The first season of Starz’ highly anticipated American Gods has finally come to a close at its eighth episode. While recapping the season, we couldn’t help but notice that the show runners borrowed a few things from Orange is the New Black, not only did they receuit Pablo Schreiber, formerly George “Pornstache” Mendez on OITNB, but they coincidentally mimicked the structure of the fifth and newest season of the Netflix prison show. People were buzzing when it was anounced that OITNB season 5 would only be set over a handful of days in the show’s timeline, but minus the Coming to American stories we love and othed flashbacks, the events of season ome of American Gods only occur over a few days as well.
Outside of that observation, season one was slow paced and didn’t quite live up to the hype, but the dialogue was surprisingly more hilarious than anticipated and we are definitely invested in seeing where it goes and what they have up their sleeves for season two, which has already been promised to faster paced and a full ten episodes.
So without further ado, let’s explore what exactly happened in the story of Shadow Moon (who feels like a supporting role in his own story, just as a character in general–we loved Ricky Whittle’s portrayal). Without all of the Coming to America storylines and flashbacks put in order, we can get to the actual events of Shadow’s crazy week!
Spoilers begin now, and we highly suggest you read Neil Gaiman’s novel they based the show on during the hiatus (many people aren’t tagging book spoilers. We won’t though, because The Game of Nerds cares)
First and foremost, Mr. Wednesday, aka mother f*cking Odin, has orchestrated 90% of the events of the season. We know his intervention at least began when he forced Laura and Shadow to fail at her perfect plan to rob the casino she worked at. This lead to Shadow’s time in prison which taught him hard lessons and discipline, and then Wednesday evening orchestrated Laura’s death (though likely not her cheating, that’s on her and the dead guy). It would seem orchestrating Laura’s death was more for the ability to get Shadow out of prison a few days early, because he needed to recruit Shadow and get to the episode 8 finale destinations within (approx.) a week, and time was of the essence.
This isn’t shocking based on how quickly Wednesday made his move–the flight home and at the hotel bar the night before the funeral. Even enlisting Mad Sweeney, it wasn’t a coincidence they ran into him in the premiere, he’d just been in the area killing Laura and reporting back after his mission.
The unplanned bits came when Mad Sweeney accidentally gave Shadow the wrong coin that ended up reviving Laura, but that was a turn of luck in itself, because she is the one that saved Shadow from the lynching by the Tech Boy’s goons. Thus ends the amount of actual action scenes we’d get for Season One! Although, they reshow Laura’s action scene a few episodes later from a more revealing point of view. She and Sweeney have connections through her past life, and are joined by Salim for a part of their journey until he goes on to Wisconsin to find the djinn that changed his life (and so much lgbt inclusion)
Shadow travels with Wednesday for a few days recruiting old gods, notable were the Slavic gods (the Zorya Sisters and Czernobog). There are beautiful Chicago city scapes and cut away scenes in an otherwise gritty arc, but most notable is the deal Shadow makes with Czernobog that Wednesday doesn’t seem concerned about and is looming, albeit unspoken, in the finale — Czernobog gets to kill Shadow at the end of their journey.
Their other notable stop was to visit Vulcan at his new firearms factory (seemed modern for an old god), and it was too good to be true when it was revealed he had taken the new gods’ deal to be rebranded and to continue existing through indirect, trickle down worship. It all feels very pyramid scheme with the new gods.
Shadow had ran into Media prior to meeting the Slavic gods, and then her, tech, and Mr. World confronted them in the police station after their bank scam, but before Vulcan, whom Wednesday had killed after convincing him to forge a sword for the old gods.
They make one more stop before joining the murder of gods at House on the Rock, Wisconsin (where they don’t know Bilquis is waiting). They visit Kristin Chenoweth as Easter/Ostara, which is arguably our favorite episode–check out our recap! But tl;dr: Laura and Mad Sweeney arrive in hopes that Ostara can revive Laura for real and without the coin, but she can’t and that’s when we learn of Wednesday’s long term meddling in their lives.
They succeed in recruiting her and have a face off with the new gods (Tech, Media, and Mr. World), where Wednesday reveals his identity as Odin and strikes down their band of faceless goons. Then Ostara turns on the new gods andndndn and aligns herself with Odin, summoning a drought and killing crops until they receive proper prayer. This leaves us on a cliffhanger with a lot of unanswered questions. How will they new gods react or retaliate? Will Bilquis also turn on the new gods and abandon her mission to absorb Shadow into her vagina nebula, or switch allegiances to the old gods? What about Laura? What’s so special about Shadow that she sees his golden aura? Why isn’t Wednesday concerned about Shadow’s deal with Czernobog?
Most importantly, will we get more amazing Coming to America episodes in the already confirmed Season 2? With the cliffhanger as is, we do expect show runner Bryan Fuller’s guarantee of a faster pace to live up to his promise, and we will be here to remind you of when it premieres!