American Gods: “Lemon Scented You” Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

The future is now. Media and technology pervade the world. And thus, the new gods gain power while the old struggle to be remembered. In this week’s American Gods, the new gods made their pitch. What will Wednesday and Shadow do? Read on for a review of this week’s episode.

Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s American Gods is a stylistic treat every week, without a doubt. Visually stunning, there’s more than just a story being told. It’s an expression of art. In “Lemon Scented You” this week, that expression of art was illustrated most adroitly through the sensational hair and make-up work. Gillian Anderson as Media has already graced the screens as comedic legend Lucille Ball. This week, she was David Bowie AND Marilyn Monroe. A testament to the abilities of those working behind the screens, Anderson stops looking like herself and starts looking like whoever they want, and it’s an incredible transformation wrought by the hands of these unseen heroes. Add to that impeccable costuming and it seems to make sense that Media can be whomever she likes.

While the movers and shakers behind the scenes made Anderson look like other popular personalities, Anderson herself made it believable with intelligent acting and an innate awareness of how to come alive as someone else. Fully embodying another character is the goal of every actor or actress, and in playing a character who then plays other characters, that goal becomes loftier, but Anderson reaches it with apparent ease. She has the skill to portray multiple facets of the character of Media, and her craft cannot go by unnoticed!

Add to this Crispin Glover’s insane performance as Mr. World, and it becomes once again clear how well this show was cast. In “Lemon Scented You,” Glover managed to portray the powerful new god as logical and business-like with a dash of insanity. The character comes across as slightly crazed (and murderous), just beyond the point of endearing eccentricity. And he also looks like he’s playing the game. And in fact, putting Mr. World (along with Technical Boy and Media) into a room with Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and Wednesday (Ian McShane) finally told us what game they’re actually playing.

If you’ve read the book by Neil Gaiman, you have a pretty good idea of where American Gods is headed. You have, at the very least, some familiarity with the players involved. But for new viewers, little has been explicitly revealed, and the journey has likely felt intriguing yet confusing thus far. However, “Lemon Scented You” actually spelled out what American Gods is really about. Compared to many other shows on television, the revealing of the plot in “Lemon Scented You” may still have come across as frugal with details. American Gods thrives in its ambiguity. But, in a show heavily driven by visual story-telling and little exposition, the information this week actually felt like a mountain of plot to process. The pieces of previous episodes began to be assembled in this week’s episode. This is not to say that there wasn’t plenty of underhanded information sharing, and a fair sprinkling of subtle clues to tell even more of the story. But at least some things were finally spelled out. The story feels like it’s moving forward now, even if we’re not entirely sure where it’s going to take us.

This week’s episode of American Gods was perhaps the most enlightening of them all, so far. I enjoy a good mystery, but it can be exhausting sometimes to piece everything together; this week’s episode was a refreshing change of pace. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but the show has finally defined its conflict so the audience can get on board with it, instead of vicariously experiencing the oddities of the world through Shadow’s anti-climactic reactions. We may still be on the outskirts of the story, but “Lemon Scented You” gave us a possible way in!


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