The penultimate episode of American Gods season 3 has our writers questioning everything they know from Neil Gaiman’s novel. How will the events of the season impact the series’ endgame?
As the ice begins to crack under the weight of the klunker in Lakeside, so too does the front many of the characters in American Gods as season 3 plunges into what we believe to be the final chapter of the series. “The Lake Effect” wraps up our time in the small town, leaving it much worse for wear than we found it only a month ago. The residents are slowly waking up to discover the illusion they’ve all been living under these past few decades.
Margie finally faces the the true circumstances surrounding the loss of her son Sandy, Chad Mulligan looks back on his career of missed opportunities and becomes wrapped up in the reveal of gods on Earth, and as for Hinzelmann, there are only so many things a bonfire and ice sculpture contest can hide. Shadow toys with the idea of the life that could have been if Lakeside was left under its spell, but circumstances happening states away that will call him back to deal with the family business.
Despite the events of this episode playing out rather close to the narrative laid out in the novel, several questions have bubbled up surrounding the intentions of Wednesday and whether or not this season of American Gods changed what we can expect to see as the series finale approaches. Specifically, these include the role of Laura Moon in the events following the peace talks with World, the expanding narrative of Tech Boy and Bilquis, as well as the tour de force we saw from Ian McShane as Wednesday this season. For our thoughts on how the events of “The Lake Effect” may shake things up, see the spoiler section at the end of this post.
SPOILER WARNING: At the very end of our discussion, there are spoilers below the marked section that discuss outcome of the main plot twists in Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods novel.
‘American Gods’ season 3, episode 9 review in conversation
Natalie: So this episode brings Shadow back to Lakeside where it’s clear he is feeling very displaced among the winter festivities – whatever he’s been experiencing, with Wednesday and I guess in Florida – he is no longer happy and smiling and excited to be a good neighbor. He’s on edge (which the Shadow of the past often was) and seeing that energy juxtaposed against the Lakeside happiness makes the town seem creepy. He comes home ready to talk to Margie and I guess to open up the line of questioning about the missing kids that he’s been floating for a while, but that conversation has to wait due to a more urgent tragedy. Before getting into the horror of that, what did you vibe about Shadow coming home? Did you expect to see him in sunny Florida?
Brittany: I did expect to pick up with some line of questioning, seeing that journey play out in Florida, meet Darren and hear all about how Sandy never showed up, etc. But I’m glad we didn’t waste time doing that. I’m glad you mentioned Lakeside’s happiness because it felt to me that they borrowed the set directly from whatever Winter Fest-themed Hallmark movie happened to be filming the same week as American Gods. It was jolly to a point of creepiness, which is something we’ve been picking up throughout the season. We see Chad slowly falling apart as the weeks carry on, yet everyone else is business as usual. Having Shadow come back to this little pocket of America he was treating as his safe haven and watching that safety net slowly fray was definitely driving home just how odd this town should seem to outsiders. It definitely felt like we were in the klunker for this episode waiting for those few cracks in the ice to finally give out.
Natalie: Yeah – it was certainly tense and highly strung. I was not expecting the next issue on Shadow’s plate, which was Panty Thief Derek’s suicide. Very quickly we get a clue that he’s being framed, but the whole thing was a bit of a mind-spin. I want to shout out Eric Johnson’s acting here as Chad, so deeply troubled and upset while trying to be professional, and kind of trying to stabilize himself by firmly just going on autopilot about official rules and boundaries, while also criticizing Chad himself a bit for being such a naive cop, especially with things that happen further on. But I guess I’m questioning – did Derek kill himself because he thought he was going to be falsely accused, or was he murdered and the suicide was fake? I assume the latter but…
Brittany: I want to also say the latter, however, they wouldn’t need that body for another 11 months really? So who would murder him? It would be a waste in Hinzelmann’s eyes. I wrote down, “What was the deal?” a few times. There was a cut away last week after Shadow and Chad said that he could help them out. But the jacket might have been damning enough to put an end to that and Derek couldn’t see a way out of those charges and also the inevitability of the evidence of the panty theft coming out to the public.
