“Come to Jesus” brings American Gods: Season One to a close, and there is a lot to unpack in this episode. Fans of the book are treated to some surprises, as the show pushes the narrative in some interesting new directions. Those that are new to the world of American Gods also got some answers this week.
Instead of Ibis telling a coming-to-America story, it begins with Mr. Nancy (Anansi) telling the story of Bilquis’ fall from grace. Giving the character far more development than in the book, we watch as she begins as a goddess queen and her power is taken from her through the ages until she is vagrant on Hollywood Boulevard. Mr. Nancy is one of my favorite characters in the book, so seeing Orlando Jones bring him to life has been fantastic, and Yetide Badaki has been able to turn the minor character of Bilquis into a driving force for the show.
The episode is all about the strength of women and the power of life and rebirth, as well as men’s fear and jealousy of it. This is the perfect theme to serve as the introduction of Easter (played by Kristin Chenoweth), a pagan goddess of spring whose day was assimilated into Christian faith to celebrate Jesus. Within the world of American Gods, there is a multitude of Jesuses to reflect the differing faiths, and they are all in Easter’s home to celebrate their day. It is an interesting deviation from the book to move Easter’s home from the liberal mecca of San Francisco to Kentucky in the Bible Belt. The book’s depiction of her is a bit more flippant about her worship being co-opted by Christianity. At first, she appears to be overjoyed by the union and her role as a Southern Belle hostess in the show, but her bitterness and hostility eventually shines through.
The climax of the finale was the first major confrontation between the old gods and the new gods. Media (manifesting her fluid identity as Judy Garland in Easter Parade) arrives at Easter’s party along with Technical Boy and Mr. World. Wednesday is eventually able to woo Easter over to his side and convince her to revoke her blessing from humans. She ends spring and its restoration as punishment for the people who have lost their faith. Wednesday convinces her that they no longer believe in gods, because they do not struggle with basic necessities.
There were some major revelations as Laura learned that Wednesday is completely responsible for her current predicament. He caused the incident at the casino, which led to Shadow’s imprisonment and had her killed as a sacrifice. He knew that he could not enlist Shadow unless he was a broken man with nothing left to lose. Shadow learned (as well as any audience members who has not picked up on the clues along the way) that Wednesday’s true identity is the war god, Odin. His many names have been used throughout the season, and the acronym on the satellite in “Lemon Scented You” literally spelled out his name.
Overall, this has been a fantastic season with some amazing performances. I was expecting it to end with the House on the Rock; unfortunately, it was teased but not seen this season. It is clear that this is where they are heading next season, so we have a lot to look forward to in Season Two.