American Gods Season 3 Episode 7 Fire And Ice Review- You Want It Darker
American Gods Season 3 Episode 7 tied Laura, Salim, Wednesday, and Shadow Moon’s fate together permanently. Someone is going to die one way or another.
We finally know who has the flaming beef with Wednesday, and it’s not who we thought. Sure there are so many candidates we really should set up a number system, but Tyr is the last person we would have imagined, especially after the previous episode. Sweet, gentle, weird Tyr has it out for the Allfather. Being betrayed by your best friend, even if you are a duplicitous turd, is rough stuff. Having that same person con your son is next level. American Gods Season 3 Episode 7 set up one mother of a finale.
All season long, someone has been killing all of Wednesday’s followers. The metal band was wiped out, and Demeter took herself off the board. Knowing what we know now about Tyr and his loyalties, Demeter’s decision in the last episode raises some questions. Did she make her own choice and declare her independence, or did Tyr whisper something in her ear and influence her decision? We will never know, but it rings alarm bells. When a flaming body falls from the sky, Wednesday has no choice but to tell Cordelia everything. Surprisingly after a brief freak out in Lakeside with Shadow, she accepts everything and continues acting as the Allfather’s tech support.
American Gods Season 3 Episode 7 gave Wednesday the rare opportunity to be surprised and humanized. Always consistent Ian McShane does snarky so well, it’s hard to remember how good he is wounded. After last week’s blow, he is vulnerable. His arrogance in the past was both a vulnerability and a strength. Love is essential when life is so fleeting, even for a God. It seems Odin is learning from his mistakes, and he counsels Shadow to stay in town with Marguerite(Lela Loren) but be vigilant. If the person taking down Wednesday’s followers wants them dead, Shadow is an even bigger prize.
What will the ancient God do now that he knows his friend is tired of his warring? I doubt he lays down the proverbial sword, especially with a spear coming his way. Tyr killed Johan thinking the berserker had turned on him, but he should have been looking a little closer to home. Not only is the danger genuine and very close, but it also knocks him back emotionally. Wednesday will be forced to see he isn’t as all-knowing as he thought he was. The entire Johan quest did allow one of the best horror sets in American Gods history. The butcher shop turned next Saw set was straight nightmare fuel, as was the creepy gatekeeper Dunker.
The unmentionable stealer was revealed last week. Derek stole the undergarments because he likes wearing lady’s things sometimes, and in a town like Lakeside, a guy can’t just go down to the general store and buy them himself. This entire side story chews time that could have been better spent with Bilquis or Tech Boy, who barely got five seconds of screen time. What does Mr. World have that could help Tech Boy? Why won’t he let him have it? These are far more exciting subjects than a bigoted town and a closeted local. Lakeside has been hotly anticipated. Where is the thunder?
All roads lead to Shadow Moon. Bilquis was drawn to a community center and an older woman. Oshun is there to help Bilquis connect with her. Herizen Guardiola’s Oshun is an excellent addition to the cast. The honey-voiced actress offers a counterpoint to Yetide Badacki’s Bilquis, who is much more fire than ice. This meandering storyline finally has a forward trajectory, but I can’t help but feel a little cheated that this strong woman’s purpose is to help a man.
When Bilquis connects with the older woman, she learns Shadow has a twin. This woman was Shadow’s mother’s midwife. She hid the babies for their protection, but now they must come together to save the world. In Norse mythology, Odin has twins named Baldur and Hodr. Tragically in the story, Hodr kills Baldur. Since Shadow is Baldur in American Gods, let’s hope the brothers get along better than the mythical versions.
It’s not lost on me that the most marginalized of the characters are the ones most poised to be heroes. Salim and Bilquis are minorities, while Laura is a woman and one of very few humans to be involved. Giving Salim something to do besides pout over Jinn is good. In Jinn’s absence, he has had little to do. Emily Browning’s Laura is a good partner. She knows how to empower someone in her own dysfunctional way. As an actress, she elevates anyone who is acting with her. Omid Abtahi is no exception and benefits greatly from their plot beat together.
When Mr. World tracks them down and asks them to kill Wednesday because it will keep everyone from war, it makes sense to Laura. In large part, because she wants Wednesday dead and would sign away her soul to make it happen. Thanks to Salim her agreement would keep her, Salim, and Shadow safe if she is successful. Mr. World always has ulterior motives though, so no doubt this is a farce. Anyone who has read Neal Gaiman’s book knows the attack on Wednesday is a ruse.
This visually stunning episode finally propelled the story forward. Between the gorgeous snow sex scene, Bilquis’ powerful dance number, and the swarming ants on Mr. World’s boardroom screens it was arresting. The ants, in particular, are a not-so-subtle hint that these Gods view humans as nothing more than insignificant insects. He has forgotten that when ants work together in mass they can take down entire animals including big prey.
American Gods Season 3 has been a mixed bag. There have been a few standout episodes, but as a whole, the season was extraordinarily slow-paced and lacking urgency. While nothing raced along at breakneck speed, at least we saw where it was going.
You want it darker, American Gods hauntingly asks. Leonard Cohen’s song closes the episode with a promise of trouble to come. The lyrics of You Want It Darker perfecyly sums up the impending war.
If you are the dealer
I’m out of the game
If you are the healer it means
I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory then
Mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame
Magnified, sanctifiedYou Want It Darker
Be the holy name
Feel the fire, crucified
In the human frame
A million candles burning
For the help that never came
You want it darker
Something wicked this way comes. In American Gods Season 3 Episode 7, enemies are coming from all sides to kill Wednesday. Regardless of who manages to succeed, if anyone does, it puts Shadow in a dangerous situation. Extremes bookend the episode. Fire to begin and ice to conclude. Now that the end game is here, I hope the ice doesn’t freeze the pacing. Thank the Gods, Bilquis is coming with a renewed purpose. The Goddess is coming, and the power of all her people is coming with her. Shadow Moon may need it before it is all over. Find all our American Gods coverage here.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.