Okay, everyone–this is the episode I’ve been alluding to a bit in previous reviews. This is the first time since the beginning of the season where I’ve felt the wheels on this train (ha!) are coming off a bit. While still a strong episode, there are some key choices made due to the loss of Gillian Anderson’s Media that have left me cold. Everything else is strong, so it’s only a small off-tone note…but I worry that it will become larger as the season goes along.
The episode opens with Wednesday immediately working to separate Laura from Shadow–which isn’t hard given the loss of her legs and one arm in the train crash. Sweeney assists in this, which seems like a supreme betrayal from Laura’s perspective, but Sweeney has his reasons. Honestly, for his selfish nature, he’s proven time and time again he struggles to maintain that nature around Laura. They drive off with Laura in the trunk of the car, Shadow left in the wreckage of the train to fend for himself.
At least Wednesday doesn’t leave Laura in pieces, but instead takes her to Ibis who puts her together, and rightfully points out that Laura, the girl who believed in nothing, believes in something now. She contends that it’s Shadow, but given that she didn’t have much of a reaction until Sweeney tried to get her to fight…I really have my doubts. Even if it’s just believing in herself, Shadow isn’t her driving force as much as she wants to think it is. Expanding her character is one of the best things this show could have ever done, and I’m so thankful for it. Instead of choosing to go with Sweeney to New Orleans to fix her body (as he almost begs her to), she chooses to go with Wednesday to ‘recharge her coin’ in trade for helping him with Argus–wrong decision, girl.
Shadow, for his part, is not doing so hot, but manages to get to civilization and get caught conning a cashier by a young woman who offers him a ride in her car. Ladies and gentlemen, we are getting introduced to one of my favorite characters from the books: Samantha Black Crow. She’s native american and is two spirited. I haven’t read the book in a while, but I think the show goes further than the book did, and has Samantha explicitly state that she’s genderfluid/non-binary, which is awesome. Her conversations with Shadow are wonderful as well, and something he really needs, especially since she’s an insightful human– something he hasn’t encountered in a while.
The journey of Wednesday and Laura, down through the lair of Argus, is a really interesting one–filled with symbolism and little crumbs of information about the Old Gods and the New. It gives some insight into Laura’s backstory as well, including her alcoholic father.
While they travel through the trials of sacrifice, Mr. World is blaming Technical Boy for failing to bring Argus to heel, and sends “New” Media to take care of the situation.
This New-type Media, who is supposed to be something more akin to streaming/YouTube Media, I think, seems so entirely redundant. We already have Technical Boy. While I understand that they had to deal with Gillian Anderson leaving, and having a rivalry between Media and Technical Boy could be interesting–it completely changes their dynamic. Before it was that of a mother chiding a bratty son…and New Media is now just a very annoying, very fake-feeling character. And while I rarely criticize acting, so much of Kahyun Kim’s line delivery seems odd. It reminds me of the acting I saw in high school theater productions, and isn’t up to the level of everyone else in this show’s production.
New Media and Technical Boy reach Argus before Laura and Wednesday do, and New Media tries to ‘merge’ with Argus with imagery that is blatantly sexual. Technical Boy is clearly losing control, so it’s no surprise when he allows Laura to kill Argus without warning the others–the enemy of my enemy, right?
True to his word, killing Argus recharges Laura’s coin…but in typical trickster fashion, Wednesday betrays Laura and abandons her in Argus’s world, possibly leaving her trapped; anything to keep her away from Shadow and Sweeney.
And what of our other players? Well, without his lucky coin, Sweeney just has a string of exceedingly bad luck. Jinn and Salim, my adorable wholesome duo, end up at a stripclub and pick up Odin’s spear and a seedling they are told they will need later. A good little scene, and again–I’m so glad they are expanding on these characters.
Overall a strong episode, if not for the issues with New Media. I just really hope those issues improve as we go on.