A Murder of Gods
We start out with a group Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande into America. As they cross there is one man who starts to slip down in the water, clearly unable to swim–but he is saved by one of the travelers, who is walking on water. It is Jesus, helping one of the faithful. This depiction of Jesus as a Mexican man, willing to help illegal immigrants, is powerful and sends a message that I think should resonate in our current political climate. Even more impactful is how he dies–protecting the group from a militia that shows up and starts shooting them all. Besides the opening with Anansi and the slave ship, I would say this opening was the most powerful in the series so far.
Back to the main storyline, we see Moon soon after the situation with the New Gods, still upset over the murdered police. Mr. Wednesday explains that all of of them being killed was a warning for them, while at the same time being a sacrifice for the New Gods–it serves a dual purpose, like so many things in this world. As they head back to the motel, they find that Laura is no longer there. In what will be the first scene of many this episode, Wednesday tries to convince Moon that Laura was never really there, but merely a hallucination. As they leave, Laura finally arrives back at the motel, only to see their car retreating in the distance. Mr. Wednesday sees her, but makes sure that Moon doesn’t–something is going on there, to be sure. But what?
Honestly, I don’t care that Laura didn’t catch up to Moon, because as a result we get the best road trip of all time. Sweeney catches up to Laura in the parking lot of the motel, where they make a deal that he can have the coin back as long as he takes her to Moon. (Sweeney refuses to call Laura anything other than ‘dead wife’ which he utters like a curse–it’s my favorite). As they attempt to steal a taxi, we find it belongs Salim–our wonderful Jinn-loving man from Episode Three. He’s on the search for his dear genie, so all three of these outcasts decide to go on a road trip to Kentucky, together. Seriously, if this show could be only about them, I would love it. This never happened in the book, and I’m so thankful that the show has given us this amazing comedy goldmine.
There is poignancy in their team up, too. Salim is a focal point between both Laura and Sweeney, who are angry at so many things in the world. He says he isn’t afraid of anything any longer, and he never prays for things, only for thanks. He is such a welcome character on television; I hope we see more of him. It seems he is trying to provide Laura some guidance despite not knowing any real answers himself. Sweeney continues to be an asshole, and as punishment, once he falls asleep Laura has them take a detour to Jack’s Crocodile Bar, where we first met him–in the wrong direction from Kentucky, to say the least.
Once at the bar Sweeney keeps commenting on how Laura smells, and she rightfully says that if he is trying to shame her, it won’t work–she is beyond shame. Still, Sweeney is trying to impart knowledge in his own way: Moon is no longer Laura’s, but Wednesday’s–something she needs to come to term with.
Meanwhile, that tree that attacked Moon last episode? It apparently left a piece of it within Moon, and is moving about. In a pretty gross scene, we see Wednesday pull a strange root out of Moon’s wound, as he explains that for all the damage humans have done to the earth, Mr. Wood (apparently another Old God) just attacks back as best it can. So even if this was just a passing mention, it is neat to know there are even Gods of the environment that are angry about what is happening in the world.
Mr. Wednesday and Moon eventually arrive in a town in Virginia that is completely devoted to making weaponry. It seems the Old God, Vulcan, has been able to make a name for himself here, through sacrifices that are made to the forges in the plant (faulty railings are horrible, aren’t they?).
Everyone in the town acts like cult members, and it’s clear that out of all the Old Gods, Vulcan is having no issue with followers. Perhaps that is why he is so welcome to greet Mr. Wednesday with open arms–though his greeting of Moon is much more cold. It’s interesting–in a way Vulcan has become a bridge between the old and the new…some sort of different God, entirely.
As they go for a drink, they pass a tree that has a noose hanging from it; again the lynching imagery is strong–but apparently the message was sent by the New Gods for both Moon and Wednesday. They go to have a drink but Moon isn’t allowed. The tree with the noose is there again. Once inside we are treated to a room filled with taxidermy animals–something that Bryan Fuller (and I) love. It’s great imagery–both prey and predator animals, all surrounding these Gods. Wednesday wants a blade forged by Vulcan, who says he will do it for him–who says he is with him, completely.
But after the blade is made, it’s revealed that no, he very much isn’t. As I said previously, being a bridge between the Old and New, he seems to have taken that ‘buyout’ deal that Mr. World had offered Mr. Wednesday. Being betrayed goes over as well as you would expect with Moon’s employer–he grabs the newly forged blade and chops Vulcan’s head off, making him a martyr for the cause. So there comes the title of our episode, then, hm?
The episode ends on a much more positive, peaceful note, with Laura and company stopping at dawn so that Salim can pray to Mecca. It’s a beautiful scene, one of quiet peace and contemplation. He tells Laura that God is good, and I’m hoping, that by the end of it, perhaps Laura will find one God that is.