The Greatest Story Ever Told
This episode confirmed a few things I was afraid of regarding the second season–though I’ll hold off saying exactly what until next week, to see if the trend continues or not. This episode was much quieter than last week’s, focusing more on the struggles of Gods than that of Shadow.
The opening scene introduced us to one of Technical Boy’s first worshippers–a young boy who loved all things technology, and had a gift to turn his technical knowledge into practical use. It’s clear that the worship he had for Technical Boy was something pure and brilliant, bound to raise him to great heights.
Now in Mr. Ibis’ home, Shadow has a few fever-dream type encounters with its inhabitants, including having sex with Bastet–who is a cat. Of course, she wasn’t in cat form at the time, but watching Shadow see the cat prowling about in the morning, and realizing what the scratches on his chest actually mean, is hilarious. He still seems to have some worry over Laura, but like Laura’s own worry for him, it seems so tied up in a duty, rather than an actual need and want of the other–an obligation.
Shadow’s stay in Cairo isn’t long, as Wednesday needs to take him to St. Louis to meet with Money–another God who hasn’t taken a side. It’s another way to keep him separated and isolated from others who might give him information, as well.
After Wednesday and Shadow leave, Bilquis, Nancy, and Ibis debate the merits of the war–though really, Ibis sits this one out for the most part, listening instead of participating. The scene highlights Orlando Jones’s acting skills–watching him passionately debate the right for War after all that black people have been through, and are still going through, is akin to a preacher giving a fire and brimstone sermon.
For her part, Bilquis seems willing to pretend to be on Nancy’s side to placate him, but once she has a conversation with a woman whose grandmother has died, she seems to be truly moved towards the idea of fighting–that martyrs and pain cause true worship in people, and perhaps that is what the Old Gods need, right now.
As for our New Gods, it seems that New Media is taking Technical Boy’s place (much to my chagrin). While I’ve read the arguments that her acting is ‘supposed’ to be grating, I still contend this is the wrong direction to be taking New Media–especially if she replaces Technical Boy. Tasked to find a way to replace Argus, Technical Boy seeks out the worshippers we met in the beginning of the episode–only to see him completely forgotten in favor of New Media.
I never thought I’d have such sympathy for Technical Boy, but watching him cry and then rage as he attempts to escape Mr. World (without success), I realized that unlike his character in the book, the show has me rooting for him, now. I hope he isn’t truly ‘retired’–but that he’ll have a chance to return, later.
As for Wednesday and Shadow, they spend their time in a diner where Mama-Ji (Kali) is serving them. She explains to Shadow that as her people run many of the motels across the country, she is in all of them–I love that concept! She also tells Shadow that Wednesday will be the death of him, something I don’t think he’ll realize until it’s too late.
In the wonderful quirks of this world, in order to get to Money, the men have to get past his minions: three girl scouts who are selling candy, and are very displeased over Shadow not having any credit or debt to his name.
When this causes the girls to deny our men access to Money, Wednesday tries to claim that the reason he chose Shadow was due to him having no value at all. Of course, Shadow reads this as him clearly having value, otherwise Wednesday wouldn’t protest so much. …but I read it more as Wednesday knowing that Shadow would come to that conclusion so our God-friend is just conning the con artist for the long game.
Mr. World shows up just as Money finally appears, but neither Wednesday nor Mr. World are able to sway the mighty dollar over to their side–so just another stalemate.
Something to note: the episode description said that Laura would be making her way back to Sweeney, but we clearly didn’t see that–seems there has been some shuffling of scenes in the episodes.