Archive for category American Gods
Spoilers might haunt you.
This week we take a little stroll down memory lane and find out the story of Laura and Shadow. Laura was a dealer at a casino. Shadow was a small time crook who knew a couple of tricks with cards and chips. They met the day that Shadow tried a few sleight of hands at Laura’s table that would’ve gone missing to most people but not to Laura’s keen eye. This is not a fairy love story.
The fact they end up together is an unexpected story, but once they do it’s obvious to everyone that Shadow loves Laura more than she can love him. Before Shadow, Laura’s only thrill seems to be committing near suicide inside a jacuzzi with a can of insecticide (the Git Gone of the title). Now she wants more of life, basically she wants to rob the casino with what she thinks is a near perfect plan. Of course Shadow gets caught, but he’s not one to rat out the love of his life. He prefers to rot in jail for six years.
Laura is mostly idle, until the death of her cat and getting drunk one night makes her take the shitty impulsive decision of fucking Robbie. This keeps going until the very day that they drive to pick Shadow up, where fooling around causes them to have an accident. Enter Mr. Jacquel / Anubis again, as he tries to lead a very reluctant Laura through her death. Which requires her to enter a jacuzzi with a can of Git Gone all over again. Instead, she is literally beamed up and ends up digging herself out of the grave.
She seems to have some sort of undead strength. She’s revealed as the force that ripped apart Technical Boy’s goons and saved Shadow from death by hanging. That somehow costs her arm to fall off, which I can only guess was due to the original car accident. Carrying back her own arm, she ends up breaking into Audrey’s trying to saw her arm back together. In a humorous twist, she encounters Audrey to have a bizarre conversation. It’s one of the few moments of lightness in this episode, albeit of a somewhat dark variety.
But as Laura convinces betrayed Audrey to drive her in pursuit of the light she sees in the horizon, they are met with Mr. Jacquel and Mr. Ibis (Anubis and Thoth). It seems they’re willing to help Laura by securely fastening her arm and giving her skin a retouch so she can meet Shadow. However Mr. Jacques is quick to point out that after this, she will finish the death ritual with him.
- Mr. Jacquel and Mr. Ibis own a funeral home. Because of course they do.
- Laura never let her heart/soul be weighted on the scales of Mr. Jacques. As much as Mr. Jacques insists that others have begged, promised, bluffed and threaten they all submitted to Death in the end. Perhaps the denial period is longer for some people.
- Audrey and Laura should have a spinoff in which they keep hurling insults at each other. You can’t help but love Audrey’s comebacks to Laura’s half assed apologies at sleeping with her husband. “Fuck your feelings.” Instant classic.
- Laura must have Mad Sweeney’s lucky coin. Perhaps she has swallowed it? Perhaps she can make it appear with sleight of hand.
- Dane Cook plays Robbie, who turns out to be an asshole. I really want to put some reference over how that was not a stretch, but I will hold back. Whew. That was close.
- Someone else has to be involved in Laura coming back to life, as in some other god.
- When Laura is getting her arm reattached and her skin painted by Mr. Jacquel and Mr. Ibis, I had a flashback to Death Becomes Her.
- However, the fact that she was not dragged back to the ethereal plane means she’s made a deal with death or being offered a reprieve. That usually comes with an exchange of some sort.
That will do for now.
Spoilers might drop from the skies.
Shadow is not crazy, but it does seem like the show is. The surreal rules the storyline of American Gods, but at least we have a direction. We’re going to Wisconsin. It’s not Valhalla, but… Wait, actually perhaps it is. Anything is possible here. The balance of crazy has to be made with care. Too much crazy and it becomes silly. You want crazy weird, not crazy stupid. Look up David Lynch for a master class.
I have to say Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are giving Lynch a run for his money, at least in the visual imagery that drips the right mix of weird off the screen. The fact that the source material comes from the mind of Neil Gaiman is the best of starts you could wish for, but without the right color palette, the right music and a superb cast, you’d bore your audience.
I enjoyed the opening story of the God of Death, Anubis, as he claims the soul of an old woman. The visuals of them ascending up the fire escape, then up stone steps and finally into the desert were powerful and somehow subtle.
Shadow has his own fire escape moment as he meets Zorya Polunochnaya, the third sister who sleeps during the day and watches the skies at night. It’s not a coincidence that she’s the young, virgin one. She also takes the moon, gives it to him as a silver coin, and takes a kiss from him. Did Shadow dreamed it up? Nope, the silver coin is in his pocket.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wednesday remembers better days and a past fling with Zorya Vechernyaya, all the while making it rain. Actual rain.
Shadow manages to snare Czernobog into another game of checkers. This time, he proposes giving him a second go at the hammer, in case he doesn’t die with the first. Shadow wins, which means Czernobog will come with them – but Shadow still owes him one hammer strike. No time, it’s morning and Mr. Wednesday has a bank to rob.
