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Headscratchers / American Gods (2017)

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  • In the second episode, Wednesday gives Shadow a shopping list. A freeze-frame on the insert shot of the list reveals "two cellphones" among the other items. Later, Wednesday reacts with disapproving surprise when he finds a cellphone in the shopping bag, and Shadow's response implies that the cellphones were his idea.
    • Perhaps Wednesday added these to the list to make sure that Shadow visited the electronics section, thus ensuring a meeting with Media. Maybe to give Shadow a taste of what is to come/slowly introduce him to the New Gods. Shadow implying that it was his idea might just be due to confusion on his part after that weird event
    • I'm not sure if the handwriting is different or not, but it's possible Shadow himself wrote down the two cellphones simply so he wouldn't forget.
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    • I originally headcanon'd that Wednesday did it to gaslight Shadow. "Why would you get this? That's stupid. I would never write that down." But then I remembered Shadow was the one trying to convince him, so, unfortunately, we have to go with the meta explanation that it was just a goof.
  • In the 6th episode, Vulcan tells Wednesday that he's on his side and forges him a blade. Immediately afterwards he tells Wednesday that he joined the new gods and that he notified them of his and Shadow's presence. Unsurprisingly, Vulcan gets promptly decapitated by the blade he just forged and his body is kicked into a smelting vat.
    But why? This doesn't make any sense. Telling Wednesday that he's on his side can be justified by lulling him into a false sense of security. However, actually forging the blade, then giving it to Wednesday, and THEN revealing his betrayal is stupid beyond all reason.
    • The mechanics by which gods work in this universe is still a bit sketchy. Keep in mind that mythological Odin sacrificed himself to himself to gain wisdom. Vulcan might actually benefit from dying according to the ritual that empowered him for so long.
    • As for Vulcan making Odin a sword, the reason may be two fold: 1) He needed to buy time and working on the sword did the job. As a fellow God Wednesday would have known if Vulcan was faking the real deal. 2) Pride, as shown in the episode Vulcan was pretty much riding high on his status. Sacrificed to on the regular basis. No longer a minor God forgotten as an after thought. His pride would not let him do a sub-par job on the Sword. Also he was in his temple, the place of his power. His pride led to the belief in his own safety. He thought himself untouchable, his pride and arrogance blinded him.
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    • Although that could make sense, Odin laid down a curse on the ammo, implying that it's going to malfunction/jam. Since the cursed batch is probably going to be quite big (that was a lot of metal in the vat), it could quite easily destroy Vulcan's brand, thus depriving him of worship, at least in the "franchised" sense. Though now that I'm typing this out, an idea crossed my mind - Vulcan will probably come back, considering he still has the forge and volcanoes; Wednesday just made sure it's gonna be later rather than sooner.
    • I read it as Vulcan being unable to resist. Despite his current corruption of his purpose Vulcan is still a god of the forge. Someone gave him an impressive forging to do and he could not resist his own nature.
    • Everything about Wednesday is rigged games and long cons. It's entirely likely that Odin always planned on killing Vulcan because he took the New God Deal, and let Vulcan believe he was the one who had the upper hand, conning some use out of him before killing him. It's also entirely likely that Vulcan "selling them out," Odin killing him, and him falling into the forge was part of Odin's overall long con and part of Vulcan's place in said plan. Vulcan died in his own factory, and will be, for lack of a better term, canonized by his modern followers—remember that he receives regular human sacrifice in his temple through workers falling into the vat. He may come out on top, or coming out on top through sacrifice of the self, may have been part of his plan. As for Wednesday cursing the ammunition, well... part of him restoring Gungnir in season 2 involves pissing on a piece of Yggdrasil, so... we know the act of Odin urinating on something is not necessarily an act of desecration. Apparently, it can empower weapons in some way. As for the spoken curse, well, Wednesday's just a bastard.
  • Anubis handles the judgement of the atheist Laura and muslim Mrs. Fadhil. By implication, he might be running THE afterlife, at least as far as America goes. Given the themes of the show, the gods fading away as people stop worshiping them, isn't he too powerful? What about other afterlife/death gods?
    • Mrs. Fadhil met Anubis because she was from Egypt and had listened to stories of him as a child. Laura met him because she had worked in the Egypt-themed casino for so long, and associated her hot tub with an Egyptian sarcophagus; since she didn't believe in anything, it was as good a metaphor for death as anything else. There are undoubtedly other psychopomps among the gods, but due to conservation of detail we meet just one. More might cameo at the House on the Rock, though.
  • While obviously the Internet itself is clearly worthy of worship and a part of The Technical Boy's Domain, what is ON the internet is Multi-Media and a part of Media's Domain. So whom of them get any power through it?
    • At the moment, probably both. Regardless of how it's consumed, any piece of technology used - social media, cellphones, Wi-Fi, etc. - is a form of worship to Technology Boy. With that logic, whatever we watch, regardless of platform - television, internet, movies - is worship towards media. So both of them, at the moment. None of the other New Gods have been introduced yet, so there could be others that are either weaker or more powerful than these two.
    • Might go a ways to explaining why Mr. World doesn't have much respect at all for Technical Boy; he's just a medium, a platform that will eventually become outmoded and be replaced by something new, where as Mr. World and Media are concepts that will outlast individual platforms.
  • If Ostara was rebranded as the American Goddess of Easter sunday, then what does that make the Easter Bunny? The concept of the show is that with enough belief in the existence there-of from enough people will allow any mythical being to exist, with different incarnations appearing depending where the worship is happening and by the ideology people associate with them. Media casually mentions that St. Nicholas took the "same deal" that Ostara did and became Santa Claus. While the belief is exclusively from children, enough people would believe in the Easter Bunny for it to exist, and with Ostara and the various incarnations of Jesus attending her party, you would think that the Easter Bunny would be there too. Is the Easter Bunny one of the magical rabbits in her employ? Are they all Easter Bunnies that distribute eggs and candy? Is she the Easter Bunny and all of the rabbits are like her elves?
    • I imagine it's something like the elf idea. The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter, but not really a figure worshiped in its own right. So the Easter Bunny is probably similar to Santa's elves, Technical Boy's minions, and Muninn.
  • How did Wednesday summon a bolt of lightning at Ostara's party to kill Mechanical Boy's goons? He isn't a thunder god, after all?
    • Odin is the All-Father, progenitor of the Aesir, and perhaps more importantly, he hung on Yggdrasil for nine days to learn the runes and their charms. Thor is the god of thunder, but Odin is the father of all who bound the power of the runes to himself through sacrifice to the world and himself.
  • Did Wednesday have his hand in initiating the romance between Laura and Robbie? As Robbie was supposed to give Shadow a job, he was definitely a target, since Wednesday wanted Shadow to have nothing to lose. Them having an affair was an easy way to setup the killing of both birds with one stone.

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