Natalie: I think that Hinzelmann killed him, not as a sacrifice, but as a cover to keep doing future ones. Like to make sure the Alison case isn’t questioned any more — because Shadow messed it up.
Brittany: I want to also say that Eric Johnson (Chad) did a phenomenal job of this entire plot. From the first time we see him on the scene as he is processing what he just had to do inside, to trying to talk with Shadow about it in not so many words then getting that cold shoulder of just anger and grief when Shadow returns with the list of other missing persons, it was really, really well done. Every single feeling was so palpable and I think he said about 4 sentences total.
Natalie: But we can’t let a little bit of teen suicide get in the way the ice fest! When Margie tells Shadow this, there is this level of like… “My god, this woman is just insane, why do we put up with her?” Like everyone knows Hinzelmann is kind of a controlling freak and annoying but I guess she must have actually come through for the town a lot because people let her have power, have respect as a pillar of the community. If only they knew… But yeah – I had a feeling Margie was going to get angry at Shadow about Florida, I could sense that in the conversation. And immediately I was like “Oh, she already knows this information or assumes it.” If she had no idea, she would turn to panic, “Oh my god, where is he?” – not anger.
Brittany: And I think her very open and shut comments about Sandy prior to his trip are very telling of years of buried grief and worry and fear. Her child up and left and even if the father was a prick, I think if she wanted to know and check in, she could have called. Or at the very least, given the man their father is, Sandy wouldn’t have put up with it for very long if he did go there. So she started the process of accepting that he wasn’t coming home using that reasoning to make herself sleep at night thinking her kid was safe. I don’t think she wanted to hear the answer said aloud. Gutted for everyone in Lakeside. Have your hot cocoa and ice sculptures, Hinzelmann. Just let the people go!
Natalie: So obviously this is the episode where the mystery of Lakeside comes to a head, and I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago, in American Gods the book, this solve is like.. the epilogue. He returns to Lakeside after the future events with Wednesday’s war all happen with this new clarity, a new insight on the truth – due to his new powers or whatever. But because in the show he has some of that already, stuff like the frosty “pay attention to me” coating on the poster and books have to do the job instead of a post-narrative awareness.
I’m still finding it a little weird, but I get that it makes sense given that we are making Shadow work this out NOW, not after his transformative experience post Wednesday’s death. He needs the magic insight now, ergo, icy signals. He does the detective work, he finds the clear pattern We are Going There.
Brittany: I really liked how it went into all the Lakeside breadcrumbs at once. You have the ledgers! The coin is tracking you back to the klunker! Hinzelmann is VERY weird and jolly! Every time someone else came up, especially the moment he stepped out onto the ice, I was shocked in terms of watching the timeline play out so quickly. Like I was watching it on fast-forward all of a sudden.
Natalie: Yeah, I was like oh… now? It’s now? But honestly like you said about Chad, when Shadow tries to give him the list, Chad’s reaction there, the anger and grief and overwhelmed element and “get behind the line,” I have massive empathy for him as a person but also think he’s a pretty bad cop. “Are you a cop now?” he says to Shadow. Well no, but he did some basic detective work that YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE. You’d want to assume that everyone is being slightly god-drugged, like their brain slides away from the idea, but as Hinzelmann says, it’s more that they don’t want to know – they could have worked it out if they tried, it was more just like… we love our lives so we are gonna put that unpleasantness aside ASAP every time.
Brittany: Mmm, yeah. I see that to an extent with the others in the town. I don’t see that with Chad. It feels to me that he is fighting off being under some kind of haze for years and is just snapping into reality. For someone on the force whose biggest stakes mystery that he can remember under the haze was petty neighbor dispute over firewood probably, he is now taking in what Shadow is and is furious at himself. I have a lot of empathy for him. I think Chad wants to know and that is causing a lot of issues for him since Shadow arrived.
Shadow was the catalyst for him to take a whole new look at the town and how it plays against Shadow as opposed to the others who kind of just put Shadow into the fold. Shadow goes up to him at that meeting about Alison’s disappearance, no one else would talk to him as a friend. He’s seeing the rest of the town against how Shadow acts and I think he is mad he missed the complacency until it is his head on the chopping block because Anne-Marie hit too close to home this time.
