Since I'm not doing any roundtables or podcasts for this season of American Gods, I thought I might give writing reviews a try.
- Sinn: Salim's adoration of the Jinn when they meet again. His "I do not grant wishes" response to the Jinn telling him to leave. Jinn saving Salim from the sniper. Everything about this ship is beautiful, adorable, and altogether precious.
- The password for the underground bunker was paperclip and then Mr. World brings up his involvement in Operation Paperclip. That got a snicker out of me.
- Whiskey Jack shout out! I really want them to expand on his character for the series (especially because I always wished his character had been expanded on in the book).
- And maybe we'll also get to meet John Henry? I'd love to see a "culture hero" episode in a future season with John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, etc,.
- Czernobog's affection for Zorya Vechernyaya. These two have been roommates for years and it was so delightful to see their familial love for each other. It's that personal, intimate touch like last season's exchanges between Ibis and Jacquel.
- Shadow's retort to Nancy telling him he reminds him of his stupid son. I loved this in the book and Shadow's witty charm is one of my most favorite characteristics of his. It seems to have been missing from Season One so I'm glad to see it now.
- Bilquis' incorporation into the House on the Rock scenes was genius inspiration and it works really well. I especially like her Backstage tutorial for Shadow (and us viewers). I'd also love to see more interaction between her and the Jinn. I loved that touch of them speaking Arabic(?) to each other. Also, Nancy! I want to see her and Nancy interact. And if Bilquis greets everyone like she greeted Laura, then I'd like to shake her hand. 😂
- Really, just more Bilquis, please. She is such a great character and foil for Wednesday. She's not wrong about the Old Gods needing to evolve. She's blurring the line between what it means to be an Old God and a New God so I'm fascinated by where her journey will take her and who she may become. Maybe even reborn into a New God?
- Yay for introducing us to more Old Gods like Ahura Mazda and the Lion-god
- The carousel scene is everything I loved about s1: it was magical and surreal and gorgeous.
- The diner scene and the music selection was *chef's kiss*
- Czernobog's very specific curse as he sics Laura on the sniper
- Sweeney's desolate puppy dog pout and his habitual bad luck. I'm looking forward to the more creative and new ways his bad luck will present itself the further the season progresses.
- And Technical Boy, I hate to admit it, but he's becoming a bit of an anti-hero for me. Go ahead and run over as many golfers as you want, my dear sweet boy.
- Were the stamped sniper bullets supposed to be a hint that maybe Vulcan is not dead-dead? Or perhaps a New God has replaced Vulcan and taken over his industry?
- The Statue of Liberty in Mama-ji's hand was a great nod back to when we met Salim and he was trying to sell them in NYC
- So is Mama-ji a maid or a waitress at Motel America? Both? How does this Motel America work? I've traveled extensively for work (42/50 states + Europe!) and I've yet to see this particular setup for a motel. Just nitpicking here because this was an all-around great episode.
- Shadow saving Laura in the diner. Dude, she's already dead; she can't get any deader. Besides, you're Wednesday's bodyguard, not hers. Maybe it was just reflexive memory of when he once loved her before she became a zombie whore. TBH, I think this requires a bit more discussion below.
- The New Gods seemed to be an afterthought in this episode. Crispin Glover is a perfect Mr. World, of course, but his scenes seemed mostly filler. This is something they struggled with during the first season, as well. In the novel, the New Gods don't see much action until a lot later so maybe it's difficulty in trying to incorporate them. Hopefully they get this figured out.
- Zorya V. death simply because I love Cloris Leachman and I want to see more of her. But, we all know that it is extremely difficult to kill gods and death is not necessarily final (hi, Laura!) so perhaps she'll return in the Underworld.
Laura is the character I love to hate. Emily Browning is so great in this role and I always feel guilty for hating her because she plays such a broken and despondent creature. That being said, I really hope they stop her pining after Shadow. Novel spoilers: she got the hint that Shadow's not interested in her cheating, decaying ass after their first post-death meetup (Lemon Scented You). Why are they dragging this out in the series? Why are they making Shadow so ambiguous with his distaste and Laura so earnest in her attempts to reunite? Make her motivations for saving him have nothing to do with attempts at reunification; make them acts of atonement. Idk, maybe some fans like this relationship bullshit but I'm not one of them. Just give me Laura/Mad Sweeney and Shadow/Bast (or literally anyone else but Laura).
Can we talk about Easter for a second? I love, love, love Kristin Chenoweth, however, I wasn't particularly on board with her being cast as Easter. It's mainly because she is nothing like the Easter described in the book but also because it felt a bit gratuitous to bring her into the story when they did. Meeting Easter on Easter weekend . . . I mean, really? (In the book, Shadow meets Easter halfway through his stint in Lakeside around Mardi Gras time.) Nevertheless, Kristin did a phenomenal job as Easter and I'd be fine with her returning to the role in the future. But back to Easter weekend itself: how, pray tell, are they going to make it to Lakeside in dead winter by the end of this season if it's like March/April right now? Does Shadow spend the entire rest of the year in Cairo? What about stinky, smelly, rotting Laura and the summer heat? How are they going to make the timeline fit for Season Three? (Because there WILL be a s3!)
I first titled this section "portable batteries" because if you think about it, that's what's going on with these pairings. There's Wednesday/Shadow, Jinn/Salim, Sweeney/Laura, even Bilquis/Iranian lady. Each god has a human "believer" feeding them power. I enjoy a good theme and I love how it's subtly showing exactly what Wednesday and Shadow were discussing in the meeting: gods need humans to exist.
Speaking of the Backstage meeting, some of the reviews I've read didn't seem to like Shadow's speech? His delivery was great and it accurately portrayed what it would be like if a human were trying to interact with ancient and powerful beings. Some of these reviews read more like bitter people who were upset with Gillian A. and/or Bryan leaving the series than them being upset with the actual story itself. Caveat: most of these reviewers have seen the first three episodes and I've only seen the one. Perhaps there are some hiccups in the next two episodes and if that's the case, then I'll tackle those problems in future episode reviews.
I've watched the House on the Rock three times now and it gets better with every rewatch. This was a fantastic episode to reintroduce us to everyone and it was visually stunning and well-paced with a great music selection once again. Dare I say that I might have even liked it better than The Bone Orchard? 9/10