Archive for category American Gods

Series Issues: Finale Thoughts as American Gods Comes to Jesus

You should believe in spoilers coming your way.

american-gods-s1e8-ostara

(Source: Starz)

American Gods might have been taking the last few weeks to set the stage and show you what world is it you are living in, but this week the cards get put in the table with Come To Jesus.

But first, a story. Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones at its campy best) is a tailor. The best possible career for someone that works the threads. He’s making Mr. Wednesday and Shadow some new suits when he talks about an Old Goddess. It’s a little history and a lot of passion with the tale of Bilquis.

You can’t help but be fascinated about Bilquis. She starts off strong, living off orgies and the kings who would take her down. But through the ages she’s not only forgotten, but finds herself down on her luck. “Anger gets shit done,” proclaims Mr. Nancy. Persecution against hedonism, againsts carefree love and against freedom of thought does her in. She’s forced to leave her homeland. She soon forgets herself and ends up homeless in the street. She watches her temples get demolished by followers of fanaticism.

Until Technical Boy hands her a phone, the internet, and a way to still instill lust. And then we understand how she survived. That puts her, somewhat reluctantly, on the New Gods side. Old Gods made New.

american-gods-s1e8-come-to-jesus

(Source: Starz)

That is also what they want of Ostara (Kristin Chenoweth), the Goddess of Easter. But before Media, Technical Boy and Mr. World can pitch the thought, we get to watch Shadow and Mr. Wednesday have their turn. Chenoweth plays Ostara with the flare of a celebrity, an over-the-top ostentatious hostess. Well, I thought she was overdoing it until Media arrives. That being said, let’s not go there yet…

Mr. Wednesday and Shadow are not the only ones calling on Ostara. As it happens, a very familiar ice cream truck arrives at her mansion. Mad Sweeney is calling upon Ostara’s gift of Resurrection for Laura Moon. Ostara is less than thrilled of having a dead girl in her fancy party in the beginning, but she does come around to helping Laura. That is, until she senses something in the way she became deceased. Laura’s death was arranged by a God. You can imagine which one.

Before the end of the party, Media will make her entrance. Gillian Anderson plays an southern belle that might just overplay Chenoweth’s very own. With Technical Boy and Mr. World joining in, it’s time for the Old Gods and the New Gods to have their first confrontation. It will definitely not be their last.

And Laura Moon would like a word with her husband.

Finale Thoughts:

  • I wasn’t sure about Kristin Chenoweth as Ostara. Seems she ended up being perfectly casted as the Goddess of Easter.
  • I can’t wait until Bilquis meets Mr. Wednesday, or Shadow for that matter. However, I really want her to step away from the control of the Old Gods. Technical Boy is out of his league thinking he can boss her around.
  • Media is going to be the real antagonist to beat.
  • Laura Moon is close to falling apart. Does she get a chance to be resurrected? Forget the book, does that need to happen? In my opinion, not quite yet. Perhaps a partial reprieve from death.
  • It was a little unwise for Mad Sweeney to take Laura to the one goddess that could reveal that Laura’s death was his own doing. Laura wastes no time in running up Sweeney up the wall, but she doesn’t want the lackey – she wanted to hear Wednesday’s name.
  • We get Wednesday’s name in a reveal that could be considered the worst kept secret. He’s Odin.
  • The Easter bunnies, the faceless men in top hats, the crazy colors… Holy crap, I was expecting Willy Wonka to show up around the corner. A very technicolor episode if there was one. Yes, I know I should say hi-def instead.
  • The very sensible explanation from Ostara regarding Jesus. Everyone sees him differently, therefore there are several versions of him.
  • Shadow Moon gets to talk to Jesus Prime about belief. That being said, this scene is literally the only reason to use Jesus in the title. Ostara gets cheated out of her own episode. I think the episode use the name as clickbait, because he’s a background character at best.
  • Shadow has a new vision in which he crawls out of a sea of skulls and finds the white buffalo with fire for eyes.
  • When Mad Sweeney gets pressed (and almost crushed) by Laura, he reveals how they wanted Shadow to have nothing left to care in the world. But was really Shadow a completely random choice, as unimportant as Sweeney says? In this world where perception is truth, he’s now a crucial element of Wednesday’s plans.
  • The confrontation happens as Mr. Wednesday makes a show of power. Laura finally catches up with both Shadow and Mr. Wednesday after learning the truth about her own murder. The gloves are off between the Old Gods and the New. And of course, you know, this means war.

