American Gods has released its third episode today, and with it one of the most explicit gay sex scenes ever shown on television.
The Starz fantasy series sees depressed salesman Salim (Omid Abtahi) finds himself in a cab driven by a jinn – who you might call a genie, an ancient Arab god. Mousa Kraish plays the centuries-old taxi driver and the two connect.
Each episode departs from the main story for a Coming to America segment, showing how other humans interact with these ‘gods’ that walk among them.
Neil Gaiman, who wrote the original novel, said the experience of watching the finished onscreen result was ‘absolute amazement and absolute joy’.
Run by gay writer and director Bryan Fuller and his producing partner Michael Green, they said they wanted the scene to be ‘undeniably beautiful for even those who were uncomfortable with same-sex romance’.
The scene begins Salim kept waiting in an office wearing an ill-fitting suit and a box of trinkets to sell. The hours tick by but no one wants to see him.
After hours of waiting, he is forced out into the pouring rain of New York City. His taxi driver keeps his sunglasses on even at night.
But soon they talk about Oman, where Salim is from, and an ancient city from long ago.
His taxi driver falls asleep in the traffic. Salim goes to shake him awake, and as he does the sunglasses fall away. And in the rear view mirror, Salim sees eyes that burn with fire.
Salim recognizes the jinn for what he is. The jinn said he had been at the wheel for 30 hours trying to make a buck, and the two connect over their misfortune.
They reach Salim’s hotel, and nervously, the salesman offers up his room number.
The jinn goes to shower, and Salim undresses. Once the bathroom door opens, the jinn drops his towel to reveal a huge penis. (You can see it on the show, sorry we can’t show it here!)
‘I wish you could see what I could see,’ Salim says, as he gets on his knees.
‘I do not grant wishes,’ the jinn says. The two kiss and get on the bed.
They kiss deeply and passionately.
And then, the jinn prepares Salim.
They have sex slowly and sensually, with any kind of trepidation falling away.
And as it reaches the climax…
The world falls away, and the couple are transported to the deserts of ancient Oman. The jinn fills Salim with an ejaculation of flame.
And Salim can feel it in every part of him.
The next day, and Salim awakes. The jinn is nowhere to be found. Salim’s clothes and belongings are gone, and the taxi driver’s stuff only remains.
Getting dressed, Salim dons the sunglasses and begins his new life working behind the wheel.
Speaking at an American Gods screening at a EW panel, Green said: ‘The more Bryan and I talked about it and the more he brought his perspective into it, I saw it as a story of a god giving a man permission to be himself and to enjoy sex and to be made love to.’
American Gods actor: ‘It was just so beautiful’
‘Just seeing two Middle Eastern men represented in that way, with humor and love and joy…it’s taken me 11 years to get to that,’ Kraish said.
And Abtahi said: ‘It was just so fucking beautiful. I’m so proud to be a part of it.’
While the original novel only featured Salim and the jinn in one segment, viewers will be able to see more of their story going forward.
American Gods airs on Starz and Amazon. The third episode is out now.