TV Recap: American Gods, Episode 5: "Lemon Scented You"
Last week was a sort of diversion for this freshman Starz series. The small break from the main narrative on American Gods did little to garner excitement, but it fortunately didn't completely break the strong momentum it had going, and they immediately followed it up with the best episode of the season so far. In "Lemon Scented You", we finally get a confrontation with the New Gods and a long awaited insight into the master plan (plus we get to see Crispin Glover go full Crispin Glover).
We are back to the format of introducing a brand new God before jumping into the main storyline. This time (in beautiful CGI animation that almost looks stop-motion), we meet Nunyuninni, a mammoth god who helps out a nomad group stranded in the snowy expanse. Nunyuninni guides them to a habitable forest area but warns that their escape from the harsh wilderness will come with a price. Soon the wanderers are ambushed and killed by another nomadic group who loot their bodies and continue onwards. A time lapse scene shows Nunyuninni's body decomposing into the earth while the narration informs that even Gods live and die as mortals do.
Shadow walks into his hotel room to find his deceased wife Laura sitting on the bed, waiting for him. She starts to explain how she's alive but Shadow isn't having it; it's nowhere near the weirdest thing he's seen in the last few days. Instead, he insists she explains what went down between her and Robbie. Laura describes the affair with great detail (a weird choice considering we saw everything last episode). Laura asks Shadow to go get her some smokes. Shadow obliges and walks out to the motel's cigarette machine, a thing that apparently still exists. When he returns, Laura is in the bath - she wanted to warm up her dead skin in the event that they kissed. It seems to be sinking in now. He's surprised. They kiss. Laura's heart glows red and she says she could feel the kiss, noteworthy since she's been completely numb. She asks, "Are you still my puppy?" Shadow replies, "No...I'm not" and goes to answer the door. Laura sinks back into her bath as Wednesday talks to Shadow outside. It seems he's finally willing to answer some of Shadow's burning questions, but he's obviously a little preoccupied. Suddenly, police pull up and arrest the two for bank robbery.
It's time to see more of everybody's favorite frog-vaping millennial God: Technical Boy (Bruce Langley). He exits a nightclub and starts to make his way to his limousine when a metal orb latches onto his face and he's transported to Media (Gillian Anderson). We last saw her as Lucille Ball on the television, this time she's David Bowie. Once you've woken up from fainting at the sight of Gillian Anderson dressed as motherfucking David Bowie, you can continue the episode. Media thinks Technical Boy owes Wednesday and Shadow an apology for what he's done. He is resistant, but Media lets him know this is a direct order from Mr. World.
Shadow and Wednesday are being interrogated by police. The scene cuts between the two rooms where a stone faced Shadow refuses to speak any words other than "Lawyer," while Wednesday spins a story that he's a delusional old man kidnapped from his nursing home. The detective shows some information that gets Shadow in the talking mood. An anonymous source sent the police station a fax, a thing that apparently still exists, giving them Shadow and Wednesday's exact coordinates and aerial photographs of the two casing the bank.
Back at the motel room, Mad Sweeney comes in demanding his coin back from Laura. He grabs her by the throat, but with a single flick of her finger he is thrown with force against the wall, knocking the wind out of him. The coin he gave her was a special one reserved for royalty. He offers a trade and she breaks his fingers. Laura pins him in the ground and interrogates him to find out what Shadow's mixed up in. Turns out Wednesday's real name is Grimnir and that he shouldn't be trusted. He also lets it slip that the coin has to be gifted, not stolen, but her body will eventually decompose and when she's dead he will take it. The cops burst through the door just as Mad attempts to drown Laura and they take him away.
The detective puts Shadow and Wednesday together and leaves them to talk. A little green spider crawls out of Wednesday's coat and cuts their handcuffs. Gunshots are heard outside and the door flies open, causing Wednesday to show genuine fear for the first time in the series. It's Media, this time floating in in the form of Marilyn Monroe in her iconic flowing white dress from The Seven Year Itch. Behind her is Mr. World (Crispin Glover), dressed in a mobster era bespoke suit. Technical Boy is not far behind, when he enters he lets out his forced apology. Mr. World wants to end Wednesday's plot before it gets off the ground. In exchange he offers Wednesday a prime spot in the master plan to launch missiles straight into North Korea, step one in a sort of twisted plot to bring peace to the world. Wednesday turns this down. Technical Boy wants to end him right there, but Mr. World claims he has too much respect to do such a thing and they leave to have them sleep on it. Wednesday and Shadow make their escape through the now destroyed police station. The officers' bodies are brutalized, hanging from the ceiling, and a tree is rapidly growing out of the wall. Shadow narrowly evades its grasp and kicks down the door to run away. The police arrive with Mad. They rush inside while Mad kicks out the car window.
A technician at a morgue is listening to some soothing pop music and looking up pictures of cute mini horses. He hears a mysterious creak coming from the body room. He goes to investigate when one of the body drawers bursts open, crushing him against the wall. Laura crawls out.
It's been inferable for a while now, but we finally have concrete confirmation that Wednesday's ultimate plan is to start a war between the Old and the New Gods. We've only seen one or two Old Gods (that we know of) interact with our heroes up to this point, but with their introductions every week we know that when they collide it's going to be something special. Though we are still sided with Mr. Wednesday, the cracks are beginning to show. He's definitely hiding something. Perhaps the technologically proficient New Gods aren't as evil as they seem, although I hope they are because few things are more enjoyable than watching Gillian Anderson and Crispin Glover ham it up as villains.