American Gods season 3, episode 2 recap – “Serious Moonlight”

January 17, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Serious Moonlight” brings the Old Gods together to pay their respect to a fallen ally, as things in Lakeside get even weirder for Shadow.

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3.5

Summary

“Serious Moonlight” brings the Old Gods together to pay their respect to a fallen ally, as things in Lakeside get even weirder for Shadow.

This recap of American Gods season 3, episode 2, “Serious Moonlight”, contains spoilers.


Despite an opening set in the Wisconsin Territory of 1690, with Natives being slaughtered by the French and a young child being sacrificed to the god of the weather, “Serious Moonlight” is very much about present-day Lakeside, where Shadow is living after being held at shotgun-point by his thus-far nameless property manager. In fact, aside from a couple of brief deviations — both addressed in the notes at the bottom of the page — the episode is rooted pretty much entirely in Shadow’s perspective, both as he acclimates to his new frigid environment and as he both travels to and returns from Chicago to attend the memorial of Zorya Vechernyaya, where all roads seem to converge.

Shadow’s apartment is a bit of a squat. It’s freezing, nothing works, and it’s bare apart from the invite to the ascension of Zorya’s soul, an event which all the Old Gods seem to be attending. Everything about Lakeside, meanwhile, is odd. Ann-Marie picks Shadow up on his way into town and gives him a brief rundown, explaining all of the town’s delights, old-world traditions, and Nordic heritage. Of particular importance seems to be the local pasties and a tradition whereby they put a wrecked car on the frozen lake and take bets on precisely when it’ll fall through the ice. Shadow picks March 23rd, between 7-8 pm, which he seems confident about. While in the Hennings store, he meets both the proprietor, Lee Hennings, and the shop assistant, Alison, who is one of the girls that told him he was hot at the bus stop when he first arrived in town.

She isn’t the only person who’s weird around Shadow in American Gods season 3, episode 2. Chad, the police chief, takes Shadow for one of the famed pasties, and the way the kid bussing tables wants to give Shadow a fist-bump suggests that they don’t get too many people of color there. Chad can at least help with Shadow’s acquisition of a vehicle that’ll get him to Chicago, which takes them to the offices of the Lakeside City Journal, where Shadow’s property manager has the keys to a car that has been parked out back for the better part of two years. Shadow rents it for two days, to get there and back again.

On the way, a seemingly random collision with a deer forces Shadow to replace the car’s windshield, which will become important later. But “Serious Moonlight” has to stop off at the memorial, where a very upset Czernobog isn’t happy to see neither Shadow nor Mr. Wednesday. The latter helps to defuse the tense situation by reminding him of his oath, but a drunken dance-fight seems to do the trick better in getting them on the same page. Outside, away from the “festivities”, Shadow runs into Wednesday’s new lady friend, who apparently got the job as his beau through Craigslist. She gives Shadow a number on which he can contact Wednesday at any time, or at least contact her — he advises her to contact him when it all gets too much to handle, which, he says, it inevitably will. Is a romance blossoming here?

Time will tell. But for now, there are other things to be worrying about, which Shadow realizes when he gets back to Lakeside and finds everyone looking at him funny. As it turns out, young Alison has gone missing without a trace, and since he’s an outsider and has suspiciously had the car windscreen swapped, he’s the prime suspect. He gives Chad a detailed breakdown of his route and lets him hang onto the car, which is perhaps just as well, since when Shadow returns to his apartment with firewood that night — after a brief encounter with a random peacock — an apologetic property manager tells him that his story checks out. Her turning the furnace on for him is a nice show of solidarity. Shadow has at least one ally in Lakeside. Judging by the shadow that he sees descend over the place when he later looks out of his window, he’s going to need more than that.

Oh, Gods:

There aren’t too many non-Shadow scenes in American Gods season 3, episode 2, but the couple there are count for a lot. Bilquis, who is having IT issues, gets a brief scene with a handsy Sanders, who she has sex with, and swallows into her vagina after he expresses doubt that she’s a goddess. That’s certainly one way of proving a point. And Mr. Wednesday goes to see the warlord Tyr, masquerading as a dentist named Doctor Tyrell, who is living comfortably enough to offer Wednesday a generous financial donation.

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