‘American Gods’ Highlights: S1E6: “A Murder of Gods”

Last week on American Gods, we saw a Cold War confrontation between the Old Gods and the New Gods.  We also the introduction of Mr. World, who was just scary, powerful and awesome.  This is due largely to the performance of actor Crispin Glover.  While he doesn’t want to have a war with the Old Gods, he’s more than capable of having one with them.

This week focused on not only Shadow and Wednesday as the Old God tried to recruit yet another Old God for his war against the New Gods, but also a new team up happened as Laura, Mad Sweeny linked up with Salim as they embarked on their own road trip.  Salim wants to find Jinn and Laura wants to find a key to resurrection, and Mad Sweeny can lead the both of them to what they want (he just wants his coin back).  Now we have two separate road trips that are bound to meet up before the season ends.

Here are a few highlights from tonight’s episode “A Murder of Gods.”

1. Coming to America and the Introduction of Jesus

Most of the “Coming to America” introductions have been showing people coming to the “New World” and how their faith has been affected by landing in the new country.  The first episode was about Vikings who devoted themselves to Odin for their good fortunes so much that they not only look out their eyes, but also murdered each other in devotion until they got their goal.  The second episode Mr. Nancy inspired a slave ship to insurrect against their captors by telling them about the next 400 years that lied ahead for Africans and African Americans in the New World.  The fourth episode told of ancient Siberians who came to North America and in doing so were forced to abandon their old gods in favor of new gods, which is pretty much the motif of the show.

This week, however, the Coming to America introduction focuses on contemporary times as we focus on a group of Mexicans crossing the border illegally to make it into America.  They deeply rely on their Christian faith to help inspire them for survival as they travel across the border into America.  As they have to travel across a river, if they don’t swim, they drown.  One of the Mexicans knows he cannot swim, and he prays to Jesus for help.  Just as he is about to drown, Jesus shows up and lifts him out of the water.  This version of Jesus is Mexican as Wednesday previously said there’s a Jesus for every race as everyone needs Jesus.  This scene shows the hope of Jesus and Christianity.  However, we are immediately shown the downside of Christianity as they meet up with members of the right-wing militia The Minute Men.  The Minute Men are equally devout in their Christianity as the Mexicans, but they don’t mind gunning down Mexicans as a result.  They shoot down women children, they even shoot down Jesus.  His bullet wounds are reminiscent of the crucifixion as he is shot in each hand and the stomach (similar to the spear that pierced him during the crucifixion).  A tumbleweed even passes over his head to look like the crown of thorns.  The bullets used are engraved with the name of Vulcan, more on that later.

2. NOW Shadow is Freaked Out

Shadow’s life has been in turmoil ever since he was released from prison.  In addition to his wife’s death and her cheating on him with his best friend, he’s met the mysterious Wednesday, been attacked and lynched by the Technical Boy’s drones, ran into Jinn, fought Mad Sweeny, been contacted by Media in a store, played life and death chess of Czernobog, ran into his dead ex-wife, ran into Mr. World and countless other supernatural events.  However, after being attacked by Mr. Wood, the giant tree, now he wants to get answers from Wednesday.  Wednesday still remained as cryptic as ever, infuriating Shadow.  It just seems weird that Shadow has never been questioning the craziness that happens to him.

3. Laura, Mad Sweeny, and Salim Hit The Road

Mad Sweeny continues to steal the show through his bickering with Laura.  After escaping police custody thanks to the giant tree (Mr. Wood) attacking the police headquarters, he runs back into Laura, who is trying to find her car so she can catch up with Shadow as he escapes with Wednesday.  Because she was “murdered” by Mad Sweeny, the police took her car and impounded it.  As she needs a ride and he still needs his lucky coin, the two opts to steal a car.  As they pick a cab, it turns out to be Salim’s (the guy who hooked up with the Jinn a few weeks ago) cab.  After hearing them talk about supernatural events, he asks if they know Jinn which Mad Sweeny says he does.  The three of them opt to go together on a road trip so they can all accomplish their goals.

4. Vulcan, Virginia

Woah this place is crazy!  

In search of another Old God, Shadow and Wednesday head to Vulcan, Virginia.  It seems like a normal small town in Virginia, just like any other town in Smalltown America.  Oh, they have a strong dedication to the second amendment.  In fact, every single member of the town is ridiculously packing.  Even though they have many small shops, it looks like their main cash cow is Vulcan Industries: gun sales.  Vulcan Industries is run by Vulcan, an Old God who seems to get worship via our ever love of boom sticks.  Not only does he get power through our worship and fetishizing of guns, but also annual “accidental” sacrificing of people in the gun factory.  As Shadow and Wednesday come to town, they notice a funeral parade led by Vulcan that ends with everyone in town shooting off into the sky.

5. Introducing Vulcan

Holy Crap!  Is that Corbin Bernsen?  My third favorite actor from Major League is the God of firepower!  

As shadow meets with him, the two embraced as long-lost brothers.  Two Old Gods reunite and enjoy a drink while they discuss current events concerning the New Gods.  Vulcan was once the God of fire and forge.  But in America, he’s rebranded to become the God of firepower.  His monologues about guns.
“It’s filled with prayers in my name.  The power of fire is firepower. Not God, but godlike. And they believe. It fills their spirits every time they pull the trigger. They feel my heat on their hip, and it keeps them warm at night.”
He’s not 100% sure he should join Wednesday as he is not having any problems with his followers.  After all, a significant amount of the American populace “clings to their guns” as a certain former president once said.  He’s not beat for followers.  But he does respect Wednesday and agrees to join #TeamOldGods.

6. Vulcan’s Betrayal and The Aftermath

But that was short-lived.  Mr. World and the New Gods are quite resourceful.  They already got Mr. Wood (the giant tree monster from last week) to abandon his forests in favor of saw mills and industry under the guise of rebranding (like they tried with Wednesday last week), and they did the same for Vulcan by giving him his own gun industry.

Wednesday requested Vulcan build him a sword (as he didn’t care for a gun) to help him fight against the New Gods.  Wednesday already knew that Vulcan was going to betray the Old Guns and reveal Wednesday’s presence to the New Gods, so once the sword was made, he used it to slice off Vulcan’s head as his lifeless body fell into the forgeries, essentially becoming one of his annual “accidental” sacrifices.  Wednesday then decides to urinate into the forges promising to curse them.

Doing so, all the bullets made by Vulcan Industries are now cursed and can kill a God.  As we saw in the beginning, the Vulcan bullets killed Mexican Jesus.  Wednesday’s curse has given a way to murder a God, hence the title of the episode.  Now Wednesday and the Old Gods have a means to inflict some damage on the seemingly more powerful New Gods.