Natalie: He isn’t handling this at all emotionally – he becomes quite overcome and aggressive. I just want to know what he thinks happened to other missing kids. I guess if Hinzelmann can get in a few like Sandy that could suspend true suspicion for a few years – whereas Alison was more of a real missing persons case. But like the hiker in the article, and so on… do they forget? Did Shadow’s mere magical presence cut through the veil and make the town realize hey. this girl is missing!!!! We have to like, do something!!! As if Shadow’s presence and power is stronger than Hinzelmann’s. Anyway, Shadow has managed to piss off both Margie and Chad, and Hinzelmann’s words to him at the ice festival are a very obvious warning. About the town’s good fortune. I mean really.
Brittany: She could not have laid it on any thicker.
Natalie: If we hadn’t got the reveal this episode, you couldn’t have played it that obviously. But it’s only a few moments until Shadow goes out to the klunker, after getting a message and a coin melting through the ice – from Mama-ji, it seems? Or maybe just his own perception, his own mental links clicking into gear, self manifestation. Look in the trunk.
Brittany: Chad’s day is only going to get worse… Not only will the confirmation do nothing for him, but he has to look forward to shooting a god and then watching someone slit her throat and burn alive. Someone get this man a beer.
Natalie: Something about thinking of the way the townspeople, Chad included sorry, have acted, whether it’s naivety or “I pretend I do not see it” – hits me harder on screen than in the book, it feels much more sinister to me to actually kind of witness this creepy town in person and see people laughing or avoiding the bad news or whatever. Like it feels much more like the onus is on them, for whatever reason, for me personally. But let me say this – obviously having read the book, I assumed I knew what was going to happen out on the lake, and I was right, but… the slooooow tense reveal, Shadow trying to open the trunk and all — I was actually sitting there wondering “OMG, are they gonna not do it? Is this a trick? have they found a way to twist it?” to the point that I was really expecting it to be empty. Did you feel that at all or am I crazy?
Brittany: No, I completely agree. I was very against the idea of getting there before episode 10. And I actually kept checking to make sure I wasn’t accidentally watching the episodes out of order. I thought they might pull one over on us in Lakeside. Again, only because I felt it would have made for a good finale, but American Gods going to American Gods.
Natalie: It all felt like… it was all very accurate and stuff, but maybe because we’ve been out of Lakeside for a few episode, it all felt kind of… I don’t know how to say this, but like less of a big deal than I expected? Maybe because of the book structure (this being the final big deal thing Shadow goes back to do) or I don’t know, maybe because we knew this was going to happen exactly as it did, rather than all the twists of other episodes. I don’t know — I don’t want to say underwhelming or be too critical, but it felt kind of like tonally like the show was trying to get it out of the way, like it wasn’t the peak moment they were writing the season to, which I assume it would have been as the finale, with Wednesday’s death too, as it mashes together the book’s climax of Shadow’s game over in Lakeside (triggered by Wednesday’s death,) and then the climax of the Klunker from later in the book, like a return to unfinished business.
Brittany: I felt very underwhelmed by a few things in this episode, but I attribute that to the fact that they were events I knew were coming and ones that were discussed a bit in spoiler sections. Almost as if I set myself up for a surprise that didn’t happen because for a non-reader viewer, it would have been something that needed dots connected in the way we knew already. Sure, there were some details changed along the way, but that feeling of being on the edge of your seat for something that would be radically different just didn’t pan out here. That’s not a bad thing! It made me more excited for the finale because all of my big boxes were checked here!
Natalie: What did you think of Shadow’s Margie fantasy while under the ice/unconscious in the bath?
Brittany: I found how the fantasy played out against the final scene between Margie and Shadow very interesting. Shadow has this whole life for him built in Lakeside in the dream but when he wakes up it’s almost as if any possibility of that happy wife/happy life with a family and a successful business goes out the window with reality But then when Margie is saying her goodbyes she gives him that lifeline of “if you ever find yourself there…” The door isn’t closed but it’s also not something the dutiful son can walk through right now.
