Enthusiastically and eagerly re-entering the world of American Gods, we establish another old God by the name of Anansi (Orlando Jones). On what appears to be the first Dutch ship full of African slaves to arrive in America, one of the men calls out to Anansi and before them he appears dressed in a modern aged suit. A down on your luck jazz riff plays in the background thanks to Brian Reitzell and perfectly personifies the shipful of slaves dire situation. Anansi gives the men a depressing vivid view of their future in the land of America with an enraged monologue of hatred. Anansi’s ability to coerce the men into achieving his own goals hereafter is another reason to fear the strength and power of belief these Gods wield so easily.
Bruised, battered and bloodied former convict Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) survives the previous episodes finale events against the Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) and his faceless minions. Shadow’s inexplicable drop from the tree begins his quest for knowledge of the new world he has become a part of. Demanding to be clued in on what he has contracted himself into, Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) once again is able to convince Shadow to keep working for him and to consider the events hazard pay, doubling his salary which momentarily satisfies him yet answers no questions. Something unpredictable occurs though as Mr. Wednesday confides in Shadow that there will be consequences for what happened to him. This is the first instance of Mr. Wednesdays concern for Shadow. Whether it is for his own motives or caution for his own safety is unknown but it is present nonetheless and humanizes the otherwise enigmatic Mr. Wednesday.
As Shadow attempts to reconcile his connections to his wife Laura (Emily Browning), he is tormented with visions of her during his sleep and during his waking life. The pain and confusion are authentic and possibly the main source to sympathize with Shadows current circumstances. Continuing to travel with his employer Shadow is confronted with a New God materializing herself as Lucille “Lucy” Ball, (Gillian Anderson). She is seductive as she is elusive to revealing her own needs for Shadow to join her “side of the camp.” Lucy represents the media, the control over the populace, and she is quite an interesting figure to manifest before Shadow. She embodies a new form of prayer, a new hypnosis absorbing all attention and affection of the human race that is staggering yet true to reality.
Returning to Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) as she appears to rampantly be gathering more power by means of alluring men and women as prey to “feed” upon. Her history is glimpsed at in a museum where a statue of her previous form stands but her overall role remains mysterious.
Shadow and Mr. Wednesday then travel to Chicago to retrieve the services of Czernobog (Peter Stormare) but he is reluctant to aid Mr. Wednesday’s endeavors. Czernobog has a dark outlook on life. Focusing on death and reminiscing on the days of his slaughter. Czernobog appears to be the old right hand man for Mr. Wednesday and most likely use to do his bidding. Killing countless enemies until he grew weary or fed up with Mr. Wednesday. His intellect resembles danger but the honesty of his words and knowledge of the new world Shadow has learned of is too intriguing.
Curiosity maybe the hammer and Czernobog the executioner but hopefully not the one to end everything for Shadow. The world of American Gods grows ever more enticing for the audience, as it does for Shadow. The idea of being pulled into this type of unknown ultra violence never looked so lovely.
When Shadow Moon is released from prison, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and a storm begins to brew. Little does Shadow know, this storm will change the course of his entire life. Left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife, and suddenly hired as Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard, Shadow finds himself in the center of a world that he struggles to understand. It’s a hidden world where magic is real, where the Old Gods fear both irrelevance and the growing power of the New Gods, like Technology and Media. Mr. Wednesday seeks to build a coalition of Old Gods to defend their existence in this new America, and reclaim some of the influence that they’ve lost. As Shadow travels across the country with Mr. Wednesday, he struggles to accept this new reality, and his place in it.
Based on American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Developed by Bryan Fuller, Michael Green
Composer Brian Reitzell
Starring Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon), Emily Browning (Laura Moon / Essie Tregowan), Crispin Glover (Mr World), Bruce Langley (Technical Boy), Yetide Badaki (Bilquis), Pablo Schreiber (Mad Sweeney), Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday)
A Whispertone review
Photos: Copyright Starz