The Old Gods and New Gods try and recruit a neutral party to join their sides. Wednesday provides Laura with an opportunity to recharge the coin for new life, and Shadow takes a journey with a stranger. Here’s our review of “Muninn”!
“Muninn” opens with the aftermath of the train crash that Wednesday caused at the end of the previous episode. Betty has been reborn, and Wednesday directs Sweeney to pick up the pieces of Laura’s body so they can leave…without Shadow.
“Sweeney, pick up the arms and the talking bits, would you?”
They put her in the truck, and Sweeney wants to know why they’re leaving Shadow. Wednesday tells him:
“The quickest way for Shadow to get where he’s going is sometimes the longest.”
Wednesday takes Laura to Mr. Ibis’ so he can put her back together. As this is happening, Wednesday gets news from one of his ravens that Shadow is alive and has been found. During this scene, we also see Mr. Ibis eat a bit of Laura’s flesh. He says it’s a tradition and most people aren’t awake to see it. Rightfully, she thinks it’s nasty, but Ibis picks up on something in her taste.
“You’ve changed since I first met you. You didn’t taste of anything then, but now there’s something.”
“I believe in Shadow.”
Again, this leads me to believe that Shadow’s a God of some kind or believing in people can be your own kind of worship? I’m not sure by Shadow isn’t just Shadow Moon.
Wednesday and Sweeney have two different suggestions for Laura when it comes to being around a bit longer, especially since her current form is falling apart.
Wednesday tells her that Argus can recharge her coin if she goes with him. Sweeney tells her that Argus is just a peeping Tom, and she’ll need the Baron in New Orleans. In the end, Laura chooses Wednesday because Shadow will probably find him first.
In the following scene, Mr. Ibis gives us Argus’ “Coming to America” story. How Hera channeled all her will to bring him back after Zeus had him killed. In America, he’s now the God of Surveillance, and an alliance with the New Gods seems imminent.
This segues into Mr. World, Tech Boy, and the man that runs the surveillance in Black Briar. It turns out they can’t track Wednesday because the technology there is too old. This pisses Mr. World off beyond belief, but Tech Boy tells him he told Argus to upgrade this site a long time ago, and he doesn’t micromanage anyone.
When Tech Boy says that he’ll text Argus, World tells him that he’ll go to him in person.
“You will go to him in person.”
“Tradition! We build the New World on top of the ruins of the Old.”
World wants traditions in place and one of them is actually seeing people in person. This mirrors a lot of trouble with generational gaps today and also how forms of communication has evolved. Still, there are rules we considered “proper” and World won’t settle for less.
At just right moment to relieve the tension, Media shows up in her new form. So many emojis and filters, ya’ll. SO MANY.
“How the fuck is that an upgrade?”
Meanwhile, Wednesday and Laura arrive at Argus. He tells her that this is the headquarters for the Deep State or Illuminati to some, to others it’s just a building.
“What’s the truth?”
“The Truth is Argus, and the Truth doesn’t care which version you prefer. The Truth is information, and information will win a war for you if you let it.”
“I’m not in a war.”
“Oh, you are, if you want to get that heart ticking.”
Wednesday and Laura then go through all the times that Argus was killed. Eventually, they’ll get to his current form, and that’s where Wednesday’s plan to get her coin going comes into play. During there journey, though, Wednesday tells her that she’s a revenant. Usually her kind do the one thing they needed to do before they died and didn’t get to, then they die again.
“So, what’s your mission?”
“You know what my mission is. Shadow”
“Oh, so marriage? Kids? How do you see this ending?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? So you’re working on faith?”
“Well I wouldn’t use that word, but…”
“You came back from the dead, and you’re not even curious why.”
“I see a golden beam of light wherever he is, so from where I’m standing, it’s pretty cut and dry.”
Wednesday asks if she can see his light here, and when she says she can’t, Wednesday seems very curious about it, and he uses it to capitalize on Laura’s insecurities. He goes so far as to tell Laura she can’t compete with what he has to offer Shadow, and in the end, Shadow will choose him.
He then goes and kills the heifer that the old form of Argus protected.
“Change requires sacrifice.”
Once he gets the rune written object off the body, he leaves the way he come. They enter an ancient library. Wednesday tells her that he knows her, and even relays a story from her childhood about the last time she even went into a library. It’s a heartbreaking story, to be honest.
“It’s a cool party trick. You know a story about me. You don’t know me.”
