The first season of American Gods has come to a close with American Gods Season 1 Episode 8. I hate to say it, but I wasn't fully impressed with this finale.
As an episode on its own, the hour was a strong one, filled with a few great moments, stunning visuals (as always), and excellent performances.
But it certainly didn't feel like a finale. It felt like the end of a prologue. Like, now the main action will finally begin, and we had to wait all season for it to get there.
The action in the finale centered around Easter (aka Ostara, the goddess of spring). Virtually all of the major players gravitated to Easter's house for the big finale face-off, which wound up being a little bit anti-climactic.
That said, Kristen Chenoweth gave a pitch perfect performance as Easter. Her bubbly and spritely attitude was just what this role demanded.
Beneath that, you could also feel the undercurrent of her strength and power. Chenoweth managed to balance both aspects of Easter perfectly.
It was also hilarious seeing her little "asides" with her rabbit minions delivering news to her.
Her flirtatiousness with Shadow was great. I loved seeing how bashful and charmed he was around her! It was very cute and a side of Shadow we don't ever get to see.
Ricky Whittle and Kristen Chenoweth have great chemistry.
Well, I deal in sugar, sugar. And you’re the sweetest damn thing I’ve ever seen.Easter [to Shadow]
And Chenoweth looked beyond stunning in that Easter outfit and makeup.
Shadow and Wednesday, fitted in brand spanking new (and super snazzy) suits courtesy of Mr. Nancy, arrived at Easter's gorgeous Kentucky estate. She was their last (and by far the most important) stop on their countrywide tour this season.
Wednesday managed to convince her to join their side by preying on her exasperation for relying on the Jesuses to remain relevant to worshippers.
Though Easter seemed to be enjoying a decent amount of attention, it was all filtered through the Jesuses and facilitated by the New Gods. Truly, she didn't have any real power over her worshippers in her own right.
Wednesday knew exactly what to say to her to sway her to their cause. It also didn't hurt that he lied and said that the New Gods were the ones who killed Vulcan for having sided with Wednesday.
This culminated in an epic show of power from Easter, stealing spring at Wednesday's behest in order to provoke worship from the people who would be starved to death – but not until after Wednesday finally revealed himself to be Odin.
People create gods when they wonder why things happen. Do you know why things happen? Because gods make them happen. You wanna know how to make good things happen? Be good to your god. You give a little. You get a little. The simplicity of that bargain has always been appealing. That’s why we’re here, and that’s precisely why I matter.Mr. Wednesday
Ian McShane was fantastic, as usual. But were we really supposed to be surprised by the Odin reveal? Was Shadow meant to have been surprised?
I imagine just about everyone watching had his identity figured out by now, hadn't they?
Regardless, Wednesday's big speech during the face-off with the New Gods was a great moment, acting-wise. It also finally pushed Shadow out of his stubborn unwillingness to believe in the things he was seeing, and I'm relieved.
Unfortunately, Shadow believing in Wednesday's godliness doesn't necessarily negate how pissed off he'll be when he finds out that Wednesday orchestrated Laura's death.
I was killed by a god. Which fucking god?Laura
Separately, Mad Sweeney and Laura arrived at Easter's in the broken down old ice cream truck. It was Easter, as it turns out, who was Sweeney's resurrecting connection.
In what was definitely a bummer for Laura, Easter revealed that Shadow's wife had been killed by a god, making her ineligible for the type of resurrection that Easter is able to perform.
Laura, needless to say, was pissed off about that, leading to a few moments of some always-appreciated man-handling of Mad Sweeney.
Laura is also looking worse for the wear every minute. I can't imagine how much worse she'll get throughout American Gods Season 2.
Aside from the major action at Easter's with both Shadow/Wednesday and Laura/Mad Sweeney, the finale also featured a lot of Bilquis.
The hour opened with Mr. Nancy giving a powerful speech about the story of Bilquis, the goddess of love and sex, coming to America.
Bilquis' flashback was the final Coming to America sequence of the season, and it was certainly one of the strongest.
Yetide Badaki has given an incredible performance in her limited appearances.
It's remarkable when you consider the fact that she's had barely more than a handful of lines. With so little dialogue, she's managed to create an enigmatic and engaging character who you can't help but want to see more often.
Bilquis' flashback gave viewers a history of her gradual fall from power and her subsequent rise again.
In ancient times, Bilquis was worshiped, as we saw during the opening temple orgy sequence. That scene was perfect, balancing the ecstasy and terror of being "consumed" by Bilquis very well.
There was a pervasive feeling of dread, even as everyone was quite obviously enjoying themselves.The sight of them liquefying and being taken in by Bilquis' scary vagina was freaky but very effective.
Further along, we saw Bilquis arriving in Tehran in 1979, shortly before the revolution that drove her out.
Obviously, this real life historical effect has larger political ramifications. But for the purposes of the show, it was framed as men wanting to take down a powerful woman (Bilquis).
There’s no end to the cruelty of men threatened by strong women.Mr. Nancy
Bilquis eventually wound up destitute in Hollywood, a homeless woman – until she was rescued by Technical Boy and the advent of online dating.
Thanks to Tinder (and/or similar technology), Bilquis was able to resurrect her business of seduction and consumption. Now, Technical Boy is calling in the favor that he believes Bilquis owes him for having helped her out all those years ago.
What does Technical Boy want her to do? Unclear. What we do know: it has something to do with the House on the Rock, where she was heading by bus in the final moments of the finale.
For those who have read the book, you're aware of what this signifies. For those who haven't, I'll just say this – there will be some craziness ahead when the major players all finally wind up at the House on the Rock.
- The subtle halo lighting whenever a Jesus appears never fails to make me laugh.
- The faceless men multiplying and doing that weird dance around in Easter's garden was such a strange but cool visual.
- More Crispin Glover talking creepily = always welcome, for any amount of time.
- Orlando Jones didn't have all that much to do this season as Mr. Nancy, but I appreciated the fact that he got to pop up and give another great monologue (this time about women's sexuality!).
- At the risk of sounding redundant, I continue to adore Gillian Anderson's Media in all her various incarnations. Judy Garland was not my favorite (that honor goes to her Marilyn Monroe), but it was still pretty great.
- Overall, I enjoyed this season very much, but the pacing was a bit off. I loved all of the asides to explore other characters, but they were almost too extensive and detracted from the main plot to the point where I kept losing track of what Wednesday and Shadow were even doing.
What did you think of the finale? Share your thoughts by commenting below, and remember that you can watch American Gods online here at TV Fanatic anytime!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.