American Gods: Head Full Of Snow   Books Included 
May 14, 2017 7:01 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Shadow questions his employment when Mr. Wednesday informs him of his plan to rob a bank. And just when Shadow thought his life couldn't get any more complicated, he returns to his motel room to a surprising discovery.

This is not Queens. Kissing is disgusting. Scott Thompson is here! But not for long. A wish is granted. Shadow likes marshmallows.
posted by sparkletone (42 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
AV Club was quite pleased with this one, as was I.

Maybe it's just me, but it felt like Wednesday's false eye was more obvious this week? It's been clear since the first episode, but I felt like it was more apparent in more shots in this one than the first two.

Also, apparently the scene between Salim and the Djinn has a very different tone than in the book? I don't remember it being so ... tender. Making it more romantic than just a hookup is a nice change though.
posted by sparkletone at 7:10 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


It feels like everything is coming together but I don't know if that's cause I can see them setting things up fuve moves ahead or cause I've gotten used to " let's just have an hour of abstract fantasy vignettes a week"

You'd THINK putting mad Sweeny passed out drunk in a toilet stall would make me less attracted to him but you'd be wrong. If anything half-mad in an undershirt is my TYPE.

Media is totally watching them, why Wednesday is so afraid of cameras and phones - she literally is camera and phones. Nice cut on her all seeing eye.

St. James infirmary, of course OF COURSE. Music coonntintuuto dead on.

BUT yes well I don't remember that sex scene being so tender and romantic in the book, I remember it as a quickie hookup, and this was ...not. This was a full on ...erotic fsnatasia? I needed a cigarette at the end is what I'm saying. Dude gets an STG.

I kind of love Randy manipulative Wednesday with his "you know i'm playing you and you love it" gleem. Best McShayne. The Eveving Star sister on the roof was the only thing I didn't like cause she felt very pushing daisies and forced whimsy which is my least favorite Fuller.

Apparently Mrs. Fasil was planned for the pilot but they decided to do Vikings instead. A mistake I thi, I like Mrs. Fasil more and how it centers the experience of the gods on everyday, lived in experiences.
posted by The Whelk at 7:23 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


That sex scene was not only sexy and gorgeously filmed, it was also just so touching and lovely.
posted by Windigo at 7:23 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


Hi, Scott Thompson! Bye, Scott Thompson!
posted by rewil at 7:27 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


He was literally skull penetrated to death .

It was great

Word of gods says that's Jimmy Price from Hannibal's mentioned twin brother, Timmy Price.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 PM on May 14




I love the jinn's cute raggedy sweater and his sweaty hairy barrel chest.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Anansi has tweets. OMG.
posted by rewil at 7:36 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


“So you guys need to go back and figure out where holes are.”

God bless.
posted by sparkletone at 7:36 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


I wonder if Fuller would consider bringing on, and then killing, one Hannibal alum each week. That would be a fun easter egg.

I liked how this episode showed the gods (Anubis, the djinn, Zorya Polunochnaya) actually doing some sort of good for the mortals they interact with. Given how much they've demanded of their followers so far, it helps to have a reminder of why anyone with an ounce of self-preservation would not be an atheist.

Oh, and I can totally imagine my cat pushing me through a death door. Because cat.
posted by bibliowench at 8:11 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


I don't yet have a firm theory of soft vs hard beard but Salim/Djinn is a good starting point illustration for soft/hard beard aesthetics.
posted by The Whelk at 8:29 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


Word of gods says that's Jimmy Price from Hannibal's mentioned twin brother, Timmy Price.

This made me really sad for Jimmy until I remembered that Zeller will be there for him in his time of need.
posted by sparkletone at 8:36 PM on May 14


This is an ao3 story begging to happen
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


"Don't touch my knob."

"Not my style."

Somewhere, Buddy Cole is pouting.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:37 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure about Salim/Djinn being an ongoing romance, per that article - it seems to go against kind of how they are having the gods interacting with mortals. But this episode was incredible all around.
posted by corb at 10:11 PM on May 14


Oh, and I can totally imagine my cat pushing me through a death door. Because cat.

