American Gods has been off the airwaves for two years thanks to a tumultuous production process that involved several showrunner changes. Does the show feel different? A bit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Visually this is still a gorgeous creation. The cinematography in the fortune telling sequence alone is worth the price of admission with intense closeups and spectacular editing. Of course the real highlight is the reveal of Odin and all the Gods in all their otherworldly glory. I actually never thought the show would go there, so this was a pleasant albeit strange surprise.
Thankfully the cast is still in fine form. While Ricky Whittle’s Shadow Moon is relegated to just reacting to all the extraordinary things happening around him, Ian McShane continues to steal all of his scenes with his razor-sharp wit and innate charisma. Also impressive is Yetide Badaki’s Bilquis who looks like she’s getting a whole lot more screen-time this year (a very welcome move).
This premiere also does a good job of elevating the stakes thanks to the brutal attack on Motel America in those final moments. Zorya’s death isn’t terribly moving since we were barely invested in her character, but it still works because well.. watching any old lady get shot is bound to be a gut-wrenching development. And of course, Cloris Leachman is just always delightful.
Bits & Shadows
- The credits are different this year, but they’re still stunningly eerie.
- Love the detail of the fly constantly buzzing around Laura (since she’s a rotting corpse after all).
- Loved the effects with the carousel going super-speed and transporting the gang.
- How great is Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy? He’s also been upgraded to series regular this year.
- Bilquis kissing Laura was so weird wasn’t it? You could tell Sweeney was jealous. Who else is shipping these two? He’s much more amusing than Shadow.
- Peter Stormare continues to deliver one of my favorite performances on the show as Czernobog. Crisper Glover’s performance as the villainous Mr. World however just feels awkward. Miscast perhaps?
- The episode’s cliffhanger with Shadow getting scooped up isn’t the most effective bombshell if we’re being totally honest.
Wednesday: Dear old Walt. Built a Magic Kingdom without any magic. Whereas in some parts of Florida, there is real magic. Oh, remember the mermaids of Weeki Wachee, Sweeney?
Sweeney: Aye. Been there and done several of them. Who knew they’d be into that kind of thing, huh?
Wednesday: They’re a very passionate species.
Wednesday: Like all fortunes Shadow: opaque on arrival, inevitable in retrospect.
Mr. Nancy: It’s a motherfuckin’ fortune from a fuckin’ wax dummy, dummy.
Sweeney: You sound like a man who’d fight to get back into those maggoty panties.
Wednesday: Do you know how beautiful you look?
Zorya: I am old. Your tongue is a wicked thing.
Wednesday: We’re both old. But nobody’s ever complained about my tongue.
It’s not mindblowing, but American Gods‘ season two premiere is still an intriguing premiere that sets the stage for a riveting season. Hopefully.