American Gods Season 2 Episode 2: Diving Into Shadow’s Backstory [Spoilers]

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If you haven’t realized, another episode of American Gods is available on the Starz app – so I suggest running to watch if you haven’t already! This week, we are seeing the ramifications of the events of episode one, where an attack was staged against the Old Gods and Zorya was, unfortunately, a casualty. The Old Gods may have been on the fence about joining Wednesday’s war, but it seems that the death of a fellow god was enough to make them back up Odin’s plan of attack on the New Gods.

Where we saw the gods come together in episode one, this episode sets groups in separate directions. Wednesday and Mr. Nancy depart together, while Sweeney and Laura as tasked with finding Shadow. This episode really dives into Shadow’s backstory, which; up until now has been a little vague. We are starting to see why this man is so important to Wednesday and we are heavily hinted towards the fact that [SPOILER] Wednesday may very well be…Shadow’s father. Now, I am sure this will be no surprise to those who have read the book, but for me, as someone who hasn’t; I believe that this episode did a great job in skirting around the idea. They put the idea out there enough for you to grab, though you are unsure at first.

Shadow is being interrogated by Mr. Town, who is played by Dean Winters and we are given our first real introduction to this character. It’s always been questioned as to whether or not Mr. Town is an actual god or simple an assassin hired by Mr. World, but either way, he is tasked with gathering information from Shadow – which is what sparks these flashbacks of Shadow first coming to America. It’s obvious that Mr. Town takes his job seriously, but we also see a little bit of a playful side, which makes me wonder what else we can expect from him in the rest of the season.

As always, Mad Sweeney and Laura’s scenes together are a much watch. We see the question “what is a god” pop up between their interaction, with Laura pointing out that they are “monsters under the bed”. And we also get some more insight into who Sweeney is. There’s a great scene in this episode where Laura and Sweeney go through a difficult situation, with a calm scene afterward that really make you wonder if there is something more there. If maybe the two do have a respect for each other, but mask it with profanities and insults due to not being able to allow themselves to open up the other.

One of the stand out scenes in this episode is between Mr. World and Bilquis. I never assumed that Bilquis would even meet with Mr. World, but these two actors really did a fantastic job in creating a scene that was both hauntingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. The intensity in the words that Mr. World is saying to Bilquis literally brings a tear to her eyes and we wonder, is Bilquis now trapped in the New Gods’ web, forced into a war she wants no part of.

Technical Boy continues to search for New Media and I’m assuming that we will see her soon, based on the preview for next week’s episode. All in all, this episode is not as explosive as the previous one, but still, a poignant telling of Shadow’s story and the heavyweight that this war has on each of the character’s. Things are a bit more serious now than they were in season one, where this war was almost an abstract topic. We now have Sweeney telling Laura that it’s best if they do prepare for his funeral and Bilquis feeling the consequences of being in the New God’s debt.

Episode three cannot come faster!