After a particularly bloody beating from Technical Boy's henchmen in the final moments of episode one, episode two – titled The Secret of the Spoon – opens with Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) patching up his injuries and continuing his road trip with the mysterious Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane). On the journey, the latter informs Shadow that they're heading to Chicago to collect "his hammer" – which actually turns out to be the bloodthirsty god of darkness Czernobog (Peter Stomare). Quite a handy player if you're gearing up for war now, eh?
As they travel, Shadow begins to hallucinate about his late wife Laura (Emily Browning), who tells him that she's not really dead. Knowing that she is, Shadow soon concludes that he is losing his mind – a resolution he believes even more when he ''imagines'' a woman who looks likes Lucille Ball talking to him through a department store television. [The figure is actually Gillian Anderson's Media, a new god who is desperate to get Shadow on her side. Not that he knows that yet, mind you].
Elsewhere, Bilquis continues to swallow men – and women this time – whole via her vagina. Yes, you did read that right.
But despite all that going on most of the episode's intrigue stems from its final scene surprisingly, when Shadow and Wednesday actually visit Czernobog and his relatives Zorya Vechernyaya and Zorya Polunochnaya. During an uncomfortable meal, Czernobog recollects his former career as a cattle killer in a slaughterhouse, arguing that the act itself is an art.
He's mad on the violence; evidently remembering the thrill of it as he fondly explains to Shadow how he used to dish it out. But then things take an ominous turn when he challenges Shadow to a game of checkers and wagers that if he wins, he gets to smash the protagonist on the head. The scene is dripping with subtext, almost as much as Czernobog's mallet is with blood. Much like Mad Sweeney in the first episode, he's going to be one to watch.
Before we catch up with what Shadow and the rest are up to however, the outing opens – just like before – with a seemingly disconnected ''Coming to America'' tale; this time depicting several black men chained together below the deck of a ship. One man sees a brightly coloured spider freely roaming around the brig and promises to sing to it forever more if it manages to free him.
It's with this that the spider transforms into Mr Nancy (Orlando Jones), a suited-and-booted trickster god that informs the men that their fates are already sealed and they might as well kill their captors and burn the ship in an act of defiance towards the future (and of course, slavery). Short story kept short, they abide.
Comparing this prologue to the previous episodes, it seems like each one will show just how big of a part several Old Gods played in US history. So, despite them appearing to have no real semblance with the show at first glance, they're worth paying attention too if you want to get to grips with each of the deities.
While the pilot was always going to be confusing given the show's complex premise, you'd think that by the end of the follow-up episode, you'd have some idea as to what's going on. If anything The Secret of the Spoon is much more perplexing than the opener as it delves deeper into the abstract and whether that's a good thing or not is still up in the air. When showrunner Bryan Fuller was still making Hannibal, it's safe to say he lost his way a little when season three became more about delivering decadent yet bonkers visuals than understandable plot. Let's hope American Gods isn't another repeat of that.
One thing's for certain though, American Gods looks damn good on screen. It may be available in the UK on Amazon Prime Video, which can be accessed on tablets and phones etc, but the bigger the device you can watch it on here, the better. Like the first instalment, this latest episode is directed by David Slade and written by Fuller and Michael Green so still manages to possess that intoxicating quality that is sure to leave you eagerly-anticipating episode three.