weird and unusual sequences continue with a nude man suspended in space, and suddenly we’re back with our goddess of sex, Bilquis, who devours a series of offerings one by one, both men and women, consuming them under the red flame. As she saunters through a room with the statue of a deity, she walks up to a display of jewels that appears to take the form of a person and then dissipates.
Mr. Wednesday and Shadow make their way through Chicago, arriving at the home of a trio of sisters and Czernobog, a Slavic god. The middle sister instructs Shadow to drink her coffee so she can read his future. As Czernobog comes back inside after finishing up a day of slaughtering cows, it’s apparent that he’s furious about Mr. Wednesday’s presence. Wednesday offers them each some of the items that were on his shopping list to placate their irritation at his intrusion.
Shadow perches in the kitchen while the sisters prepare dinner, but they threaten to murder him if he actually helps. After Shadow finished his drink, the sisters don’t give him any straightforward answers. Just as they’re about to get real with him about what they’ve seen, they’re interrupted by heated discussion from the two old gods chatting in the living room as Czernobog claims he doesn’t care if the eldest sister wakes up. Everyone in the home seems oddly concerned about waking his sister, so here’s to hoping we find out who she is and why Mr. Wednesday gifted her with a pair of binoculars.
During dinner, Czernobog confronts Shadow about his skin color, noting that it makes no difference to him; they only fight over shades. He explains that his brother has fairer skin than him, so everyone assumed he was the better man until they both became grey and no one could tell the difference. He begins explaining the finesse required to slaughter a cow while it’s still peaceful in graphic, uncomfortable detail. He abruptly asks Shadow if he’s familiar with checkers and asks him to play after dinner.
Even though Mr. Wednesday insists that Shadow doesn’t have to agree to play, he concedes anyway. Suddenly, their host feels the need to show off the hammer he uses for slaughter. The stakes are raised when the butcher puts a wager on the game, offering his help if Shadow wins. But if Shadow loses, he gets to murder him with his hammer. Shadow, concerned with helping his boss get what he wants, agrees to the terms.
Shadow loses the game, so the butcher promises to knock his brains out at sunrise, claiming it’s a shame because he’s his only black friend. Here, we come full circle from the introductory segment of the show, highlighting racial friction that’s both vital to the story and socially relevant to current events.
What did you think of the second episode of American Gods? Are you rooting for the old gods or the new so far? What do you think will happen to Shadow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
American Gods season 1 airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on Starz. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of Starz)