Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of American Gods…
Gilt edged scripture etched into border patrol artillery, stylishly bombastic recaps and Ennio Morricone influenced anthems, foreshadow another entry in the American Gods ‘how to’ guide for re-engineering audience expectations. ‘Lemon Scented You’ may have shrouded itself in Lynchian influences and combined an architectural aesthetic with a painter’s eye for framing and colour. But ‘A Murder of Gods’ goes one further, wrapping that approach into a road movie ethos made up of debates on religion and methods of maintaining purifying flesh over distance in warm weather.
Dissecting allegiances with the subtlety of a surgeon’s knife American Gods brings together a polar opposite pairing unmatched since Preacher last year. Mad Sweeney and Laura Moon are mutually selfish, antagonised by indifference and driven by decomposition and greed. Throwing verbal barbs, threats of physical retribution and litigious declarations of intentional injury throughout their chemistry is infectious. Both indifferent yet transparently needy, this sparing adds an essential darkness, nauseating sexual attraction and underlying compassion. Their headline grabbing ‘Head Full of Snow’ companion is both complicit accomplice and silent majority. Never weighing in between debates, enforced silences and any slagging matches which ricochet between this minty ex-wife and mythical Irish icon. As a result things barely move anywhere whilst managing to cover intellectual ground.
Elsewhere thinly veiled stabs at consumerism, gun laws and big business are embodied by the town of Vulcan. A place which literally rains down bullets, makes it mandatory for people to carry firearms and glories in high pollution levels and higher degrees of armament. It is here where we track Shadow and Wednesday, as the latter exchanges pleasantries, pontificates with a grizzled God of Fire over insurance pay outs, mortality rates and how people feel better carrying large guns. Shadow meanwhile battles with the reality of a world beyond that tip of the iceberg we all talk about.
Nothing more than a tenor sax imbued road trip across baking hot asphalt causeways, ‘A Murder of Gods’ is sultry, sexual, deviant and diverting without once sacrificing style for substance. In this world wounds run deep, memories stretch beyond imagining and the living, dead, mythical and ancient beings all stand together. Hidden in plain view, forging industry from the ether and carving progression from a rock face while everyone else looks away. In this corporate driven, internet infected, socially dependent society ideas of substance are disappearing. Modernity has driven out faith, done away with imagination and made non-believers of us all. Pick apart this nightmare dreamscape of brave television and read between the lines, because this is our carrion call to the collective unconscious. Go ahead and let yourself be challenged.