The second episode of American Gods was a little slower than the explosive opening but was excellent nonetheless. The visuals remain striking and the gods that are introduced are fascinating. In particular, there were three parts of the episode I loved. But there was one I just didn’t understand.
What I loved about The Secret of Spoons
Mr Nancy’s introduction
Has there ever been a character introduction as explosive as Orlando Jones’ Mr Nancy? Standing proud in a sharp suit on a slave ship is one hell of an entrance, but it gets better. In a few short minutes, he lays bare the brutality and inhumanity the slaves and their descendants will face once they set foot on the shores of America. He’s fierce, he’s fiery and he’s as charismatic as he is terrifying. His speech will, I’m sure, end up getting something in the range of a million views on YouTube.
Czernobog and the Sisters
Czernobog and the Sisters represent so much more than old, half-forgotten, gods. They represent all those people who feel their skills are no longer needed in the modern world. They represent people who have been left clinging to their pride because there is nothing else for them to cling on to. And, finally, they represent the immigrants fear that they will be marooned in their new country without hope of returning to the old. Peter Stormare is excellent as Czernobog. He’s greasy, angry, dirty and rude. Yet he’s also powerful, prideful and regal. It’s a hell of a performance, I hope we see more of him as the show progresses.
I love Media
If it wasn’t for Mr Nancy, Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Media would be on everyone’s lips. Much like the novel it’s based on, the strength of American Gods appears to be introducing both old and new gods in spectacular ways. What struck me about Media’s entry into the show wasn’t the pizzaz of having Gillian Anderson appear as Lucille Ball on multiple screens at once. It was Anderson’s voice. Like Media itself, her tones were mesmeric but with just the slightest hint of danger amongst the seduction. Anderson delivered her monologue in such a way I couldn’t understand how Shadow would reject her in order to work for Wednesday.
This brings us to one aspect of the episode I didn’t quite buy.
What I didn’t understand
At the end of the episode, Shadow agrees to play a game of checkers with Czernobog. If he loses the game Czernobog gets to bash his brains in with a giant hammer. I just don’t understand why he agrees to these terms. Nor why he doesn’t tell Wednesday where to go in general, or why he rejects Media’s offer to switch sides for more money. It’s an issue I also have with the novel. At this stage in his development, I just don’t know what Wednesday has done to earn Shadow’s loyalty. If anyone has any idea what I’m missing I’d love for them to tell me.
Top three quotes from the episode
“We are now, and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and he ain’t even yesterday anymore” – Media
“There are bigger sacrifices one might be asked to make, than going a little mad”– Mr Wednesday
“Family is who you survive with” – Zorya Vechernyaya
(I didn’t include any of Nancy’s speech as I couldn’t figure out which part was best).
If you’re looking for a new series to binge watch, you may want to look at our list of the best science fiction TV shows ever.
- Episode 2 of American Gods review