American Gods 2x04 “The Greatest Story Ever Told” Review
So much happens in every single hour of American Gods and this week’s episode is no different! We saw how Technical Boy came to be, Mr. Nancy trying to get Bilquis and Mr. Ibis to actually play their part in the war, and some weird Girl Scouts who were far scarier than an angry Mr. World or Mr. Wednesday.
The story of how Technical Boy came to be started with a young boy who expressed minimal interest in classical music but showed great enthusiasm for all things technical. All the boy’s father wanted to do was share his love of classical music (his self-proclaimed way of praying) with his son. While the boy was talented on the piano, like any young child during the rise of computers, his interests were held elsewhere. By college, the son found a way for his computer program to write music. The boy was so proud, he showed his father. When his father found out that it was the computer, and not his son, that wrote the beautiful music, you could tell he was disappointed. This new technology encroached on the one thing he loved most. Well, the two things he loved most.
The father ends up dying. At the funeral, Technical Boy comes into the picture. As mentioned before, music was how the father prayed. Incorporating music into tech is how the boy prays, thus Technical Boy appears above the man’s casket. For some reason, that’s not how I envisioned Technical Boy to come into being.
Seeing Technical Boy come to be and seeing him lose usefulness to Mr. World in the same episode is kind of fascinating. As New Media said in the last episode, the two of them existing at the same time is kind of redundant. With Technical Boy letting Laura kill Argos in the last episode, Mr. World is beyond pissed. Technical Boy not getting the job Mr. World sent him out to do isn’t exactly doing him any favors. New Media is coming across as the favorite child with the big boss, while Technical Boy is sent into a time-out. (I’m taking it as a time-out. Whatever that ball that ate him is, I don’t think it destroyed him, so I’m calling it a time-out.) Technical Boy went to the young boy-turned-CEO for help in this war. This ended up being his downfall. For the longest time, Technical Boy was this man’s only friend. However, this man’s attention is fickle. New Media is easy to distract him with her technology and Mr. World essentially shows Technical Boy that he’s no longer essential and that he’s replaceable, which isn’t an easy thing for a god to hear.
The first scene with Shadow picks up right where the last episode left off. He had the stuffing kicked out of him and he was FEELING it. Mr. Wednesday made him a deal that if Shadow wasn’t feeling better in the morning, then he could ride off with Better (his car) and leave Mr. Wednesday behind. You see, Shadow’s been feeling beyond frustrated with Mr. Wednesday lately and I can’t blame him. The man is keeping him in the dark about why he even chose Shadow to begin with. He wants to leave. He wants to find Laura and do what? Well, I’m not sure. You can’t very well go back to a life before you found out gods were real with a walking, talking corpse of a wife.
Anyways, it’s nighttime and Shadow is in bed. A naked woman is sitting right on top of him. Her name is Bast and she’s an old warrior goddess, who also happened to be the goddess of cats. They start having sex, because apparently now Shadow has sex with random women who just find him in the middle of the night. (I’m not slut-shaming Shadow. I’m just saying that that’s not exactly practicing safe sex there, pal.) While they’re doing the dirty, she starts clawing at his skin...like a cat. She licks his open wounds from when he was beat up and then she starts leaving actual cuts on his chest and back. In the morning, Shadow wakes up and the woman has vanished. There is, however, a cat in Shadow’s room.
Shadow goes down and speaks with Mr. Ibis and Mr. Wednesday. Wednesday wants to head out to St. Louis, where they find themselves at a diner. Mama-ji is there because she works at every Motel America, apparently. (Hope the paycheck is worth it, Mama-ji!) Tensions continue to run high between Mr. Wednesday and Shadow because Mr. Wednesday, as I previously mentioned, refuses to key Shadow into the reason he was chosen for this job. Mr. Wednesday tells him it’s because he’s essentially a nobody to everyone and, let me tell YOU, Shadow is EVERYTHING to ME.
They end up meeting with these creepy girl scouts, who ask them if they want to buy candy and if they’d like to use debit or credit. It’s code for a meeting between Mr. World and a bookkeeper, but it’s the weirdest thing to actually witness. Whatever exactly this meeting was, because I’m still a tad confused to be honest, it ends in a draw because the bookkeeper isn’t making any decisions. I take it to mean that it’s really anybody’s war.
While Shadow and Mr. Wednesday are in St. Louis, Mr. Ibis is attending to a dead woman’s body at his funeral parlor. Bilquis happens upon the deceased woman’s granddaughter in the chapel. One can only assume that Bilquis was searching out the old gods because maybe she’s finally chosen a side after Mr. World confronted her in last week’s episode. Anyways, Bilquis is all about human connections, so she starts speaking with the granddaughter, whose name we find out is Ruby. The topic of discussion is all about faith, of course. Ruby speaks of how her grandmother believed in Jesus and the sense of community that faith brought her. Ruby seems to appreciate the community, as well.
Mr. Nancy shows up at the funeral parlor as well to deliver some much needed truth. Mr. Ibis and Bilquis have made it clear so far that they aren’t on any side. Well, Mr. Nancy wants them to decide. All three of them are some of the oldest gods out there. They are three powerful African gods. While it’s nice that Mr. Ibis and Bilquis don’t want to choose a side because they just want peace, they’re going to have to actually participate in order to reach that peace. The death of Zorya Vechernyaya brought Czernobog into the fight. To paraphrase Mr. Nancy, it took the death of an old white lady for Czernobog to swing his hammer. If it had been an old black lady, who’s to say Czernobog would’ve taken a stance? Like last season when we were introduced to Mr. Nancy, what he says speaks truths about America’s politics today. I believe that may have been enough for these three to show a united front, especially between Mr. Nancy and Bilquis with their steamy lip-locking.
While this episode left me questioning some things, I was overall very pleased with it. I’m hoping Shadow gets more answers soon. I hate seeing him so confused and torn on his place by Mr. Wednesday’s side. I also want to see more Nancy/Bilquis/Ibis. I’m looking forward to their next interaction with Wednesday. One thing I’m hoping is explored more is New Media’s power and her new personality. We caught glimpses with Technical Boy, but there’s still so much more they could be showing us.
Some thoughts on the episode:
I’m actually really mad with how that father reacted to his son’s way of writing music. The boy was so proud of his creation, but his father didn’t see that. He just saw technology “ruining” something he loved so much. There’s definitely a generational divide with something like that. I can see both sides to the issue at hand, but I can’t help but be on the boy’s side with this one. Technology is AMAZING. It can do SO MUCH with just pressing a few keys on a keyboard. It was a real shame the boy’s father couldn’t take pride in something his son made because while the computer technically wrote the music, the son made it all possible to begin with.
Can’t anyone have any normal sex on this show? First, the human-eating vagina. Then, the technical tentacle sex. Now, Shadow has sex with the cat-lady. I am DISTURBED.
I’m shipping Mr. Nancy and Bilquis! They’re stunning! Mr. Ibis is their supportive mom friend.
I actually felt really bad for Technical Boy by the end of the episode, which is something I never thought I’d do, considering I find Technical Boy to be awfully bratty.
I like Mr. Wednesday more than Mr. World just for the record!
American Gods airs on Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.