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American-gods-2x05-nancy

Last night, I was halfway through writing up the episode plot and taking notes for my weekly episode review. My computer crashed and restored from a previous backup so I lost everything. (I blame it on Mr. World for retiring Technical Boy.) I'm not going to have time to rewatch the episode again till probably this weekend so I wanted to at least put something up for this episode. I don't know if I'll come back and fill this in with more thoughts but this is all the energy I could muster for now.

Highlights

  • Salim discussing his faith with the Jinn
  • Shadow and his suits. Daaaaaaamn 😋
  • Also, Shadow in general. Now that the writers have finally given him something to do, Ricky Whittle has been nailing it the last few episodes.
  • Nancy telling Ibis off for killing his worshipers (for the second week in a row)

General Thoughts

  • How did Wednesday get the World Tree seedling at the beginning of the episode if he doesn't meet up with the Jinn and Salim to retrieve Gungnir from them till later in the episode?
  • People forget that Nancy is a trickster. Last episode, it was the "Maya Angelou" quote and the 30 seconds statistic for missing POC girls. (The stats I found was every 40 seconds, any child in the US goes missing.)
  • Everyone's bigoted uncle, Mr. Wednesday, basically kept the Jinn enslaved and once freeing him, made the Jinn indebted to him. Nice callback to what happened (is still happening) to Black people after the Civil War. (See below re: reparations.)

Thoughts from Before

  • Glad to see Ruby back. I hope she becomes a recurring character, especially since it sounds like she was going to leave Cairo with Bilquis (unless "leave Cairo" is a euphemism for visiting Bilquis' Vagina Nebula)
  • "Somewhere in America" is back! After the season is over and I do a re-watch, I'll specifically look out for these subtle tags to see if I missed some of them in previous episodes
  • Jacquel's absence has finally been acknowledged. I imagine him on a Caribbean island, relaxing with a mai tai and catching some rays

Lowlights

  • I'd like to see more of Bast in human form because otherwise the scene from last episode feels like a throwaway. It worked better in the book as a standalone for numerous reasons but since the entire season is attached to the funeral parlor, she needs to be something more than just a pussy.
  • Still failing the Bechdel Test for Race. I'm not sure what the ultimate intention of the episode was (see Discussion below) but it seemed like it was about Black-on-Black crime, which makes two episodes in two weeks that makes the Black characters responsible for discussions about race that none of the White characters partake in.
  • Also, I know Ibis is a death god and business has been slow, but I'm very disappointed in his complicity with Froggy's hauntings of Black men
  • Ugh! Laura needs two drops of love-infused blood. Ugh! Ugh! That means she's going after Shadow yet again for the millionth time. I fucking HATE the FullMoon subplot. Maybe it's a misdirect and she gets the blood from Sweeney but we know she's still going to think she's supposed to get it from Shadow.

Discussion

William Froggy James

The episode never really made it clear as to why he was taking out his revenge on Black people? I'm uncertain what message I was supposed to receive or even if the message was for me but I'm going to copy/paste this from the wikipedia page because I think it might answer that question:

[Ida B.] Well's presence caused quite a rift in the Cairo black community, mostly because of the conflict of allegiances tied with Sheriff Davis. Davis hired black men to his police force, and the black community respected the sheriff for granting their homes and families a relative safety not often afforded to other small river town black communities. Plus, members of the black community believed that James did in fact commit the murder, and saw him mostly as a "worthless sort of fellow".

Reparations

The message I did take away from this episode is that violence and trauma are inter-generational. Black people are not only suffering from racism and hatred today but also residual damage from a hundred years ago (and more). Reparations have been in the news again a lot lately (Cory Booker just introduced a bill) and it's worth reading some of the recent articles. It's not enough to simply not be racist. We have to be actively anti-racist. Also, if you've never seen 13th, go watch it right now.


Even though this is a character driven show, plot is still important and this episode had a full arc instead of feeling half-baked. It was one of the most well-rounded and cohesive episodes of the entire series so far but can we please hold Wednesday accountable at some point for the shit he says? Can Bilquis just up and slap him every time he makes a racist/homophobic/misogynistic comment? Grade: 91%

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