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This is based on a story by Neil Gaiman . It starts with a group of Vikings discovering North America, and leaving a magical artefact - like in that other comic-book adaption The Mask (1994) .
On the flight, Moon meets Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) who offers him a job. Moon is reluctant, but some weird events mean he has no choice.
Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) takes Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) to Chicago to recruit Czernobog (Peter Stormare - Armageddon (1998) ). This turns on a game of draughts which becomes similar to Gawain And The Green Knight.
Media ( Gillian Anderson ) makes an attempt to recruit Shadow, using the guise of Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy.
Shadow has not had to surrender his head yet. Instead, he and Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) have to go and earn some money. It turns out that Wednesday does not have an infinitely large bank account somewhere, and instead relies on repeating a con-game from the Brian Conley ( Equilibrium (2002) ) TV show Time After Time.
This ep covers the events of the previous few years, from the perspective of Shadow's wife ( Emily Browning ). The story starts when they first met, and goes on to cover her lonely years while her husband was in prison.
We get to find out who saved Shadow at the end of Episode One.
The dead wife ( Emily Browning ) gets to talk with Shadow. She also gets confronted by the Leprechaun, who wants his piece of gold back.
Gillian Anderson is back, this time as Ziggy Stardust and Marilyn Monroe . It turns out that she works for Mr Big (Crispin Glover - Back to The Future (1985) ) - basically a supernatural version of the Creepy Thin Man from Charlie's Angels (2001) .
The story starts with a group of travellers coming to America. Previously we have seen this story told with slaves and cavemen, and both those stories ended badly. This time the travellers are latino immigrants who swim the Rio Grande, and their god they bring with them is Hey-Zeus himself. They run into other Xians - a militia straight out of Machete .
Odin (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) takes Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) to a town called Vulcan, Virginia. The main industry is a bullet factory run by Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen - Star Trek: TNG ), and the local population are its main customers. They need lots of bullets so they can fire in the air at the funerals of employees who not-so-accidentally fall into the vat of molten metal.
This was written by Neil Gaiman , an English lefty who has one character point out that Neutrality in the face of injustice is on the side of the oppressor. This sounds a lot of the saying Status quo is not a neutral position, but is actually a lot more judgemental because it means calling someone an oppressor. So will he appear neutral when one character is associated with the American gun industry?
Meanwhile the dead wife ( Emily Browning ) is stuck at the motel. Her car got towed by the cops, and is now unavailable. Luckily the leprechaun needs her cooperation to get his gold coin back, so he offers to help her. They team up with the gay arab taxi driver. The smart thing would be for them to head south-east, to Kentucky. Instead the dead wife takes them south-west to Indiana, where she can get over a few loose ends from her own life.
The other episodes generally started with a Coming to America story. This time it starts in 1720, and concerns a young Irish woman named Essie Magowan. She must have a familiar resemblance to the dead wife ( Emily Browning ) because they both look identical, the same way that both elderly Essie and her grandmother are played by Fionnuala Flanagan .
Our heroine was a believer of the old tales of the leprechauns that her grandmother told her about. She mostly made the appropriate sacrifice to them, and they gave her protection most of the time. She got convicted of theft – unfairly, of course - but luck was on her side, and she lived a happy life. Her fate was to be transported as a convict to the American colonies, and to live as an indentured servant. Yes, this show actually acknowledges that white slavery existed. Remember, the protagonist is a female so her white privilege is reduced by her gendered oppression. Also, we have been made aware by this show that black slavery was worse than white slavery, and all the other PC talk.
The Coming to America story this week is that of Bilquis. She was oppressed in Iran after the 1979 revolution - a real-life Handmaid's Tale . This makes her look like a victim, although she is a sex vampire who kills humans in order to make herself feel young and powerful.
Odin (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) takes Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) to meet Easter ( Kristen Chenowith ). She is happy to share her holiday with Jesus Christ - and since every Xian religion has their own version of Jesus, there are many different versions of Jesus at her party.
