The eighth and final episode of American Gods first season has come and gone and, as much as we enjoyed it, we can’t help but feel underwhelmed.
We were definitely left waiting more, but even with showrunner Bryan Fuller promising a faster paced second season (with a full 10 episodes) it makes us worry that the promises are too little too late.
Regardless of the action level (or lack there of) we would definitely recommend watching through the season one finale, if not for obvious “plot twists” everyone saw coming since episode three, then for the most female lead episode featuring the amazing talents of Kristin Chenoweth debuting as Ostara/Easter [Ēostre if youre nasty] and Yetide Badaki, returning as Bilquis (and Emily Browning as Laura Moon, we guess, but that isn’t news).
The episode opens with Shadow and Mr. Wednesday sitting with Mr. Nancy [Anansi] while he makes them custom suits (what kind of male power fantasy is this episode?), but with spiders in toe, Mr. Nancy cuts the testosterone by telling them the tale of Bilquis.
The makeup and costuming was everything we’ve come to love and wait patiently for, and her story was as tragic as you’d expect, but as much as we’ve been waiting for this story, and loved the ‘wokeness’ of calling out “men weren’t okay with a woman having power and stripped her of it,” we couldn’t see the justification in it taking almost 15 minutes. The progression to current day through route of the 70’s disco aesthetic to present day and her temple being destroyed by modern day terrorism were great touches.
The most surprising twist of the episode, and the cliffhanger for season 2, comes in the form of her being “saved” by the tech boy god and recruited as a type of indentured worker for a symbiotic relationship where she uses tech, ie. Tinder, to find followers and stay alive and healthy, while symbiotically filtering attention to Tech and serving his purposes. By the end of the episode we see her attempt to seduce tech and rid herself of the debt she knows she owes, but he sees through it and calls it in, instructing her to seduce Shadow and rid them of their problem by absorbing him into her “vagina nebula” that feeds her soul.
Paths finally cross when both Shadow and Laura arrive in a Kentucky to the estate of Easter (the goddess of). It is coincidentally also the day of Easter, so Ostara, the traditional name Wednesday calls Easter, is throwing a huge party with other gods, and the many incarnations of Jesus she now shares the day with.
You can play Wears Waldo with the approximately 14 different Jesus variations, but Wednesday doesn’t have much patience being around and is far essential impressed than Shadow or Laura is by them. Shadow is very effected by meeting Jesus of Nazareth, and Ostara takes a shine to him.
The meeting between Ostara and Wednesday is quickly interrupted by the arrival of Mad Sweeney and a decaying Laura. Ostara has the gift of life, and while she wouldn’t normally even consider helping someone come back to life she likes Laura and is intrigued by her story and knows it would help Shadow.
Unfortunately, after examining Laura, Ostara concludes she can’t revive her (wording implies someone else can) bit Laura was killed by Mad Sweeney under instruction of Wednesday.
Laura tortures Sweeney into the truth that Wednesday orchestrated , of her and Shadow’s misfortune–from heist, to prison to, to temptation, to death. However Sweeney either doesn’t know the true reasoning or doesn’t confess it, because by the end of the episode we are left hanging with “gods get bored” and none of us are buying that.
Back to the recruitment, Ostara first denies Wednesday’s offer to join his cause, and her own bargain with the new gods, specifically Media in her assistance commercializing the old pagan traditions and integrating them into the modern Christian holiday, is revealed when Media arrives.
You can tell Ostara has a fear and mistrust to America, and with Wednesday’s charms working and her revealing she truly doesn’t love sharing her day, you can tell the tension will boil over soon. Media, who knowingly talks down the Ostara by only calling her Easter, starts asking about Wednesday and summons multiplying goons (a power play? A threat? Peacocking?), and Wednesday blows Ostara’s lies by coming out and making a statement.
Media is quickly joined by Tech Boy and Mr. World (Mr. World just projecting on a goon), and Wednesday not only brings in a storm, strikes down their goons with lightning (dedicating the deaths to Ostara, declares official war on the news gods, and FINALLY, overdramatically reveals his true identity as Odin to Shadow.
[There’s a great sequence of Odins face appearing Mufasa style in the storm clouds during this, but it doesn’t capture as a still well so go view that at the 53:50-54:00 mark]
All that action happens in about two minutes, and is followed by Ostara creating a large draught and taking life from the Earth’s vegitation, to be returned in exchange for proper prayer and worship–a tale as old as time.
The actual episode end is Laura and Sweeney busting onto the balcony demanding to talk to Shadow, and a closing shot of Bilquis on her way to the god gathering in Wisconsin (notably surrounded by an uncommon Wisconsin desert), and she takes one last victim in the bus bathroom to close out Season One.
We have to give it to them, as underwhelmed as we were when the episode finished it has us super hyped for season two!