American Gods – Season One: Review

A fitting end to the first season, American Gods brings all of the major plot threads together in “Come to Jesus” and tangles them up to help make a second season possible. Still loving the changes from the book to the series so far, despite how they make the story unpredictable.

Mad Sweeney’s continued journey with Laura Moon continues to be a great sub-plot that continues to reveal more of the backstory to the show’s universe (in this case, why Laura died). Kristin Chenoweth exceeded my expectations as Ostara, the Goddess of Spring, and the showdown between the Old Gods and New Gods the episode built to was all the better thanks to her performance. The reveal that Bilquis is in the debt of the Technical Boy was also a fun twist to the plot.

Mr. World continues to be that special, Crispin Glover sort of creepy. The variety of different cultural depictions of Jesus all celebrating Easter at Ostara’s home added elements of humor to the episode, but also helped draw out Shadow’s capacity to believe. To finally reveal that all of these larger-than-life characters are Gods—to Shadow, and to confirm as much to the audience—felt very appropriate to the episode. It worked to wait until the season finale instead of throwing it out there immediately.

[…] having the series completely lifted from the book does detract a little from the overall magic, but the show has become its own story in so many ways […]

Some minor complaints: Mr. Nancy’s (Anansi) storytelling and the depth it added to Bilquis’ backstory was enjoyable, but Mr. Nancy’s absence from the remainder of the episode was disappointing. The big reveal of Mr. Wednesday’s true identity, which has been teased throughout the first season, went from being appropriately intense to over-the-top, finishing in a way that felt hokey when he declared his name—thunderous and drawn out as the effect was, it sounded more like someone shouting into an oscillating fan.

To be fair: the reveal scene in the novel was so grand in scale that it would have been near-impossible for the show to compare. A similarly painful admission: having the series completely lifted from the book does detract a little from the overall magic, but the show has become its own story in so many ways that though the outline is the same there is still hope that it can—and will—still have plenty of surprises in store for audiences.

The number of and depth to the characters is testament to the shows brilliance. 

The ending scenes, teasing House on the Rock as well as Laura and Shadow reuniting, were a rotten way to leave fans waiting for more. That wasn’t the only questions left unanswered. Where the hell is Czernobog for instance? Or if season one only built to the arrival at House on the Rock, how many seasons will American Gods yield? Will it break down to four parts like the novel does? In addition to Vulcan, will audiences see more new Old and New Gods? Are these the hints towards Neil Gaiman’s now-announce sequel to American Gods?

Overall, whilst not without its flaws, American Gods is some of the best storytelling available in a television show you can find.

By Phil Gorski

More from Phil – Will Guardians of the Galaxy rise above the ‘Marvel fatigue’?

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