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In American Gods Season 1 Episode 05, Shadow and Wednesday are arrested in their motel room for robbing the bank in a previous episode. Later the detective explains how the police got their location:

The detective questioning Shadow is intrigued by the tip she got on the two criminals: A fax, complete with GPS coordinates, provided using the same technology that helped catch Osama bin Laden. ” You two have very extravagant enemies,” she notes.

Mr.World had to kill everyone in the police station to meet Shadow and Wednesday.

Mr. World’s violence continues on the way out; when Shadow and Mr. Wednesday finally emerge, they realize that everyone in the precinct is dead.

Why did Mr.World involve the police and gave them the coordinates? If they needed to talk to Shadow and Wednesday, why didn't they just go to the motel room since they had the coordinates?

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Firstly, there's a chance Wednesday would sense them coming, and would get away. They couldn't have a decent conversation then, and Mr. World made it very clear they wanted to part on respectful terms, having made their proposal. However, in the room Wednesday and Shadow were kept, Media, World, and Technical Boy were able to enter unobstructed, through the only exit, so it was very much their ground.

Secondly, it was a show of power. Wednesday is on the wrong side of the law (after the robbery), but the new gods aren't - or at least, they're useful to the law, with the satellites and all the like. They wanted to show Wednesday that they had the capability to track him if the wanted, and that he had something, namely the whole of law enforcement, to be aware of.

Thirdly, I think it's the matter of not getting their hands dirty. Gods, both in the novel and in the series so far, operate through proxies - Wednesday has Shadow, Technical Boy had those dumb henchmen. It's possible (though unlikely) that the New Gods don't want to be on the wrong side of law enforcement as well, and the law enforcement was looking for the bank robber anyway. In this case Mr. World simply used the policy in place of his own men, but disposed of them as they became unnecessary (which could be seen as yet another show of power).

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I'll quibble a bit with @Gallifreyan's answer. Without giving anything away, Wednesday has no reason to flee from the new gods.

It was certainly a show of power. The vast amount of information provided were to impress upon Shadow how much trouble the new gods could cause for him. He is extremely important to both Wednesday's and Mr World's respective plans. They both want him on their side. This was Mr. World's way of pointing out how good they could make his life if he sides with them, and how bad they can make it if he doesn't.

Second, the gods each have their own flavor of magic. Wednesday is a god of war. His power comes from death and sacrifice. He's also a god of deception. His abilities are strengthened when he is sacrificed to, and those abilities are, in part, the ability to deceive. This is why he was able to talk his way onto a plane in first class without a ticket and why he was able to con a few hundred thousand dollars out of people with a uniform and a clipboard. That wasn't smooth talking, it was magic.

Similarly the new gods are only able to act through channels which are aligned with their nature. Media is able to control television, display illusions, mimic celebrity, etc. Her power is that of illusion. She couldn't physically overpower either Shadow or Wednesday. The Technical Boy utilizes virtual reality, high technology, and communications. It was probably his power which was used to supply all of the tracking information to the police. Physically the information at his fingertips is only useful insofar as it can be used to drive the machinery of law enforcement. Mr World has access to a lot of information, and he's certainly the leader of the new gods, but we haven't really seen any more than that. He's not a war god, he's not a god of guns or of death like Vulcan or Chernobog respectively. So he would have had no useful power in a motel room either.

So the answer as to why the new gods used the police is that their power is all indirect. They have the power to use the systems of law enforcement, government, and corporate power to act upon humans. But they don't have super powers like Laura does.

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    The "kiss" she sent to Technical Boy was pretty much physically overpowering, won't you say? – Gallifreyan Jun 15 '17 at 6:03
  • Hrm, fair enough. I was remembering that as a punch; had to go back and check. Still, that could be an illusion to intimidate Shadow, or it could be something at the limits of Media's power. Guess we'll have to watch and see. – Necoras Jun 15 '17 at 15:58

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