TV Review: American Gods (Season 1, Episode 2)
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American Gods steps up its game in episode two, bringing drama and blood and more gods to the craziness that has become poor Shadow’s life.The episode starts as the last does – with a flashback to an ancient time. This one is 1697, upon a slave ship with a captured man praying to “Compe Ansai” to save him. When Ansai – also known as Mr. Nancy - arrives (played by Orlando Jones), he takes full control of the scene. Where the space is brown and wet and full of despair, Ansai is tall and bright and brash. Charismatic and angry, Ansai preaches about the future of black people in America, a wonderfully simple example of a race conversation in the modern day. This slave ship is the beginning of black oppression and Ansai acknowledges it – “you guys don’t even realise you’re black yet”, a powerful statement that is framed brilliantly with old jazz, reminiscent of the music that future slaves would create to get through day to day life. Ansai, however, isn’t the only face of god that is introduced. Episode one suggested a fight between the gods of the ancient world and the gods of the modern one, and here, that idea is solidified. We are introduced to Lucy Ricardo – or at least someone who wears her face – and speaks to Shadow in one of the more surreal parts when Shadow is out shopping for Mr Wednesday. She is a ‘modern’ god formed from the worship of television, a comment on our world today and a new kind of worship: “We are tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” Perhaps in direct contrast, we see the return of Bilquis. Although her scenes are short (much shorter than last time), she is very clearly a symbol of an old worship that never hasn’t left. A hope is that this will lead to an interest conversation into the idea of worship, as well as wonderful cinematics and some appreciation of the old gods.
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