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Recap / American Gods S 2 E 2 "The Beguiling Man"

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Season 2, Episode 2

The Beguiling Man

Promising vengeance for the death of a beloved old god, Mr. Wednesday begins preparation for a great battle. Meanwhile Laura and Mad Sweeney chase Shadow’s diminishing light after he disappears. The Jinn and Salim set out to retrieve the Gungnir spear, and Shadow encounters an associate of Mr. World.

Tropes That Appear In This Episode:

  • Agony of the Feet: While changing the tire on their car, Laura - who was holding the car up - accidentally drops it on Sweeney's foot.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Mr. Wood makes a reappearance (according to the end credits, anyway).
  • The Chosen Zero: Mr. Town acknowledges that despite his wild-card status, Shadow is just a loser that Wednesday has developed an interest in. It is finding out that "why" that Mr. Town has kidnapped him.
  • Deal with the Devil: While it is established that a god cannot properly resurrect Laura due to the nature of her death, Sweeney recalls "a Devil [in the] French Quarter of New Orleans" that could do the job for her for a price.
  • Death Is Cheap: While Czernobog is in heavy mourning over Zorya Vechernyaya, Mama-Ji shrugs this off and just says that they will summon the "next Zorya." Considering she is a goddess of war and destruction, she is rather numb to the concept.
    Mad Sweeney: Might be no coming back for that one.
    Laura: Yeah, no shit. She's dead.
    Salim: "Dead" does not seem to be as final as you're implying.
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  • Despair Event Horizon: After hitting a dead-end on the road, Laura lies down in the patch of flowers where the road should be, having finally decided to give up.
  • Eldritch Location: The Hoard where Mad Sweeney's gold comes from is described as being similar to the Backstage but smaller. When Laura and Sweeney use it as a shortcut to get to Shadow, the experience is unpleasant for the both of them.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • While they are torturing him, Mr. Town cannot help but prod Shadow with his own insignificance.
      Mr. Town: We couldn't find any records of any family other than your mother, and your late wife. You know what that makes you, Shadow? Just another bastard. A nobody. A nobody who went to prison for a botched casino heist and aggravated assault. I know they had guns on your wife. So does that make the career criminal a good guy? Although not quite good enough apparently, because you couldn't keep your wife from sucking your best friend's cock.
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    • In his youth, Shadow tries making friends at a local park in New York. Having spent a portion of his life in France, Shadow underestimates the situation he is in and is quickly harassed and beaten up by a black gang for "talking funny" and behaving like a "white boy" with little to no provocation.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Despite having personally met various gods, a leprechaun (who practically follows her everywhere) and a djinn, as well as being magically resurrected after her death, Laura still insists to being an atheist. She then goes onto rationalize that the gods she has met do not count as gods because mankind created them and not the other way around, accusing them of being All Take and No Give.
    Laura: "God" is a fairy tale for grown-ups.
    Mad Sweeney: Oh you're in the fairy tale now, aren't yah?
  • A God Am I: Annoyed that "Media" is hiding away in his domain, Technical Boy boasts about how he is "mankind's greatest achievement."
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Shadow's mother tells him that the gang that beat on him and the police officers that profiled him did the things that they did because they are looking for an enemy to fight, creating conflict so that they can be validated in their own narratives.
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: Laura and Sweeney are both clearly horrified after using the Hoard as a shortcut to get to Shadow.
  • Killed Off for Real: Czernobog claims that because no one believes in her anymore, Zorya Vechernyaya will stay dead. Though he also brings a Hope Spot in that a "new star" will fill in for her absence.
  • Morton's Fork: Being a Love Goddess, Bilquis wishes to abstain from the coming conflict between the New and Old Gods because war is not in her nature. Mr. World retorts to her that the Old Gods sees her as a Category Traitor while the New Gods are the only ones that she can rely on, meaning disaster should she not fight for them. The horror of this realization is plain on her face.
    Mr. World: ...so I wonder: if you don't choose a side, will you be trampled by both?
  • Mysterious Watcher: It is implied that Mr. Wednesday (or at least some god involved in current events) is what got Shadow into coin tricks in the first place.
  • Police Brutality: After getting chased from a gang for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Shadow is immediately caught by a police officer who quickly restrains him without provocation.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Mr. Nancy realizes that Mr. Wednesday is going to sacrifice their car to stop the train, he decides that he has had enough of him and decides to go it alone.
  • Shout-Out: Mad Sweeney off-handedly refers to Mr. Nancy as "Spider-Man."
  • Torture Technician: Mr. Town has Shadow rigged to a machine that seems to be able to inflict pain on him in a variety of different ways, all the while Mr. Town belittles Shadow as he tries prodding information out of him.
  • Weaponized Car: Mr. Wednesday parks his car in-front of the tracks of the train holding Shadow. He even gives it a eulogy that one would give to a Viking before it dies an honorable death.
    Mr. Wednesday: Betty. Betty the Barbarian. You were forged from blue-collar sweat in the heartland of a forcibly-Christian land. You are not what you came into this world as, but instead a Berserker, and worthy of a Berserker's honor.
    Mr. Nancy: Aw, hell no.
    Mr. Wednesday: You are the standard of my world, for it might not be your way, I honor you in the most holy way that I know. A looming locomotive is the flaming arrow that soars through the heavy air from the bow of a Viking king. Let it strike you true and light your path to Valhalla!
    Mr. Nancy: Valhalla? Ain't nobody going to fucking Valhalla! I'll see you in Cairo.
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