REVIEW: American Gods, S2 Ep3 – Muninn

American Gods Season 2 Argus

American Gods scatters its main cast to the winds in this episode as we meet some more gods, Shadow makes a new friend, and Wednesday and Laura find some common ground. It’s a fragmented episode that does not quite do justice to the remaining cast while introducing (or re-introducing in the case of Media) new characters to serve merely as plot points.

After the explosion on the train in the last episode, Laura is blown to bits and has to be pieced together by Mr. Ibis. She decides to follow Mr. Wednesday so that she can find Shadow and get her heart jump-started. Mad Sweeney leaves in disappointment and proceeds to New Orleans, but without the presence of his lucky coin, he encounters misfortune after misfortune.

American Gods LauraLaura and Wednesday search for Argus Panoptes, an ancient, all-seeing god who has allied himself with Mr. World. The imagery surrounding Argus seems to fit with the American Gods aesthetic and he is an intriguing vision of a many-eyed man surrounded by a labyrinth of wires and cables. Laura and Wednesday have to go through a maze of his memories, including some backstory on the library of Alexandria, and offer sacrifices so that they may find Argus himself.

There are a few scenes with Salim and the Djinn as they enter a “corn palace” and speak with Iktomi. But the whole episode is just a hodge-podge of plot points and exposition without the same good writing and style as the previous season. This might become a constant complaint as American Gods season two progresses but one cannot help but notice the slower pace and drop in quality of the writing, even as the performances continue to be strong (particularly for Laura and Mr. Wednesday).

American Gods New MediaWe are also introduced to the newest incarnation of Media, called New Media, a being born from the ether and emerging dressed as a kawaii girl, surrounded by emojis, and speaking in hashtags. She is certainly something and while we understand that she needed to be updated from the old-school version of Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball, she does not feel as dynamic. Technical Boy clearly is not pleased to see her and even wonders what the difference is between him and her at this point. And honestly, I’m not sure I see the distinction either.

New Media attempts to bond with Argus in a disgusting and frankly unimaginative way as some of Argus’ wires climb up her skirt and she starts moaning with pleasure while talking “synergy.” Adding sex to a scene that does not require it, probably just to titillate audiences, is a tired trick and one that is disappointing when one considers how sex has been shown on American Gods before, in more reverent and relevant ways. Now, it just seemed like a gimmick that Technical Boy views with disgust, and I felt the same way.

American Gods Sam and ShadowShadow strikes out on his own, and also gets a chance to be a bit more lively and interesting. He tries to pull off a grift at a store but gets called out by an intriguing young woman with whom he hitches a ride. Sam Blackcrow is a character from the novel but her television incarnation seems more mysterious and mature. There is an interesting chemistry between them as they go on their journey together and though Sam drops Shadow off at Cairo, one senses that this is not going to be the last they will see of each other. And I look forward to seeing more of her.

The episode ends with Laura killing Argus, serving Mr. Wednesday’s agenda, and also jump-starting her heart. Technical Boy cedes this victory to the old god (obviously glad to see New Media thwarted), and runs off. The sacrifice made, Mr. Wednesday says he no longer needs Laura and though she insists that she needs to find Shadow, he asks her to re-examine her purpose.

Shadow meets up with Mr. Wednesday at Cairo and demands answers, answers that the latter withholds. But he promises Shadow that something good will happen tonight. So that’s what we have to look forward to next week on American Gods.