Oh my god! After waiting for what felt like an eternity, American Gods is finally gracing our television screens. It was marvellous! It was glorious! Praise every God for such a delight! Anyway, Nora and I figured that it was no use writing another review when there are already millions out there. Instead, we are going to recap this brilliant first episode and share our thoughts. Naturally there will be spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen the episode yet, go do that now. We’ll wait.
The episode starts with Vikings arriving in the new world. However, they are not very welcome, as shown by one of the men receiving a welcome of a bunch of arrows in his body. The Vikings want to escape, but there is no wind. They try making sacrifices for a bit of wind, for example by poking one of their eyes out with a hot stick, but their God Odin demands blood. So naturally they murder each other, spilling blood all over the place, until finally they are blessed with a breeze of wind. The Vikings get the hell out of there and we are stunned as viewers as this is very promising.
Nora: well, this certainly set the tone, didn’t it? Such a brutal and bloody, yet beautiful prologue. It also makes clear that Odin is an asshole.
Ingrid: Indeed! There’s already more blood flowing than on an episode of Game of Thrones. Which is a good thing, I have to say. I also love that the scene had a lot of humour in it. I mean, that hand with the sword flying through the air, killing another Viking? Already a classic.
Nora: yes! And I loved that the blood was so vibrant in colour, and set in slow motion. Made it all the more gorgeous. Vikings are brutal, damn.
Ingrid: Don’t mess with Vikings! Unless you are Odin, of course.
Meet Shadow Moon
We are sent to prison where we meet our protagonist Shadow Moon. He calls his wife Laura and tells her that he can’t wait to go home. Later, we find Shadow in his bed. A storm is raging outside while he practises coin tricks. He dreams of Laura and a creepy forest strewn with human bones. The next day, the warden wants to see Shadow. The good news; they are releasing him a few days earlier. The bad news; his wife Laura died in the early hours of the morning.
Nora: Shadow! Yes! And Low Key Lyesmith. I read online that Jonathan Tucker, the actor who portrays him, will only be seen in this episode due to his schedule. That’s such a shame ’cause I love Low Key.
Ingrid: To be honest, I would have cleared my schedule for this, but that is just me. I think the dream sequences are amazing too. I think it would not be advisable to watch this on drugs though, but still, I love it. Also, they could not have found a better Shadow.
Nora: I would do anything for Mr. Gaiman but that’s a whole different discussion, lol. Luckily, Tucker has said he will be back for a second season, if one is ordered. It had better be. I agree with the casting. I’ve seen Ricky Whittle on The 100, where he was bullied off the show, according to him. Which is The Worst but he wouldn’t have been cast as Shadow if he had another job so this was lucky for him and us.
Ingrid: Really? That is terrible! Ah well, he is better off now. I need a new season already!
Today is my day
Shadow is at the airport, where an airline employee is giving him a hard time. He remembers a lesson that he learned from his prison mate Low Key; never piss off airport bitches. He controls his anger and stays overnight at the airport as his flight can’t be changed. The next morning, Shadow notices an old man at the desk. Despite not having a ticket, he wins the sympathy of the employee that wasn’t so kind to Shadow before and winds up first-class. Shadow also finds himself in first-class after his seat is double-booked. This is where he meets the old man who doesn’t even try to keep up his act.
The man introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday and offers Shadow a job. Shadow declines, saying that he’s got a job waiting for him back at home, but Mr. Wednesday knows that that is bullshit. He is convinced Shadow will come around because he always gets what he wants.
Nora: The character introductions on this show are great. Mr. Wednesday is as enigmatic and charming as I remember him from the book. It’s possibly one of the best characters Neil Gaiman ever wrote and that’s saying a lot.
Ingrid: True and as with Shadow, I think there was no better actor to portray Mr. Wednesday. Just the way he delivers his lines is excellent. He kind of reminds me of James Spader in the Blacklist. But Godlier.
Nora: I haven’t seen that show, or Deadwood for that matter. But the casting crew for American Gods deserves an award. Is there an Oscar/Emmy/Golden Globe for casting? If not, there should be. Sometimes not only the actors and writers should get credit.
