So I began reading the American gods novel right after episode one and I finished it only recently and something’s been bothering me about the show and makes me a bit concerned for it’s future. It seems to me like they’re using a lot of scenes from the whole book throughout the show, such as introducing Ostara at the end of the season as opposed to the end of the story as a whole. Mr. World also appears extremely early but I get that as it introduces us to the supposed big bad of the show. Laura’s decomposition is also sped up rapidly from the book when they show her spitting out grave worms, a small scene yes, but one that doesn’t happen till the end. There are more but I don’t want to spoil any upcoming story points.
My point is that at the end of the show I feel like they had gone through the entire book but left out many key events only to find out they’re way back towards the beginning of the story.
For all my worry though I did love this episode but I have some questions: Was the “king” challenging bilquis a mortal with a symbolic crown or another god trying to steal her worship? Also am I supposed to believe that Shadow still doesn’t get that they’re gods? It feels like he should’ve picked up on that awhile back but instead we get a confused and almost unbudging Shadow who looks at the end of his wits when he gives Laura that super dopey grin at the end, like “oh good, my dead wife is back again, at least that’s more normal than this shit”. My only other complaint is that Odin’s lightning strike seemed kindof lackluster and all the tap dancing minions just sorta jumped a foot and fell down. It seems like a missed opportunity to emphasize on the real power Odin still possesses. I think that’s it for now but thanks for taking the time to read this and please keep up the awesome work. Thanks for all you do,
P.s. I don’t keep up much with social media but I can imagine all the Christians are pissed about Jesus con 2017 and it amuses me to no end.
That episode was epic! It had everything we needed to cap off season one. That was not a cliff-hanger but a momentum builder to roll into season 2!
As a book reader, I appreciate the side roads the show is taking to create filler. For example, Bilquis gets nowhere near this much time in the book but I appreciate knowing her back story. The extra context for Bilquis, Laura and Sweeney gives me a nice epiphany that didn’t come from the book. As usual, Gillian Anderson steals it when she’s on screen but this episode belongs to Kristin Chenoweth!
Anderson and even Ian McShane take back seat to the seductive bubbly charm that is Ostara of the Dawn! As cool as Odin’s reveal was, she stole that scene too! From Shadow’s love struck gaze to her conversation with Laura and Sweeney, her presence was magnetic and I can’t wait to see how the show uses her in season 2. I can’t wait to hear this season’s final confessional. It feels like the last day of school as we go on a short vacation till the next show. Whatever show you guys cover next, count me in. (really pushing for Stranger Things) I know a good team when I hear one.
I finally caught up with American Gods TV show. Just in time for the last episode of the season. Big thank you for your recommendation. Without your podcast I would not even know about this show. I did not read the book but as a Czech immigrant living in the USA it was interesting topic for me. In the Czech Republic we do have a different tradition for Christmas celebration, Easter holiday, St. Nicholas day, and etc. However, I am not living within a Czech community in Chicago and I don’t have a chance to celebrate the holidays the way we do in my country. So I do celebrate them the way as my American friends do. I don’t speak my native language much and most people cannot pronounce my name correctly. That is the part of assimilation with different culture therefore the lost for the gods.
The last episode was perhaps the best so far. I had some moments I really enjoyed and some issues which I will go over in more depth. This episode was a big reminder that there are no good and bad gods. All gods will just mess with human life just because they can as point out by Mad Sweeney. Mr. Wednesday killed Laura just to have Shadow available to him, Ostara took a spring from people just to make a point. No matter how many people will get affected by it as far as they will pray to their gods. At the beginning I didn’t like the way how the new gods were performed by the actors because it felt flat and without emotion. Now I understand that they are emotionless because that is the nature of their worship. Media and Technical boy said that is all game of numbers. They do not care about individual followers as far the numbers are high. Everyone and everything is replaceable and for convenience only. Even within their inner circle (Media, Tech boy and Mr. World) they don’t display any emotions they only coexist. This is exactly how people behave with social media and technology. We do not have a real emotion with our phones and computers. We use our technology only for the convenience and entertainment. We are not keeping black and white TV for the sentiment we just replace the old technology with new.
The best part of this episode for me was the story of Bilquis. Every time when Yetide Bakadi is on screen she steels the show. This time we saw Bilquis in her absolute power. Her orgy scene was a piece of art. Everything was set perfectly, the music did not disrupt the scene, no direct dialog, only the voice of the narrator telling the story. It was a sensational intimacy opposed to sexual aggression as we can often see on TV. I think Technical boy wants to use Bilquis not only to infiltrate the old gods but seduce Shadow and use her “gun” to remove him and weaken Mr. Wednesday. This episode strongly suggested that Mr. Wednesday is only using Shadow as his backup plan. He picked Shadow as nonbeliever to turn him into his follower and secure his immortality as long as Shadow believe in him. Furthermore, I think that Mr. Wednesday hopes that Shadow will try to protect him even if that could lead to his death. This would present blood sacrifice and great deal of power to Mr. Wednesday.
The weakest part of the episode was Ricky Whittle. To me he is not experienced or talented actor to play this part. When they arrive to Easter party and Shadow sees Ostara for the first time Ricky Whittle – excuse my language – puts on his idiotic smile similar to 5 years old boy who sees candy for the first time. I thought I am going to turn off the TV. No man in his age would behave this way!! I can list a million reasons why but it is already long email. But the worse was about to come. The most important scene of the episode was the major confrontation between old and new gods and demonstration of Ostara and Mr. Wednesday’s power. Not only we got confirmation of Mr. Wednesday identity but Shadow for the first time admitted publicly and to himself that he believes. I am atheist with respect for all religions out there. If I would have seen what Shadow have, I would have believed myself. To become a believer and have a faith it’s a major personal revolution. Ricky Whittle did not even try to convey emotions but just put on his “all occasions” face expression and kept the same monotone voice as usual. So disappointing.
Overall I like the show. I think for the most parts it’s smart, sophisticated, and intellectual. I will give a try next season.
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 “leave ‘em 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 background…Bilquis 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
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 ☺
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.
Great episode, although I did find the tone of the I am Ooooodin! shout a bit cheesy… it had one of the best moments in the show so for me: Mr. Wednesday dedicating the death of one of Media’s faceless goons in the name of Ostara… an interesting mechanic, which had me wondering, can the old gods actually feed on a death that is dedicated to them? would the nature of that offering matter? I suspect that this particular sacrifice was not only a sign of respect or courtesy, but what empowered her to actually enable her to dry up crops and put the fertility on hold.
keep up the awesome work on the podcast! your fan from Mexico