I am a little late in reporting in on American Gods Season I, The Secret of Spoons. There was a lot to digest this week. And there was also the real world going on. But, onward! The scenes seemed more frenetic this week, with the need to balance introducing new characters and providing continuity for our core heros and villians.
It may also be due to the fact there is a history lesson in the intro of the episode, and the ending was a checkers game that rivaled most chess games.
Let me explain.
Orlando Jones came in like James Baldwin as Mr. Nancy (Anansi, the spider god). I read some other articles, because his eyes and mannerisms bellowed Baldwin. Sure enough, Jones was looking to both James Baldwin, and South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, Oliver Tambo to convey his ripping monologue on a slave ship. Honestly, even if you don’t watch American Gods, just watch him deliver the monologue. We all just learned something.
Its hard to move on from there to the rest of the journey of Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon. One wants to just hit the rewind button and turned up the volume.
But if anything that does permeate through this episode, it is blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids. Each represents a form of release and/or surrender. Again alluding to the prominence of the thread of sacrifice. And the sacrifice that the second “new god” demands is time and attention. Gillian Anderson rolls on many screens in a big big box store as the goddess Media. And she provides a succinct, seductive sales pitch for Shadow to change sides.
The saved the most brutal for last. Czernobog comes in with simple ideas, simple statements and a desire for a simple game of checkers, with a very high stakes wager.
Side note: How awe inspiring and magical that each wrinkle, each eye crinkle, each wisp of white hair of Cloris Leachman as Zorya Vechernyaya, one of three sisters who guards the constellations, is so beautifully captured.