Is Bilquis Shadow Moon’s Mother?
I really loved the podcast this week. While waiting for the confessional last week, I tried another podcast. Never again. I’ve learned my lesson. You guys are just on such a different level than the other podcasts out there.
I spent Monday a bit upset after watching the episode. Listening to Gene and Big D (missed you, Rog) this week really turned me around. I realized that there was a lot to love about the episode, once I got past the usual complaints about style and pacing.
My biggest issue with this episode was that I didn’t feel I got closure. There were so many new storylines started, or hinted at, but they were not referenced again. For example, the curse on Vulcan bullets. It didn’t need to be fully resolved, but just another clue that it was important and not that someone thought peeing into a volcano would be a quirky statement of defiance. The big reveal was Wednesday=Odin, but that was to be expected. Even for non-book people, there were plenty of extra hints that the show threw in along the way. We are left with a bunch of cliffhangers, or rather a whole pile of questions. I understand leaveem wanting more, but I was left unsatisfied and cranky.
There is clearly a lot of effort that went into the tiny details in the show. I guess I would just have liked a bit more confirmation on the details that are there on purpose (e.g. Laura’s lucky 7s), and where I am just inventing connections (e.g. Floki). Plus, the room 55 Easter egg reveal bothered me. We knew there was something to that number, but it turned out to be something very few people could have figured out; a frickin’ page number. Of the dozens of things the audience has found, THAT is what they choose to confirm? Rant over.
I enjoyed hearing a backstory for Bilquis, another nice addition to the show. Aside from the clear girl-power theme that runs through the entire episode, there was reinforcement of the idea of organized religion vs organic beliefs. New gods vs old gods. Episode 7 had me thinking of Mother Church as an early incarnation of media; spreading her message through missionaries. Converting pagans by allowing them to keep their festivals and rituals, but overlaying these with their own icons; re-routing devotion and imposing a new moral code to keep it coming. They even unleashed a plague, in the form of AIDS, to highlight the dangers of opposing the code.
The old gods adapt or die. Remember when Netflix approached Blockbuster for a partnership but were turned down flat? Remember Blockbuster?
Right from the start of the Coming to America story, I got a very strong baby mama vibe from Bilquis.
Some additional backgroundBilquis had one son, Menelik, with King Solomon:
- Menelik was entrusted with the Ark of the Covenant, which he took to Ethiopia
- He is said to have been buried with the Ark somewhere that only Bilquis knew about (knows about). I suppose if you find one, you find the other. Doesn’t the Ark have the power to wipe out entire armies or something?
- His dynasty, the Lion of Judah, ruled in Ethiopia from circa 900 BCE to 1974 (BTW, this dynasty is also responsible for Rastafarians. Bob Marley was a Rastafarian. Some may even say he was a god. He was compared to Anansi in a biography that I have failed to find)
They are certainly building a connection between her and Shadow.
- Temple of Bar’an = Temple of the Moon
- The red moon is a lunar eclipse which happens when the sun, the earth, and the moon are in exact alignment. More precisely, it’s when the moon is completely in the earth’s shadow. Shadow Moon
- Dancing queen
- Bilquis is on the plane to America in 1979, same as the date on Shadow’s lucky coin (Thanks to Leticia del Puerto @leticiadelp on twitter for raising this one)
- Bilquis is headed for California, and in the book, Shadow lived with his mother in California (I can’t remember if they have said that in the show, but I tend to zone out whenever Ricky Whittle is on)
- Mr. World makes a point to say that Shadow’s mom had 86 sexual partners in her life (that line has been bothering me since episode 5, it’s just too random to be random)
Are they planning to build a little love triangle between Wed, Easter, and Bilquis?
The Easter scenes were also pretty great. Jesus offered a nice bit of comic relief, although they did seem to recycle the taking Christ’s name in vain joke a lot. I loved the way Wednesday manipulated Ostara and played on her insecurities. He laid the foundations, probably knowing that Media would approach the situation with arrogance. Easter taking back the spring, and becoming Ostara again, was a very cool twist as well.
Some Easter Easter eggs:
- When she looked into Laura’s eyes, she sees a raven and a leprechaun at the moment of Laura’s death
- When Easter starts to get aggravated, there is a fly buzzing around her Âº
- When Odin makes a sacrifice in her name, Ostara gets a massive power boost. This instantly came to mind
You guys made a great point this week about the fact that gods are created to explain the unexplainable. With science, there is no need to believe in goddesses of fertility and creation. Ostara caused complete devastation to both show that there are still things that cannot be explained and to create that fear and desperation needed to make people pray. It showed the cruelty (selfishness?) of the gods and underlines that fragile relationship between loving your god and fearing your god. Question is, do the gods even love their people at all, or is it really just a numbers game? One thing for sure, Sweeney loved Essie.
One last point to highlight. When Sweeney spills the beans about Odin messing with Laura, she asks about her perfect plan to rob the casino. He simply says she didn’t account for divine intervention, but he does NOT say specifically that it was Odin. That’s because it wasn’t, it was Loki.
Gillian wrote to me this week with some excellent points on this episode. Hopefully she will share them with you as well, but I will post her email later today. FYI, my blog has moved to jezziebell.com. I’ll be posting a few American Gods follow-ups over the next couple of weeks, but I also have a backlog of crazy Westworld theories to share.
This has been fun. Looking forward to your GoT show, but I am looking forward to your nasty tweets episode even more.
Love from London,
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