So here it comes! “A Murder of Gods”, the sixth episode of American Gods. This episode, as its title conveys, contains a murder of gods. But guess what? The story has never been so relevant to us humans, especially people living in the world today.
Its stylish visual does remind us that this is, indeed, a fantasy show, but here and there we find lines, stories and experiences that are so relevant– scarily relevant and terrifyingly similar to the stories and struggles we had, or at least heard.
I am sincerely doubting that American Gods is a well-made social commentary on our modern world even though Bryan said it didn’t start out to be. Neil has mentioned, several times, that this story came to him when he was traveling to Northern Europe, and the idea came from finding little bit of traces of immigration in the museum out there. However, with Neil’s magical words and Bryan & his crew’s mad story-telling style, American Gods is so much more.
This episode begins with another “Coming to America” story– a Mexican family crossing the border, hoping to find a new life in the States. The father nearly drowned, but was saved by a long-haired man. When asked for his name, the man smiles and says, “You already know my name.”
Of course he already knows. We’ve all known.
Earlier in the series, Wednesday told Shadow that there are lots of Jesus.
And here we encounter the Mexican Jesus, whom would soon sacrifice for the family he protects. He takes the bullets aiming for the Mexican family and dies with blood soaking through his white shirt.
This “Coming to America” bit ends with the death of Mexican Jesus, murdered by a bullet engraved “Vulcan”.
Then the modern-day storyline begins. We’ve been following Shadow into this crazy abnormal journey. Dead people came alive, Lucy suddenly talked, Marilyn took a soft blow and kicked a kid’s teeth out.. long story short, the impossible happened. Multiple times.
But this episode contains another level of crazy shit.
“People will defend the warm, safe feeling their America gives them,” Says Wednesday, “They will defend it with bullets.”
Emphasis on “their”. Their America.
Shadow and Wednesday get to a town where everyone adores gun power. They worship gun & violence, and believe that the power of taking one’s life is the best protection.
Now, I am all about respecting one’s faith and whatnot, but darling– if that’s your faith, please find a better faith.
There are much better things in life to believe in than small little deadly metal chunks.
Racial tension has been brought up again because of the town’s hostility towards Shadow. Vulcan, the newly presented God whose name we have seen on the bullet targeting the Mexican family, deliberately asks Shadow for his opinion on the lynching tree. Tech-boy has just been ‘punished’ for almost lynching Shadow, and Vulcan seems to want to get a taste of it.
Though I didn’t know what to think of Mr. Wednesday yet, I had a feeling that Vulcan would never be a good fit in his team even after he agreed to forge Mr. Wednesday’s sword. Indeed, the Vulcan storyline did not get too far.
“Every bullet fired in a crowded movie theater is a prayer in my name,” Vulcan shouts, “and that prayer makes ’em wanna pray even harder.”
Vulcan represents a certain group of people – Like mentioned earlier in this article – that believe in ultra violence and weapons. They believe in the power of taking someone else’s power away, and most of the time, they exhibit their faith through someone else’s death.
After Vulcan reveals that he has been telling on them, we get the chance to see an angry Mr. Wednesday. The second murder of Gods happens when Mr. Wednesday grabs the sword that Vulcan has been forging for him, and kills him.
Now, the B storyline of this episode welcomes back my favorite character, Salim. After getting back to the motel, Laura realizes that she is kinda stuck with Mad Sweeney. When they are about to steal a “crappy cab”, Salim shows up and politely asks,
“Please stop stealing my cab.”
(And yes alright he’s holding a gun but he’s using the magic word so that’s still polite)
A Leprechaun, an undead super-zombie and a faithful Muslim cab driver decide to travel together.
Three individuals. One car. Several missions. Destination: Kentucky.
They take a detour because Laura went to see her family and left in a bad mood when she realizes she is not having her life back. However, when this episode ends, the roadtrip is in a rather sweet state.
They stop in a field at sunset, all thinking about different things without knowing what would happen. They are probably all worried about tomorrow, but the sweet feeling of not-knowing-everything-or-anything slowly devours them, and eventually, they all decide to take a break and just stare at the falling sun.
Salim says his prayers. He turns back to Laura and says, Allahu Akbar. Gods is great.
“Life is great,” replies Laura, “Salim/Not Salim.”
Salim nods, ignoring the fact that this is coming from someone who is not really ‘living’ a life and repeats,
“Life is great.”
He smiles. Laura smiles. And the Leprechaun, quite strangely, remains silent.