I couldn't stop laughing. Such a small, perfect way to break with the somberness and weight of the scene before the latter got too cloying.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:22 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


walking into the bank to get the forms, was I imagining a shadow/trick of the light that makes a form in a tophat on the right side of the doorway just as they walk in? I am pretty sure I am not.... anyone else? (Samedi, is that you?)
posted by alchemist at 3:13 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


walking into the bank to get the forms, was I imagining a shadow/trick of the light that makes a form in a tophat on the right side of the doorway just as they walk in? I am pretty sure I am not.... anyone else? (Samedi, is that you?)

Several folks over on reddit seem to have seen something similar. The going theory seems to be that it's Mr. World, or one of the other new gods (is there a god of Surveillance?)
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:59 AM on May 15


The last two episodes I thought "this show hasn't totally figured out it's tone yet." After this episode I've slightly reformulated that opinion - all the crazy tonal shifts aren't growing pains, they're what the show is going for. Less 'throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks' and more 'throw stuff at the wall because it's fun to throw stuff at the wall.'

Like - if you didn't already know, would you ever guess that the shot of a tiny car ramping off a massive marshmallow and the frank and explicit sex scene and the kids'-fantasy-movie-esque scene with the third sister were from the same show? Much less the same EPISODE of the same show? But it's not that they were trying to make them all seem cohesive and missed the mark. They want the individual scenes and images to be internally cohesive and their relationship to everything else is secondary.

So far I'm liking the parts more than the whole. But a lot of the parts, I REALLY like! It's an open question for me whether this will wind up being a rich tapestry or kind of a mess.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:25 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Has anybody reading these threads been to the House on the Rock? The narrative of the book seems to have borrowed from the atmosphere of that place, not just for setting but for overall tone.

If you've ever go, and pay for the most complete access to the place, once you leave the information center you'll start out walking through a very tranquil garden, and then into the House, following a winding path that takes you stage-by-stage from "oh, interesting, but very dated decor" to "wow, guy bought some interesting stuff, didn't he" to distinctly "rich tapestry" territory, and then PAST that to "where exactly does a guy go to find giant whale-vs-squid installations of that scale?" and "how many pneumatic orchestras are there in the world, anyway?", and finally to a room full of carousels that are all running at full volume at all times, creating such a hellish cacophony that we literally fled through the exit and emerged into the sunlight blinking and dazed.

And I don't think that's unlike the book. I think the odds on the rich tapestry/kind of a mess question may tilt one direction more than the other, is what I'm saying.

Not that I'm complaining! I'll gladly watch an interesting mess.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:43 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Has anybody reading these threads been to the House on the Rock?

I live like three hours away from it apparently? But have never.
posted by sparkletone at 8:31 AM on May 15


Has anybody reading these threads been to the House on the Rock?

Yup. It's so bizarre Neil Gaiman didn't even begin to do it justice.
posted by Windigo at 9:19 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I don't remember the salesman/djinn sequence being quite that tender, but it also wasn't tawdry until the salesman woke up and the front desk called to kick him out.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:15 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


For comparison, here's the sequence from the book:
The taxi driver comes out of the shower, wet, with a towel wrapped about his midsection. He is not wearing his sunglasses, and in the dim room his eyes burn with scarlet flames.

Salim blinks back tears. “I wish you could see what I see,” he says.

“I do not grant wishes,” whispers the ifrit, dropping his towel and pushing Salim gently, but irresistibly, down onto the bed.

It is an hour or more before the ifrit comes, thrusting and grinding into Salim's mouth. Salim has already come twice in this time. The jinn's semen tastes strange, fiery, and it burns Salim's throat.

Salim goes to the bathroom, washes out his mouth. When he returns to the bedroom the taxi driver is already asleep in the white bed, snoring peacefully. Salim climbs into the bed beside him, cuddles close to the ifrit, imagining the desert on his skin.

