American Gods – S1 E2 – Reaction Breakdown Review

The episode opens with a writer, I’m assuming the same one from episode 1 journaling about arriving to America in 1697.  Then we see slaves on a ship with a spider.  One slave is singing/praying to Anansi to help them out of this horrid situation.  Right away I could associate it with being Anansi The Spider.  I was familiar with Anansi The Spider and Brer Rabbit stories having grown up in the Caribbean.  Anansi is a trickster and stories are told in the Caribbean akin to bedtime stories.  What I did not know was that Anansi is a West African God who often takes the shape of a spider. 

Mr. Nancy is played by Orlando Jones, who I’m most familiar with from Drumline and Mad TV.  The episode takes a really interesting take on Anansi from the future instigating a slave revolt.  Mr. Nancy gives them a history/future lesson on their fates in America for the next 3 hundred years. The scene is reminiscent of GOT burn them all.  Perhaps the Mad King was incited by a God.  He then tells them to burn the ship and end the situation. One of the men ask aren’t they going to also die if they burn the ship.  Mr. Nancy tells them they’re dead either way.  The men follow his instruction and torch the ship.

Next Shadow is confused and a bit pissed off about what’s going on and how he ended up almost lynched by Technical boy and his crew.  Mr. Wednesday tells him to relax.  He is pretty beat up so he returns to his motel room, takes a relaxing bath with some stuff he poured into the tub and goes to bed.  He has a dream about Laura in which she’s not dead, it was a bad dream.  This is not a way to spend your days right after getting out of prison.

The next day he returns his home to pack his house up and there is a montage of Shadow packing boxes and looking at the evidence box from Laura’s car accident and decides to go through it.  Comes across Laura and Robbie sexting.  Laura left the house a mess and Shadow cleans it before shipping off all their things and heading on the road with Mr. Wednesday.  Again with the coins.  I’ll have to look this one up at some point.

Mr. Wednesday gives Shadow a little insight to the plan in which they will be meeting with several people and one destination is Chicago to obtain his hammer.  So is Mr. Wednesday Thor? That doesn’t make too much sense and Thor is root in Thursday not Wednesday. Odin is associated with Wednesday and he does have the crazy eye, so I’ll go with him being Odin for now.  What was the deal with the dandelion and the clouds/lightening.  Did he make a wish? Pause for a google moment:

Looks like Dandelions are associated with Thursday and Thor and Jupiter in Roman Mythology riding through the sky/air like the dandelion follicles do when you blow them to make a wish.  Perhaps you’re praying to Thor.

I would lose my damn mind if the TV started talking back to me in a store, I mean I like I Love Lucy but come on.  I hate to keep making Game of Thrones connections but did Lucy basically refer to her crew as the New Gods, as in the Old Gods and The New? #IJS.  Shadow is a high commodity.  All the Gods want him on their side.  Right now it looks like The Old Norse Gods vs The New Virtual Gods.  I don’t know that the new gods are in mythology, seems more like a reference to the new things that “control” the masses like internet and TV maybe.  Is Lucy Technical Boy’s superior?

Ok I’m sorry, Shadow looks really confused by Mr. Wednesday tapping the car radio and it coming on.  He has got to realize by now that he’s dealing in the supernatural right now right?  Then we have a naked man floating in the galaxy.  Is this who Mr. Wednesday wished for or called when he blew the dandelion into space?

Bilquis is just out here devouring men and women both. Why is she crying?  We get what looks like a flashback scene of Bilquis in a museum standing in front of what looks like a fertility goddess.  There is a display case on the other side of the room and there are jewels lying flat in the case.  The shape of a body starts to fill in under the jewels as Bilquis stands over it but it fades back into the bottom of the case. Is she trying to summon a lost love by devouring humans?

In the next scene, we see Cloris Leachman playing Zorya Vechernyaya.  Mr. Wednesday refers to them as the Zorya sisters but we do not see the other sister.  According to google, Zoryas are two Slavic goddesses who are guardians.  Zorya tells Shadow that she will tell his fortune.  She then realizes that he is not aware of their world and tells this to Mr. Wednesday who responds that he is easing him in.

Czernobog, also a Slavic God that I’m unfamiliar with, comes into the apartment.  He is played by Peter Stormare.  Mr. Wednesday has plans to get a hammer from him.  Czernobog asks Shadow if he is black and Shadow asks if that was a problem.  Czernobog goes into a story about where he’s from everyone is white, which results in discrimination based on shades/skin tone.  He goes on to mention that his brother was lighter than he and as a result he was favored.  This led me to search the name of Czernobog’s brother and I found out that Belobog and Czernobog are essentially the same deity but one side represents the sun or the light (Belobog) and Czernobog was the opposite or the darkness.   This is basically what he is referring to in his story about his brother.  Next Czernobog challenges Shadow to a risky game of checkers to get the hammer for Mr. Wednesday.  If Shadow wins he gets the hammer but if Czernobog wins, he gets to hit Shadow in the middle of the forehead with this big ass hammer.  Shadow, finally realizing that he is in a completely different world and not dealing with mortals at this point, agrees to these stakes.  He immediately loses the damn game.  The show ends with Czernobog letting Shadow know that at sunrise he is going to smash his head in.

I will be moving right on to episode 3 at this point because I need to see how Shadow gets out of this one.  What is the deal with Mr. Wednesday being all cool about this damn game?  What is the goal here?  Is that Czernobog’s hammer or Mr. Wednesday’s?  I really don’t want to look up too much about the gods and their mythology ahead of time.  I love the way the show is introducing me to mythology I’d never heard of before and my knowledge is 90% based on Greek (probably 70%), Roman, Egyptian and Norse mythology. 

Until next time!

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