Recap: American Gods – Come to Jesus

By Miclpea

SPOILER ALERT-Do not read if you have not seen episode eight of American Gods.

Quote of the Week- “Did you get this one off the discount rack?”

Come to Jesus is the season finale of a series which deals with a rather substantial issue: who or what are the gods in America? In this final episode, we meet Ostara or Easter (played by Kristin Chenoweth), Wednesday is revealed to be Odin, Laura learns the truth about her “accident” and Shadow finally believes.

The episode opens with Mr. Nancy sewing suits for Shadow and Wednesday. Mr. Nancy stops sewing and insists on telling them a story about Bilquis. The tale is both history and a lesson at the same time.

The story begins with Bilquis at the height of her power, when worshippers filled her temples. During this time, many kings tried to conquer her but none did. Bilquis was able to adapt to the changing times until the late 1970s, when violent men with guns, the new kings, took her power. Mr. Nancy explains that although her power was lessened, she still felt herself to be a player.

However, the 1980s in America dealt her power another blow with the devastation caused by AIDS, a setback from which she never recovered. Later, when we see her in 2013, Bilquis is a homeless woman watching television through the window of a restaurant. One of her old temples is being destroyed in Yemen. Her beauty has faded and she is sleeping on the streets. Technical Boy finds her and makes her an offer. He hands her a phone with a dating app. The dating app has her profile, showing Bilquis in all of her former glory. He asks her if she wants to play a new game and she agrees.

Mr. Nancy finishes his story and returns to his sewing. He asks Shadow if he understands the moral of the story. Shadow’s response is so off the mark that it prompts Mr. Nancy to ask Wednesday, “Did you get this one off the discount rack”? Wednesday tells Nancy and Shadow that the correct answer is to get themselves a queen. Nancy explains to Shadow that Wednesday killing Vulcan was strike one against the new gods. Wednesday says, wait until he sees strike two.

Nancy further explains to Shadow that split blood has bound Shadow and Wednesday together. Shadow says that their partnership is over, since Wednesday has “pissed him off.” Wednesday tells Shadow that he is not upset, only confused. What is interesting is that Wednesday does not accuse Shadow of being afraid. Clearly at this point, Shadow is not dealing well with all of the miraculous and frightening things that have happened to him. He is both confused and scared.

Wednesday tells Shadow that he needs to stop being confused and get angry. With this statement, Shadow is somehow transported back to the Orchard of Bones where the massive bull with flaming eyes accosts him. Shadow awakens from his dream to find himself in the car with Wednesday, driving on a country road. Bunnies chase after the car until they finally block the road in front of them. Wednesday runs over them.

The road leads to a large mansion, where there is a big celebration of Easter in progress. As they walk into the mansion, Wednesday educates Shadow about the history of Easter. Shadow looks around and sees many icons of Easter such as bunnies, Easter eggs, and oddly, a Madonna breastfeeding her child.

When Shadow finally sees Ostara (the ancient name for Easter), he is captivated by her beauty and vitality. Ostara is unpleasantly surprised when she sees Wednesday. After seeing Ostara, Wednesday’s words finally click in Shadow’s brain. In a moment of epiphany, he realizes that Ostara is the personification of Easter; this leads him to look around again, and he perceives the divine nature of the guests.

Ostara greets Wednesday as an old fraud, which clearly signals that she is not happy to meet him. However, when she is introduced to Shadow, she is obviously as captivated by him as he is with her. She takes both Wednesday and Shadow for a walk through the grounds of her estate. While they walk, Wednesday tries to convince Ostara to join him. Wednesday loudly reminds her of the people who used to pray to her before Christianity took them. Wednesday’s denunciation of Christianity stealing Ostara’s day of worship upsets one of the Christs. Ostara demands to speak to Wednesday in private.

In a private sitting room, Ostara is livid with Wednesday, but Wednesday is absolutely unrepentant. He drives home his contention that she may have a holiday, but she herself is no longer worshipped. Wednesday then spins a tale that the new gods killed Vulcan because he forged a sword for Wednesday. Wednesday pulls Vulcan’s enormous blade from the interior of his suit. As he shows her the blade, Wednesday tempts Ostara with visions of humanity worshipping her again. Ostara fears that they will not worship her, but instead worship the many other gods. Shadow says that there may be other gods, but there is only one Goddess of Spring. Wednesday dismisses Shadow as he and Ostara discuss what she can do.

Meanwhile, Bilquis is looking at a display in a museum when Technical Boy arrives. Technical Boy calls in his chip. Bilquis tries to seduce Technical Boy, but she fails. He wants her to use her power as he directs because she owes him. It appears that Mr. Nancy and Wednesday had anticipated the new gods using Bilquis as their queen. This explains why Wednesday is there for Ostara; she is to be his queen.

Shadow wanders into a large room with an indoor swimming pool, where he finds Jesus sitting on the water. Shadow asks him if he always believed. Jesus answers Shadow by telling Shadow that he is belief. Shadow responds that he has never believed, nor does he trust what has happened to him. Jesus tells Shadow that irrespective of his belief, he still has to walk the road in front of him.

