American Gods: A Murder Of Gods   Books Included 
June 4, 2017 7:10 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

On the run after the New Gods' show of force, Shadow and Mr. Wednesday seek safe haven with one of Mr. Wednesday's oldest friends, Vulcan, God of the Fire and the Forge.

We are quite off book this week. Mad Sweeney and Laura make a new friend. Shadow and Wednesday go meet an old one. That old friend turns out to not be so friendly. Ian McShane finally gets a big damn sword, since he didn't get one on that other prestige fantasy show he's been on.
posted by sparkletone (37 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
AV Club thought it was alright.
posted by sparkletone at 7:13 PM on June 4, 2017


I am fascinated to see what the reaction elsewhere to this one will be. Guns, a dead Jesus, immigrants, and a gay Muslim man praying. How many more right-wing hot buttons could Bryan fit in there?

Also petition for a spin-off series with the trio in the cab.
posted by rewil at 7:15 PM on June 4, 2017 [14 favorites]


I could not be happier about this extended whatever with Laura and Sweeney (and now Salim).

I'm still parsing the ref I think. Something about the immigrant jesus opening, and a lot of the gun stuff being left purely visual made it feel just right instead of too heavy-handed? Don't get me wrong. It wasn't subtle at all, but it made its point in a way that was creatively interesting instead of leaving it to a bunch of dull speeches delivered woodenly by the characters.
posted by sparkletone at 7:21 PM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


It bothered me that Vulcan was a boastful racist dumbass. Vulcan was a god of fucking Invention. He should be at NASA, or working with Space X . Big fire rockets there.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:29 PM on June 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


He also made the first robots , as well as Pandora's Box. A reference there to guns would have been apt.

...and where's Venus?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:34 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vulcan was a god of fucking Invention.

America's been at the forefront of a lot of areas of invention, but where more than weapons? That this incarnation of Vulcan would hunker down where he's at felt pretty okay to me.
posted by sparkletone at 8:48 PM on June 4, 2017 [4 favorites]


Belief is the food and lifeblood of the gods, so why wouldn't the nature of those worshipping Vulcan come to shape him? And in turn they would then be shaped by him, down through the years.
posted by rewil at 9:29 PM on June 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


Holy shit, that episode could not have been more perfectly crafted to piss off the current Republican electorate. Not that I mind - I'm just dreading the glut of "think"pieces that are probably coming.
posted by bibliowench at 9:32 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I thought it was really fucking good - that first opening seemed to reference Mark Twain's War Prayer and was so, so perfect.

Normally I'm upset when things go off book, but I feel this show has earned it.
posted by corb at 10:00 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vulcan was a god of fucking Invention. He should be at NASA, or working with Space X . Big fire rockets there.

Wouldn't he be running into the turf of the young, vigorous gods Edison or Von Braun? I doubt they'd like to share. He's a god that found his niche, and even if he wasn't being innovative, he was still god of the forge.

And did anybody at all feel sorry for him getting whacked? No? Didn't think so. Can't fault Wednesday for that.
posted by happyroach at 11:19 PM on June 4, 2017


Where's Venus? Off schtuping Mars (Chuck Norris? Schwarzenegger? Tom Hanks?) presumably. I imagine that when Vulcan reformulates himself, he'll get to work crafting that net that is supposed to catch them in flagrante delicto so all the others gods can laugh at them, a much earlier form of revenge porn we had to make do with, not like you kids today with your smartphones and digital image sites and online hate communities, all of which you could combine to create a kind of weaponized shame orgy the likes of which the Greeks and Romans could only salivate after.

Or, given that Vulcan had grown lazy through industrialzation and a powerful gun lobby, he probably would just shoot them both in the head and call it a day.
posted by bibliowench at 11:29 PM on June 4, 2017 [6 favorites]


I love Taxi Bro (Selim-Not-Selim) SO MUCH he's ADORABLE

and on Ramadan too! wooooow

also: holy white supremacist not-even-metaphors batman
posted by divabat at 6:39 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I thought the music was often too much. Like I couldn't even understand all the dialog.

