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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Courtesy of Starz

Courtesy of Starz

The episode opens to a group of immigrants south of the border looking to make their way to the United States. The group makes a swim across a river and onto the other side. One of the immigrants, struggling to make it across, is assisted by what seems to be a Jesus-like figure. When it seems there is a holy glow behind him, they quickly learn that the glow is coming from a number of SUVs parked, facing them. Within moments, the immigrants are fired upon and killed by gun-toting, rosary bead-wearing ranchers with “Thy Kingdom Come” etched into their weapons. A moment that easily points out the hypocrisy of alleged Christians who are so willing to kill without any hesitation.

With the events of last week, we have two sets of beings hitting the road for Kentucky. Shadow and Wednesday, escaping the violet end to the meeting with Mr. World and heading to Vulcan, Virginia, a town filled with American flags and armband-wearing citizens. Meanwhile, Laura and Mad Sweeney grab a ride from Salim, only after Salim interrupts Sweeney’s highjack attempt, and head for Kentucky where Laura may be possibly resurrected from her dead state.

Courtesy of Starz

Courtesy of Starz

In this small town in Virginia, Shadow and Wednesday meet with Vulcan, the god of fire and metalworking, played by television veteran Corbin Bernsen. While Wednesday converses with Vulcan, Shadow is uneasy with the setting. The eyes of the people in the town upon him and Vulcan’s teasing him with the Hanging Tree and the details of how one dies when hanged. 

Contrary to Sweeney’s wishes, Laura has made the trio take a pit stop in Indiana. There, Laura decides to say one last goodbye to the bar, her mother’s home and the life she knew, using a specific, vulgar catchphrase repeated between she and Salim. While she believes there is still a spark of life inside her that was briefly rekindled when Shadow kissed her, Sweeney shoots down her hopes, stating that Shadow is moving on from his dead wife. 

Courtesy of Starz

Courtesy of Starz

Aside from the partnership of Whittle and McShane, Emily Browning and Pablo Schreiber shine in their bitter, sarcastic and overall angry attitude towards each other as Laura and Sweeney, respectively. Browning’s fiery and annoyed Laura is paired wonderfully with Schreiber’s wise-cracking smart-ass Leprechaun. The ferocity between these two is balanced now with their new chauffeur, the calm and kind taxi driver Salim, played by Omid Abtahi.

After further discussion in Virginia, Wednesday is able to gain Vulcan’s support when Vulcan agrees to join them on their trip to Wisconsin and build Wednesday a giant blade. As they join him in his forge, Wednesday and Shadow discover that Vulcan has turned them, informing the others of their whereabouts. In response to this, Wednesday takes the blade and severs Vulcan’s head off, sending both head and body into the fires below. 

American Gods airs Sunday nights at 9 pm on Starz and the Starz mobile app.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.