A Winter’s Tale
January has really been a topsy-turvy month for shows based on books. From the disappointing adaptation of The Stand to whatever The Watch is trying to be, the wonderful surprise of Lupin seems to be the only bright spot so far. So what better time than now to release the third season of American Gods; a show that’s so wildly deviated from the book material and been through so much drama backstage. Ironically, the production and creation of this show is almost as fascinating as what’s happening on-screen.
Continuing this topsy t-urvy adaptation, episode 1 of American Gods Season 3 begins with a heavy rock concert as Mr Wednesday is greeted as Odin and All-Father in front of a room of screaming fans. Shadow meanwhile, is going under the alias of Mike Ainsel and working in a factory, laying low. He’s also sporting long hair and a shaggy beard. This is obviously a very different Shadow from the one we’ve seen before.
Meanwhile, Laura continues to try and find someone to bring our Leprechaun, Mad Sweeney, back to life. With all hope lost, Laura brings the well-preserved corpse of Sweeney into a crypt and uses the gold coin inside her to try and bring him back. Instead, she dissolves into dust once the coin is removed and Sweeney’s fate is left unknown.
Shadow meets an old lady called Helen on the road who very clearly isn’t what she seems. Holding Shadow’s arm, he hears the voice of Wednesday who eventually shows up in front of him. It turns out Wednesday intends to “extract” Shadow from this new life. Given a background check at work spells bad news for him, Wednesday convinces Shadow to join him again given they’re family.
The New God Order has a bit of a shake-up too, with Mr World instead replace by Ms World. She intends to rally the troops and spark up the flames of war again. When Technical Boy appears, he marvels at Ms World’s new look, telling her “White guys are not on trend.” After angrily killing one of her own, Ms World stamps her authority down by calling out Technical Boy’s procrastination with Bilquis. Inevitably, this brings him back to the Goddess to try and convince her to join their side in this upcoming war.
Wednesday and Shadow head off to visit Whiskey Jack (Wisakedjak), a powerful Native American trickster God. Predictably, they run into trouble on the road when Mr Road tries to stop them with spikes and armed guards. Shadow takes a hard right before they can attack though, ending up inside a hedonistic medley of colours in another realm; the twilight of the Gods.
There, Shadow meets Whiskey Jack who tells him there are those who can help guide him in this fight ahead. When his heart and head are in alignment, Shadow will see the way. Jack tells him to follow the enaemaehkiw. Wednesday inevitably shows up and causes issues, eventually leading to a hasty retreat from the pair.
When Shadow and Wednesday leave, they reappear in North Dakota away from Mr Road. A car races up toward them holding Wednesday’s fiancee, Cordelia. Introductions are short lived though given the group are forced back on the road again, this time heading to Utah to meet another of Wednesday’s old friends called the Night Carrier.
Shadow tries in vain to turn away from this, eventually learning to his dismay that every bus out of town has been cancelled except that en-route to Lakeside. The same Lakeside that Wednesday is desperate for him to visit. It’s bitterly cold when he arrives, and Shadow eventually finds himself held up at gunpoint – not a great start!
The Episode Review
“Not a great start” can probably summarize this first episode, in truth. With no Anansi, Mad Sweeney or Laura, American Gods Season 3 has well and truly deviated from the books now. This is only accentuated by Mr World shifting across to Ms World too, complete with a cheeky self-aware jab at modern TV and film antagonists.
It seems like Bilquis is being elevated to being the deciding factor in the war to come too, while Shadow and Wednesday continue to meet and greet old Gods.
Visually, the show looks great and the editing all round is pretty good. In terms of technicality, the only faults here come from the sound design. I’m not quite sure why we needed so many musical montages, especially for a first episode, but it comes across as padding in an otherwise light episode of drama.
Whether the story can improve and expand over what we’ve seen so far remains to be seen. This troubled fantasy show is no doubt one of the prettiest on TV but whether that can translate into the writing however, remains to be seen.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|