American Gods season 1, episode 6 recap: ‘A Murder of Gods’


American Gods continues its cross-country journey towards who knows what, leaving dead gods in its wake.

As we rapidly approach the conclusion of the first season of American Gods, like our main protagonist Shadow Moon, it appears we are going to be left with more questions than answers. Reading the novel by Neil Gaiman, upon which the show is based, doesn’t seem to give you any answers either. If last week’s episode, which featured Shadow’s meeting with Mr. World (which never occurs in the novel)was not enough, this week’s episode “A Murder of Gods” has just about zero basis in the novel. Anyways, off we go.

Before we pick up where we left off last week, with Wednesday and Shadow fleeing the police station, its south of the border for our weekly installment of “Somewhere in America”. We join a group of Latin immigrants preparing to cross the border into America. There are of course difficulties, but never fear, Hispanic Jesus is here. Jesus rescues an immigrant from drowning before walking on water. Because of course. It’s Jesus and that’s what he does. The Cliff-Notes version of Jesus doesn’t stop there though.

Photo Credit: Starz

After successfully making it across the river, the group is ambushed by heavily armed, god-fearing white folk.The immigrants are fleeing to America for a better life because that’s what they do, and the white people are out to mow them down with automatic weapons because that’s what they do. No matter that there are women and children among the group.

Anyways, Hispanic Jesus attempts to intervene, but is shot through the hands, and then through the heart. Hispanic Jesus being killed by white people who most likely worship a white Jesus was probably meant to be ironic, but it was about as subtle as smashing someone over the head with Czernobog’s hammer.

Naturally, Hispanic Jesus dies in the exact same pose as he takes on the crucifix, and finally, the whole sequence is over. Perhaps the only worthwhile nugget of wisdom to come out of the scene was that gods can, in fact, be killed. Except, we learn the lesson in a much less ham-fisted sequence later in the episode.

Photo Credit: Starz

Back to our heroes we go, as Wednesday and Shadow are fleeing the police station on foot. Shadow naturally has questions, and Wednesday naturally has no answers. The whole shtick is beginning to wear a bit thin, but damn if Ricky Whittle and Ian McShane don’t give each scene their all.

The duo walks back to the hotel, and after collecting their things hit the road as quickly as possible. Wednesday intentionally distracts Shadow from noticing Laura approaching as they pull out of the parking lot, and then the episode begins to actually show some life. That it comes from an undead wife and a Russian leprechaun just means you’re watching American Gods.

Emily Browning continues to play Laura Moon with just the right amount of reckless abandon for someone who’s no longer living, and her banter with the ever charismatic Pablo Schreiber is easily one of the highlights of the show thus far. The pairs are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else on the show for chemistry, and it’s a surprising, but welcome addition from the novel.

Photo Credit: Starz

Anyways, Sweeney and Laura agree to head off in pursuit of Shadow and decide to hot wire a cab in the hotel parking lot. It’s not just any cab, of course, it’s the cab driven by Salim, not Salim, the man who slept with the jinn a few episodes back. It’s a pretty big coincidence, but Omid Abtahi provides so much needed levity that it’s hard to care.

Back to Shadow and Wednesday, who are fleeing as fast as Wednesday’s classic Cadillac can take them. Shadow has some sort of sapling growing in the wound he received from Mr. Wood last week, but Wednesday is able to pull it out of him. No harm, no foul.

The duo arrives in Vulcan, Virginia, which apparently has adopted Purge rules for everyday life. Everyone is wearing a gun, or carrying a gun, even the old lady in the wheelchair has an automatic weapon. Wednesday is there to recruit Vulcan (the god, not the town) to his cause. Vulcan is the re-branded god volcano, who received the same “upgrade” from the new gods as was offered to Wednesday last week.

Photo Credit: Starz

Of course, that means Vulcan is working for the new gods. Wednesday plays along, however, because Wednesday needs something from Vulcan. That something is a sword. Wednesday clearly needs the sword, though its purpose remains unclear. Either way, as soon as Vulcan completes the sword, he confesses to selling Wednesday out. Why anyone would confess to something like that to someone holding a sword is beyond me, but Vulcan promptly loses his head courtesy of the sword he just forged for Wednesday. And we have the second death of a god this episode.

Photo Credit: Starz

While Wednesday is decapitating gods, Sweeney, Laura, and Salim not Salim are making their way back to Indiana. We are told by Laura that she cares not for her old life, nor her family, and yet that’s exactly where she heads.

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It’s a slightly confusing turn of events, but Sweeney and Laura’s back and forth squabbling keeps the whole sequence moving along at a pleasant pace.

All and all, an interesting episode, especially considering its entirety finds no basis in the novel. It’s not that the scenes are bad (except for the opener), but that its beginning to feel a bit stretched out. Laura and Sweeney literally end up back in the same crocodile bar from the first episode.

So while we love to watch them banter, it’s starting to feel a bit like we are just circling an airport, waiting to land. Two episodes remain, so hopefully, some actual progress can be made before the season closes out.