American Gods Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Ashes and Demons

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While there were mostly different storylines with very little intersection, American Gods Season 3 Episode 3 was another satisfying hour of this Starz drama.

As is often the case, when introduced to a god or goddess we have yet to explore, we were treated to an origin story for Blythe Danner's Demeter, wife of Wednesday.

Whether you caught it or not, the opening scene of Demeter helping the woman in Western Pennsylvania was around the same time that she and Wednesday married.

Gifts for a Goddess - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

That scene also tied in nicely to Wednesday's arrival at the retreat.

Receptionist: Instagram is taking over my life. What people won't do to get followers.
Wednesday: You have no idea.

And THAT tied in brilliantly with the fight between the new and old gods. We may think that we've stopped sacrificing to appease them, but what humanity gives up in terms of time and money to new gods like Technical Boy and Media should make us blanch.

A pig and a piece of our soul seem like a win when viewed alongside the countless hours spent doing relatively nothing while searching for fleeting satisfaction on either side of the screens that occupy so much of our time.

Wednesday: Why do I keep feeling like I've forgotten something. A gift! I mean, how can I arrive empty-handed to discuss a reunion with such an extraordinary woman, huh? So what's it to be? Pigs entrails or calla lilies?
Cordelia: Pigs entrails. I bet she doesn't get that every day.
Wednesday: Nah. It's gotta be calla lilies.

Demeter caught Wednesday by surprise by revealing she was a patient and not in charge of the joint. It never even occurred to Wednesday that his wife just might want a break and to feel revered again.

Blythe Danner as Demeter - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

His entire mission rests on the old gods finding their place and renewed devotion in modern times, so it would seem like a selling point that might appeal to Demeter, enjoying being treated like the Goddess she is.

But there are all kinds of consequences for acting like the deities they are, and Bilquis feels it firsthand after swallowing another man whole. She was sick to her stomach immediately after devouring him, and by the time we see her on "Ashes and Demons," she's still not herself.

And dare I say that she felt a little guilty or even ashamed of what she'd done when faced with a lonely granddaughter named Madeline was desperately trying to get in touch with Bill Sanders.

Or was she? Because although I'm jumping around quite a bit here to make sense of it all, When Shadow finally arrived at Bilquis' apartment, he spotted a glitching and bloody-handed Tech Boy instead of the goddess herself.

Consequences - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

Did Tech Boy arrange for those messages to catch Bilquis off-guard so that he could deliver her to Ms. World per her request?

Something was off, that's for sure, especially since Shadow was answering Bilquis' call. His powers appear to be growing, and he's making more sense of what he experiences.

It wasn't too hard to read Bilquis flat-out asking Shadow to come to find her, but maybe she should have added a little more information so that Shadow could have been better prepared when he got there.

It was a strange scene, for sure. There was another peacock reference (thanks to the fan who suggested it represents Hera, but how does Hera fit in here?) with this one bloodied on the floor, seemingly carnage left behind by the glitching Tech Boy.

Blood on His Hands - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

Who knows? We'll find out sooner or later what it all means.

In Lakeside, Allison's search continues with very little evidence found to indicate what happened to her.

But when Shadow saw the paper with a headline indicating how little was going their way, a wave of his hand changed that headline to reveal a bloody scarf had been found.

Did that only change the headline, or did Shadow just manipulate the investigation itself? We won't know until he returns since he was on his way to see Bilquis when he brushed by the paper.

Making Headlines - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

It's worrisome that Shadow might have switched up the investigation just before he left town again. We already saw him caught up in it as a suspect because of his last jaunt.

Poor Chad was beside himself, trying to apologize to Shadow for questioning the only Black man in Lakeside in conjunction with the disappearance.

On the one hand, Chad was right. Shadow was new to town and left the night of Allison's disappearance after spending time with her earlier that day. It would have been silly not to question Shadow.

But on the other hand, the townspeople were sure eager to blame him without asking the appropriate questions first. Chad wants to think it had nothing to do with skin color, but the optics were not good.

Lakeside is still in America, right?

Shadow

We're Not Like That - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

His reaction is a byproduct of a very white town and our capacity to recognize differences in each other before recognizing similarities. For every celebration of our unique traits, they also become a sticking point when you're looking for someone to blame for pretty much anything. We are experts at pointing fingers.

It would be nice to think that we might someday see beyond the superficial to embrace our shared humanity, but with every passing day, it gets a little harder to do that. Hell, I'd say that Bilquis and Tech Boy are coming closer to that reality than anyone in real life or the American Gods universe.

Laura finally left this mortal coil and found herself in purgatory.

Purgatory is one of my favorite concepts, pretty much because of her experience there. One of my favorite movies is Defending Your Life. In that comedy, the recently departed watch films of their lives and defend their actions, with fear being the greatest hindrance to moving on in the afterlife.

Ticket to Ride - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

But on American Gods, it's not exactly living a fear-filled life that is the problem but failing to accept reality. It's the same concept, though, and ties into our habit of seeing each other's superficial side rather than what makes us who we are or our intellect and souls.

Laura went through life with a chip on her shoulder because she misinterpreted her childhood. In her eyes, she never wanted to be the victim; she manipulated all situations that left her a little worse for the wear. Everything she suffered, she believed, was of her own volition.

I followed in my father's fucksteps with every broken boy I could find.

Laura

Maybe she WAS fearful of what she might see by watching her life. Lashing out at her parents seems easier to accept than the notion they had treated you poorly for no discernable reason. But that was the truth of it.

Laura was a direct result of her childhood, sure, but not in the way she thought. None of it was her fault. She did the best she could in her circumstances, and, to protect her vulnerable heart, she placed blame on herself instead of where it belonged, on her parents.

Laura Takes In a Movie - American Gods Season 3 Episode 3

Once she realized that, Laura was swept away from Purgatory. I don't recall her coming back to life in the novel, so what's happening here? I like the idea of Laura getting a fresh start. Surely, she's not going to be whisked back into her rotting corpse.

It would be cruel to tease her with redemption and a path to an everlasting afterlife only to commit her to such an atrocious existence again. What are your thoughts on that?

And do you think that Shadow will wind up as the main suspect in Allison's disappearance when he returns to Lakeside?

After you watch American Gods online, be sure to come back and chat with us about "Ashes and Demons."

Ashes and Demons Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (3 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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American Gods Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

Wednesday: Why do I keep feeling like I've forgotten something. A gift! I mean, how can I arrive empty-handed to discuss a reunion with such an extraordinary woman, huh? So what's it to be? Pigs entrails or calla lilies?
Cordelia: Pigs entrails. I bet she doesn't get that every day.
Wednesday: Nah. It's gotta be calla lilies.

A favor followed by a lecture is not a favor at all.

Wednesday