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Recap / American Gods S 2 E 5 "The Ways of the Dead"

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Season 2, Episode 5

The Ways of the Dead

Shadow learns the ways of the dead with the help of Mr. Ibis and Mr. Nancy. In New Orleans, Mad Sweeney introduces Laura to old friends who share their world of voodoo healing. Mr. Wednesday embarks on a road trip with Salim and The Jinn.

Tropes That Appear In This Episode:

  • Ambiguously Bi: Brigette acts just as flirtatious with Laura as her husband.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Nancy implies that Ibis and Jacquel orchestrated Will James' death as a means of keeping death rates high enough to keep themselves employed. Ibis does not deny it, only stating that they hold no authority in Cairo.
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  • Been There, Shaped History: Wednesday implies that the Jinn has been to Sodom (though it is very likely that he was just making fun of him).
  • Call-Back: Brigette's first line to Sweeney is the Loa's collective rejection of Wednesday's offer to join the Old Gods.
    • Just like with Wednesday in "House on the Rock", Alviss is quick to try and guess who Salim is supposed to be, with Salim clarifying that he is just a human.
  • Genie in a Bottle: The Jinn claims that he only works for Wednesday because be had released him from an amulet.
  • The Grim Reaper: Baron Samedi and Maman Brigette, Sweeney referring to them as "Death Loas."
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Downplayed. William "Froggie" James is portrayed as an apparition that haunts Cairo, Illinois, having cursed the black population with a fate similar to him for their complicity in his death.
  • I Reject Your Reality: The Jinn accuses Salim of ignoring the obvious in-favor of doing what he has been told, his still-unwavering faith in Islam in the face of the various gods and mythical creatures he encounters being nonsensical. Nancy accuses the same with Shadow to Wednesday, calling him a "puppet."
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  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: Wednesday tells Salim that the Jinn's faithful motorcycle is actually Hildisvíni, a boar that serves as Freya's steed in Norse myths.
  • Nay-Theist: The Jinn refuses to worship any of the gods he associates with, seeing Wednesday as an employer and having rejected an allegiance to Allah in favor of being demonized as a heretical spirit.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The same as everyone else looks in this show, at least. Wednesday, Salim and the Jinn visit Alviss the dwarf in order to ask him to patch up Gungnir; Salim pointed out that Alviss is really tall for a dwarf when they first met. Other than that, Alviss has the same smithing capabilities dwarves are known to have, although he declines to do Wednesday's deed because the spear didn't need any fixing in forgery.
  • Polyamory: Samedi and Brigette openly engage in adultery (Samedi with Laura and Brigette with Sweeney) and yet are very much faithful with each other, acting like an old married couple that exchange insults but are otherwise faithful to each other.
    Baron Samedi: Brigette knows that with every breathe, every cell, I worship only her. The most beautiful, interesting, sexy and powerful woman I have ever come across. And when she's not around, I fuck a lot of other women.
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  • Series Continuity Error: When Laura ends up having intercourse with Samedi, her body is shown without any scars or stitches that Ibis had put her back together with.note 
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