There is all kinds of controversy associated with American Gods Season 3 Episode 7, depending on how you see the world.
But the more important message is that Shadow Moon is destined for great things, with or without his father.
So let's get started digging into "Fire and Ice."
Cordelia has been right by Wednesday's side for all of American Gods Season 3, but she's been in the dark.
I would have thought she saw enough on the road with Dear Odin that she would have questioned who he really is, but it wasn't until it started raining men that Cordelia was shaken up enough to demand answers.
The astonishing thing about it being cloudy with a chance of human remains was how Wednesday processed it in her favor. The man was practically catatonic after Demeter said her farewell, but as soon as the flesh hit the fan, Wednesday carefully walked her to the car to calm her and took the wheel.
We don't know much about Cordelia, but she's not about to let go of an opportunity to be on the inside of the action instead of on the outside looking in.
But it's not as simple as that.
Salim: Back in my country, I was an excellent businessman. Allow me to negotiate the terms and conditions.
Laura: Uh, just out of curiosity, were assassination attempts your specialty?
Salim: No, of course not. But in Aman, a verbal contract is binding, and from everything I see here, it's the same with gods. Once the terms are set, they cannot be undone. Now is not the time to be impulsive.
Laura: Impulsive? Because I know what I want? This is not Oman, Salim. In America, women can drive cars. They even let us vote, and some of us can negotiate our own fuckin' deals.
Wednesday has been a friend to Cordelia, and his treatment of her has been impressive even as an employee. He cares for her. She's a stand-in for his son, who has found his own life in Lakeside.
Wednesday has made many mistakes in his long life, but when his heart is in the right place, it doesn't budge. He's just a little too singularly focused most of the time, and it gives him a gruff demeanor and offers the wrong impression of what he's all about.
When Wednesday tracked Cordelia to Shadow's place, his intent was two-fold. Well, maybe three-fold. Of course, he wanted his sidekick back on the road with him (either of them would have done), but he didn't order Cordelia to stick to her employment contract. Instead, he gave her an out.
He knows that what she's witnessed is only the beginning, and he wanted her involvement to be purely voluntary. It was a pretty easy decision for Cordelia.
And that out wasn't the last time Wednesday was looking out for his new friend, either. He was downright fatherly when he insisted Cordelia return to the hotel for a hot bath and some wine while he attended to business. It was ugly business, too, that he didn't want her to participate in.
Losing Demeter has solidified the man he's always been meant to become. He reacted similarly with Shadow, seeing in his son a bit of his feelings for Demeter.
Shadow: I wouldn't count on Cordelia as a travel companion, OK, and I'm definitely not going to just drop everything here to get on the road with you again.
Wednesday: Because you have met someone.
Shadow: I don't know what your little birds have told you.
Wednesday: What I have learned is that cruel fate gives us few opportunities to totally connect with the soul of another.
Even Shadow could see that his father was acting differently. He appreciated the gesture and told Wednesday that he needs only to ask if he ever truly needs him, and he'll be there.
Of course, Shadow didn't warn Wednesday that Laura was going to kill him, either. Maybe it slipped his mind, or he doesn't take Laura's threat seriously.
He should take her seriously, though, as she's on the road with a plan of action to take down Wednesday right now. That plan involved asking Mr. World for assistance, which he gratefully offered.
Salim did his best to protect his friend from making a business deal that wouldn't protect her interests, but he wound up on the wrong side of that deal.
Laura's pact with World says that if she fails to complete her mission to kill Wednesday, she'll be killed -- Salim and Shadow right along with her. They're protected first, but that caveat doesn't leave a lot of room for mistakes.
Shadow's future looms large in this episode, as Bilquis is on the hunt for answers herself, which she found at 1619, undoubtedly a reference to the controversial journalism project.
At this point in the story, the foundation is the same, but everything else is so new that it's exhilarating.
While Stephen King was unable to successfully manipulate his masterwork for the present with The Stand on CBS All Access, Neil Gaiman's story is full of life and present-day references, expanding to include characters long-gone from the novel.
Bilquis provides some much-needed insight into why Shadow is so significant, and frankly, I still don't understand it. Watching her segments in this episode more than once still didn't allow me to grasp who Eugenia was, exactly, or why she had been with Shadow since birth.
Shadow: I didn't have anyone I could talk to; you have me.
Cordelia: And you are what, exactly?
Shadow: I don't know. The jury's still out now.
But that's OK. So many of you tend to steer me right, so I hope you'll do the same with this episode. When Bilquis and Eugenia were dancing, surrounded by the other historical women in Bilquis' life presented during the season, the colors exploded into a stunning visual that was well worth enjoying twice.
What I did hear was that there is an "other" out there who is meant to be the other side of the coin, the yin to Shadow's yang without whom Shadow cannot rule, bringing on the end times. Whether that's for the gods only or all of civilization, I couldn't tell.
It seems unlikely that the other will turn out to be Marguerite, and after Shadow's date, that kind of breaks my heart. Why am I assuming that the other must be a woman? Because natural forces being ruled by two men doesn't feel right in the context of this story.
Marguerite and Shadow flirted, skated, and hot-tubbed their way into a magical and romantic moment that only Shadow could have provided, ultimately making love just before Tyr turned traitor and absconded with Wednesday's son.
Because yes, the flaming flesh at the beginning of the episode is from Johan (formerly Marilyn Manson, subsequently canceled after abuse allegations), who is busily wreaking havoc to take down Wednesday by eradicating those closest to him. I think.
It's pretty grizzly business, and it seems like Johan could be jealous of Shadow given the note left nestled into a patient's entrails.
[Update! A reader said that the "patient" was actually Johan. I totally missed that! I thought they'd never use another shot of Manson, even eviscerated. Expectations sidetracked my brain apparently! That makes the killer Tyr, and puts Shadow in a lot more trouble!]
Odin, find me a Wolf's Den with the son you hold most dear.Note
That leaves us barreling toward the final leg of the season with a lot to chew on and a lot of action coming our way.
My other thought about how American Gods could differ from the novel is that I'm hoping the meaning behind the upcoming war is far different than how it played out in the novel. Everything we've seen so far says that's true, and I'm very excited to see how much more meaningful it becomes in light of our times.
After you watch American Gods online, come on back and drop a comment down below to help me put the pieces together and weigh in about how you think things will unfold.
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.