As he starts to fall asleep he realizes that he still has not written his fax to Fuad, and he feels guilty. Deep inside he feels empty and alone: he reaches out, rests his hand on the ifrit's tumescent cock and, comforted, he sleeps. They wake in the small hours, moving against each other, and they make love again. At one point Salim realizes that he is crying, and the ifrit is kissing away his tears with burning lips. “What is your name?” Salim asks the taxi driver.

“There is a name on my driving permit, but it is not mine,” the ifrit says.

Afterward, Salim could not remember where the sex had stopped and the dreams began.

When Salim wakes, the cold sun creeping into the white room, he is alone.

Also, he discovers, his sample case is gone, all the bottles and rings and souvenir copper flashlights, all gone, along with his suitcase, his wallet, his passport, and his air tickets back to Oman.

He finds a pair of jeans, the T-shirt, and the dust-colored woolen sweater discarded on the floor. Beneath them he finds a driver's license in the name of Ibrahim bin Irem, a taxi permit in the same name, and a ring of keys with an address written on a piece of paper attached to them in English. The photographs on the license and the permit do not look much like Salim, but then, they did not look much like the ifrit.

The telephone rings: it is the front desk calling to point out that Salim has already checked out and his guest needs to leave soon so that they can service the room, to get it ready for another occupant.

“I do not grant wishes,” says Salim, tasting the way the words shape themselves in his mouth.

He feels strangely light-headed as he dresses.

New York is very simple: the avenues run north to south, the streets run west to east. How hard can it be? he asks himself.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:31 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Dude gets an STG.

Sexually transmitted genie?
posted by ian1977 at 12:14 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


An interesting take from Tom and Lorenzo (who are primarily fashion blogger but also do TV reviews, and who are married):

As gay male TV reviewers who’ve been known to have sex with each other, we had a reaction to the Salim/Iffrit scene that we’re still trying to work our way through. It was shocking in its explicitness but it was beautiful in its intimacy and power. And at the heart of our reactions to it, if we’re being honest with ourselves, was the fear that such an explicit representation of male-on-male sex, coupled with a completely unsubtle but nonetheless fantastical way of depicting male orgasm, would be met with jeers and revulsion. When the dominant culture rarely depicts your love life in anything approaching an emotionally, let alone physically realistic way, you find that fantastical depictions of it tend to raise your blood pressure and stress levels. Admittedly, part of this fear came from the show’s depiction of heterosexual sex, which ended with poor Freddy Rumson getting eaten by a giant vagina. Since we were already treated to a scene of giant genitalia before the sex even started, we couldn’t even begin to fathom what horrors might be unleashed in the sex to come. These feelings were partially of the show’s design (which did treat the sex with an underlying sense of ominousness that eventually gave way to wonder) and partially arose out of our own experiences and fears about how people view two men fucking. In other words, it did what good art does. It tells you something about itself while also telling you something about you. Is there doom in Salim’s future? As we said, there tends to always be a downside to interactions with gods – especially when they ejaculate fire into you, we would think – but it was far, far outweighed by such a wonder and awe-filled way of depicting the ultimate act of male-on-male intimacy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:17 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


Several folks over on reddit seem to have seen something similar. The going theory seems to be that it's Mr. World, or one of the other new gods (is there a god of Surveillance?)

My first thought was of the unnamed god Wednesday meets in Las Vegas. He is connected to money, so showing up in a bank would make sense. And not being particularly noticeable fits, too.
posted by eruonna at 12:24 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]




Janice's food blog (with an excellent chicken recipe ) says it's Mr. World
posted by The Whelk at 11:35 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Apparently Mrs. Fasil was planned for the pilot but they decided to do Vikings instead. A mistake I thi, I like Mrs. Fasil more and how it centers the experience of the gods on everyday, lived in experiences.

Ehh. I didn't like the Vikings vignette, but it did a lot of necessary worldbuilding work, and it suited the unfortunately hyperviolent tone of that episode. And the tender vignette with Mrs. Fasil suits the tender tone of this episode. Mixing them wouldn't have provided balance, I think, just more tonal incoherence.

I was expecting them to reveal her death by showing the jar of pickles(?) on the floor, shattered, and I'm not sure if that's a missed opportunity or subversion of a trope.

