American Gods Season 3 Episode 4 Review: The Unseen

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Well, every streak comes to an end eventually.

The third season has been excellent so far with its story-over-style storytelling.

Unfortunately, American Gods Season 3 Episode 4 chucked that into the water.

An Unexpected Team Up - American Gods

It's a shame, too, because it would have been worth examining more of what Bilquis revealed about herself.

But instead of an in-depth exploration of her roots and how important the African gods were to the enslaved around the world (because no, it's not unique to the US, no matter how much you'd like to believe it), we got stylistic flashes hinting at the depth we would have enjoyed.

Prayers for Bilquis - American Gods Season 3 Episode 4

That's the reason I wasn't a fan of American Gods Season 2. American God Season 1 had the tone well established. The story unfolded with intricate and stylish embellishments. By the second season, the embellishments took over the narrative.

I'm holding out hope that this is not the way the remainder of American Gods Season 3 will unfold.

Again, it's all a shame because there was some good stuff here that got brushed over far too lightly.

Bilquis went too far with Bill Sanders. She had an arrangement where she could have worshippers galore as long as she followed a few rules. In today's environment, that seems like a pretty good deal.

Fill 'er Up! - American Gods Season 3 Episode 4

Was it her pride that pushed her over the edge to swallow Sanders whole? Once he used the 'I'm better than you' tact, she gobbled him up.

Her ancestors or previous gods or her worshippers in the past who did her bidding (I'm not exactly sure what the goddesses represented) reminded her she doesn't need to feel less than because she is everything.

It's too bad she lost sight of that. It's even worse that her reminder didn't get the exploration it deserved.

Similarly, Shadow and Technical Boy teaming up to find Bilquis were terrific. They make a great team. They begrudgingly accept that they need each other to find Bilquis, but that doesn't mean they have to like each other.

Tech Boy: Gold star for Nancy Drew.
Shadow: So lynch me, peckerwood.
Tech Boy: I already apologized for that.
Shadow: Apology not accepted. Not now, not ever.

Despite what Shadow suffered at Tech Boy's hands in American Gods Season 1, he's OK with Technical Boy now. Not only is Tech Boy suffering from whatever Bilquis did to him, but Shadow knows he's a demi-god. It's a good position for him.

Mid-Glitch - American Gods Season 3 Episode 4

He's even standing up to Wednesday. Shadow's plans are coming first, even if Wednesday might be in dire need of his son. And let's be real. Wednesday's ego is a little too large. Gods shouldn't toy with those they love or those who worship them.

It looks like it's Shadow and Demeter that can pull him a little closer to the rest of the gods. But it was Johan who managed to scramble his brains.

I didn't even catch that the whole bar exploded. I thought it was just the motorcycle in front of the car. So when Wednesday came out, I thought he was drunk.

I even watched the scene twice and missed the bar exploding. Did it have to be in slow motion reflected through the windshield?

Look! A Phone Booth!! - American Gods Season 3 Episode 4

Nonetheless, even that didn't pique Shadow's interest. He wants to find Bilquis, and that's that. I love it.

I've never been too keen on Mr. or Ms. World, either. Overacting is not my thing, but we get it from both Crispin Glover and Dominique Jackson fall into that category, and the less of either of them, the better.

And did I miss something regarding World and Bilquis? Wasn't everyone on team World hunting Bilquis? So why did he question her momentarily about Sanders? Wasn't the hunt for her before she gobbled Sanders?

Maybe I need to pay more attention to the parts of that story that I don't enjoy. It's hard to watch World. If you enjoy it and have a better understanding, maybe you can steer me straight.

Mr. World Returns - American Gods Season 3 Episode 4

And, finally, we have Laura's rebirth. What the heck?

Her trip to Purgatory sure was eventful and prosperous. Even the Purgatory guide was shocked to see her zipped out of the place.

I don't know why it happened, but it seemed to be a combination of fresh air mixing Sweeney's blood with her ashes that did the trick. Since she refuses to admit that her murderer became so much more to her, it's a sweet situation, indeed.

Laura: OK. So he's dead. Like, actually dead. Completely dead. And it's my fault. Oh. Oh, no, no. I didn't kill him. Just, um, didn't bring him back to life, which I should have been able to do. But I didn't. It's a long story.
Caretaker: Well, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. Like the book says, there's a time to be born, and there's a time to die.
Laura: Right. But just because somebody wrote it in a book doesn't mean it's true.

And geez, gimme more of her recalling her time with Mad Sweeney. Pablo Schreiber was a bright light on American Gods, so getting snuffed out has done a little damage.

Laura Takes In the Scenery - American Gods Season 3 Episode 4

But if Laura can keep him with her and think of their time together with something other than disdain, then that's OK.

Did I mention she's alive? That's a pretty cool development and opens a brand new storyline for the characters. To top it off, she learned something from Purgatory, so she's bound to live a new life quite different from what defined her before she understood her life.

So, yeah, even though this hour was more fascinated with things like closeups on bubbles in a beer bottle, there was a lot to chew on as we wait for American Gods Season 3 Episode 5.

If you want to see more, you can watch American Gods online. In the meantime, please share your thoughts below!

The Unseen Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (5 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 4 Quotes

The founders believed in a creator, who endowed every individual with equality and freedom. America was conceived around that truth, and the Declaration was an oath to that creator, a solemn promise that this new government would ensure the divine rights of its citizens -- life, liberty, and a shot at happiness. But the new government was overrun with debt. Furious debate roiled the continental congress. God-given rights versus materialism. Commerce carried the day, and the young country was on its way to becoming the richest corporation in history. In the process, America betrayed its oath to the creator. Economic growth was spurred by the whip and remained in the hand of the slave masters and their investors. The wealth generated by King Cotton was everywhere. The nation now prayed at the altar of commerce, but the spirit did not abandon those who had been enslaved, who brought their African gods with them to the new world.


Shadow: What the hell is wrong with you.
Tech Boy: I told you. Bilquis fucked be up. I need her to unfuck whatever it is that she did to me.