• Ryanne Harper

American Gods: Episode Six


The episode begins with people swimming across the Rio Grande from Mexico. One man, not a strong swimmer, is clearly not going to make it when he is lifted out of the water by a long-haired man who appears to be walking on water. That's right. It's Jesus. For a moment, it seems like everything is going to be okay until trucks rolled up, people got out and started shooting everyone. As the bullets were leaving the gun, there was a close up on the brand, Vulcan, and I thought to myself, "that'll be important later". Jesus being Jesus, he takes a few bullets, thus saving some of the immigrants. As he lies there dying, you notice one bullet has pierced his palm and another his heart; which represent the stigmata and the sacred heart. It's a beautifully shot scene.

Meanwhile, Shadow and Mr. Wednesday, shaken from their encounter with Mr. World, are leaving town as fast as they can. Mr. Wednesday is driving because Shadow isn't doing too well. He was stabbed by a tree limb and now he has a gross parasite inside him, which Mr. Wednesday finally removes in one of the more disgusting scenes yet. He also performed a healing spell so Shadow should be feeling right as rain soon.

He and Mr. Wednesday head to Vulcan, Virginia. I knew Vulcan would be important. Vulcan is creepy. I'm not a gun person and literally everyone in Vulcan carries a gun. The town revolves around guns. Ha. A man has just fallen into a vat of molten metal. He is immediately melted and his remains become part of the bullets themselves. Apparently this happens twice a year. Rather than putting up guard rails or, you know, closing the plant, they have a memorial for the dead person, shoot a bunch of guns in the street, and go back to work.

A little background on Vulcan, he is the god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes, forges, and metalworking. Traditionally, he was depicted by a blacksmith's hammer. The modern Vulcan has decided guns are the way to go. He says in episode, “Every bullet fired in a crowded movie theater is a prayer in my name and that prayer makes ‘em want to pray even harder”. He makes me incredibly uncomfortable. It could be the very white supremacist feel of the town, the consistent two deaths a year at the factory, the way he talks with fondness about the old hanging tree in his front yard, or the room full of dead, stuffed exotic animals. I mean, one of those things alone is unsettling enough, but all four is too much.

Just look at him. He's a creep.

Mr. Wednesday has come here asking Vulcan to back him up in the upcoming war against the new gods. Vulcan agrees and forges a pretty incredible sword for Wednesday. But, of course, he has sold Wednesday out, telling the new gods where to find him. Mr. Wednesday promptly cuts his head off and pushes him into the vat of metal. And I couldn't be happier about it. Vulcan needed to go. To top it all off, Mr. Wednesday then pees in the vat, cursing the whole batch.

Having escaped the jail and the morgue, Mad Sweeney and Laura Moon accidentally meet up at the motel. I love these two together. Laura's car has been towed so Mad Sweeney is stealing an old cab for the both of them. The cab belongs to the former salesman turned taxi driver from the jinn episode. He's traveling the country searching for the jinn. So, this motley crew set out looking for the jinn and Shadow; Mad Sweeney just wants to go to Kentucky. They do not go to Kentucky; they're retracing Shadow's steps, leading them to the crocodile bar where I'm sure Mad Sweeney is super welcome. Anyway, he and Laura have their usual banter, calling each other names and being generally terrible to one another. Terrible, but funny.

Late in the episode, the salesman turned cab driver stops the car, gets out his prayer rug, and begins his morning prayer. For once, Mad Sweeney and Laura actually shut up and let this man pray. This episode was so violent. People dying, gods dying; I'm glad it ended with such a beautiful scene.


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