On a stage in Chicago in the 30s, a straw-hatted Wednesday steps out to wild applause and sings. The showgirls come out and dance behind him as he sings about the burlesque show. Wednesday then introduces the show at the theater, presenting the Viking Donar and the sharpshooter Columbia. He assures the audience that there's something there for everyone and finishes his number.
As Wednesday makes his way through the audience, chatting up the guests, he sees one man who carefully avoids showing his face. He has champagne sent over to the man on the house.
Wednesday is sleeping in the car, and Shadow wakes him and says that she's there. The god has Wednesday get his guitar case with Gungnir out of the trunk and they go into the nearby mall. Wednesday explains that it was built over the dwarves' seat of power so now they live there. He says that sometimes Shadow reminds him of his son and goes off to look for the dwarves.
In his base, World says that no one but him knows that the war has begun. The Caretaker lays out a map with strange events across the country, and New Media manifests. World tells her that victory requires massive power: her worshippers. He orders her to harness their power and Media calls out to them so that their power flows into her.
Nancy is working backstage at the Regent, telling the girls to focus on their performances. He yells, reminding people that he's not the hired help, and knocks on Columbia's door and says that he gets 20% of the worship. Nancy tells her to get on the stage. In her dressing room, Columbia oils up Donar and says that they can leave Chicago, but Donar notes that Wednesday needs him. He wonders if he'd survive in California since he doesn't have any worshippers there, and Columbia promises that she won't let anything happen to him. She says that it's been 10 years and it's time for the two of them to move on.
Wednesday visits the man--Technical Boy--and brings two showgirls with him. Technical Boy isn't impressed and says that the girls are cheaper than Wednesday's suit. Xxx says that he's leaving, and Wednesday tells him that they're the ancient ones who paved the way so the "kids" could do their things. A phone rings and Wednesdays tells Xxx Technical Boy it's for him. After Technical Boy tells the caller that he'll take care of it, he hangs up. Wednesday asks what he'll do when the phone becomes obsolete, and warns that when a new shiny thing comes along, Technical Boy will need some real power on his side. He goes back to MC and introduces Donar. Donar catches a girl on his hammer, sits her on his shoulder, and does his strongman routine. Wednesday drinks and watches Technical Boy as the audience applauds. A Nazi man, Manfred, comes over and says that he and his colleagues with the Friends of New Germany would like a word with Wednesday about Donar.
Wednesday talks to one of the dwarves, Sindri, who says that Avliss knows that they're incapable of doing what Wednesday needs. Sindri figures that Avliss sent Wednesday there to humiliate him. Dvalin is busy etching runes in the back of the kiosk, and Sindri explains that all of them are meeting their fate sooner than expected. Shadow steps up and Sindri looks at him in recognition. He then says that they need an artifact of great power to etch war runes, and shows him a picture of the leather jacket won by Lou Reed. Wednesday and Sindri chuckle and Sindri tells Shadow that it's the most powerful item in the whole mall. Shadow and Wednesday talk privately and Wednesday says that he's not spending money on dwarves. He tells Sindri that they'll return.
After his performance, Wednesday introduces Manfred and his men to Donar and says that he endorses they're request. Manfred explains that they want to sponsor an American for the world weightlifting championship in Chicago. He says that they'll take care of everything as long as Donar shows up, and Wednesday nods in agreement. Donar accepts and they shake, and Manfred gives Wednesday an address to be at the next day. Once they're alone in Columbia's room, Wednesday tells Donar that the Friends will elevate Donar to his former glory and the glory of the pantheon. Columbia points out that the Friends are Nazis, but Wednesday doesn't care and tells his son to make him proud. Once Wednesday leaves, Columbia says that Nazis scare her. Donar assures her that they're only man and people across the country will cheer him. Once they win, they can go wherever they want. They kiss and Columbia realizes that he means it.
Later on stage, Columbia performs her musical number while Technical Boy watches from his table. She strips, tossing her hat to Technical Boy, who joins in the applause when she finishes.