Otherwise I liked it.
posted by French Fry at 7:17 AM on June 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah, can that dying saxophone player finally die already?
posted by leotrotsky at 9:07 AM on June 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


Seconding the call for a Taxicab Trio spinoff. I lurve the Laura / Mad Sweeney interactions so very, very much.

I think my perfect TV show would involve the Taxicab Trio driving around reporting crimes that SVU's Captain Cragen would investigate and turn over to ADA Barba to prosecute. IT'S GOLD, I TELLS YA.
posted by hanov3r at 2:21 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was ambivalent about the show but it's really turning around - especially the off books stuff. Very much enjoying Laura/Sweeny/Salim. In particular, huge showSalim fan.

The interpretation of Vulcan as supplying fuel (arms and ammunition) for war is pretty mainstream, co-opting him for fear and hate and anger takes it a little too far. But in-universe, I guess a down on his luck god might just try to harvest adulation from somewhere. And rewil has a great point about the worshippers' shaping the god.

But, yeah, yuck.

What's maybe a little inconsistent is how gods are able to affect humans who don't believe (or even know about) them.

Latin Jesus implies the existence of a Catholic Jesus, Protestant Jesuses, Anglican... and there certainly must be a Chinese Jesus around, too.
posted by porpoise at 2:24 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think the town of Vulcan is as near as we are going to get to the perfect/not perfect small town sustained by sacrifice that Shadow spends a winter in (based on my slightly fuzzy memory of the book).

Presumably the Jesus in the opening segment is just one of a series of iterations of the same god who have been arriving in the USA for years - he certainly had some power. I doubt Grimnir could walk on water.

Also seconding calls for more of the Cab Trio, although as an actual Irish person I am a tiny bit troubled by how much how fond I am becoming of the long-suffering Sweeney, gross ethnic stereotype that he is.
posted by Fuchsoid at 6:16 PM on June 5, 2017 [4 favorites]


I enjoy how very much Laura is basically Asshole Charlotte Charles. Does Shadow know how to bake pies?
posted by Mr. Excellent at 8:23 PM on June 5, 2017 [6 favorites]


I think the town of Vulcan is as near as we are going to get to the perfect/not perfect small town sustained by sacrifice that Shadow spends a winter in (based on my slightly fuzzy memory of the book).

Rumor is that since the story has been broken up over three seasons, Lakeside is going to be the bulk of the second season.
posted by firechicago at 4:03 AM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also seconding calls for more of the Cab Trio, although as an actual Irish person I am a tiny bit troubled by how much how fond I am becoming of the long-suffering Sweeney, gross ethnic stereotype that he is.

It's surprising, isn't it. I thought it'd take more than seeing a man slam his crotch onto a car door to make me overlook him being a luckless borderline alcoholic but apparently not. It's make or break time in the next episode. Getting real Cassidy-from-Preacher vibes, an obvious connection I never made while reading the book.

But yeah, the off-book stuff is great. I liked the complexity of the scene in Vulcan's living room. He was insulting Shadow to his face with his racist talk of hanging and was also insulting Wednesday for his own hanging. On top of that he was jabbing at how much Wednesday had or hadn't told Shadow. 'I know more than you do' and being a real dick about it.

One thing that seemed off to me though was that (one of?) the Minutemen-analogues had a rosary hanging off his rifle when they gunned down the Mexican border-crossers. Not saying that there aren't immigrant-hating white catholics in the USA but I would have expected most ra-ra build-that-wall types to be firmly right wing and WASP-y. Is it just slippery imagery or am I missing something?
posted by ocular shenanigans at 6:39 AM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Nah, Christian anti-immigrant types span class demographics.
posted by divabat at 6:24 PM on June 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Or denominational demographics for that matter.
posted by divabat at 6:24 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


White Jesuses and Brown Jesuses aren't the same gods at all, haven't been for a long time. Jesus is divided against himself. One god, perhaps, but which one? Even Evangelicals have their own personal buddy in Jesus.
posted by bonehead at 10:06 PM on June 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


As soon as I remembered that Vulcan is a Technology God, I knew he was going to sell them out. He was a new god once too.
posted by KathrynT at 11:00 PM on June 6, 2017 [9 favorites]


I interpreted the opening scene as “native” Christianity verses immigrant Christianity.

