Lemon Scented You is at once the best and most bizarre episode of American Gods yet. An awful lot happens in this episode but it’s all been leading up to this point where many of the questions that you’ve probably been asking yourself since the first episode are finally answered.
This weeks Coming to America segment was a little different, instead of being live action the story of Nunyunnini is entirely animated which adds to it’s appeal and seeing as this is the oldest of the God’s to be presented it was perhaps wise to use animation for the sake of not getting it wrong with CGI. Nunyunnini is essentially a forgotten god which in the realms of American Gods means that Nunyunnini is also dead, as being forgotten is fatal. To present Nunyunnini’s story at this stage of the series is a wise decision as the stakes are also rising in the present timeline, this revelation that a forgotten God is a dead God stresses the importance of Mr Wednesday’s mission. On another note, these Coming to America Segments are like a little bedtime story (albeit disturbing bedtime stories) and I feel like Demore Barnes’ exceptional narration is just perfect, I feel like if he hasn’t done the narration for an audiobook before that totally needs to happen!
Since the cliffhanger on the end of episode three, we have been waiting to watch Shadow and Laura’s reunion and heart to heart. Laura explains what happened to her to shadow very loosely and as the raw conversation awkwardly progresses you can feel the tension between the characters. This tense and emotional scene is expertly complimented by Brian Reitzell’s score which is filled with erratic percussion, a sad tinkling piano and eerie pauses. I must say that if Reitzell wasn’t the composer for American God’s then this show wouldn’t be anywhere as near damn magical.
Lemon Scented You brings back Gillian Andersons’ Media who once again shines as one of the best parts of the episodes she has appeared in so far. This time around she has moved on from ‘I Love Lucy’ to David Bowie and Marylin Monroe. Anderson as Bowie is brilliant and these weird impersonations of famous ‘mass media’ icons really let Anderson shine as an actor and proves why Media is such a compelling character as she doesn’t just come in one package. Later in the show, she appears as Marylin Monroe, but this is the airheaded pop culture Monroe who the media consumers (her worshipers) have crafted through their conspiracy theories and idolisation of her as a sex symbol.
Shadow and Wednesday are kidnapped by the new gods under the ruse of it being a police investigation, this scene pretty much was a near perfect translation from page to screen. And through this scene, we are finally introduced to Mr World. Crispin Glover plays Mr World pitch perfect, he’s at once creepy but kind, omniscient yet utterly clueless and it’s a compelling mixture of contradictions that will become more meaningfully obvious as the story progresses (if you’ve read the book you’ll know what I mean).
In conclusion, Lemon Scented You was a great episode that at once answered many queries but also posed so many more questions at the same time. I think what makes American Gods such a compelling book and show is that it’s all a clever meditation of societies past and present, it’s a critique of the Information age which is beautifully realised with Wednesdays brief summation that “That’s all you do, Occupy their time, we gave back, we gave them meaning’, which I guess is exactly right, technology offers distraction whereas tradition and beliefs in higher powers gave people courage and purpose to continue with life in the darkest of days.