Posts Tagged Mr. Wednesday

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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Series Issues: American Gods offer a Lemon Scented You

Spoilers might show up alive at your door.

american-gods-s1e5-lemon-scented-you

(Source: Starz)

It’s a bit unfair to compare American Gods to the newly minted Twin Peaks: The Return. In a sense, David Lynch would be like an Old God going against the more sleek and sexy New Gods of Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. Then again, they have Neil Gaiman on their corner with a fully written and well tested novel. David Lynch and Mark Frost are trying to recapture the magic from another show, which can be a bit constricted.

But I have to commit the ultimate blasphemy here and say that American Gods is hitting the mark on the raw, gut-wrenching visuals as well as using the music for a darker atmosphere. Lynch might come back with a vengeance and then I’d have to revisit this statement, but I’ve opted to stay clear of David Lynch’s creation for now. I have to go with the most engaging and entertaining product. Time constraints would mean nothing when I’m hooked, and Fuller and Green have me in almost every scene.

That goes double for Lemon Scented You, where Shadow’s and Laura’s encounter is cut short by Mr. Wednesday and eventually the police. Seems someone has leaked satellite pictures to the cops of Wednesday’s and Shadow’s bank robbery. The New Gods are behind this, and are making sure Mr. Wednesday recruitment campaign ends.

That is confirmed by Media, dressed very much like David Bowie, and debriefing the Technical Kid using his own technology. That was a trippy yet alluring scene. It’s none other than the amazing Gillian Anderson in the role of Media, that is lighting up the screen.

American Gods Season 1 2017

(Source: Starz)

Mad Sweeney finally tracks down his coin to Laura. Yes, she has it and apparently she’s keeping it for a long while. Laura can literally flick Sweeney away, something that has not been quite explained so far. She kicks his ass all over the room. Sweeney opts for choking her into the bathtub, but all Laura needs to do is be very still as the cops appear behind him to put him in cuffs.

After getting nowhere interrogating them separately, the detective team opts to leave Mr. Wednesday and Shadow chained to the table in the same room. Enter Media, the Technical Kid and… Mr. World. Crispin Glover’s Mr. World comes in chewing the scenery, but I found it fitting and what the role called for. This is the Uber God of the New Gods, the one moving every string. It seems fitting he has nothing but respect for the old god of war.

But what exactly is the offer that he’s putting on the table? The Technical Kid says what we’re all thinking: Mr. World has Mr. Wednesday right where he wants him and lets him go. But these are the ways of the Gods, and chances the reason is more than just mere protocol. After all, Gods love tradition and ceremony.

Highs/Lows/Crows:

  • Yes, there are crows who tell Mr. Wednesday (Odin) things. They also talk fast.
  • The local police department never had a chance, did they? What is that tree-like thing that tried to grab Shadow?
  • Gillian Anderson as Media and impersonating David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe. Extremely well I might add, she’s a chameleon. It’s not that she looks like Bowie or Monroe. It’s just that she’s got quite a decent impersonation here.
  • We get to see the death of an old God in the intro. The reason was neither a confrontation nor was it age. Gods die when they are forgotten. It’s a bit like legend or mythos that are never said or revered again.
  • I know it looks like I’m putting Fuller and Green on a pedestal for this show, when David Lynch has got the track record for the surreal and the weird. However, I’m just approaching it from an entertaining standpoint. It’s engaging and I want to keep watching.
  • That being said, David Lynch still has time to make me regret the comparison. I really hope he does. I might have to return to Peaks when the series ends.

That will do for now.

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Series Issues: American Gods gets its Head Full of Snow

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.

(Source: Starz)

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?

(Source: Starz)

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.

Highs/Lows/TheMoonIsACoinYouCanGrab:

  • 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.

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