Even with flavors with strong central control like Catholisim, there can large differences between differen’t parts of the world.

I was expecting to see a white Jesus leading the Minutemen types.
posted by sideshow at 9:02 AM on June 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


Wednesday has a speech about the different Jesus' in the first episode, mexican jesus, white jesus, black jesus etc. So it's deliberate.
posted by French Fry at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Apparently Ian McShane was originally approached to play Czernobog? This is so unthinkable to me given how things have turned out. Of course he's Wednesday.
posted by sparkletone at 11:19 AM on June 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


I really, really love Salim-Not-Salim. I love the casting, I love the way the actor is delivering the lines, I love the way they've transferred his thoughts from the book version, I love the way Laura says his name.
posted by desuetude at 11:09 PM on June 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is a VERY HEAVY episode and full of brand new stuff and RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES stuff I want to get into but first


GO CAB TRIO

"Was he your genie in a bottle? Did you rub one out of him?"
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on June 9, 2017 [7 favorites]


Als the zippy military march as the bullets are made and packaged m the god of the Vulcano putting one in everyone's hand, what and Odin move it is to say "make me a sword to kill a god" and then killing the god who made it with it AND the totally new, completely great plot point that the new gods GAVE Vulcan the portfolio of arms manufacturing (rather than let some new god manifest itself) and that deal totally worked out for him. It shows the stakes and how far gone what Odin is trying to do is.

Also the V logo looking exactly like the V FOR VICTORY logo

Nice detail in an ocean of nice detail ps (the limp!)
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on June 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also just letting those two assholes asshole st each other is a delight

"The dead pass easier at night, which I would do, if I cared about passing"

Go dead wife go.
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on June 10, 2017 [5 favorites]


I did most of my growing up in Alberta where this is a small town called Vulcan.

I am happy not to be living in small town 'Texas of the North' anymore.

In this very small way this episode's God-of-the-week seemed more plausible than most.
posted by mce at 8:14 PM on June 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


So on the rewatch...

Mr. Wood is like an ancient lovecraftian old god who became e something different, no?
posted by The Whelk at 5:27 PM on June 11, 2017 [1 favorite]


Just watched the final three episodes in a row last night, and of this episode, I gotta say I agree with the Tom and Lorenzo review: Everything about the stop in Vulcan Virginia felt like the show going right off the rails, both in its message and in the way it conveys it. Look at the shot at the top of this post. The magical realism that has defined the show inexplicably morphed into some form of heavy-handed Tim Burton-esque social satire. It doesn’t reflect America, it reflects a cartoon version of it. They took a very complex social and political issue, stuck a god-figure in front of it (one that only partially fit), and then stood back and acted like it was saying something profound. Tying firearms and fascism together with a big bow of patriotism is not a new idea. If you’re going there, have something to say, please. “Everyone looks at Lady Liberty and sees a different face” is a fairly good line. Too bad they essentially followed that up with, “And rural people who like guns are evil and scary.”
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:55 AM on June 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Corbin Bernsen as Vulcan was really, really good.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:03 PM on January 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


🎶 Your own, Mexican, Jesus 🎵
posted by Pronoiac at 1:33 PM on April 17, 2018


My better half and I finally got around to watching this and were excited to notice that the square with the fountain in Vulcan was shot in the town where we grew up. We went back there to get married, literally two blocks away from that fountain. Then, a couple scenes later, were amused to discover the exterior shots of Jack's Crocodile Bar were an old mill blocks from where she lived later, in a different small town. A small world.

Delighted with the show all around.
posted by bcd at 4:48 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


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