Before being one of the primary antagonists of American Gods, Technical Boy was a failure of an inventor.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for American Gods Season 3, Episode 5, “Sister Rising,” which aired Sunday on Starz.
Technical Boy has primarily been an antagonist in American Gods. Along with being one of the New Gods, Technical Boy is the personification of the internet and is an expert on all things technology. While he is a powerful foe, after an encounter with Bilquis, the deity is glitching; however, this isn’t the first time Technical Boy has been at a disadvantage.
While he is a New God, Season 3, Episode 5, “Sister Rising,” establishes that Technical started out as a failed inventor. Back in 1893, Technical Boy was displaying his latest invention at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This was the place to be for inventors, with the Exposition introducing the Ferris Wheel, the moving sidewalk, Juicy Fruit Gum and Crackerjacks. While this was a great place to be for those embracing modern technology, con artists and tricksters saw their way of life falling out of favor with the masses.
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This was particularly true the Magnificent Maximilian, Illusionist Extraordinaire. His tricks were now dated, with even children being able to predict what he would do next. What didn’t help was Technical Boy’s marvelous automaton, which claimed to make steam power obsolete. His robot initially drew in crowds with its ability to write on its own; however, it could only write a single message.
Even this new technology couldn’t keep the crowd entertained, but it still stole Maximilian’s audience for a brief moment. Despite this, the washed up magician approaches Technical Boy as a friend. Upon introduction, it’s revealed the usually showy New God was originally a son of temperance, as well as a “student of the technological and mechanical arts;” however, instead of being with the other inventors, Technical Boy is stuck with the entertainers because he misplaced his application. Without being in the proper hall, his technical marvel does not fit in with the rest of the performers, and the audience is not as interested as those would be in the Machinery Hall.
While his automaton did not keep audience’s attention, Technical Boy stands by it, predicting technology will perform all menial tasks in the future, so his robot is simply the beginning. He is right that his machine is incredible, but without the public appeal, Technical Boy can’t make back his money, investing his life savings into the robot; therefore, he cannot expand his technology.
Taking pity on the young inventor, Maximilian advises him to make the automaton more dazzling, but Technical Boy claims this will take months, so Maximilian tells him to fake it until he can actually make it. In light of this, Technical Boy dresses up the automaton and has it play chess with paying customers; however, he is hiding in its control box, manipulating the pieces himself. While the crowd is unaware of this, Maximilian bursts in, reveals Technical Boy as a sham and earns back his audience.
This beaten down Technical Boy is a far cry from his New God self; however, it does explain his eagerness to prove his worth, especially in the eyes of Mr. World, the man in charge of the New Gods. Prior to having any power, Technical Boy just wanted to prove his work was truly remarkable, but few people believed in him.
As a god, he thinks he is now above the humans who formerly looked down on him, but after Bilquis made him see the horrors of war, he’s been brought down several pegs. Furthermore, after going to save Bilquis with Shadow Moon, he realizes that even a kidnapped Bilquis doesn’t need him or his help, breaking free of her captors on her own. Seeing her free causes Technical Boy to run off until he comes across his automaton, and he hides in its control box, just like he did in Chicago. With how things are going, the self absorbed Technical Boy is getting the painful reminder that just because he’s a New God doesn’t mean he is better than others.
Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, American Gods stars Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning, Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Ian McShane, Omid Abtahi and Ashley Reyes. The series airs Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.
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