Natalie: Yeah – the way his face changes is pretty interesting, at the end, when he hears about Milwaukee. Like he’s still keen “Hey, love that town, I could go too” but he sees her close him out – at least for now – so offers his bookstore recommendation with no hard feelings and a little hope for the future.
Thankfully Chad showed up when he did, with Hinzelmann, but I would have liked to hear more about how Chad found out, what he paid attention to… Whether he just heard Anne Marie took Shadow home and happened to overhear, or if he did some extra work. Her blood setting the house on fire was pretty nasty, and now Margie is moving on – I wonder how many others will also move on, or how fast the town will fail. I feel like a lot of people will be living with the trauma of having turned their face from reality, as Anne Marie said, “anyone could have worked it out if they wanted to” and Margie admits the same thing about Sandy specifically, in a way.
Brittany: The town is due for a shutdown. I wish all the residents good pasties and prosperity in a functioning society.
Natalie: I wonder if Shadow and Chad will keep in touch. In the book, Chad overhears a lot of the truth and Shadow mind wipes him for his own happiness. That’s in the epilogue part. I can’t see this happening here. I also don’t think we are necessarily getting the arrest/cover blown and breakout part (in terms of how Shadow leaves Lakeside the first time and learns of Wednesday’s death, and Chad learning Mike’s real past), which is fine I guess. Maybe we will next week though.
Brittany: Maybe, I would be fine if we did not.
Natalie: I think I agree. So, the last beat of Shadow’s story this week ties into the very end, which we can discuss at the very end when all circumstances converge. Or rather, when he seems to witness or feel what has happened to Wednesday. I think we should follow Laura next, though.
Brittany: The feeling Wednesday thing was very odd, but a good way to tie it in. However, first, yes, we should talk about our lucky coin sharing duo. Who I vibe with, but just as friends.
Natalie: Now, Liam, I did not expect to see him again, honestly. I thought he was going his own way with the coin. So when I saw him in the hearse, I was like “Has she kidnapped that leprechaun?” Glad to have him along, but I was surprised. My note was basically “he’s cute, why is he here?”
Brittany: When you’ve got your luck back and the world at your fingertips why not follow the once-dead girl? Seems like a good road to me, the rest is overwhelming.
Natalie: It turns out that it’s lucky for Laura that he decided to follow her around! What with his spear throwing technique and his optimism. (With no car of his own, we can assume Salim is the Peacock Inn’s newest long term resident?) Maybe that coin just wants to stay with Laura. Either way, they pull over and find an old church to camp out in and play some darts. You’ve got your classic bodies-pressed sexy weapon training bit, but I was really surprised that he let her hold the coin to wield the spear. This is like the nicest man she has ever met.
Brittany: And she has no idea how to navigate that! Which was wild to watch. Such a 180 from Sweeney.
Natalie: No idea! I mean, I love watching a crotchety character squirm when someone is nice to them and struggle to trust it. Obviously, as this is Laura’s potential last night on earth, she follows her impulses to try and feel something good by having sex. She then realizes this is a very bad idea and nips a behavior she recognizes as probably destructive (or at least avoidant of the real feelings about life she might have) in the bud. I have to say that I dunno if I agree with her that Robbie being her last is a good reason NOT to have sex – to me that would be one of the only GOOD reasons, get rid of that bad memory… but Liam obviously had no real level of participation here before she changed her mind. Working at the gay hotel doesn’t mean he is gay, he could be any level of queer or just someone who wound up with a job, but here he certainly seemed very much like “uhhhh… I guess, lady?” Like I don’t think he wasn’t up for it, it was just a super weird proposition.
But I agree re: friends given the conversation they have next. I’d prefer that to it ending up like “oh yes we do want to get together, but for the right reasons.” I wonder if he can tell about her and Sweeney’s feelings, via the coin’s energy or the hoard or anything, also.
