Somewhere in America…
We see an older woman in her kitchen struggling to reach a jar while, teetering on a flimsy stool. She successfully gets her item and returns to making dinner and arguing with her hairless cat. There’s a knock at the door and it’s none other than Anubis. The woman does not know this and like an old foreign lady tells him that he has the wrong door and the black family lives upstairs. Anubis kindly tells her that he’s where he needs to be as she has died and he is to take her away. She turns around to see her dead body on the floor and Anubis tries to sooth her with reassurances about her children’s future. The woman is okay with all of this until it strikes her that she is Muslim and Anubis is not. He reminds her that when she was a little girl she listened and believed with rapture and delight of the Egyptian gods that someone else had told her about. She finally agrees to go with him and they take the fire escape, along with the cat, and climb and climb and climb until they reach a desert. Here Anubis takes her heart right out of her chest and places it on the scale against the feather. She’s immediately worried she’s done too much wrong in her life but the scales prove she did her best in life. Anubis takes her to a row of doors and tells her to choose. As she starts to enter she fears her religion will be mad that she went with Anubis and her cat pushes her through the door and leaves with Anubis.
Shadow is asleep on the Zorayas’ couch when a shadow flits by him. He wakes and notices the window is open and has a ladder leading to the roof. When he gets up there he meets the third Zoraya sister, Polunochnaya. She’s staring at the stars through her telescope with a stuffed teddy bear attached to it. He asks what she’s doing and she tells him she’s keeping an eye out for a bad thing so that it doesn’t break out and destroy the world. Shadow obviously doesn’t believe this. Polunochnaya then tells Shadow’s fortune and informs him that he believes in nothing so he has nothing but soon his nothing will be everything. She then chides him for constantly just giving his life away like it doesn’t mean anything. To trade for his fortune she demands a kiss because she’s never experienced it. Before Shadow has a chance to stop her she kisses him and deems it disgusting but in a good way, which makes Shadow smirk. Polunochnaya then plucks the actual moon out of the sky and gives it to Shadow as a coin for protection since he has already lost the sun (the coin that he got from Mad Sweeney).
He wakes up and immediately feels emboldened to go to Czernobog’s room and demand that they have a rematch. Shadow insults Czernobog stating he’s gone soft using the bolt gun to kill the cows and would only leave Shadow a brain dead idiot because he wouldn’t be able to get the job done like he used to. If Czernbog were to win this second game, Shadow would allow him a second swing at his head.
Mr. Wednesday slips into Zoraya Vechernyaya’s room with a cup of tea and starts flirting. She tries to blow him off but Wednesday knows just how to flatter her by telling her that she deserves the life she used to have, draped in pearls and sleeping in satin sheets. He then asks her to read his tea leaves and Vechernyaya straight up tells him that he will fail. “Only my fortune for today,” he replies.
Meanwhile, Shadow and Czernobog are back at checkers and Shadow comments on how Czernobog is just repeating his moves from earlier.
Wednesday and Vechernyaya are taking a walk in the rain and damn does Vechernyaya know how to kill it with her outfit! She tells Mr. Wednesday that the new gods will kill him this time around, suggesting they’ve been through this battle before. He kisses her, lighting strikes in the distance, and Vechernyaya yells at him, “What have you done?” Of course, Mr. Wednesday smiles and sweetly replies that he made her taste war and she smiles back in wonderment as the rain falls harder around them.
Shadow wins the game against Czernobog. His happiness is short-lived as Czernobog tells him that he will go to Wisconsin to join Mr. Wednesday but once that job is done, he’s still going to take his hammer to Shadow’s skull. Shadow agrees.
He wakes up again and the fire escape to the roof has disappeared. He checks his pocket and the moon coin is there, proving that last night did happen. Mr. Wednesday strolls in and tells Shadow to get ready because they are going to rob a bank!
Mad Sweeney is asleep on a toilet back at the Crocodile bar. The bartender opens the stall and points a gun at him. Mad Sweeney has the luck of the Irish so tells her that shooting him will backfire on her. But it doesn’t and Mad Sweeney is shocked. He is then stomping down the road when a man pulls over and offers him a ride deeming Mad Sweeney an alcoholic like he used to be. Mad Sweeney takes the offer even though he insists he doesn’t have a drinking problem. The truck in front them swerves and one of the pipes gets loose and flies into the car, impaling the wannabe AA sponsor straight through the head. A cop on the scene calls it crazy bad luck and something clicks in Mad Sweeney’s brain. He empties his pockets looking for the gold coin that he ended up giving/losing to Shadow. He’s unlucky without it and realizes he has to track Shadow down to get the coin back in his possession.
