On ‘American Gods’ And Violence And Exploding A Villain With A Groin Kick

Editor-at-Large
05.22.17

Starz

Are you watching American Gods? I really must recommend it. It’s crazy. Based on the book of the same title by Neil Gaiman, the series follows a recently released convict named Shadow Moon as he travels the country interacting with mystical and magical new gods, including one played by Ian McShane, who hires Shadow as his bodyguard and is everything you could hope for when you hear “a modern-day god played by Ian McShane.” If you’re looking for an explanation beyond that, please search elsewhere, because I only know three more things about this show:

  • It’s beautiful to look at, with stunning visuals stacked on top of each other in a way that feels almost revolutionary
  • I have no idea what is going on
  • I kind of love it anyway

That’s not entirely true. I have a little bit of an idea about what’s going on. I think. But it’s the first thing on that list that makes this show so much fun. It’s colorful and trippy and very sexual and very violent. Man oh man, is it ever those things. The series opened with Vikings getting slaughtered in a gory beachfront massacre. A female god had sex with Joel Murray and by the end she had sucked his entire body inside her. There was a sex scene between two men that was nothing short of groundbreaking, both for its content and its artistry. American Gods goes to the max, all the time, forever and ever, Amen.

(This is true beyond the visuals. Even some of the dialogue is rich and colorful and graphic. Ian McShane is getting such pleasure from his monologues as the silver-tongued Mr. Wednesday that they’re basically verbal pornography.)

Which brings us to this week’s episode, the season’s fourth. The whole thing is an hour-long dive into the backstory of Shadow’s dead/undead wife, Laura, which includes everything from casino heists to affairs with Dane Cook to a blood-soaked mission to save Shadow. And during that mission, after a nameless henchman chops off her arm, this happens, and we really should stop to talk about it:

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