This week, Shadow continues questioning his own sanity as more of the impossible reveals itself and Mr. Wednesday enlists his help in robbing a bank. We also meet the third Zorya sister, Anubis, a Jinn, and a down-on-his-luck Mad Sweeney makes a reappearance.
“If you’re here to rob, then rob.”
We open, as usual, somewhere in America. Mrs. Fadil is trying to reach something from a high shelf in her kitchen. Anubis, who appears to be the Egyptian equivalent of the grim reaper, knocks on her door. She is confused as to why an Egyptian God is coming for a Muslim woman, but Anubis explains that the seeds of belief and stories she heard as a child were enough – she still believes. He has come to weigh her heart against a feather.
Mrs. Fadil is blatantly racist to Anubis before she figures out who he is, but doesn’t seem to be concerned about racism when her heart is weighed. He tells her what will happen to her family after she is gone. Despite Mrs. Fadil’s initial unpleasantness, it is a charming encounter.
Worth noting is Mrs. Fadil’s cat, which is an Egyptian hairless. The three (including the cat) climb her fire escape into the heavens. “This is not Queens,” she marvels. They are in the desert. She looks around in wonder. Anubis plunges his hand into her chest and plucks out her heart. Ultimately, she is deemed worthy, and must choose a gate to heaven. She makes Anubis choose for her. She’s not sure which God she should have followed. Her cat chases her through the gate. It is interesting that the Gods themselves don’t seem to differentiate between which one of them you believe in and which is the “right” God – that you believe in something seems to be the important part.
“You don’t much care if you live or die, do you?”
Back at Czernobog’s place, nobody is sleeping. Shadow startles awake on the couch, then climbs to the roof where he finds Zorya Polunochnaya, the third sister, watching over the stars. She explains that it’s a bad thing – not a God, but like a God – chained up in those stars. If it escapes, the world is over, so the three sisters watch all day, all night. “People believe that?” Shadow asks.
She tells Shadow’s fortune, against his wishes. “You believe in nothing, so you have nothing. But you are on the path to everything.” She seems to mean that if he believes in nothing, he can just as easily believe in everything, and that he’s about to see what she means by that, if he keeps hanging out with Mr. Wednesday.
Zorya P literally plucks the moon from the sky and hands it to him for protection. It’s another coin. “Don’t lose this, don’t throw it away. You’ve been given protection once. You had the sun itself. I can give you the moon.” He wakes up.
“You’re light. I am dark.”
Shadow enters Czernobog’s room and goads him into another game of checkers; on more or less the same terms. He says he doesn’t believe Czernobog can kill him with one blow. Czernobog agrees, more or less because it appears he cannot resist a bet.
Meanwhile, Wednesday has entered Zorya V’s room and is trying to charm and seduce her. She reads his fortune. “This thing you want to do…you will fail, and they will win.” He invites her out for a walk. “It will rain,” she says. “Boy, will it ever,” he leers. “But since when were you afraid of getting a little wet?” Mr. Wednesday is shameless.
“I can taste you on the rain. What else can I taste?” “War.”
“You’re playing the same game, old man,” Shadow says. “You only get to fool me once.” Czernobog snaps at him, visibly agitated at losing the game. Meanwhile, as Zorya V and Wednesday walk, she basically says no seriously, you’re going to lose. He kisses her, and it starts pouring. They break from the kiss. “What have you done?” she accuses.
Shadow wins the game and Czernobog is resigned. “Fine. I will go to Wisconsin. Then I’m going to kill you. Is good?” “Is good,” Shadow replies.
Shadow awakens and inspects the window he climbed out of to get to the roof. There’s no way up. He checks his pockets and finds the moon. Had he dreamed the entire evening, including the game of checkers?
“We’re gonna rob a bank, want some coffee?” and other rude awakenings
As Wednesday comes in as Shadow is awakening, Shadow remarks that the storm has died. “No it hasn’t,” says Wednesday, tartly.
Meanwhile, Mad Sweeney is waking up too, on the toilet in the bar where he fought Shadow, to a shotgun in the forehead.
Sweeney taunts the woman with the shotgun, and gets a face full of glass for his troubles. He leaves and is picked up hitchhiking by a Good Samaritan. Moments after he gets in the car, a pipe dislodges from a truck in front of them and his benefactor dies horribly. “It’s crazy bad luck”, a cop remarks. It is then that Mad Sweeney realizes that he didn’t give Shadow just any coin, he gave away his lucky coin. Sidebar: Does the fact that he’s just now noticing mean that Mad Sweeney has been passed out on the toilet in a bar for the better part of five days? That’s…kind of impressive.