We then meet Salim, a young Muslim man who’s been in America for a week and is in New York City looking to be a salesman. After a rough day waiting for a man who would not meet him, Salim hails a taxi cab. His driver is the Jinn, whom Mr. Wednesday met at the diner in the last episode. It isn’t until the Jinn curses in his home country’s language that Salim feels comfortable starting a conversation and they talk about Oman and the city of Ubar. While stuck in traffic, the Jinn dozes off and Salim nudges him to wake up. The Jinn’s sunglasses slip off revealing his fire eyes and Salim immediately realizes he’s an ifrit. He tells the Jinn that his grandmother swore she met an ifrit before. The Jinn states that grandmothers came to America too thus his reasoning for being in America. He also goes on a tirade that despite being an ifrit, he cannot grant wishes. If he could, he wouldn’t be driving a taxi that people shit in.
Salim seems a kindred spirit in the Jinn and ends up inviting the Jinn to his hotel room. They slowly start to show affection for each other by at first holding hands. But back at the room, the Jinn tells Salim he can’t grant wishes and Salim offers himself up to the Jinn. They make love throughout the night and it’s pure bliss as they are transported to the desert and we see the Jinn as an ifrit. The fire courses through Salim. In the morning, Salim is alone but the Jinn’s clothes, wallet, and keys are there. Salim takes everything and takes on the role of taxi driver, happy with this turn in his life. “I do not grant wishes,” he says into the rearview mirror and smiles.
Mr. Wedneday and Shadow are arguing over robbing a bank with Shadow throwing out as many expletives as he can. Mr. Wedneday claims Shadow’s job is to guard his body but Shadow doesn’t want to go back to jail. They walk through the bank and Shadow pays attention to all of the cameras that are catching his face.
I should take a second here to point out there’s a weird shadow on the wall of the bank that looks like a man in a top hat. I’m not sure what that’s about but it was too noticeable to be nothing.
Anyway, they leave the bank without doing anything and Mr. Wednesday grabs Shadow a hot chocolate with marshmallows because he believes Shadow likes them. Shadow reluctantly takes the drink and responds gruffly that he does like marshmallows. Awwww. Mr. Wednesday then tells Shadow to start thinking about snow as hard as he can. That’s his new assignment.
They go to a copy shop to get business cards made and Mr. Wednesday points out a woman’s multiple copies of Jesus died for your sins poster. “Why would Jesus suffer for her?” Shadow brings up what every Catholic has been taught but Mr. Wednesday shoots that down stating all of the Jesus’ need to suffer a little more. Apparently, there are various versions of Jesus for various needs. While Mr. Wednesday was getting his cards made, Shadow fell asleep thinking about snow. When Wednesday wakes him up, it’s snowing outside.
They go to eat and Shadow doesn’t understand how it’s snowing. No one called for it. Mr. Wednesday tells him he needs to believe in coincidence rather than tiny weather people. They argue over science versus fantasy and Mr. Wednesday balks at reality. “You think that’s how the world works?”
Mad Sweeney comes storming into the restaurant and demands his lucky coin back. Shadow snarks that Mad Sweeney gave it to him fair and square which Mr. Wednesday backs him up on.”I threw it away,” Shadow practically spits into Mad Sweeney’s face. He tells him it’s back at Laura’s grave and Mad Sweeney storms off to retrieve it.
Mr. Wednesday is dressed in his security cop best as the duo is across the street from the bank. Shadow is still nervous. “Will you believe in me if you don’t end up in jail?” Mr. Wednesday asks. Shadow doesn’t answer as usual and Mr. Wednesday gives him his fake business card and tells him to wait by the payphone. Mr. Wednesday puts a sign over the overnight deposit box and makes people give him their money and sign for it. A cop questions Mr. Wednesday and immediately the payphone rings. Shadow eases into the fake role and smooth talks the cop into believing Mr. Wednesday is not a crook.
Back on the road that night, Mr. Wednesday brings up that America is the only country in the world that wonders what it is. Every other country knows their heart, their essence like the back of their hand. Shadow tries to defend America stating people know who they are but Mr. Wednesday shoots that down stating they are pretending. A wolf runs into the middle of the road and Shadow has to hit the brakes.
“Did I make it snow?” Shadow asks. Mr. Wednesday doesn’t directly answer that but rather tells him that if he believes in what he can do then he can believe in anything. “Beautiful thing to dream when you’re not asleep.” Mr. Wednesday asks if he believes in love, which Shadow replies that he believes the shit out of love but it wasn’t until Laura came into his life that he did.
Mr. Wednesday says that he’s scared of being forgotten.
Mad Sweeney is digging up Laura’s grave and finds an empty coffin with a perfectly coin shaped hole burned through it. He’s pretty damn shocked, to say the least. So where’s Laura? Shadow opens his motel room door to find her sitting on his bed. Hi, puppy.
American Gods airs every Sunday at 9pm on Starz.