American Gods “A Murder Of Gods”

If the title of your episode is “A Murder of Gods,” then you better expect to kill a couple.

Well, that happens twice, though one of those two does have a reputation for getting better after that sort of thing.

Who dies?  Well, first we have a “Somewhere in America,” where a very pious group of illegals cross the Rio Grande, and when one starts to drown, a man reaches down, plucks him up, and walks to shore.  Who is this man?  Well, he’s Jesus.  Or, at least, the Mexican version of him since Mr. Wednesday mentioned once that there are multiple versions of Jesus walking around America.

That may explain why the pick-up trucks show up and the guys inside start gunning down, oh, everybody, and Mexican Jesus goes to block some shots for one family of three, getting some seriously symbolic wounds in the process.  That the shadowy man pulling the trigger has some Christian iconography on his person is not that surprising for a show like this.

But the whole Jesus thing maybe runs through the episode.  The guns, or at least the ammo, were probably manufactured in Vulcan, Virginia.  Wednesday heads there to see an old friend.  Vulcan, the town, with its Normal Rockwell pretty version of a smoldering foundry and where everyone walks around armed in a manner that reminds the viewer of fascism, has a factory that makes guns and ammo, Vulcan brand, and every few months some poor sap falls into the molten iron of the forge as what people like Wednesday see as a human sacrifice to Vulcan the god who seems to live in and run that town.

Corbin Bersen, walking with a slightly limp, is now the god of guns, where the molten metal is his volcano, and his speech on how every shot fired is a prayer to him, well, he creeps Shadow out.  Shadow’s been creeped out enough lately, what with the fact Wednesday has to pull what looks like a tree root out of Shadow’s torso.  A squirming, fast-growing tree root…

I know we’re supposed to think Mr. World and his cohorts did that, but why would a “new” god of globalization and commerce  and whatnot attack with a tree?  I probably know the answer to that by reading the novel, but you get the idea.

While all this is going on, the abusive buddy comedy that is Laura and Mad Sweeney continues.  Laura wants answers, and she’s been through some weird stuff so maybe Mad Sweeney really is a leprechaun.  Having the two gain a third when he tries (unsuccessfully) to steal a cab parked outside the motel Wednesday and Shadow were staying in gives them a third member to their small road trip:  Salim, the gay Arab man who had a romantic encounter with a djinn and would like to find that fellow again.  Having a regular person, a quiet optimist, play off those two abusive jerks works fine.  Mad Sweeney wants his coin back, Laura wants to live again, and Mad Sweeney may know a guy who knows a guy that can bring her back and give him his coin.  Who is that man?


Mad Sweeney namedrops Jesus.

Oh, yeah, the second god to die is Vulcan.  Though Wednesday attempts to recruit the unnerving guy who plays with firearms at a home full of guns and trophy animals, Wednesday can play to Vulcan’s vanity and get the older guy to forge him a new sword.  The thing is, Vulcan has already thrown his lot in with the newer gods since he’s doing pretty well with the whole “god of guns” thing.  So, Wednesday blesses his new blade by decapitating Vulcan and letting him fall into his own forge.  And Wednesday will take it one step further by peeing into the forge to curse it.

Man, Shadow is freaked out enough with all this.  Laura seems to be taking the weirdness in stride better.  Maybe Wednesday shouldn’t tell Shadow he saw Laura briefly running after their car when they quickly vacated that motel…

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