American Gods review, Episode 305: “Sister Rising”

American Gods is back after a week off and wastes no time getting back into the thick of things, which is a wonderful change from seasons past.

The show hit a speed bump when it dropped Marilyn Manson after Evan Rachel Wood and others detailed abuse allegations against him. In some ways, the series still feels cursed, as it hasn’t managed to get through a season without some form of controversy, but the episodes themselves are on the upswing.

This week we learn more about Technical Boy’s (Bruce Langley) past, visiting him during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Turns out this new god isn’t that new. Tech Boy learns the art of deceit and con through Maximilian the Magician (Jeremy Crutchley), who tricks him into manipulating his automaton exhibit only to call him out in front of a huge crowd. It makes an impact.

Bilquis breaks free

Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) has been on an inspiring journey of self-discovery this season. This week, she finally breaks free of the room where she’s been tortured. Most people would have lost their minds by now, but Bilquis traveled somewhere else within her own mind, achieving a kind of internal freedom. She takes out two of her captors as she breaks free in a pretty amazing scene. I loved the imagery of Bilquis in her trance and walking out in command of so much power and belief.

Waiting to rescue her outside are Technical Boy and Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), who realize their services are no longer needed. But Bilquis is appreciative of the efforts nonetheless.

Shortly after, Bilquis reveals to Shadow the kind of journey she’s been on, where she let what other people thought of her control her. It’s something we can relate to in the age of social media, where the image people get of us online can affect us in the real world. But Bilquis is finally free of that and wants the same for Shadow.

Shadow has been on that journey ever since breaking free from his father’s hold. He has an idea of where he’s headed, and hopefully will arrive there sooner rather than later.

Shadow Moon visits Mr. Wednesday

After his conversation with Bilquis, Shadow checks in on Marguerite (Lela Loren) and learns that Alison is still missing. We’re starting to see the sparks of a potential romance here, and I’m totally here for it, even if she did try to shoot him when they first met.

Before returning to Lakeside, Shadow plans to visit Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) at the psych facility, which is where Wednesday ended up after losing his mind in the previous episode. Of course, it was all part of a grand plan to get closer to Demeter (Blythe Danner) and get her to join his crusade.

She’s not so easily fooled, of course, knowing Wednesday’s conniving ways, but she makes a wager with him anyway. If he can stay in the facility for a week, she’ll allow him to explain all the feelings he holds in his heart. Game on, Demeter!

Shadow arrives at the facility only for Wednesday to ask him to work with Cordelia (Ashley Reyes) to get proof of some of the elder abuse he thinks is going on. Shadow isn’t eager to help his father out, but considers it after learning who Demeter is to him.

Cordelia convinces Shadow that Wednesday does indeed care for Demeter, but Shadow still refuses to actually steal anything from the facility. But never fear, Cordelia has a plan to clone the computer and get what information they need from it.

loved the heist-like scene with Cordelia and Shadow as they come together to trick the man in charge, Hutchinson (Sebastian Spence). Through a basic con scenario, they manage to steal Hutchinson’s briefcase and clone the information from the computer, all while threatening to out him with all the info they’ve acquired if he doesn’t give Demeter back all her money. He agrees to their plan but asks for two days to complete the request.

Oh, and while they’re at it, Shadow asks for $100,000 more because they find that Hutchinson has that exact amount in some offshore account. I’m not going to lie, right about now, I’m conflicted between stanning Shadow and Cordelia vs. Shadow and Marguerite. The heist really changed things up for me but I have a feeling Shadow’s heart resides in Lakeside.

Laura Moon is alive (again!)

After spending most of the series as a corpse, Laura Moon (Emily Browning) is alive for the first time in a long time. It’s a foreign feeling for her to feel hunger pangs, but she’s got a mission to concentrate on: finding Mr. Wednesday. She approaches Salim (Omid Abtahi) and Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes) hoping to learn more and instead walks away with a deeper understanding of her connection to Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber).

I just wish that we would have seen more of them together. Their relationship felt very real, perhaps even more real than Laura and Shadow’s. There was a rawness to it; you could tell how much they meant to one another.

In any case, Ibis pushes Salim to join Laura on her search for Wednesday, and the two head off. The two have an interesting conversation about prayer, or rather, Salim’s confusion over it, and Laura’s time in Purgatory.

As the episode comes to a close, Shadow arrives back in Lakeside only to learn that things have gotten worse. Whoever might have kidnapped Alison may be the one responsible for all the recent break-ins all over town.

As Shadow is processing this new information, he hears a familiar voice call out to him: Laura’s in Lakeside.

So what now? Tune in next week!

I’m so invested in American Gods right now, and I’m loving all the directions the story is taking. We’re getting a lot more depth than we got before! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens between Shadow and Laura now that she is actually alive, and if there is any potential for their romance to rekindle.

Grade: B+

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