Brittany: Seeing as he was a bartender and a lawyer, I think he recognizes when someone really just needs to work through an impulsive thought and get the words out. Which he lets her do here. He isn’t jumping on her insistence and doesn’t approach her or anything he lets her get there on her own, which I quite liked about him. And I enjoyed their sleepover chatter, building their dream day after you know the whole killing a god thing. Minimizing it to a task on tomorrow’s to-do list: Go food shopping, kill Wednesday, buy goggles for skydiving, change sheets. It’s very soothing and I think that is a better night and one where she feels something that might not be sexually satisfying but is good nevertheless. After Sweeney —and really with Sweeney—it was never clear who had her back. This reassurance has to feel good that Liam is willing to tag along for the fun and not so fun errands.
Natalie: He is so nice and kind of just plants himself with her like “We’re in this now, you are my new best friend, you give me the coin back, we get tattoos.” Do you trust him? Given World sent her there… Do you trust that he didn’t know he was on World’s radar or whatever?
Brittany: I do, for two reasons: 1) his reaction when he first met her and 2) when he trusted her with the coin when it came time to kill Wednesday. Unless we find out that his coin is being held hostage with World or something, I have no reason not to. Could he be working with World? Maybe? But they both have the same end game here: Kill Wednesday. It puts them on the same side, so I have no reason not to trust Liam with Laura, specifically. Do I trust him to not be a part of anything at all? Not sure.
Natalie: He just seems too good to be true, but I like him so much. Iwan Rheon out there saying “sorry, universe, for the horror of Ramsay Bolton… may I offer you a nice leprechaun in this trying time…” Good for Laura for working through her own impulses, and good for you for pointing out that his career probably had a lot of just letting people pull themselves together. Laura just wants to be free of the constraints of belief systems -especially once they started coming true in a way – and Liam seems to want to be there to see it.
And yes, her misinterpretation of making a plan to be more cosmic and dramatic was great – and guess kind of rational given what she’s been dealing with – she’s been so wrapped up in the hugeness of her life and afterlife situation that she had no idea of the value of just trying to make things normal and think about the after in a normal way. Once I kill Wednesday, we go bowling.
Brittany: An excellent plan indeed, and honestly how I have been coping with the pandemic so… too real. Once this giant very bad thing is over, I shall go bowling! (Though probably not…)
Natalie: Maybe a tattoo though. Or maybe go out for diner pancakes? The target of the spear does NOT want to eat his diner pancakes. He should be grateful that he can safely sit in a diner.
Brittany: I know! I made pancakes for dinner after watching this episode because they looked so delicious. But yeah, I concur with Cordelia, Odin looks terrible. Even one of the best looking sweaters in the world can’t save him.
Natalie: I just want to say off the bat that I think the tone of what goes down for Wednesday this episode is very interesting to me and is the most curious part of the episode. I don’t know if I like or approve of it, but it made me go “huh.” That is more a takeaway for the end, but it’s threaded through – once again, is this a pigeon meme – the Czernobog stuff too. Basically, he seems depressed, he seems to have given up, and he is claiming that he thinks this was all a bad idea, they can’t win, so it’s better to have peace and be left alone. The ultimate question here is obviously, do we believe him? Or rather the question is, do we think the show is going to twist his plans and endgame from the book, making this believable?
Brittany: I mentioned this in one of our other chats, but all of my “sad for Wednesday” energy was spent already this season. So, I’m definitely in pigeon meme territory which as a result makes me think that the show is going to align with his plans in the book. But I’m open to a twist. I just think we are on track for now.
Natalie: Well, if the twist is still the twist, McShane is doing a supreme job selling authentic feelings in spite of it.
Brittany: I agree. I just can’t help but side eye this character.
Natalie: In Chicago, I did have the feeling that his talks of giving up were intended as a manipulation to inspire the others to fight harder, like “damn you, we’ve lost so much, how dare you,” to actually re-ignite them. I enjoyed Cordy’s assessment of how Wednesday’s old friend visits always go, they get mad at him, he eats their food while they work out their feelings, then they follow him. Isn’t he afraid that might not work? He doesn’t answer, but the answer is obviously no. He always knows it will work, hence this being a tactic.