Posing as a bishop, Wednesday goes to the record store and look at the jacket, and Wednesday tells Shadow that the jacket has rubbed shoulders with famous rock swingers. He says that he's a bishop, and the attendant Carl takes the jacket out of its case and says that it only costs $7,500. Wednesday takes out an envelope and says that he'll pay cash, and asks to try it on. As Carl checks the bill, Wednesday puts on the jacket and gives Carl a tip. Shadow comes in with two mall security guards, arrests Wednesday, and says that Wednesday is wanted for counterfeiting and he's a Secret Service agent. He checks the bills and they turn out counterfeit, and takes Wednesday away... still wearing the jacket, which Shadow says is evidence. Before he goes, Shadow gives Carl receipt and a card, tells the clerk that he served his country.
Once they duck into a closed backroom, Shadow figures that they'll hide out there until the mall closes and then sneaks out. Before he uncuffs Wednesday, Shadow asks for information on Wednesday's son. Wednesday says that his son died, and that Donar was his real name and he shares many qualities with Shadow. Shadow wonders why Thor didn't come back, and Wednesday says that there are certain deaths that the gods can't come back from. When Shadow asks how a god can die, Wednesday tells him that the interrogation is over and Shadow uncuffs him.
Donar continues winning, and later at the theater, Manfred tells him to consider his new proposal or Donar and his friends will regret it. Once he leaves, Donar punches the wall in frustration. Nancy tells him to breath and count, and that he has plenty of choices. Donar explains that Manfred has ordered him to lose to the German contestant, and Nancy says that he's sorry. When the German god doesn't understand why they want him to lose, Nancy tells him about a little boy god born among goddesses who couldn't rule, and traveled through time to steal fire lances from the gods. They attempted to destroy his homeland, and Nancy says that he is that boy and his homeland still exists but not for him. Nancy tells Donar that he doesn't want to win the championship and says that there is no honor in winning a rigged game. He tells Donar that he's not like them.
Columbia comes in and calls to Donar, who goes with her.
Wednesday gives Dvalin the jacket and says that it will give him strength. Dvalin lets its power flow through him and goes to work inscribing Gungnir. The runes appear and Dvalin sits back down with the effort after telling Wednesday that the spear is ready.
Alarms go off in the technical center.
Wednesday tells Gungnir that it started the first war and now there's one last step.
The Caretaker and New Media look at the monitors. World shuts them off, then tells New Media that the runes have been etched and things are happening ahead of schedule.
Donar lifts weights to clear his head, and tells Columbia that they should go to California immediately. Columbia kisses him and Donar tells her to meet him at the backdoor after the last show. They pledge themselves to each other and kiss, while Wednesday's ravens watch from outside.
As Columbia packs, Wednesday knocks at her door. She hides her luggage and calls him in, and Wednesday brings Technical Boy in. He returns her hat and says that he's her future, and Wednesday tells Columbia that Technical Boy has a proposition for her that he fully endorses. Technical Boy says that they need a goddess of substance to take them into the war that's coming, and knows that she was doing great until Madame Liberty came along and stole her worshippers. Soon the people will forget Columbia, and Columbia says that Liberty is Latin and was a gift from the French. Technical Boy wants Columbia to save the American Way with a little more "Our Lady of the War Effort". Columbia says that she needs a minute to think about it, and Technical Boy agrees.
Once they're alone, Wednesday tells Columbia that Donar left with the Germans to build his immortality. He advises Columbia to do the same and leaves. He goes to the alley where Donar is waiting for Columbia. Donar says that he's going to California and refuses to be the humans' puppet. He insists that he will form his own destiny with the woman he loves. Wednesday tells him that Columbia isn't coming because she's exploring other opportunities. He tells Donar to throw the match and secure his worship. Donar refuses, saying that Wednesday doesn't have a show without him. Wednesday slams his cane down, turning it into Gungnir, and Donar draws his hammer. They fight, slamming their weapons together, and the shattered Gungnir falls to the alley. Wednesday kneels and picks up the two pieces, and tells Donar that he can't walk away from the power that is to come. Donar walks away and Wednesday screams in fury.
As Shadow drives Wednesday away, Shadow apologizes for upsetting him. Wednesday says that it was ghosts from the past, and tells Shadow that he regrets nothing.
Donar kills himself with a shotgun in Philadelphia in 1942.
Shadow realizes that suicide is the only death that gods can't come back from, and Wednesday admits that he has no idea if the Valkyries took Donar to Valhalla.
Wednesday sits alone on the stage and sings to himself, mourning his son's death.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 15, 2019