“A salesman is naked without a smile…”
We cut to Salim, a shit salesman, who is having a shit day. He waits all day for an appointment who never shows, then waits in the rain for a cab and is picked up by the Jinn. The two bond over their shit days and while they’re stuck in traffic, the Jinn nods off. Salim shakes him awake and gets a glimpse of his flaming eyes.
At once, Salim knows the truth. “They know nothing of my people here. They think all we do is grant wishes.” The Jinn laments his life, and Salim comforts him. They share a moment. The Jinn drops Salim at his hotel. Salim gets out, then knocks on the window. “I’m in room 318,” he says hopefully. The Jinn goes upstairs with Salim, even as a young woman gets into his cab.
Once in the room, the Jinn showers while Salim waits nervously on the bed. “I wish you can see what I see,” he says as the Jinn emerges and Salim gazes at him. The two undress tenderly. “I do not grant wishes,” the Jinn breathes. “But you do,” Salim replies.
The two make love. Salim awakens alone and finds that he has become another person. He dons the Jinn’s clothes and sunglasses, and hops into the driver’s seat of the cab with a smile. He practices the line in the rearview mirror. “I do not grant wishes.”
“I believe the shit out of love.”
As Shadow squabbles with Wednesday over the wisdom of robbing the bank, Wednesday hilariously consoles him with a hot cocoa. Shadow is understandably terrified of going back to prison. “I’ll tell you what,” Wednesday says. “If you make it to the end of the night without going back to prison, will you believe in me?” He tells Shadow to “think snow.”
While the two are eating dinner, Mad Sweeney turns up in sorry condition, demanding his lucky coin. Shadow tells him exactly where he can find it.
“I’ve crossed enough paths to know that one in four people are rock stupid.”
Wednesday parks himself outside the bank’s night deposit box in a chair with a clipboard and briefcase. He is “officially” collecting people’s deposits. Shadow receives a phone call from the police when they arrive, and despite his best efforts, he gets into it. After all, who can resist a good con? All goes well and they hit the road.
Shadow continues questioning what he thinks he knows, as he and Wednesday drive away. “Do you believe in me now?” Wednesday asks. “I believe you exist,” Shadow says sourly. “You are pretending that you cannot believe in impossible things,” Wednesday says. Shadow admits that he believes in love, but didn’t, before Laura. “So you didn’t believe until you did, and then the world changed because you believed.” Wednesday says that the only thing he’s afraid of is being forgotten. “I can survive most things, but not that.”
Back in Indiana, Mad Sweeney has dug up Laura’s grave and found that his lucky coin has burned clean through the (empty) coffin. Across several states, Shadow opens his hotel room door to find Laura very much not in her grave where she belongs, but waiting for him.
- “Kissing is disgusting. But in a nice way, like bleu cheese, or brandy.” – Zorya P’s opinion of kissing is cute.
- Interestingly, when the weighing of a heart against a feather is depicted in Egyptian art, they never show the heart not being worthy.
- Mad Sweeney’s conversation with the Good Samaritan was gold:
“You a rapist?”
“Not recently. You?”
“Don’t try to touch my knob.”
“Not my style, friend!”
- The subtitles when Salim and the Jinn speak are in Arabic (I think) as well as English. That was a nice touch.
- Upon the first viewing, I was under the impression that Salim actually wakes up as the Jinn – as if they had exchanged places. On the second viewing, I find it more likely that the Jinn actually does grant wishes, and simply bestowed upon Salim a brand new identity. This was evidenced by the fact that his eyes were not aflame. Thoughts?
- Pretty much everyone got kissed this week, except Mad Sweeney, whose luck likely wouldn’t permit it, and Czernobog, who likely doesn’t get many offers.
- Wednesday and Shadow’s rapport is really getting fun, too:
“I got you marshmallows in your cocoa. You like marshmallows?”
“Why are you talking to me about marshmallows, like I give a fu–…yeah, I like marshmallows.”
- Apparently Jesus comes in a lot of colors, although Mr. Wednesday suggesting that Mexican Jesus is here illegally was hilarious.
- The earmuffs and clipboard on Shadow’s shopping list from the last episode came into play in this one – both were used for the bank scam.
- Wednesday and Shadow almost hit a wolf on their way out of town. Anubis is often presented as a wolf, and is a protector of graves.
- EDIT: It has come to my attention that Laura calls Shadow “puppy”, not “papi”, so I have changed the above to reflect such.
Quoth Mr. Wednesday:
“That woman thinks Jesus suffered for her sins. They’re HER sins. Why should Jesus do all the suffering?” – Mr. Wednesday on Christianity
“Who says you have to be hungry to eat?” – Mr. Wednesday on enjoying one’s food
“That’s only my fortune today.” – Mr. Wednesday on how one’s luck can change at any time.
Join us next week for Season 1, Episode 4: Git Gone.
All images: Sweatpants & Coffee / Emily Parker