That will do for now.

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Series Issues: American Gods says A Prayer for Mad Sweeney

Spoilers might spill out of a freshly revived corpse.

American Gods Season 1 2017

(Source: Starz)

American Gods devoted their episode this week to the story of Essie MacGowan. Her name is different in the book, but the story rings mostly the same. There might be some extra nuances added. The biggest one as we see the young irish lass growing up and believing in folk tales, is that she gets to be played by Emily Browning, aka Laura Moon. Whether or not this is just a coincidence or will it mean something later on, it’s not revealed.

Essie is full of tales of the old folk, for which she leaves something to eat in the window every night. She’s always spouting tales of warning, specially of the Leprechaun. At some point, she’s noticed by the young master of the house, with whom he has an affair. He’s bound for Oxford, but promises to come back. He seals the promise with a small medallion, which is later discovered by one of the maids who tells on Essie. She’s soon falsely accused of thievery.

Here we learn of the old ways in which the New World was populated. One of the possible alternatives to a crime punishable by the gallows was Transportation: you were sent on a prison boat to the colonies in the New World. Then you had to pay your passage by serving years to a master as an indented servant. After years of servitude, you’d become free and you’d settle somewhere there.

Essie is given that chance twice. The first time, she doesn’t expect to survive even the trip. It’s the Captain’s folly that saves her as he decides to make her his bride. Of course, even then Essie has been keeping with the old custom of leaving food overnight, but if we’re to believe that it is the luck of the Leprechaun that is giving her good fortune… Well, she’s surviving by basically stealing and sharing her bed.

She’s not however, portrayed as wicked, she’s after all surviving in a world where she’s been dealt a rather strange set of cards. By the time she returns to London, her mind is set about not staying with her “saviour”. The next time the Captain is out to sea, she’s off to grab and steal what she can to get by. Of course the moment that she forgets to leave a gift to the fairy folk, she’s once again caught.

It is in prison that she meets someone over the wall, someone that could be Mad Sweeney before he was Mad Sweeney. Our Leprechaun seems to have had a mortal origin. Essie doesn’t get to see his face, but in the morning after having left a gift of bread, she’s given a hint from the prison guard. A better meal, and the statement that there might be an alternative as she’s got time before her trial.

After letting the guard have his way with her, she ends up pregnant and given the alternative of Transportation again.

Back in the present, Laura learns their destination from Mad Sweeney during a stop by a white buffalo statue. She eagerly tells Salim so he no longer has to be tied to them. Sweeney is mad, but not mad enough to let Laura kill its driver over an ice cream truck. He’s at least got the sense to be the one knocking him out before Laura knocks him into another century. Not that Laura was intent on hitting the poor kid anyways.

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(Source: Starz)

Up the road, a bunny crosses the road and Laura has to swerve, causing the truck to tumble. As a result she goes flying out the window, splatters on the pavement and the gold coin goes flying out of her. She’s instantly dead. Again.

We get a weird moment in which we see Mad Sweeney in the past and back again in the different time where Laura seems to have fallen from a sportcar instead. Mad Sweeney is also there, but dressed differently. Then he turns to one of of Grimnir’s crows and screams at the bird to “tell him that it is done, as the scene has changed back to the original one. What are we supposed to take from this scene?

