American Gods Season 1 Finale- “Come To Jesus – A Review

Posted: 06/22/2017 in Uncategorized

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I would like to begin by saying I am a man of faith. While not a regular church goer, I do have my beliefs. With this statement put forth, the party at Ostara’s/Easter’s (Kristin Chenoweth) with multiple personifications of Jesus was just so damn absurd that it merits engagement over any sense of sacrilege. Kristin killed this role. A devout Christian herself, Ms. Chenoweth delved deep into a harder edge, if not an outright darkness, to bring forth a truly captivating character on the season finale of American Gods. “Come to Jesus” was a fitting crescendo to what has already proven a superior, trippy and brilliant series. My florid opening offered, on to my review.

There are no failures with this episode. It was manic, hilarious and profound with huge leanings toward the afore-mentioned absurd. Wednesday (Ian McShane) and Shadow (Ricky Whittle) waiting at Mr. Nancy’s/Anansi’s (Orlando Jones) home as he tailors suits for both men was brilliantly ridiculous. Nancy is not overused so that every moment he has on screen has punch. The tailor and god of stories…and mischief, of course cannot resist giving both men a tale as they wait. As with his last appearance, every bit of it has bombast from the stage lighting effect to the mercurial jazz playing in the background. His tale of The Queen, “Bilquis” (Yetide Badaki) is matched by spectacular hyper sexualized imagery, movement and performances. As with other episodes, the theme of power, and the balking of those who want it for their own, is duly represented. He speaks of kings taking exception with the Queen’s power and court. The manner in which they attempt to take her power is as sexual as the manner in which she keeps it. The denouement of a worship scene presented an outlandish sequence that locks in the notion of the sacrificial expectation of worship.

The conclusion of Nancy’s story explains how men took the Queen’s power from her eventually – after another key visual musical/dance sequence. Bilquis’ current lot though unfortunate is understandable via the performance by Badaki. Even Nancy does not begrudge her for taking on a terrible alliance, nor does the viewer as honestly her options were few. Unlike the novel version, Bilquis is poised for a much grander seat at the table and this arc plays fantastically well. Nancy’s final proclamation when Shadow guesses wrong as to the moral of the story plays for laughs and duly so.

This ep takes such a departure from the book as to qualify as a reinvention. The trip to an “Easter party” featuring both Wednesday and Shadow dressed stylishly, and colorfully, is another key moment in their ongoing road trip adventure. The duo driving to an estate in Kentucky surrounded by bunny rabbits is jarring. Wednesday’s action precipitated by “she might not be happy to see us” features him annihilating her ‘associates’. That her harbingers mirror his own; only furred rather than feathered delivered beautifully. All moments between the two kill. Her dropping a “Jesus Christ” and later “goddammit” and excusing herself for not wanting to offend the true ‘hero’ of the festivities was uproarious. We see in Ostara however a seed of discontentment and Wednesday is very good at helping such seeds of unrest germinate. His playing to her sense of diminishment and rallying her to his cause including a rather epic lie is four star viewing. Her flirting with Shadow ‘southern belle’ style radiated charm and humor.

Laura’s (Emily Browning) moments with Sweeney and then Ostara leads to her discovering the truth behind her death. Her true role as a simple sacrifice galls her and sabotages her attempt at a resurrection. The show runners must be given due props for the depiction of Mrs. Moon as withering/decaying in the Kentucky heat. Her action upon learning how much influence Wednesday has had over her is expected and an equally cool visual as she ‘addresses’ her anger with Sweeney. The meeting between her and Ostara resonated as neither deity nor undead plays around. Each is what each is and they acknowledge one another respectfully. The fact that Laura handles the reality of multiple ‘Jesuses’ with such aplomb is awesome.

Jeremy Davies also presents superior casting with his version of the son of God. His sitting in a pool while drinking cups of water was surreal. His counsel to Shadow was no less so. This is one incredibly trippy show. The subject of belief and worship are topics of regular discussion. Shadow’s confession of his inability to believe obtains some degree of resolution with a later acquiescence.

The arrival of the new gods brings a due sense of menace, even when nicely wrapped in Gillian Anderson’s best Judy Garland personification as she attempts to keep Ostara on her team. Tech Boy’s (Bruce Langley) bizarre faceless chorus line adds to the menace. We know what these things are capable of citing Laura Moon’s earlier encounter with them as she saved Shadow from a lynching. The calm assertion of Wednesday brings forth a reply from Mr. World, the perfectly cast Crispin Glover. The notion of all events coalescing into an inevitable war between the old and new is given form via Wednesday demonstrating his true power. His outing himself by ep’s end was buttressed by a terrific demonstration of Ostara’s power as she executes Wednesday’s plan of rekindling her worship.

Honestly, so much got done in a tight eight episodes. There is so much left to get to and with an incredible reinvention, reinvigoration of the source material, American Gods has legs to do so. American Gods Season I finale easily locks in the belief that it is simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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