I'll try to pull some stills, this might be just my imagination, but. Often Wednesday's shots will look almost like they were shot on film (which they were obviously not) while Shadow's shots in the very same scene will look more like what we expect from modern cinema, a little bit smoother. And in The Technical Boy's VR limo, Shadow had his normal look while The Tech Boy's shots looked very flat and digital. It's more than just different lighting. It's a really interesting effect that I don't think I've seen before.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:02 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


The casting in this show is great! I loved it. I was cool on the first episode, uncertain.. but I liked episode 2 a lot more and now I love it.

and I fucking love Shadow. Shadow for life.

The sex scene was very romantic and I am so glad it was.
posted by INFJ at 3:17 PM on May 16


I like having Mrs. Fasil here because her acceptance of death then bookends with the reveal at the end of Laura's rejection of death.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:26 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


I find the addition of a single line of dialogue, compared to the book version filthy light thief posted above, makes the sex scene much more tender:

"I wish you can see what I see."
"I do not grant wishes."
"But you do."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:33 PM on May 16 [5 favorites]


I loved the ifrit scene, I have to say. I have never seen anything like that on film or TV before.
posted by KathrynT at 9:12 PM on May 16 [3 favorites]


> "When American Gods showrunner Bryan Fuller first saw a cut of his show’s epic gay-sex scene, he didn’t mince words. “I was like, ‘Okay, unless he has a 12-inch, candy-cane cock and can fuck around corners, his dick’s not getting in him,” Fuller recalled. “So you guys need to go back and figure out where holes are.”"

Okay, I super extra love this. THANK YOU BRYAN FULLER. Gay sex scenes that don't know where the bits go make me all hulksmash.

In response to comments above about whether the scene was just a hookup or something more, I remember it from the book (which I reread recently) as very very much both. A seriously sexy life-changing "just" a hookup of (almost literally) transformative great sex.
posted by desuetude at 10:31 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


I will say, I'm not 100% happy with the fact that they went SUPER hard on the issue of racism last episode and then basically didn't address it at all in this episode. If it doesn't wind up playing a role in the story later, I'll be disappointed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:38 AM on May 17


Personally I was kind of glad they let up a bit on the unrelenting slew of violence towards Shadow? And let him (and us) enjoy this world a bit.

One thing I noticed when I re-read the book last week is that, for almost all of the book, it seems like he's ignoring Native American stories entirely, until suddenly they leap out of the subtext and I realize they've been lurking there all along.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:29 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


If it doesn't wind up playing a role in the story later, I'll be disappointed.

I don't understand how you introduce Anansi with that molotov cocktail of a monologue and completely drop it even if you don't immediately revisit him or it. All the intros are coming to America stories but given the content of that one and the stupefying degree to which Orlando Jones killed it...... I'm willing to cut them some slack, at least until we see Anasi in his more normal mode. He'll be the person who gave that monologue talking to Shadow who himself ain't white. How could it not come up.
posted by sparkletone at 12:43 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I've noticed that there's a lot of Native American imagery or names in the background of exterior shots, kind of like all the Native American background imagery in the Shining. I started noticing it in the second episode and keep an eye out for it now.
posted by The Whelk at 8:22 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


There's also the opening sequence, which a) is awesome, b) ends with a stack of imagery that is kind of like a totem pole which is c) topped off with a huge eagle.

Actually the opening sequence is full of that theme I mentioned, of the continuity between old and new, and it's capped off with that stack of imagery that goes from the space shuttle launch up to the giant eagle.

Anyway I have full confidence that Anansi will be back, along with the whole concept of racism.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:22 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about how Wednesday as a character takes a pretty unassuming person, uses their unpredictable personality to shake up that person's life, while also leveraging their magical preternatural connection to the world to lead said person on a journey of discovery. I've started to realize that he's a Manic Pixie Dream God.
posted by codacorolla at 8:04 PM on May 18 [6 favorites]


"topped off with a huge eagle"
eagle, or..... THUNDERBIRD!!
posted by alchemist at 3:33 AM on May 20


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