“The Lake Effect” builds to some big events in a climactic final sequence that (mostly) makes up for a sedate episode.
This recap of American Gods season 3, episode 9, “The Lake Effect”, contains spoilers.
“The Lake Effect” spends most of its runtime feeling a little bit like filler, which is certainly odd after a string of pacey, eventful episodes. You’d have been forgiven for thinking this was the show up to its old tricks, setting up big events just to keep them at arm’s length, but not so fast, dear readers, since this week’s American Gods ends with a bang. Two, in fact. Although perhaps “thud” would be more appropriate.
There’s a lot of time-killing early on. Laura bonds with Doyle, who tries to teach her how to throw Odin’s spear with deadly efficiency but ends up just giving her the lucky coin so she can’t miss. Laura, fearing her potential demise if it all goes pear-shaped, wants to feel needed one last time in the only way she really knows how — by talking Doyle into bed. He’s keen, of course, but she quickly backs out when she realizes that has always been her short-term solution to problems and it has never really gotten her anywhere. I’m glad American Gods season 3, episode 9 took this route.
Elsewhere, in Lakeside, Shadow returns home to the sad news that Derek has hung himself and Alison’s coat has been found in the back of his closet. Naturally, this seems rather suspicious, especially since, as Shadow explains to Marguerite, he went to Florida and asked about Sandy, and it seems like he’s missing too. With the rest of the townsfolk hesitant to rock the boat, Shadow begins to conduct his own investigations while fighting off increasingly vivid and, naturally, prophetic dreams, including one of Marguerite trying to drown him in the hot tub. Eventually, he finds himself almost drowned and frozen in the lake, only to be “rescued” by Anne-Marie, who I think we all figured out weeks ago was up to no good. As it turns out, she’s the one who has been killing children as a sacrifice to the Norse Gods, since they’re into such things, and she considers it a fair trade. Chad arrives, having overheard her confession, and attempts to shoot her, only to find she’s basically invulnerable — but not to the knife that Shadow uses to open her throat in a plume of blood and fire. Oh, and Shadow won the clunker competition, proving his prognostication capabilities once and for all.
But the big moment in American Gods season 3, episode 9 comes when Wednesday meets with Mr. World for peace talks, much to the consternation of Czernobog, who it seems would be happy to keep fighting forever. Of course, Mr. World, now wearing a new face, is adamant about proposing the terms, which are to give the Old Gods their lives and the freedom to disappear, lest they be hunted down one by one. It’s not exactly a lively negotiation, so nothing is agreed, but it scarcely matters since when Wednesday steps outside, Laura throws his spear at him. Despite the intervention of Czernobog (he misses Laura, but manages to smack Doyle just as Laura tosses him the lucky coin — he disappears, fate unknown), the weapon hits its target, and Wednesday is skewered to the ground looking very… dead?