Brittany: I think he can always count on Czernobog’s rage to win out in the end. But yeah, 10/10 it will work on Czernobog, the other old gods might need some buttering up. Also, to your point, this is someone who really did not need much to light the fuse. So calling on him, someone he owes a war, is the best plan even if Cordelia has plaster in her food while he works out his feelings.
Natalie: Wednesday asking him kindly to come be the second and Czernobog being like “The Wotan I know would never say please” – I’m like that’s not a good thing Czerno babe! But at the end of the day his loyalty cannot be doubted and after Tyr… I wonder how many people Wednesday truly knows are ride or die HIS these days.
Brittany: He can count them on one hand. And unfortunately, Cordelia is not going to be much use in the battle field. Their goodbye was very moving, I felt that he was saying goodbye to her for good here.
Natalie: Unless the necklace gives her magic powers – for sure. But yeah, I think he suspected how things were going to go, maybe not with Laura but in general. I’ll expand on that in a minute.
Brittany: It’s a very odd situation without the knowledge of Wednesday’s true motive here. But as it stands for the viewer now, it is clear that Wednesday is at the end of his line and he tries to call off the war and is met with a more dominant force at the negotiating table. Very unlike what we saw in season 1 when he and Shadow were in that murder tableau jail setting. This is very one-sided and Wednesday knew going into that, but he walks away with the line that peace talks are over “for now.”
Natalie: World’s peace talks terms are not very generous. I wonder what Odin was actually expecting in terms of a deal being brokered.
Brittany: Yeah, exactly. Like what did he want out of this? I can’t come up with anything specific, since he promised a war he isn’t going to deliver on. What is left if not that?
Natalie: But here’s the main thing for me and it’s all in McShane’s eyes. During that conversation, and with Czernobog’s rebuttal and fury that he will keep fighting with or without him… Forget the book for a moment. If I just take this as authentically as possible, I watched Wednesday realise, sadly, that he is worth more as a martyr than as a general. He realises that if he dies, people will fight harder in his name or for his cause than FOR him. And I don’t mean that in a tee hee hee manipulation way – he acts sad about it, like he knows he is worth more if he sacrifices himself. I feel like you see the realisation drop in his eyes. Now, book wise, there are reasons why that doesn’t track, but that is what the performance made me feel.
Brittany: The performance was very compelling. I hope I wasn’t implying that it wasn’t because nothing could be further from the truth.
Natalie: No, you weren’t, I was just speaking in conflict with my own knowledge of the story.
Brittany: I still can’t come up with what would have made Wednesday walk away satisfied from that talk. But to your point the realization of his place in what has resulted while he was out trying to recruit and the other side was advancing in power everyday — watching that wash over his face was quite something.
Natalie: And so if he knows he’s worth more dead, of course that is why he lets Laura kill him. But some things don’t track, which we can talk about in a book spoiler section because I do have some things I want to puzzle out. Ultimately, he makes no attempts to stop the spear as Laura meets them outside the observatory.
Brittany: Very accepting of his fate at that moment. Probably much to Laura’s dismay, for him to just go down. No fight. I would be angry. But she has to fight off some others in that moment, so no time to dwell on the underwhelming battle.
Natalie: I guess my question here is – if he IS martyring himself to make the Old Gods rise, would LAURA’S killing do that? They don’t know she was working in tandem with the New Gods, she is just a girl with a personal vendetta. Anyway, Laura gets her immediate extraction, but Liam’s name wasn’t on the contract when it was set, so he doesn’t get included. Luckily she’s able to flip him the coin, but he does get a serious head bonk before diving into the hoard. And Shadow sees or senses some of this – the ravens come to him as well. I would say he definitely senses Wednesday getting killed. Not sure if he literally saw the whole scene. Laura being the killer (as opposed to Wednesday’s book death at this point, which was straight up New God business) will confuse things for Shadow’s response, and I am sure Laura just made a new enemy in Cordelia.
Brittany: Without a doubt. I am very intrigued by the Laura of it all and actually how Shadow will fit into the next installment of the series and basically how the dominoes will fall now that Wednesday is dead.
Natalie: We should just make a note that before World came to meet Wednesday we get a glimpse of him addressing a “helpless” Tech who has actually outsmarted him and got free, so how he comes into the mess again should be interesting too. But I want to talk frankly about the endgame and Wednesday’s death, so it’s time for a serious endgame spoiler section.