Back in the sitting room, Wednesday is telling Ostara that she has to starve humanity into submission if she wants their prayers. As Wednesday seduces her with talk of people worshipping her again, Ostara is obviously affected by his sales pitch. Unfortunately for Wednesday, a rabbit arrives with the startling news for Ostara that Laura and Sweeney have arrived.

Ostara is not happy that Sweeney has brought a dead woman to her celebration. Sweeney asks Ostara to re-life Laura, whom Ostara learns was married to Shadow before she died. Sweeney tells Ostara that she owes him a favor, so Ostara agrees to help. However, as Ostara probes to find out the cause of Laura’s death, she comes to a startling conclusion. Ostara tells Laura that her death was caused by the actions of a god. She cannot undo those actions; only the god responsible has the ability to undo those actions. To add to the madness of the day, another rabbit arrives to tell Ostara that she has another new guest: Media.

After Ostara leaves, Laura’s anger with Sweeney knows no bounds. She is literally holding him by his nether regions as she demands answers. She wants to know which god wanted her killed. Sweeney tries to deflect the blame to himself, but Laura knows that he is no god. He finally admits that it was Wednesday. Laura suspected this, but she wanted him to confirm it. Sweeney tells Laura that she was not murdered, but sacrificed. He further explains to her that Wednesday ruined her plans to rob the casino. All of the bad things in their lives, such as her death and Shadow’s incarceration, were orchestrated by Wednesday to put Shadow under his power. Laura is astounded by how callous their treatment has been. Sweeney explains to Laura that this is what gods have always done to humanity. Sweeney states it profanely as he paraphrases a famous quote from King Lear.

“As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods. They kill us for their sport.”

This is the final straw for Laura. She asks Sweeney what Wednesday has to lose.

Media has arrived with one of Technical Boy’s minions. The minions multiply by dividing into new minions. Media wants to know if Wednesday has been there and what he offered Ostara. Ostara explains to Media that she stopped Wednesday before he made any offer. Media tells Ostara that she has done well with her re-branding by the new gods. It would be a mistake to leave them now. What would happen to her if the world decided that God does not exist? The minions start to surround Ostara as Wednesday appears on the steps.

Gillian Anderson as Media

Wednesday addresses Media. He asks her, what if humanity believes that the gods do exist? There will be enough worship for all of the gods. Media reminds Wednesday that the new gods control the platforms and the content. Technical Boy appears to add to the situation. He joins the argument by telling Wednesday that he does not have the power to make a difference because of his advanced age. Technical Boy belittles Wednesday as he informs him that he cannot fight progress. Both Media and Technical Boy tell Wednesday that he does not matter anymore. Wednesday reminds them that humanity created gods when they could not explain why things happen. The bond between gods and humans involves a give-and-take, which is why Wednesday still matters.

One of Technical Boy’s minions morphs into Mr. World. He tells Wednesday that he matters if there is a war, but there will be no war. They can just out-wait Wednesday. Even if there is war, the new gods will win, since they have the firepower, while Wednesday only has stone axes and swords. As they have been talking, storm clouds have been gathering. Wednesday’s answer to the new gods is a dedication of the coming deaths to Ostara. At his words, a thunderbolt from the heavens kills all of Technical Boy’s minions. After this display of power, Wednesday asks Shadow if he has faith. Shadow asks Wednesday the same question he has asked over the entire first season, who is Wednesday?

Wednesday finally answers by revealing his true identity to Shadow. He speaks all of his names, ending with his most famous name, Odin. He tells Ostara of the Dawn to show them her power. As Ostara unleashes her power, the wind blows stronger and stronger. The storm clouds are blown away, but Ostara’s power is truly amazing as she fully unleashes it. She draws back the Spring and the renewal of life that is Spring. The crops go back into to the ground and the vegetation goes back into Winter hibernation. Mr. World tells them that they will have their war, but they will all die. Wednesday tells the new gods that the world can have Spring when they pray for it. Wednesday asks Shadow if he believes. Shadow finally answers that he believes in everything. Laura chooses this moment to interrupt, to ask to speak to her husband.

The final scene of the season and the episode is of Bilquis on a bus to Wisconsin.

The first season of American Gods has been phenomenal. The series has tackled many profound issues such as race, immigration, gun control, faith, fate, worship, sex, and love. Shadow is the everyman whose fate is not truly his own. He wants to believe that he is the master of his own fate, but he truly is not. Ricky Whittle managed to capture the sense of a man who is buffeted by forces he cannot comprehend.

All of the eight episodes were great, but Lemon Scented You was outstanding! Crispin Glover and Gillian Anderson are amazing as Mr. World and Media. Kristin Chenoweth, in the final episode as Ostara, is both charming and frightening as she unleashes her power. We finally have an inkling of who Bilquis is, as well as the role she will play in the coming war. Poor Sweeney is revealed to be as helpless as any mortal. And the new gods finally have an inkling of the power they will face as Odin unleashes his “queen.”

While the readers of the book have some idea of what next season will bring, we should remember that the show has already deviated away from its written source. I can’t wait until next season, since Neil Gaiman has announced that he plans to write a sequel to American Gods. It is possible that we may see some material from the new book in season two.

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Miclpea

I love going to conventions around the US. I'm an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I write for Friends of CC and I have written a science fiction script with a friend.