Ingrid: Not sure, but they definitely get the Sassologist Award for Best Casting Ever.
Don’t sleep with strangers, kids
We’re somewhere in America, where a woman named Bilquis meets a man she met online. She takes him to her room, a red room which would make Christian Grey jealous, and they end up having sex. So far, so good. Bilquis then demands the man to worship her, to say her name. When he does this, basically he gets eaten by her vagina. Is it going to be that kind of show? Definitely.
Nora: I… what did I just watch?
Ingrid: Well, if you need to discourage your kids to have sex, show them this.
Nora: I think it even discouraged me hahaha. But in all seriousness, this was an Amazing Scene. And I heard Bilquis plays a bigger part on the show than in the book so we’re probably getting more of this.
Ingrid: Yas! More murderous vagina!
Shadow wakes up to find out the plane has made an emergency landing. He continues his journey by car. During a stopover, he meets Mr. Wednesday again who once again offers him a job. Shadow declines again, but Mr. Wednesday then informs him that his best friend also died in the car crash. Shadow agrees to a coin-toss to determine if he’s going to work for Wednesday. While Shadow’s coin is rigged, Wednesday still wins.
Enter a leprechaun named Mad Sweeney. He taunts Shadow with coin tricks, but refuses to say how he does these tricks. They end up having a bar-fight and Shadow kind-of wins. He takes one of Mad Sweeney’s coins as a prize.
Nora: Who the hell sleeps through a landing? Anyway, I found it strange that Shadow didn’t really seem to mind that Wednesday was just there in the bar. I also kind of want to go to a bar with a huge crocodile on the ceiling. And meet a leprechaun.
Ingrid: Unless he challenges me to a bar brawl. Of course, I could take him on, but still. It’s a mad leprechaun with weird-ass coins. Anyway, I think Shadow wasn’t really in a great state of mind. He did change his attitude towards Wednesday when he mentioned the fact that Robbie also died.
Nora: true, I wouldn’t be in good state of mind either. And you would totally win. I’d even bet Mr. Wednesday on it. I would also like to take this chance to tell you how amazing Pablo Schreiber is. He was so good in Orange is the New Black, I’m glad to see him again.
Ingrid: Oh my god! I just realised he is Pornstache, isn’t he? Mind is blown!
The bitter truth
Shadow attends Laura’s funeral, where his best friend’s wife Audrey kindly informs Shadow that Laura and Robbie died together. Laura basically had Robbie’s penis in her mouth when they died. Let this be a warning, kids. No sucking and driving! Anyway, Shadow goes to Laura’s grave and shouts at it, when Audrey appears. She basically tells Shadow they should totally have sex where Laura could see them. Shadow says no and throws the coin on Laura’s grave. He does not notice when it is sucked into the soil.
Nora: DUN DUN DUUUUN!
Ingrid: This scene was funny and heartbreaking at the same time. I do think Audrey needs a good therapist.
Nora: Kudos for Betty Gilpin who can go through every emotion in one scene.
Technology is a bitch
Shadow walks around and finds something resembling VR-glasses. He gets sucked into this weird place where he meets Technical Boy. The boy has a bunch of questions about Wednesday, but Shadow says he doesn’t know anything. Technical Boy then tells his faceless goons to kill Shadow. They are back in the real world and Shadow gets kicked all over the place, after which he is hung on a tree. Shadow is left there to die, when an unknown saviour comes and seriously rips apart Shadow’s attackers. Literally rips them apart. But we have to wait until next episode to see who helped him out here.
Nora: Technical Boy looks nothing like his book counterpart and I kinda love it. Of course, the internet is so much different than when the book was first written so it makes sense he’s like this now.
Ingrid: I think it is a good thing that they’ve changed the technology aspect and the character so much. In 2001, when the book came out, technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now. I mean, I had to use a phone cable to go online. I think this Technical Boy is much more threatening.
Nora: Please don’t remind me of how old I am. This Technical Boy is going to be epic. He’s so much more than the fat kid he is in the novel. Again, I have to give so much credit to the casting department here. It’s good that they evolved the character for this show. And how creepy were his minions? I dislike faceless people.
Ingrid: That last shot though! Chills down my spine!