I’m assuming if you’re here then you’ve seen the premiere of American Gods. If not, you might want to go ahead and jump ship now because this show is about to be spoiled more than milk left on the counter for three days during a Texas summer…
American Gods is aesthetically beautiful
Every scene in this show looks like a painting. Rain that looks like glitter. Beautiful brown skin under warm lighting. A bar in the shape of an open crocodile mouth. Constellations in a colorful night sky. Copious amounts of blood and gore.
Thoth–Egyptian god of writing and wisdom to say the least–opens the show with the “coming to America” story of the Vikings circa 813 CE. From here, we get a violent yet lavishly artistic scene of sacrifices to Odin the All-Father that sets the tone for the whole show.
These gods are assholes
The gods don’t want to be forgotten, and they deserve to be worshiped. The people that brought the gods from their old country to America have since turned their faith elsewhere. Instead, Americans are worshipping technology and media, and this doesn’t sit too well with the gods of old. So, a war is brewing. A battle between Old gods and New gods, all vying for attention, sacrifice, and worship.
The premiere gives us a snippet of Thoth and Loki (a.k.a. Low Key Lyesmith a.k.a. Shadow’s prison cellmate), and we’re also introduced to Technical Boy (new god) and Mr. Wednesday (a.k.a. Odin).
The old gods are set in their ways. The new gods are moving forward and willing to leave behind anyone who doesn’t jump on board with them.
But there’s one god in particular that deserves major attention…
I don’t even know how to type my own reaction. Eye-popping. Jaw-dropping. Edge-snatching. Listen… Bilquis owned her power and wielded it when she swallowed that man with her vagina. She walked that man back to her room on some TLC Red Light Special, and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still didn’t know what was going to happen. You want to talk about power? That’s power. #WorshipMe
The storyline is wild
Shadow Moon starts out his journey with both good news and bad news. The good news is he’s getting out of prison early. Yay! The bad news is his wife Laura Moon is dead. Oooohhh…
Shadow has to go home for his wife’s funeral and has a little trouble with the airline to get his ticket changed. At least it’s not United. We see his relationship with Low Key via short flashbacks, and he is just the perfect amount of weird and crazy yet somehow gives Shadow the perfect prison advice, and the perfect airport advice.
Shadow gets on his first plane ride and meets Mr. Wednesday. He makes Shadow an offer he cannot refuse (I mean, who can say no to Ian McShane?) and off we go on our journey.
But Shadow does refuse at first. Mr. Wednesday finds him in a bar (because he’s a god and can do things like that) and tries to woo Shadow again. So, Shadow decides to let the coin decide. He thinks he knows whether the coin will land on heads or tails, and of course, he doesn’t. He loses and is now working for Mr. Wednesday with no idea what he’s gotten himself into.
Mad Sweeney pops up as the tallest leprechaun anyone has ever seen and shows Shadow he’s not the only one who can do a coin trick. Pay attention to the coin. It’s important.
Shadow finally makes it to his wife’s funeral only to find out that she died in a car accident serving up fellatio on his best friend, Robbie–also dead. Ouch. After the funeral, Audrey (Robbie’s wife and Laura’s best friend) offers revenge sex to Shadow on the freshly dug grave. She’s angry, hurt, hilarious, determined and drunk, but Shadow refuses that too. He’s thrown his coin on Laura’s grave and walks away.
Next, Shadow is kidnapped by Technical Boy who knows he’s working for Mr. Wednesday. He wants to know what the hell Mr. Wednesday is up to. Shadow doesn’t know, and he’s pissed Technical Boy off, so his disciples beat Shadow up and lynch him.
It’s fantastical America
American Gods is a road trip fantasy taking place “somewhere in America.” It’s a blending of cultures and a melting pot of gods, but it’s nice to see an American story that’s not set in New York or LA.
If you’ve read Gaiman’s novel, you might be thinking, “I wonder if they’re going to do this scene?” or “How are they going to pull this off?” Well, the show doesn’t pull its punches, and even the wildest aspects of the novel are in the show. So yes, this show goes there, and is not afraid to keep it real–even if it is a fantasy.
There’s no other show like it
In the age of Peak TV, there are so many good shows out there. Yet, with so many good shows and so much excellent storytelling, American Gods still stands out from the rest. It’s a story of immigration and how everyone in America came here from somewhere else–unless you are native to this country.
A lot of people choose to forget that…
In this particular time, American Gods is more culturally relevant than it intended to be. And the representation in this show is something that has never been seen in sci-fi/fantasy on an epic scale. Bryan Fuller told BGN, “we aim to speak to a lot of people.” On that front, they hit the nail on the head.
And it will make you laugh
Don’t. Piss. Off. Those. Bitches. In. Airports. BOOM!
Character of the Week
I really didn’t want to pick just one character. Everyone on screen killed their scenes and left a lasting impression. Audrey. Technical Boy. Mad Sweeney. LowKey Lyesmith. But I think it’s safe to say that this week’s character of the week is Bilquis. There’s nothing really more I can say after that.
“Prison has a way of trying to keep you in prison.” ~LowKey
“Worship me.” ~Bilquis
“Give me your body.” ~Bilquis
“Eye for an eye, blowjob for a blowjob right here where they can see us.” ~Audrey
“Airlines are the ultimate clip joint, they deserve that and worse.” ~Mr. Wednesday
In the End
This episode (and this entire show for that matter) is not for the faint at heart. Let me just say, Bilquis’ sex scene isn’t the only sex scene in the show that will leave some people clutching their pearls. So if you can’t stand the heat, you might want to step outside the kitchen.
There’s a lot to unpack in this episode. And if you aren’t familiar with the story and don’t know what’s happening, you may be thinking to yourself (or out loud), “What the f—?” That’s perfectly okay. We see this show through Shadow’s eyes and walk in his shoes. And just like he doesn’t know what’s going on, neither do we. But you’re going to want to stick this one out in the long run. It’s a slow, fantastical burn, and sometimes there are narrative vignettes that take you out of the central story. But it will take some time for it all to come together in the end.
Coin tricks, cons, mead, gods, premonitions, metaphors, road trips, and impending war. It’s a blend of history, horror, fantasy, and mythology told with wildly imaginative storytelling and a quirky, whimsical narrative structure. And it will leave you questioning who or what you worship yourself.