Mr. World's introduction was every bit as epic as I could have hoped on American Gods Season 1 Episode 5.
"Lemon Scented You" was an incredibly strong installment, featuring new and unexpected character pairings (Mad Sweeney/Laura!) and plenty of memorable scenes.
The two major developments were Shadow's reunion with Laura and the police station confrontation between Shadow/Wednesday and the New Gods.
Let's first start with the former Mr. and Mrs. Moon.
As American Gods Season 1 Episode 4 repeatedly established, Laura is a pretty terrible person. But she was on her best behavior trying to convince Shadow to forgive her.
Luckily, he was having none of it whatsoever.
Laura: Are you still my puppy?
Shadow: No. I'm not.
Ricky Whittle and Emily Browning both did phenomenal work in the motel room sequence. It was perfectly tense, and you could really feel the complex emotions between them.
Laura seemed sincere but at the same time manipulative.
Shadow, meanwhile, clearly wanted to be able to forgive the wife he'd loved so much but was in an enormous amount of pain and disbelief that she was even sitting there in front of him.
Shadow throwing the pillow at her to check that she was real was a funny moment of levity.
Laura's egocentrism was never more on display than when she explained to Shadow how, exactly, she wound up having an affair with Robbie. She just kept on making excuses for herself, never apologizing sincerely for what she'd done.
I wasn't lying when I said I could wait for you at the time that I said it. I sort of knew that it had the potential of being a lie, but I was giving myself the benefit of the doubt that there was a version of events where it wouldn't be a lie.Laura
I'm intrigued by the fact that briefly kissing Shadow seemed to have "reactivated" Laura's heart in some sense. It explains why she's so drawn to him – because no matter what she claims, it's not her pure, rediscovered love for her husband that's compelling her to seek him out.
Can Laura live again? Will she? Not if we take what Mad Sweeney had to say to heart.
You're the wife. You're the dead wife. Give me my fucking coin, dead wife.Mad Sweeney
The confrontation between Mad Sweeney and Laura in the motel room, after Shadow and Wednesday were picked up by the cops, was amazing. It was easily one of the show's best scenes to date.
As the show creators discussed in the "Inside the Episode" sequence at the end, Mad and Laura are both total assholes.
They brought out the absolute worst in one another, and I loved it. Seeing tiny Laura kick the enormous leprechaun all over the room while hardly lifting a finger was excellent.
I'm not particularly rooting for either of those two to get what they want, yet it was still a very compelling sequence. It also confirmed that it was the coin which brought Laura back to "life," or more accurately, reanimated her (because she is still very much dead).
According to Mad Sweeney, her body will continue to decay, so it would seem that the coin won't continue to keep her around for very long.
Mad's arrest, when Laura "played dead" in the water after the cops busted into the room, was another hilarious moment. Pablo Schreiber really plays up the humor of Mad Sweeney, and it's great.
But beyond just being an excellent scene for character reasons, Mad also revealed some important information to Laura: namely, that Wednesday isn't to be trusted.
Mad told Laura that Wednesday (who he referred to as "Grimnir," another name for the Old Norse god Odin) was the one who put him up to picking a fight with Shadow at the bar. He also told her that, though Shadow trusts him, he shouldn't.
Is Mad Sweeney just making things up? Or is Wednesday really up to no good? I'm inclined to believe the latter. Wednesday is not telling Shadow the whole story – that much is plain to see.
"Lemon Scented You" was also an excellent showcase for the New Gods.
Technical Boy is, for lack of a better phrase, such a little shit.
He's the perfect personification of every worst cliché about the younger, technology-obsessed generation – disrespectful to elders, unwilling to apologize, completely self-centered, and bull-headed.
His first scene, when Media-as-David-Bowie summoned him, was amazing, despite the fact that it wasn't super clear at first what was going on (until we saw the later scene in the police station, anyway).
The gist of Mr. World and Media's plan (which they essentially forced Technical Boy to abide by) was to apologize to Mr. Wednesday and attempt to trick him into working with them in order to defuse his growing influence.
As Media said, if enough people believe in Wednesday (or even just one, strongly enough) that could be enough to return him to full, dangerous power. And that's exactly what the New Gods want to avoid.
Mass delusions are as old as I am. I was there when the Martians invaded in 1938. What a panic. Powerful panic. Now there are starmen waiting in the sky. They believed it was true, and it was.Media [as David Bowie]
Gillian Anderson did a great job embodying Bowie. The costuming, in particular, was spectacular.
Anderson's performance as Marilyn Monroe was also perfectly calibrated – sugary-sweet but strangely menacing. I also loved the bit about Marilyn's death not having been an accidental overdose.
Full-color pinup to film legend to murdered. Oh, don't believe what they say about an accidental overdose. Last thing I saw from the floor of my Brentwood bungalow was a CIA spook jabbing a needle into my eyeball, lest I tell Kennedy tales unwanted.Media
The entire police station sequence was incredible as well. Mr. World's introduction, as I said earlier, was every bit as enigmatic and electric as I could have imagined.
Crispin Glover was perfectly cast in the role. His performance is almost disturbing to watch, yet you can't look away. He's scary and magnetic. Everything from his line delivery to his facial expressions was outstanding.
Mr. World and Media prompted Technical Boy to give the world's most insincere apology to Shadow for having lynched him, which almost read as a meta way for the showrunners to comment on viewers who may have been uncomfortable with seeing Shadow (a black man) be hanged on-screen.
I'm sorry. For lynching you. Hanged a dark-skinned man — it was in very poor taste. We're in a weird, tense place, racially, in America. I don't want to add to that climate of hatred.Technical Boy
Technical Boy also offered his services to Wednesday, to help him find his "audience." Obviously, this "merger" business was all a ploy to control Wednesday's influence and tamper it.
Wednesday saw right through it immediately and refused, despite the zany unicorn-filled technicolor North Korean missile presentation/sales pitch.
Technical Boy may be obnoxious and annoying, but he had one good point: With Mr. Wednesday right in his clutches, why wouldn't Mr. World just kill him if he refused to cooperate?
Is Wednesday still that much stronger that Mr. World couldn't? Or was Mr. World being sincere when he said Wednesday deserved their respect and veneration?
Something seemed off to me about the way the confrontation quickly de-escalated.
- Ian McShane being visited by that raven was a brief, hilarious moment.
- And in the immortal words of Ron Burgundy – "Great Odin's raven!" This installment all but explicitly confirmed that Mr. Wednesday is definitely Odin (between the guiding satellite, Mad Sweeney referring to Wednesday as "Grimnir," and the raven).
- "See that little spider? He's a friend of mine." Oh hey, Anansi.
- I've so far loved all of the series' opening sequences depicting various gods in America, but the animated sequence opening "Lemon Scented You" was particularly unique and visually compelling. It was so different from anything we've seen before, and I just loved it. I doubt we'll see or hear from Nunyunnini, the mammoth god, again, but it was still an excellent sequence.
- For further proof of Laura being a complete jerk, just look at her total non-reaction to having accidentally killed that morgue attendant during her escape. She hardly blinked an eye.
- What was up with that weird tree monster in the police station?
What did you think of "Lemon Scented You"? Share your thoughts by commenting below, and remember that you can watch American Gods online anytime here at TV Fanatic.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.