Monday, June 19, 2017

Come to Jesus

And there we have it. In just eight short weeks, American Gods has swept onto our screens and scampered off again. (In a way, it's giving us practice for the coming season of Game of Thrones, which will be just 7 episodes instead of the usual 10.) While this season one finale of American Gods did pay off several of ongoing story elements, its large role was to set the scene for the bigger story to come.

For those who hadn't guessed it from his ravens, Mr. Wednesday was revealed this week as Odin, providing context for his warmongering stance toward the new gods. I believe this reveal has come much earlier in the series than it did in the book, which sets up interesting possibilities for future seasons. The television incarnation of American Gods has already worked in a lot of new material, lingering longer on characters and fleshing them out. Neil Gaiman has just released his own tellings of Norse Mythology, and I'd be curious to see if any material from the book might work its way into an episode of the show.

American Gods is fine making plenty of room for just that kind of back story, after all -- as it did this week. Much of the episode was dedicated to Bilquis, and teed her up to be caught in the middle of this war between old gods and new. Unlike Vulcan of a few episodes earlier, Bilquis had fallen so far that she had no choice but to seize the lifeline offered her by the new gods. Side with them or starve out of existence; side with Wednesday or be beheaded. Seems it can be quite rough being a god.

But the big star of the show this week was Easter, as played by Bryan Fuller veteran Kristin Chenoweth. She brought the greatest sense of danger the show has yet depicted, as the climax of the episode had her withdrawing spring itself from the country. But mostly, she brought great humor and lightness to the proceedings, playing well off every character she interacted with -- Wednesday and Shadow, Mad Sweeney and Laura, and Media and Technical Boy. (And once again, Gillian Anderson got to ham it up, this time as an incarnation of Judy Garland.)

There was also wry humor in the gaggle of Jesuses hanging out at Easter's mansion. Lost alum Jeremy Davies was fun as the particular Jesus to get the most screen time, but the idea itself was better still: that there are so many different conceptions of Jesus that dozens or hundreds have manifested according to the "rules" of this universe.

And that's what we'll have to chew on until, presumably, some time next year when American Gods returns for season two. But the show did go out on a great note, with an episode I'd call an A-.

On to the next obsession, for now.

No comments: