REVIEW: American Gods, S2 Ep4 – The Greatest Story Ever Told

We’re halfway through the second season of American Gods and it’s becoming more and more challenging to keep the faith. This week’s episode was only kept interesting by the discussion of Bilquis, Mr. Nancy, and Mr. Ibis as well as the introduction of the CEO character who had been Technical Boy’s protege. The absence of Laura Moon and Mad Sweeney is sorely felt as another fractured episode unfolded.

In his quest for allies, Mr. Wednesday tries to win over the powerful god of Money, with Shadow watching from the sidelines. Money is at first represented by a group of girl scouts seemingly selling cookies. Wednesday and Shadow find this group in a diner by a Motel America where another Mamaji serves them as a waitress.

American Gods, S2 Ep4 - The Greatest Story Ever ToldMeanwhile, in the wake of Argus’ death, Mr. World sends Technical Boy out to find a suitable replacement and he looks for the CEO, who used to be a young boy fascinated by computers. The opening scenes, showing the boy’s father encouraging him to play Bach and then him finding a way for the computer to compose music, were interesting and nuanced. I can only hope we will see more of this character as American Gods progresses because it would be a shame for him to simply be a plot device. We won’t be seeing much of Technical Boy anymore, as Mr. World retired him.

There was another uninspired sex scene between Bast and Shadow, a scene taken from the novel, but executed in such a boring, perfunctory way, again in contrast to the more creative and mesmerizing sex scenes from the first season. Shadow had a good time and woke up refreshed and in a better mood, albeit perplexed that there was a cat in his bedroom and there were claw marks on his back.

American Gods, S2 Ep4 - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThis episode was redeemed by the arrival of Bilquis at an old woman’s funeral and her attempt to gain a new follower in the dead woman’s granddaughter. Bilquis then proceeds to have a discussion with Mr. Nancy and Mr. Ibis, forming the most substantial part of the episode, and proof that American Gods still has some seeds of greatness in it. Ibis advocates peace and Bilquis argues that human suffering has been part of history for as long as time.

But Nancy refuses to accept this and he eloquently describes all the hardships and struggles experienced by black people in America and how they, as African gods, must act for some kind of justice. Nancy’s speech wins Bilquis over and we will see where these gods will fit in Wednesday’s war.

American Gods, S2 Ep4 - The Greatest Story Ever ToldMr. World and Mr. Wednesday both try to court Money to their side but the god refuses to take a side because he profits either way. He decides to sit this one out and the old and new god have to respect his decision. There are still so many fragmented subplots and ideas on American Gods this season that it’s hard to stay focused. This should change for the latter half of the season if the show is to survive, as it relies on the faith of its viewers just as the gods need the faith of their worshippers.