When Laura points out that Argus doesn’t seem to be rolling out the welcome mat, Wednesday admits that Argus isn’t expecting them. Wednesday pushes Laura again on what she wants with Shadow, and how everything goes back to her wants and desires. Finally, she asks what they need to sacrifice to get out of this room.
“What the worst thing you can do to a book?”
“This is a memory of the great library of Alexandria. It contained a copy of every book ever written. You could spend a lifetime in here and many did. Until Caesar came to town. He lay siege to the city. When he was backed into a corner, he set fire to his own ships. His own men. They died looking up at as much of the sky as they could see through the smoke and the flames. Some must have lasted long enough to see the fire roll up to the great library. Oh, that was sacrifice.”
Laura gets the picture and takes her matches then sets fire to the papers there.
In a really unfortunate turn of events, Tech Boy and New Media end up at Argus. She tells him that they’re basically the same, but she just needs more bandwidth. In the room with Argus, New Media attempts to smooth things over but it becomes apparent quick that she wants Argus for herself. They connect in a highly techy sex scene that has Tech Boy cringing.
Outside though, Wednesday tells Laura that if she wants to recharge her coin, she’ll need to kill Argus. He can’t do it because that would be seen as too big of a move, but she can. This is on brand for Wednesday when it comes to other people doing his dirty work.
Laura eventually takes the rune marked knife from Wednesday and sneaks into the room where Argus and New Media are having their moment. Tech Boy sees, but instead of stopping Laura or alerting New Media, he lets her move forward and stab Argus in the throat.
As Tech Boy drags New Media away, he tells Laura:
“Wednesday’s move, am I right? Tell the old cunt he’s fucking welcome.”
Laura calls for Wednesday to come out, and then asks why her coin hasn’t recharged yet. Wednesday calls her impatient, and then he apologizes to Argus. It’s war. Nothing personal.
When Argus truly dies, the coin inside Laura recharges, and her skin and eyes clear. She looks more human than before, and Wednesday tells her this makes them square. He leaves her there, and tells her that Shadow has nothing to do with her heart beating now. She’s always been in this for herself, so he wishes her good luck and exits.
During all of this, Shadow has been on his own journey.
Shadow stumbles away from the wreckage and gets lots in the woods. He looks awful, and you know he’s got some kind of concussion. He passes out next to a well that I choose to believe is magically because…duh. Before too long, Shadow finds a convenient store. He turns on the charm and ends up almost getting twenty dollars from the clerk, but he’s stopped by a young woman who calls him on his bullshit and ends up using his $20 for gas.
She tells him that she’ll give him a ride to Cairo, but she takes a picture of him just in case he turns into a psycho along the way. On the ride, he asks if she’s human. She tells him that she would have been considered God-like because she’s two spirited, masculine and feminine. Shadow laughs because for a minute he thought he was with another God.
“Gods give gifts to get something in return.”
“The only gifts my people got were cozy smallpox blankets and genocide.”
She turns the music up and stops talking.
While, he’s asleep, Sam takes another picture of him. When he wakes up, she asks if he’s hungry and they stop at a roadside fish and hotdog stand. He tells her that he needs to find the Egyptians in Cairo, and she tells him she actually knows where that’s at. Then she asks what her name is.
“You know who.”
“Yeah, I know a few Lauras. Every one of them’s been pain in my ass.”
“Well, this Laura’s dead but…”
At the end of the episode, Sam gets Shadow to the funeral home in Cairo, and she leaves him with some parting advice before that, though.
“There was no peace for me in their world, but I found my home in the stories of my ancestors. Keep searching or give up.”
Wednesday is back from Argus’ and when Shadow tries to confront him about things, Wednesday tells him:
“Revelations come when ready. Not when requested.”
Shadow just wants to know why these people are after him, but Wednesday tells him it could be anything. Then tells him that if he doesn’t feel like a million bucks the next day, he can leave, no questions asked.
Shadow drinks from the bottle Wednesday tosses at him, and they make a compact over it.
In other character news:
Sweeney and the horrible, no good, very bad road trip. First there was a dog in car he tries to steal. Then the boat he’s stealing catches on fire. Finally, he almost gets hit by a tour bus, and he gets brought onboard. They’re a Christian band, but they’re going to NOLA so, it’ll work out.
Salim and The Jinn make it to the Corn Palace. It’s a strip club, but they’re able to get Gungnir. There’s a whole lot of tension in the scene, but Salim does exactly what he’s told and doesn’t make eye contact with anyone. This ship is so pure it’s unreal.
American Gods airs Sundays at 8/7c on STARZ