We have an interlude story. A salesman waits for an appointment that is never honored, only to be waiting all day. After being told to call for another appointment, he leaves the office without seeing the man he wanted to see. Outside, he takes a cab to find out it’s driven by the Jinn, a being with eyes of fire. He states he does not grant wishes. The Jinn and the salesman go to a hotel and make love. In the morning, the Jinn is gone. Or is he? The salesman dresses up in the Jinn’s clothes and steps into the taxi. Has he become him?
Back at the bank, Mr. Wednesday wants Shadow to think about snow. Meanwhile, there’s errands to run. Things to obtain. Business cards to print. And Shadow must take note of the number of the public phone across the street from the bank. When everything’s in place, snow falls and Mr. Wednesday appears in a security guard getup. He stands in front of the deposit box (now “broken” as well as the ATM) and takes people’s deposits while asking them to sign a form. When the police questions him, he produces a card which calls the number across the street. Shadow picks up, corroborates his story, and even offers the police officer a job.
Mad Sweeney has completely lost his luck and has realized he’s inadvertently given Shadow his original lucky coin. By the time he catches up with him and Mr. Wednesday, he’s seen better days. Shadow has no problem telling him he’s left that coin on top of his late wife’s burial grounds. That makes Sweeny go all the way back there and dig to find that Laura Moon (and his coin) are not here.
And somewhere in America, Shadow Moon opens the door to his motel room to find his dead wife waiting for him.
- I loved the story about Death, specially when her heart had to be measured on the scales and it was good despite what she perceived as flaws. We’re much too self-critical of the sins of the past that have shaped us. Okey, sorry I had an Obi-Wan moment.
- Zorya P grabbing the moon and handing it to Shadow as a coin. There was something just poetic about that.
- I was scared that Mad Sweeney would take Shadow’s silver coin due to the fact he’s lost his original lucky coin, and his luck in the process.
- I don’t remember if Czernobog ever swing his hammer at Shadow. I could look it up in the book to remind me, but I’d rather watch the series instead.
- The Jinn’s eyes are made of fire just like the buffalo in Shadow’s vision. That can’t be a coincidence.
- The jazz-like background music does remind me of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Not that this show has not made its own weirdness. However, much weirdness do owe their reception of crazy to Twin Peaks’ run.
- With the three Zorya sisters representing three different generations, I was reminded of the three aspects of fate. I’m ashamed to say I know more from Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality than the original story from Roman and Greek mythology.
That will do for now.
Spoilers might follow the lightning.
This week’s episode of American Gods is called The Secret of Spoons. Honest, that’s the name. Swear to G- Ahem, let’s leave out the swearing for a while. This week we have a powerful and charged intro as we meet the African trickster god Anansi, played by Orlando Jones, as he incites a rebellion onboard a slave ship. Anansi (or Mr. Nancy as he will be known later on) is not offering them to live free, but to die. To kill their new masters and torch the ship. Mr. Nancy does appear to reach the shore in his spider form.
Shadow will also meet another divinity by the name of Media. A goddess that appears to him through the TV screens of a department store, playing the role of I Love Lucy. Media is played by Gillian Anderson and has an offer for Shadow. Ditch Mr. Wednesday, work for her instead. Shadow honestly starts to consider he’s going mad at this point.
And finally, we visit the home of three slavic sisters and their relative Czernobog. As it should be obvious by now, everyone quirky in this series is either an Old God, a New God or something else in the mythical realm. So obviously Mr. Wednesday is talking to Slavic deities. Czernobog, who has a job slaying cattle, yearns for the old days in which he used his hammer to do the deed. He refers to Mr. Wednesday as Votan. The fact that this name is invoked and Mr. Wednesday also refers to a hammer of his own should confirm that Mr. Wednesday is (or was) the God of War, Odin.
Just don’t expect the Avengers to burst in.
Shadow gets another unexpected challenge. Czernobog wants to play checkers. Halfway through the game, he suggests a bet. If he loses, he will go with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday to lend their support to their cause (a cause we’ve yet to hear explained). But if he wins, he gets to kill Shadow with his hammer at sunrise. Overwhelmed and possibly a little confused at his crazy situation, Shadow accepts. Unfortunately for him, Czernobog proceeds to win the game.
- You couldn’t cast anybody to play up that intro scene more than Orlando Jones. Mr. Nancy is going to be a force of nature.
- Gillian Anderson plays Media, the goddess of information. She also plays a really messed up Lucy Ricardo.
- Cloris Leachman, Martha Kelly and Peter Stormare appear as old slavic gods Zorya Vechernyaya, Zorya Utrennyaya and Czernobog. We never get the name of the third sister. We never get to see her either.
- Bilquis keeps feeding. She takes both male and female.
- Shadow has started to see his wife in visions/dreams. Is Laura Moon following them?
- I have to say, so far I can’t help but love the casting. I can’t way to see what the New Gods and the Old Gods are preparing.
That will do for now.