So, STOP READING TO AVOID BOOK SPOILERS now.
Natalie: What I was saying about Wednesday’s realization to martyr himself fully goes out the window if the plan is still the book plan – that World and Wednesday are in this together, duping all the other gods to create the chaos battle in honor of Loki and Odin. It also hit me for the first time why it matters that World can shapeshift LOL. What do you make of that? Do you think there’s a chance that this isn’t actually the endgame, that World and Wednesday are true enemies as we see them? Wednesday has just had so much more of an empathetic emotional ride in the show.
Brittany: If they want to put Shadow through the same journey as the book, this is the only endgame that makes sense to me. This season did a really great job—in large part due to the actors—of showing us the emotional changes of these characters. Shadow’s softening to Wednesday, making Wednesday and Demeter’s story play out, pitting his character against Tyr, giving us Cordelia.
It was a lot of leg work that could have seemed tedious if not for what I think it is going to inspire, which is the empathy for Shadow’s decisions before the war and then absolute 180 the audience will do on Wednesday after the con is revealed. I’m at about a 90 degree turn right now knowing what we know, but that goes to show just how season 3 got under my skin. But for now, I am very confident we are getting the same endgame. You?
Natalie: I do not know. I don’t feel as convinced as you. Or I can imagine a twist where the war was real at first and Odin worked out half way it was Loki and was like lol let’s do it. I also feel like Laura killing Odin now is confusing as hell compared to his original New God death (a con) and ghost Laura righteously killing his spirit to save Shadow at the end. That’s the biggest thing for me – how is this still going to work? I can’t see it. I have no idea what to expect.
Brittany: Perhaps now that she has diplomatic immunity she goes off in search of something bigger in life, but cracks the con first and somehow manages to team up with Shadow. What else and where else will she go/do? I also think a lot of this is going to hinge on how the expanded Bilquis and Tech Boy play into the mix for me. If they start showing some kind of movement one way or another, it will be interesting to see how all of these characters congregate. So, the biggest question marks for me right now are Laura, Tech, and Bilquis. I love Salim, but I would like him to live in peace and harmony at the Peacock Inn for a little while longer.
Natalie: Yeah – basically I can’t quite see how this will click back into the same reveal points, emotional stages, or roles to play as the book, now that Laura has killed Wednesday as his initial incentivising trickery death. Then again in the book Tech kills Bilquis with his car and I do not see that happening here either so… I’m just very curious to see how they’ve done it and whether all of Wednesday’s emotions this season even matter. Like even if it still is the con he’s playing, maybe it’s slightly different motivations, because I just can’t imagine him gleefully tee hee heeing behind his eyes for a lot of the events that happened to him this season. They put a lot of work into his earnest emotions and I really am curious about if and how those will still land authentically and not be a full meaningless contradiction to his endgame. I need them to all tie together as all true.
Brittany:I don’t think I do. Which is interesting. And will be fun to see play out – the response to what is actually revealed to be true and what isn’t.
Natalie: I just feel like… with the endgame in mind, his emotional arc was a waste if authentic, and I think it was authentic. And if it wasn’t authentic he’s a more evil villain than ever. I do not know what to expect but I’m struggling to see how his empathetic POV journey (which the book obviously never gave us) is valid and real if his endgame is also real. Because in his endgame, he’s using Czernobog you know, was using Nancy, even Zorya, like he literally didn’t care about any of those personal connections… And here we have all that and more. And his game was also using SHADOW, no feelings, and I think here he does care about Shadow.
Brittany: Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. I am just very pessimistic about Wednesday and questioned why we were wasting our time doing this all season. But like I mentioned earlier, the performances were spectacular, I just could not take any of it at face value. So maybe I’m in a better spot to take it as a lie.
Natalie: Yeah I don’t know. Again, I don’t know how much I’ve been tricked! That’s Wednesday I guess. Wanting the truth about Wednesday is a tall order.
The American Gods season 3 finale will air Sunday March 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Starz.
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