American Gods season 3, episode 10 recap – the ending explained

March 21, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Ending Explained, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Tears of the Wrath-Bearing Tree” was far from a conclusive ending, but it traded one life for another and perhaps upped the stakes considerably at the same time.

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3.5

Summary

“Tears of the Wrath-Bearing Tree” was far from a conclusive ending, but it traded one life for another and perhaps upped the stakes considerably at the same time.

This recap of American Gods season 3, episode 10, “Tears of the Wrath-Bearing Tree”, contains spoilers as well as a discussion of the American Gods Season 3 ending.


Mr. Wednesday is dead. Or is he? That’s certainly the question powering much of “Tears of the Wrath-Bearing Tree” after last week’s cliffhanger ending, but it waits until the final moment to really commit to what Wednesday’s presumed death might foretell for the inevitable next season of American Gods. Before that there’s… very little, actually, with a lot of standing around and arguing, as fate draws virtually every major player in the season to the Center of America motel — a kind of spiritual DMZ where godly behavior is prohibited and where Wednesday’s remains are waiting for Shadow, whose commitment to honoring his father in a vigil presents him with the chance to become something more than he is currently, but might also have drastic unintended consequences.

Because of its strict no-powers policy, Odin’s assassin, Laura, is also holed up at the Center of America under the ostensible protection of Mr. World, who’s keen to avoid war by covering up the involvement of the New Gods in Wednesday’s death. Czernobog is also present to preserve old Norse death rituals, which in Shadow’s case will involve him being bound to Yggdrasil, the world tree, for several days and nights — a tough ask for a God and certain death for a mortal, but he’s adamant.

Discussion about what to do with Wednesday takes place right on top of his corpse, which seems disrespectful to me, and involves Mr. World completely throwing Laura under the bus by reminding everyone that it is customary for the son to avenge the father — in other words, for Shadow to kill Laura. Luckily she has already escaped from her room, but she’s quickly brought forwards by Mr. World’s faceless goons, at which point she predictably dobs Mr. World right in it, announcing that he was on-board with killing Wednesday and covering up his involvement. Czernobog, true to form, tries to give him a hammer to the face, but thanks to the motel’s power it doesn’t take.

I forgot to mention that at the top of American Gods season 3, episode 10, Bilquis is tasked with finding Shadow’s soul mate, which is apparently the key to his protection, and a fancy visual flourish suggests it’s Laura. But “The Tears of the Wrath-Bearing Tree” suggests otherwise when Laura and Shadow argue about her killing his father, and Shadow counters her claims that Wednesday never did anything for him by saying that he gave him purpose. Shadow is pretty all-in on the idea of his destiny as a leader of change, which explains why he’s so keen to fasten himself to Yggdrasil, which is tended to by the Norns, basically the Norse equivalent of the Greek Fates.

Elsewhere, Technical Boy, who has had little to do over the last few episodes, tries to snatch the Shard and experiences all kinds of weird visions. When Mr. World confronts him he’s told that he’s the bridge from the Old Gods to the New, and is perhaps the most important of them all. As technology evolves, so does he, constantly forgetting his origin. This radically repositions him in the narrative, making him a crucial component of whatever comes next, which at this point is anyone’s guess. Attached to Yggdrasil, Shadow experiences visions of his own, one of which involves him sharing an airplane with Wednesday “technically somewhere in between” life and death. They discuss power, and the craving of it, and the fact that Wednesday is unashamed of doing so whereas Shadow is in denial about it. The penny drops around then — Wednesday needed a martyr, and Shadow gave him one. As Wednesday cheerily departs the plane, Shadow is taken by Yggdrasil. Is this the end of the Old Gods, as Czernobog suggests? Or something much worse?

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