In the past, Essie has ended up married to the plantation owner that bought her life service. She’s got kids and loses her husband to fever. As a plantation owner she prospers but never forgets to leave something good for the old folk. By the time we see her again, she has grown old and now looks identical to her grandmother. She still tries to tell tales, but the children of Virginia are too scared. She stops and lets time go by until one night, it’s Mad Sweeney who comes a calling to take her soul.

Back in the middle of the road, Sweeney puts Laura back together and reluctantly drops the coin back in so she can regain her life. Does she realize that happened? Are we seeing a softer side of him?

Highs/Lows/FolkTales:

  • Unless we’re taking a hard departure from the book, the tale of Essie MacGowan is a one-shot. That being said, this episode should really bear her name instead.
  • Was Essie MacGowan lucky or unlucky? She had to become a thief and she had to fuck a lot of men, some that she wanted to but who fuck her over and some that she had to just to escape a darker fate. Was she really lucky or just barely enough to survive?
  • Is there some sort of link between Essie and Laura? I dare say no. I think this is basically two women in their most unlucky of situations, escaping their fate by the skin of their teeth. The fact that Sweeney in involve seems to give them both their worst luck and some strange, almost sarcastic, barely good luck in the last minute.
  • Mr. Ibis is the person writing the stories in the book with the old style quill.
  • They stop right by the white buffalo statue, evidently a reference to the buffalo with fire eyes that Shadow has seen in visions.
  • Salim now knows the meeting place of the Old Gods. You wonder if he’s meant to run into the Jinn again.
  • The crows that keep showing up to Mad Sweeney have to be either Thought or Memory delivering messages or just making sure that Sweeney doesn’t stray from the path.
  • We learn very little of Mad Sweeney. He used to collect/deliver gold for a king? Or he was a king himself? Perhaps none/all of these are true.
  • Is Laura really on her way to be resurrected? Or is she getting played?

That will do for now.

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Series Issues: A Murder of American Gods

Spoilers might be of Thought or Memory.

american-gods-s1e6-murder-of-gods

(Source: Starz)

Tonight’s episode opens with an illegal border crossing, and the appearance and subsequent killing of… Jesus? Ok, nobody will complain about the show showing any favoritism. The paradox here is that while we’ve seen other Gods die because they were forgotten, both sides here actually display their devotion to the Christian God. The people trying to cross are praying to make it across. The people that come in brandishing guns are also carrying rosaries and have christian sayings on their rifles.

All the same, Jesus dies in a storm of bullets.

The bullets as it turns out, are made in Vulcan, a town named after the company. The company is named after Vulcan himself (Corbin Bernstein), an old God acquaintance of Mr. Wednesday. He’s not the first God to call him Grimnir (another name for Odin). Vulcan survives since each bullet fired counts as a prayer in his name. He’s an old God who is prospering in this era.

Meanwhile, Laura is forced to join forces with Mad Sweeney. The odd duo ends up running into Salim, who is looking for the Jinn. As a result, the odd trio now traverses the country on Salim’s taxi. Salim wants to find the Jinn. Laura wants to find Shadow. Mad Sweeney just wants his lucky coin back, which is inside of Laura.

In the end Vulcan will betray them, but still built a sword for Mr. Wednesday. That will be his undoing.

Highs/Lows/ThisTaxiIsOffDuty:

  • Mr. Wednesday knows about Laura. He sees her in the rear view mirrow as he speeds the car with Shadow in it away from her.
  • Another proof that he is Odin. The two crows, Thought and Memory, are warning him of something as he’s trying to convince Shadow to get into the car.
  • Vulcan betrays Mr. Wednesday because of course he does.
  • Did Vulcan honestly not expect Mr. Wednesday to go apeshit with that sword the very moment he gave it to them? How did he not see that one coming?
  • The show highlights one of the more subtle features of the border crossing and illegal immigration: both sides pray to the same God.
  • We’re back at Jack’s Crocodile Bar in Indiana. There has to be some sort of mythical vortex around that place.

That will do for now.

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