Thank the Gods: American Gods Season Two is Stranger, Bolder, and On Track to Out-Perform Season One

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American Gods is back and, in a way, it feels like it never left. Our opening to American Gods season two starts with the three-minute clip we were all privy to at the end of the binge-a-thon of the first season that STARZ hosted a few months back. Mr. World and Technical Boy have fled from Ostara’s home after Mr. Wednesday revealed himself as Odin and made a very powerful first move.

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. The explanation for Gillian Anderson’s absence is that Media fled as well, but clearly not with her fellow New Gods. So, Technical Boy is tasked with finding her while Mr. World recovers. Kristin Chenoweth’s absence is explained as Easter/Ostara not wanting to join Wednesday due to him running over some of her bunnies in season one’s finale.

Obviously, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but you should know Pablo Schreiber’s wig for Mad Sweeney is considerably better now that they were able to give him one that fits properly. Mad Sweeney was a favorite of mine in season one and it is no different in season two. We see Sweeney now fully in Wednesday’s war, though; for reasons of his own and not particularly subscribed to what Odin is selling.

Sweeney’s relationship with Laura Moon is just as bit amazing as before, though; now we see Laura trying to rekindle her relationship with Shadow, but Shadow is Wednesday’s man now. Completely submerged in Wednesday’s plot, he [Shadow] is even pleading with other old gods to trust Wednesday. Which, is done by the way in this gorgeous scene of bright colors, glowing power, and can I say that American Gods is still the most delightfully bizarre show on television. We see several old gods with the familiar ones and Mama-Ji (Sakina Jaffrey) makes her appearance as Kali, the Hindu goddess of death. She’s already one of my favorites of this season.

Of course, Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones) and Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) return and their screen time is considerably more than last season, which no one is complaining about. Anansi is one of the best characters in the show and Bilquis is a queen. Her sultry mannerisms and power radiate off the screen and as we watch her own motives play out on screen, we know that her storyline will only grow as the season goes on.

The ending of the first episode is unexpected, daunting, and raw. We know there will be consequences, which are played out in the second episode. Mr. World wanted to set an example and the message he gave was one that all the Old Gods received. Whereas everyone was brought together in the first episode of season two, the second episode sees everyone split up into groups. Mr. Nancy and Wednesday go their separate ways, while Laura and Mad Sweeney are back on the road and we love a good road trip between these two.

The Jinn and Salim are reunited, but it is not the loving embrace that Salim was hoping for. While the Jinn changed the course of Salim’s life, the Jinn is keeping him at arm’s length and in reality, Salim should be considered the “puppy”, not Shadow. Still, Salim and Jinn split off on their road trip and we’ll have to wait for the next episode to find where their journey takes them.

Episode two introduces us to Dean Winters’ Mr. Town, who is not to be reckoned with. Serious, clever, and unrelenting, he is tasked with extracting information from Shadow for Mr. World. Much of the episode is exploring Shadow’s past and his journey in America after his mother brought him there from France. There’s such a great scene in a flashback, along with several hints throughout the episode that all point to who Shadow really is and what makes him so special in this war, but I’ll let you watch for yourself!

Episode two is truly great for Sweeney and Laura shippers (as myself) as they are every bit as great as they were in season one. Only, if you remember from Sweeney telling Ostara he didn’t want Laura dead; we can see Sweeney looking at Laura differently than before. He isn’t as insulting towards her and you can even see some tenderness between the two and it seems Sweeney only resorts to insults when things are becoming too sweet between them. It’s clear that Sweeney feels Laura’s affection for Shadow is undeserving and we’re presented with a new way for her to get her life back, so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

So far, there is very little screen time in regards to Mr. World and Technical Boy and I hope that changes. Mr. World is sitting back and planning and there’s a particular scene between him and Bilquis that made the hairs in the back of my neck stand up. Meanwhile, Technical Boy is still searching for Media and since we know it’s New Media he’ll end up finding, I hope it’s done very soon.

Season two has a different feel to it than season one while maintaining its flair for bizarre and keeping the integrity of the characters. This season is more focused on the main picture instead of individualized stories, though; I wonder when Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jacquel will show up again now that season two is foregoing background stories in the beginning of the episodes.

One of my biggest gripes with other companies speaking about American Gods is that they focus so heavily on whatever happened in the background. We know that all movies and television shows go through some aches and pains behind the scenes, so can we stop focusing on that? Season Two is sharper, cleaner, and knows the plot that they are going to follow. Every actor knows their character well and is giving performances of a lifetime. I cannot specifically pick one person, as they’re all fantastic. I can definitively say that you are going to enjoy season two and I can’t personally wait to see what this war wages after episode two.

American Gods returns March 10th on Starz and March 11th on Amazon Prime.