This episode should come with a trigger warning for the burning of the Library of Alexandria. That still makes me so angry and it happened over two millennia ago. You know what else also really irrationally upsets me? The destruction of the Imperial Library of Constantinople and everyone seems to forget about that one!
- Shadow finally has something to do! I loved Shadow's arc this week and Ricky Whittle is so pretty and perfect. The distinct difference between Shadow dazzling a mark and Shadow being authentic is something we haven't seen since "Git Gone."
- SAM!!!!!!!11!!!! Devery Jacobs as Sam is everything I imagined and more
- Sam's big belief speech from the book is missing. I'm hoping that means it's going to appear somewhere else because Sam needs to be in every episode from here until eternity
- Please. We need waaaay more Sam
- Argus' rebirth story as a parallel for Media's rebirth into New Media
- Technical Boy continues to be my favorite spoiled little troll this season. I'd gladly watch a spin-off show where it was just Technical Boy snarkily judging the incompetence of everyone around him.
- Wednesday and Laura are a lot of fun together. He is a patriarchal, condescending asshole and she is a selfish, entitled asshole. Just like with Sweeney, I don't know which one to root for or even what I'm rooting for.
- Argus story: God of Surveillance's power is waning, "but as his believers waned, so did his sight." Is this some sort of commentary on everyone living their lives online, out in the open, constant selfies and videos and recordings? Is there no need for CCTV when everyone has a cell phone? How is surveillance waning when it only seems to be more powerful? It was all a little clunky...see Lowlights and Discussion below
- Reversals from the book: Shadow instead of Wednesday cheating the cashier, Sam driving Shadow instead of Shadow driving Sam
- I'm not hating that they've made Shadow a bit of a con artist instead of a Gary Stu but I would like to see what led him down that path and how he arrived in Eagle Point wanting to rob a casino. I also would like to see more about the two men holding guns on Laura and how that all came about and can we please clarify what Shadow was actually caught doing and went to prison for?
- Because I'm a nerd, let's work out the math on Shadow's cashier scam, shall we?
- Water and a map = $7.02, which I'm guessing she rounded down to an even $7 because she is nice on top of being bad at math.
- Shadow gives $13 (initial 10 + additional 3)
- Cashier gives $20 back (which Sam spends on gas)
- So, Shadow would have walked away with an extra $7 but instead paid out of pocket $13 for $27 worth of goods: Sam's gas, a map, and water.
- Where have I seen Argus before? Jabba the Hutt? Pearl from Blade? Maybe Balthazar from Buffy?
Things from before
- They've found a workaround for Laura's rotting body and also managed to give Laura a clearly established plot that doesn't revolve around her Shadow obsession: finding newer and better ways to preserve her and perhaps resurrect her
- I wish they made it clearer that Iktomi and Whiskey Jack are (or are not) the same person
- So how exactly did Argus end up in America? Ibis glossed over it with a whole "magical Hera vengeance" nonsense when there really wasn't any need. This requires its own discussion point.
- Besides not getting to see the actual Corn Palace, they send two gay guys into a strip club? Okay....
- I'm guessing they were planning to use the Corn Palace (Mama-ji even told them last episode to go to Mitchell) but probably didn't get permission/budget in time for filming. Otherwise, that misdirect was 👎
- I appreciated the "Somewhere in America" even though it felt as if it were an afterthought. Why didn't they use something like that for the Shadow flashbacks? Or did I somehow miss them last episode?
- So, are Native American actors portraying Iktomi and Gnaski or only Sam?
- Gratuitous cybersex with repulsive Argus. I mean, can anyone honestly say they would have chosen the same delivery method if New Media were a man? I'm still unclear what even she was trying to do? Absorb Argus like Bilquis does to her suitors? Thanks for the additional reminder we're watching premium cable. I thought Iktomi's Bada Bing club did that well enough on its own this episode.
The entire Argus story felt incoherent. So he was the Librarian at Alexandria? How does knowledge relate to survelliance? What was the point of that intermediary journey from Argus/Io in a field to the library to light it on fire yet not tell us how Argus arrived in America? How did Hera send Argus to America where no one believed in him (or Hera for that matter)?There was a step missing in both Ibis' story of Argus as well as Wednesday's and Laura's journey through Argus' mind. How difficult would it have been to insert a line into Ibis' story about importing Argus to America with the creation of the Library of Congress or perhaps the Culper Spy Ring or Pinkerton detectives? Maybe show another Argus husk with Wednesday and Laura having to burn Washington DC in sacrifice? This is American Gods, isn't it?
Old vs. New vs. Evolved
Speaking of American gods, what about global vs. American? Mr. World, New Media, and Tech Boy seem more global than American and that was Media's proposition to Wednesday with the Odin missiles: taking him global (same with the Argus drones?) Are the New Gods what the Old Gods become when they give up self-sacrifice on an intimate scale and settle for general time and attention on a global scale?
What are the rules??? How does an Old God evolve into a New God? What differentiates an Old God from a New? What is Bilquis vs. Vulcan vs. Argus vs. Easter? Is Technical Boy "New" since the advent of machines or is he an Old God evolved since the advent of the arrowhead? What about when Argus is reborn again? As Tech Boy says, tech is his bitch. Can Argus choose to be an Old God even though he is comprised of new technology? What about other Old Gods who fall under Tech Boy's dominion?
I know how much everyone is in love with Gillian Anderson. I grew up on Friday night X-Files and Scully was the best female representation on television for a burgeoning geek girl like me. I won't say it's entirely because of her I got into STEM but it's definitely a little bit because of her. So, I say this with the most love possible: I had hoped they would have updated her character regardless of whether Gillian stuck around or not. She portrayed the Media of Baby Boomers and Generation X. As Tech Boy said last episode, "Twentieth century is ancient history, like the faces you wear."
Media needed an upgrade and New Media is definitely Millennial/Generation Z. Her comment on redundancy and how Media and Technology are becoming so inextricably entwined doesn't bode well for her relationship with Tech Boy. How are the two of them going to get along? What about the meta-commentary as a whole: how media influences technology and technology influences media and how much it has changed in only the last 10 years? I'm really fascinated to see where this relationship goes both on the show and IRL.
It feels as if at times even the writers don't know what they're saying/where they're going. Or maybe it's because they don't want to commit to a specific answer yet or don't have permission to make something canon? From Shadow's mom's mysterious job (and mysterious first name) to Shadow's own mysterious past to ancient Greek god Argus' existence in America. Even to something I didn't realize was a confusion point: Whiskey Jack vs. Iktomi. Too much hesitation and not enough decisiveness have created a fuzzy and lackluster picture.
S2 is on par with S1 in terms of where we're at. The Beguiling Man and Muninn suffer almost identical problems as The Secret of Spoons and Head Full of Snow: some really great scenes but disjointed as a whole. Solid B.