American Gods S02E02 Is “The Perfect Marriage of Storytelling & Visual Effects” [REVIEW]

Streaming in the UK Mondays on Amazon Prime.

The magical merry-go-round continues to spin into the mind’s eye of Mr Wednesday in episode 2 of the second season of American Gods.

While last week’s episode was merely an appetiser, we’re well and truly gorging ourselves on the main course now. Shadow has been taken by the New Gods and is on his way to some unknown location, being tortured by the devilish Mr Town, pumped for information on a plan he barely knows anything about.

This was a great bit of character development for Shadow, as not only did we get to see him stand up for an old gods group he now feels a part of, but through some wonderful cut-scenes we also got to learn some previously hidden details about his past.

As Fuller is prone to doing with American Gods he uses this latest episode as an opportunity to discuss another social issue prevalent in today’s society. We see first-hand the important role ethnicity can play in a person’s identity along with nationality, family and even where people live.

For someone like Shadow who travelled as a youngster, his home was always with his mother. So when he is faced with the issues of being mixed-race in New York with no father and an ill mother, he reacts in the same way a lot of us would. Violence. And it’s this inherent sense of alienation from the world that Shadow feels that goes a long way towards explaining a lot of his current decisions on this quest.

Speaking of quests, there are two more that couldn’t be more opposite. Tech Boy has been given an ultimatum by Mr World to find Media or else, because a war like this one is going to need that dramatic flair that only the god of the miniature screen can provide. But why is she hiding?

The more Bruce Langley I see the better as, far as I’m concerned. He has taken to this role like a duck to water and gets to show just how great he is this week with his extended monologue/back-and-forth with the formless god of media. An exchange which illustrates the perfect marriage of storytelling and visual effects that American Gods does so well.

Finally, we have the ‘buddy cop’ dynamic between Laura Moon and Mad Sweeney. With Mr Wednesday seemingly happy to leave Shadow’s future to the hands of fate, he casually suggests that if Laura wants him she should go and get him. And, always looking for his coin, Sweeney decides to tag along for the ride.

These two are great together and I still think it’s one of the real masterstrokes of the TV adaptation to give them a bigger role in the story. Their relationship is fascinating, and while it started out as just Sweeney chasing coin we’re seeing a kind of respect develop – at least from Sweeney’s perspective. Add to this a great fight scene and some hilarious back-and-forth banter and you have the absolute highlight of the episode for me.

The insanity continues as the war bells start ringing. Next week can’t come quickly enough.

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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