American Gods (Episode 5)

After last week's flashback episode this week we rejoin Mr. Wednesday as he takes on the new gods and Mad Sweeney as he continues his fruitless quest to recover his lucky coin (now resident in the bowels of Shadow's dead wife).

Episode 5 again gives us a brief introductory tale about an old god whose memory was eventually forgotten, further hammering home the major theme here of the gods losing their potency as humans neglect their worship. This week's glimpse of the past was done in an animated montage, which again highlighted the creativity of this show and a desire to be innovative. We then returned to Shadow and Laura, where last week left them with their peculiar reunion in a motel room. There was something uncomfortable about the scene as you wondered whether they were actually about to show a love scene with a corpse. Despite her post-mortem condition, Shadow's wife is still looking pretty good and you have to remind yourself that she is actually dead. Having been brought back to life by injesting, unwittingly, Mad Sweeney's coin, the eternally belligerent leprechaun returns to claim it. Unfortunately for him, it seems the lucky coin has also imbued her with incredible strength, being able to knock him across the room with a casually flick. Their scenes are funny, with both delivering incredible performances, fully enjoying the ludicrous situation and roles they are playing. The other notable performance is from Gillian Anderson. After doing an incredible job as Lucille Ball in an earlier episode, she returns here as David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe (in separate scenes) and does a great job as both. Her character is a representation of fame or celebrity I presume, and together with Mr. World and the adolescent-like modern god who attempted to lynch Shadow, they offer Mr. Wednesday a compromise, an opportunity to work with them to regain some of his own lost fame.

There was a lot to like again this week, from the great performances, effects and music, and the fact that the story is starting to come together (we even got a brief glimpse of Anansi again). We are beginning to sense that the battle between the old and new gods is heating up. It should be noted that we still see no Czernobog or Bilquis again, but presumably their reappearance cannot be too far off.