American Gods Season 2, Episode 4 recap: Technology is obsolete

American Gods -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ
American Gods -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ /

Shadow has sex with a cat, Wednesday tries to get a loan, Nancy wants equality and Tech Boy falls out of favor in American Gods Season 2, Episode 4.

This episode of American Gods felt like reading a modern version of “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” where humans go on epic quests and swindle with Gods while said Gods speak in ridiculous riddles so vague and mind-boggling you have no grasp of what they’re talking about. Mr. World needs to find some new material because when he rambles on about taking over the world it feels like listening to a deranged statue described what being made of stone feels like.

This episode isn’t the greatest. Unfortunately, Mad Sweeney and Laura sit this one out, but they’ll return and be reunited next week (yay!). There’s a whole lot of stories and interminable rants unfolding at once, about half of which could have waited for a better time.

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A large portion is focused on technology and, by association, Technical Boy, largely the achievements and power that can be achieved through technology in the new millennium. We’re introduced to a new character, a young boy going from child to young adult through a minor montage of collective years. A tech genius living and breathing the technical world of computers despite all his father’s attempts to ignite an interest in music. The contrast between father and son is metaphoric for the war between Old and New currently playing out.

The son is unable to grasp the emotion behind the music, the joy, pain, and suffering bleeding through classical symphonies. He figures out a way to program a computer to write a symphony itself, definitely an achievement in technology and possibly artificial intelligence, but it’s devoid of all human characteristics; brilliant but empty.

Later on, while attending his father’s funeral, the son watches the creation of Technical Boy transpire in his head, the youngest God’s birth brought on by him and his advancements in technology.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

A cat licks Shadow’s wounds

In the last episode, Wednesday promised Shadow that when he woke up the next morning, he’d feel like a million bucks. Now we know it was because of the particularly frisky cat living in Mr. Ibis’s funeral home that’s actually Seshat, the Goddess of Death and Ibis’s sister, in disguise (her name on the show isn’t said but in Egyptian lore Thoth’s sister’s name is Seshat).

While Shadow sleeps, Seshat climbs in the bed to lick his wounds and seduce him in a manner so catlike I don’t know how he didn’t figure it out sooner. Even though her eyes are glowing yellow and he’s not in favor of cheating on Laura, Shadow’s not about to question why a beautiful naked woman is licking him and goes along with it.

It’s a bit awkward the next morning when the only two people in the parlor, Ibis and Wednesday, know exactly what happened during the night and Shadow wakes up to the cat staring at him. No one acts like it’s a big deal, but Shadow feels guilty and wants to find Laura. This desire lasts for about 10 minutes and ends when no one seems to know where she is.

Shadow asks Ibis if he knows anything about where Laura might be but Wednesday, standing behind Shadow, makes the gesture for keeping quiet because he doesn’t want the Moon’s reunited.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

The underrepresented Gods want equality

This episode makes the choice to point out a very important flaw that’s been occurring since the beginning; black characters being swept under the bus in favor of less interesting white characters. Almost everyone’s heard of Odin, the headlining God in American Gods, and most of the main characters surrounding him are white. The African Gods who are older than most, like Mr. Nancy, Mr. Ibis, and Bilquis get repeatedly pushed aside and ignored by their own allies.

Nancy, a God brought over by enslaved Africans, is tired of this and wants his people to rise up. His monologue reflects the one he made on the slave ship back in American Gods Season 1 when he first appeared on the show but doesn’t measure up. It’s meant to be an empowering moment but comes off as a bit toneless.

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Watch American Gods with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels! /

The scene is out of place among everything else and ends up buried under the additional subplots with Technical Boy, World, and Shadow. Ironically, this is exactly what Nancy was talking about, but that doesn’t stop the show from enforcing it.

Nancy and Bilquis share a moment revealing their shared bond of being two Ancient African Gods in a Western world; the King and Queen of their people. Its also revealed that Nancy knows Bilquis had been playing both sides but doesn’t judge her for trying to survive, it’s unsaid if anyone else knows but Nancy is the first to bring it up.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

The bank denies your loan application

What does one need to win a war? Money. It makes the world go around and Wednesday goes to the God of Money (William Sanderson) to get some at one of Mama-Ji’s diners. Three girl scouts who are basically ATM machines and bank tellers check Wednesday and Shadow’s credibility for a loan but deny them on account of Shadow having no credit.

Shadow goes through his weekly “I’ve had enough” moment where he demands answers only to be blown off by Wednesday’s many witty retorts, but Shadow recognizes Wednesday’s desperate need to keep him around and realizes the other needs him in order to win the war. Giving Shadow yet another hint as to who he truly is.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

Technical Boy meets an early retirement

Mr. World assigns Technical Boy and New Media to finding a new Argus, and Technical Boy goes to the boy from the opening montage now fully grown and a famous CEO (Andrew Koji) of a company called Xie Comm. When he sees the CEO, he drops the usual snarky millennial mask he’s had since the series began, putting on a smile for his one and only friend.  However, it’s the opposite for the CEO who appears to have lost whatever remaining emotion he had as a child, like the Bach symphony his computer composed, he’s a flawless but empty shell.

Tech offers him the position Argus vacated, but the CEO is no longer impressed with technology. Having evolved onto something better, he’s removed himself from Tech’s list of worshippers. As the one who created Tech Boy, the moment is certainly disheartening for the young and prickish God.

Mr. World decides to “retire” Tech Boy after one too many failures and do the recruiting himself. Before Tech can successfully flee the building, a mechanical face-hugger jumps him and sucks him inside a machine, effectively trapping him where he can’t escape. It’s the same machine Tech used to converse with Shadow and Media in Season 1 that he’s now trapped in.

I just have one question regarding this scene, why doesn’t Tech Boy do something? He controls and rules over all technology yet finds himself on the losing end of countless abuse and failure. He rarely shows off what he can do but chooses to follow orders the way your computer follows whatever you punch out on the keyboard.

Despite the cruel way Mr. World says he “retired” him, I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of Tech Boy. He didn’t die, just got locked away in a prison and even if he was dead, he’d simply become updated and reborn like New Media.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

World and Wednesday come face to face

After retiring Tech Boy, Mr. World travels to the diner where Wednesday and Shadow are with the money God. For being mortal enemies, their face to face confrontation is dry and doesn’t last too long before they both sit before Money like two children itching to see who gets the bigger piece when splitting the last brownie. In the end, Money decides to remain neutral and leaves them to their squabble, much to Mr. World and his creepy smile’s amusement.

There’s an additional subplot in the episode involving Bilquis and a woman named Ruby Goodchild (Mouna Traoré) where Bilquis says Jesus Christ was a rebellious man who refused to be controlled, citing those who rebel as those who might one day rule the world. A direct contradiction to how most humans act.

It’s the best part of the episode but apparently, we had more of Wednesday stringing Shadow along with riddles and Mr. World monologuing his world domination in his trademark creeper voice that can’t decide between husky and squeaky, than this inspiring human to God relationship.

Next. American Gods Season 2, Episode 3 recap: The Egyptians in Cairo. dark

The next episode of American Gods will air Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on Starz.