‘American Gods’ 2×06 Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of “Donar the Great”

American Gods “Donar the Great” made me feel something mysterious and completely brand new when it comes to the pain in the ass known as Mr. Wednesday. I felt empathy. For the entirety of American Gods, I’ve never felt this emotion for him. Just last review I was talking about how Mr. Wednesday was a pain that needed to leave the Jinn and Salim alone before I built a machine to jump through the screen and knock him upside the head for being a rude jerk to them.

Look at me now; feeling sympathy for a man who acts like he has no care in the world besides winning and defeating the New Gods. Guess it was unavoidable, because no matter who you are or where you come from, you care for something. Be it a loved one, a dog, or a certain place that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, we all have that ability to connect and feel. “Donar the Great” was Mr. Wednesdays turn to show us that even he was capable.

The Good – Actually Making Me Feel Bad for Mr. Wednesday

‘American Gods’ 2x06 Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of “Donar the Great”

For the entirety of American Gods I’ve never felt sorry for Mr. Wednesday. In fact, most of the time I’ve actively side-eyed his presence because he felt like a very real threat to Shadow Moons general existence. And so far, I’ve been on point. Mr. Wednesday has been following Shadow for longer than anyone’s comfortable admitting and he’s been meddling in this humans life to prep him for the slaughter or whatever else he has ready for the man. Also, he’s actively treated those weaker than him with sneaky amounts of charm that keeps them around even when Wednesday is acting like the bigger asshole around.

Mr. Wednesday presented himself as a mysterious but in control god since this show started and he continues to do so in every episode of this season. He’s the Old God with a plan to win that looks like he’s thought of every possibility, option, and disaster that could happen along the way to him winning the lot. “Donar the Great” flipped that on its head and showed me a side of Mr. Wednesday that I never thought possible. I felt for him. I saw his joy, his accomplishments, and how the loss of his son tore him to bits and left him a tattered reminder of the god he used to be.

It’s brilliant writing. Mr. Wednesday is conniving, agreeable, and a prepossessing kind of person. But he’s also someone capable of feeling hurt. And instead of sitting there in his guilt at what he unintentionally forced his son into, Mr. Wednesday kept moving forward and fighting for what he’s always wanted, power and worship to keep him alive and well long after the New Gods hit the block. And it’s writing like this that makes Mr. Wednesday unforgettable, complicated, and more than we thought him to be.

The Bad – Mr. Wednesday Doing ANYTHING to Get Worshippers

‘American Gods’ 2x06 Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of “Donar the Great”

Knowing Mr. Wednesday, I was still surprised at the lengths he would go for worship and power. He knew who those Nazi bastards were. But he didn’t care. They were humans that could lift him and his son into a powerful position that would keep them living and thriving for years to come. So what if they were nasty, bigoted, and racist turds that actively hated on others they perceived as being less? And it’s this bit right here that grounds me when I think of Mr. Wednesday.

Getting to know Wednesday’s son and the bond that they shared, tore at me. It made me feel pain, heartache, and like this Old God was more than he seemed. Agreeing to work with Nazi’s gave me perspective and helped shake me out of the understanding state I was in. No one likes Nazis and I don’t care if you’re an all powerful God who lives off sacrifice, worship, or pain. Nazis is taking it too far and you should have some kind of standards for the kind of humans you seek worship from.

Seriously, where is the line in the sand for Mr. Wednesday and the rest of the gods, New and Old? Where do they stop, appreciate or truly look at what they’re doing, with fresh perspective on hand? Or does nothing truly matter as long as they get worship? Frankly, that’s a sad existence that doesn’t sound worthwhile at all. Lines in the sand show us what is right and what is wrong, where someone falls on a specific train of thought, and who you can trust.

Right now, I don’t trust any of the Gods, New or Old, and I don’t regret it one bit.

The Ugly – Shadow Being Compared to Donar

‘American Gods’ 2x06 Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of “Donar the Great”

Be gentle with me because I haven’t read the book in ages and I don’t plan to until after American Gods is done because I want to keep my life spoiler free and with a bit of welcome mystery.

Keeping that in mind, let’s talk theories on American Gods, particularly that of Shadow and Donar. I think, this is all about Mr. Wednesdays son. In “Donar the Great” he revealed that there is one kind of death that Gods can not come back from: suicide. Resurrection for Gods, no matter how much time has passed, is based on will to live. Donar didn’t have that anymore and there was no way for Mr. Wednesday to bring him back, no matter what he tried.

But things aren’t that simple or easily tied off with a bow that says this will never happen again and that his son can not come back. Donar can come back. That’s what I believe and I think Mr. Wednesday sees that and understands that when he looks at Shadow. What if this young man is the key to getting his son back? What if he is the spark, the bit of Donar that forgot who he was and came back as Shadow Moon? This show is batshit crazy so even this theory could be a possibility.

Or what if he’s prepping Shadow for his son? What if he’s testing Shadow, building the perfet vessel to get back what Mr. Wednesday has lost? We’ve seen the lengths he’s willing to go to get worship and power. Who’s to say that this isn’t something he would do at the drop of a dime if it meant getting his son back and fixing what was broken. Because I think that’s what Mr. Wednesday is doing. He fucked up the first time with his son and if Shadow Moon is his chance to get his kid back, he’s not gonna fuck up the second time.

Anythings fair game with a show as crazy as this.

Favorite Moment from “Donar the Great”:

Do you have any theories on what is coming next for American Gods? Let us know in the comments section below!

American Gods airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.


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