REVIEW: American Gods, S3 Ep2 – Serious Moonlight

American Gods season 3

American Gods sees Shadow begin to settle into Lakeside only to be caught in some trouble while Wednesday crashes a memorial service as he tries to recruit more old gods to his cause.

Shadow settles as “Mike Ainsel” and is at first at home in the town full of caring and helpful people, except for his wary property manager, Marguerite Olsen, of course. He clears up the issue of the broken key but it’s still uncomfortable to see someone so eager to point a shotgun to a black man’s head even if he has done nothing wrong.

At first, things go well. Anne-Marie Hinzelmann gives him a tour and history lesson, “Mike” tries some of Mabel’s famous pasties, and he buys a new coat. He rents a car to drive to Chicago for a memorial service and when he returns, he gets a colder welcome from the suspicious townsfolk. The young girl who he met earlier has disappeared and all eyes are on the newcomer as the potential culprit. Another uncomfortable instance of not-so-subtle racism that shows how problematic of a town the seemingly idyllic Lakeside can be.

Odin pays a visit to an old colleague, Tyr, now working as a dentist, gleefully collecting bloodied teeth of children. It’s a strange occupation for a god but he seems content and is even supportive of Odin’s campaign. But the wily old god spies a postcard from Demeter which he steals. There’s some complicated history there that we are sure to see more of that soon.

American Gods, S3 Ep2 – Serious MoonlightThe major characters gathered in the memorial service for Zorya Vechernyaya and we are reunited with the tempestuous Czernobog while Shadow has a heartfelt chat with Zorya Polunochnaya, who asked him to bring back the coin he gave him. She takes it and restores the moon in the night sky.

Poor Salim is reeling from the loss of the Jinn, who leaves a note of farewell but without much of an explanation. It’s unclear what Salim’s role is going to be in American Gods moving forward, with the Jinn gone, but it was good to see him nevertheless.

American Gods, S3 Ep2 – Serious MoonlightThough Czernobog and Wednesday butt heads at first, since Wednesday is not even invited, the sly old god manages to talk his way into the event and then even gets engaged in a traditional dance. There is celebration and Odin succeeds in his mission, much to Shadow’s disgust.

The episode tries several times to recreate the magic of the first season but the attempts are blatantly obvious. There is the opening sequence that features a massacre of natives by the invading white men, the believers of Whiskey Jack murdered by the followers of Odin, which accounts for the other deity’s refusal to support Odin’s campaign. It’s as disturbing a scene as can be and another reminder of the country’s bloody past.

American Gods, S3 Ep2 – Serious MoonlightAnother few scenes feature Bilquis who decides to punish the smug IT mogul who insults her. As expected, she has sex with him and then absorbs him but the scene is such a blatant callback to the American Gods premiere that it no longer has the same shock factor or impact. Again, it seems like an attempt to bring back the show’s iconic moments. There is an interesting development though because Bilquis looks sick and distressed after the act. One reviewer has hinted at a pregnancy storyline, which I hope isn’t the case since Bilquis deserves better material but she also needs more to do this season.

Since most of the episode was set in Lakeside, we remain in the dark about the fates of Laura Moon and Mad Sweeney and the new gods are likewise absent. The episode was eventful enough and was a good way to get viewers more settled in and unsettled by the mysterious Lakeside.