American Gods Season 3 Episode 8 was a beautiful, brave celebration of love, acceptance, and old unhealed wounds. Saying goodbye is hard.
Often the openers of American Gods are loud and violent. Fiery words and injustice jump through our screens at us. American Gods Season 3 Episode 8 brought a different kind of opener. This one is still fueled by prejudice and ignorance but also love and hope. A kindly and misunderstood hotel owner in 1951 holds onto an empty hotel, knowing it is probably her last days. She provided shelter to a man in need and was rewarded when that man turned out to be Tu’er Shen, the Rabbit God of queer love. He blessed her with long life and the Peacock Inn with ongoing success. The Peacock will forever be a temple for love and acceptance.
Seventy years later, Laura and Salim find themselves at the Peacock looking for a Leprechaun and a resolution they didn’t even know they needed. Laura is looking for Odin’s spear to kill him with, but she and Salim find something perhaps even more critical. Salim finds his faith again. Faith in his God and faith in himself. Salim, from the beginning, was lost in Jinn. He lost who he was as a person when he was with him, and later when Jinn left, he lost who he could be. The Peacock, specifically Kai, reminded him it’s okay to have faith in people and let go of the past while still honoring it.
Laura has a tougher shell, and for her, the process is more complicated. Salim and Laura are an odd duo. She is all blustery stubbornness, and he is sensitive grief. They shouldn’t work together. Emily Browning(Laura) and Omid Abtahi(Salim) are so committed to their character’s flaws and growth they elevate each other. Mad Sweeney and Laura shared a similar symbiosis. I wouldn’t have thought poor broken Salim could keep up with Laura. He taught Laura how to say goodbye to Sweeney and helped them both to move on. It is an unlikely friendship, but when Laura loves, she loves all the way. Salim’s arc from sad shell to blossoming strength made the weeks of navel-gazing worth it. He has been so underused this season it was nice to see him shine this week.
Laura must convince another Leprachaun to help her. She needs Liam Doyle to go into Sweeney’s horde and retrieve Odin’s spear so she can kill Wednesday. Doyle is working as a bartender at the Peacock after Wednesday took his lucky coin for refusing to kill Laura. She convinces Doyle to help and gives him Sweeney’s coin. He doesn’t return right away, and Laura becomes convinced he betrayed her. Laura has to try to kill Wednesday anyway because she has no choice. Her deal with Mr. World must be honored, or she, Salim, and Shadow will all be killed.
It was an entire episode of goodbyes. Laura wants Salim to stay at the Peacock and be safe, but he is tired of hiding. He is ready to let go of Jinn and let go of his fear. Laura also says her goodbyes to Sweeney in a rare, vulnerable moment for her. Luckily Doyle did not betray her and returned with the spear, so she isn’t facing Wednesday unarmed. She does have the problem of Shadow, though, who picked his father’s side this week. Will Shadow Moon choose Wednesday again when faced with the choice of Laura or his father?
Tyr may have given the appearance of being kind and fair, but the creepy dentist is a sadist at heart, and he has long harbored resentment towards Odin. He takes Shadow to the Wolf Den because it is a symbolic place for the brothers. He intends to sacrifice Shadow and display him Blood Eagle style. Before he does, Tyr tells Shadow the story of Fenrir, a monstrous wolf of Norse mythology.
Fenrir was Loki’s son, but the wolf grew too powerful, and the Gods knew they had to chain Fenrir up for everyone’s protection. The only way to get the wolf into his chains, though, was to trick him by placing a hand in his mouth. Odin refused, and Tyr did it, losing a hand in the process. Odin used that weakness to overthrow Tyr, who was the leader at that time. Tyr has hated him for that all these years.
Tyr agrees to release Shadow if Wednesday submits to him. Wednesday is a trickster, though, and he lures him onto the ancient battlefield, and the two Gods square off. Tyr is winning until Shadow distracts Tyr and Wednesday stabs him in the back. In typical Wednesday fashion, he burns Tyr and unceremoniously dumps Shadow in the middle of nowhere. Jacksonville, Florida is calling Shadow. He is on a collision course with fate.
Tech Boy also said goodbye. He said goodbye to the belief that he needs Mr. World to have agency. Tech Boy said goodbye to the cuck he has been and hello to the God that has been muted. A fantastic turn by Yetide Badaki brought Bilquis into his head in an unexpected way. She was nearly unrecognizable in looks, voice, and styling. Badaki was brilliant in American Gods Season 3 Episode 8, as his savior. When Ms. World imprisons Tech Boy in the head grabber, she is there in his subconscious to remind him he has the power to save himself. He glitches because he is suppressing his emotions. Let them come, and he can save himself. Tech Boy is firmly a New God, but what happens if he changes loyalties? Only time will tell.
American Gods Season 3 Episode 8 was a beautifully crafted episode full of stunning visuals and quietly emotional scenes. Like Sense8, it was powerful but gentle. It was about love in all its many forms. Love for friends, love of family, romantic love, sexual love, and love of self. We could all use a little more of that right now. This spectacular episode also set up the coming battle. There was a real sense of urgency most of the season has been lacking. I’m glad I stuck around for it. I may have found my faith in American Gods. You can find all our American Gods coverage here.
- Fuck you; goodbye never sounded so sad.
- Quintessential Laura that she wouldn’t trust the man who refused to kill her but fell in love with the man who did.
- Where can I get some of those beautiful glitter wings and that amazing swing?
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.