The dead wife ( Emily Browning ) catches up with her husband. Will they get some closure in their troubled relationship?
Odin (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) takes Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ), his dead wife ( Emily Browning ) and Mad Sweeney the leprechaun on a road trip. There is a meeting of the Elder Gods at a tourist trap. Odin and Shadow are the main guests, while the wife and the leprechaun are locked outside as the plus-ones.
Bilquis ( Yetide Badaki ) was not officially invited, but gatecrashes anyway. Yes, after a Season of build-up she is finally part of the main storyline. When she, Shadow and Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones - Evolution (2001) ) get a scene together the show passes the Black Bechdel Test.
Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) is being tortured by Dean Winters. This leads on to some flashbacks to Shadow's teenage years, when his mother brought him to New York. He claims to be from Paris, France - but he does not have a French accent.
Shadow's dead wife ( Emily Browning ) and Mad Sweeney the leprechaun go on a road trip. Unfortunately Shadow is moving faster than them, and not on a road. If they bothered to get a map, they might have ascertained he was on a train.
Odin (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) and Mad Sweeney the leprechaun recover Shadow's dead wife ( Emily Browning ), and get her stitched up. The old man has plans for the dead wife, so he takes her to see Argus. Sweeney heads off for New Orleans, but his luck has turned bad.
Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) is left to hitch-hike. He gets a lift with a two-spirited Native American girl.
The episode starts by introducing a new character, a young man of the Asian-American community. He gets roped in when Mr Big (Crispin Glover - Back to The Future (1985) ) tries to undo the setbacks of the previous episode.
Bilquis ( Yetide Badaki ) arrives at the Ibis funeral parlour where she, Ibis and Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones - Evolution (2001) ) get a scene together the show passes the Black Bechdel Test. Nancy spouts the same old spiel, a blame whitey routine that seems to advocate neutrality.
This starts with yet another scene of an African-American man being racially oppressed. Specifically, the victim is lynched by a white mob in 1909. This is a bit reminiscent of Candyman , and the victim becomes a ghost who targets other black people. He turns his attention to Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ).
Mad Sweeney the leprechaun meets up with Shadow's dead wife ( Emily Browning ) in New Orleans. They make a deal with Baron Samedi, which turns into a lot of graphic sex.
Odin (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) takes Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) on the next mission. They visit the Kingdom of the Dwarves, which is now a shopping mall that has not been updated since 1989.
We get a series of flashbacks to 1934. Odin and Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones - Evolution (2001) ) ran a burlesque theatre. Some Nazis hired the strongman, Odin's son Donar, to help them further their political agenda. Odin predictably underestimated the mere mortals.
The god of telephones visits the club. He wants to recruit Columbia, Donar's lover, to be the face of America's war effort. Odin uses this to split up the lovers. It costs him more than just his spear.
Mad Sweeney the leprechaun meets up with Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ). Unfortunately Sweeney is in a bad way, with depression feeding his alcoholism. We get a series of flashbacks to his previous life as the god-king of Ireland, before his fall from grace at the hands of the Church of Rome.
Odin (Ian McShane - John Wick (2015) ) gathers his forces at the funeral home. However, the danger comes not from the New Gods but from among his own ranks.
Shadow's dead wife ( Emily Browning ) meets up with the goddesses, and tries to make her way back to the funeral home.
This starts with a flashback to 1937, when the Orson Welles radio broadcast of War of the Worlds caused an unintentional panic. It turns out that the New Gods were involved.
In the main timeframe, New Media suddenly decides to use her superpower decisively. She broadcasts a crime bulletin that implicates Shadow (Ricky Whittle - The 100 ) and the others in the massacre in Season One.
Shadow's dead wife ( Emily Browning ) and the others all try to cope with the aftermath of the previous episode. If anything, that was the climactic encounter while this is something of an anti-climax. It seems to be a setup for the next Season.