A new clip from the next episode of American Gods finally introduces Jesus to the pantheon of the show. So far, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s adaptation of American Gods has deviated a good deal from the source material. Remarkably, however, those changes have stayed true to the spirit of Neil Gaiman’s novel and breathed new life into a number of the characters. Given the books perspective, many gods and mortals were left as mere sketches. The series, meanwhile, has allowed character like Laura Moon and Bilquis to get a much bigger spotlight.
Throughout Gaiman’s book, he merely namechecks certain deities, who we never get to properly meet. The show, luckily, will be able to change that. Not only has the first season allowed new avenues to be explored, but its renewal means a whole new batch of episodes will pay homage to the gods both Old and New. One major religious figure that is only a blip in the book is Jesus Christ. Mentioned by a few characters, he never makes a notable appearance in the narrative. That’s all set to change in the show. Before the premiere, word broke that Lost star Jeremy Davies would be playing the Christian leader. Since then, Wednesday has noted on the show that the martyr’s popularity means that he has many forms in the modern world. This Sunday, we’ll finally meet one of them.
Deadline have a clip from ‘A Murder of Gods’ which shows a group of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. Upon doing so, a group of vigilantes begin firing on them with sniper rifles adorned with references to Christianity. The dark irony of the whole scene comes at the end, when the supposedly pious men kill a version of Jesus himself, who the Mexican families brought with them.
The final scene is hardly subtle, using Jesus’ death to evoke the crucifiction, the stigmata, the crown of thorns, and the sacred heart. The lead up, however, does an effective job of continuing the discussion of immigration in that’s at the heart of American Gods. Like Gaiman’s book, the new series uses the road trip format and the carrying of old gods to a new land to examine the history of America and its culture, while exploring the people that make up this diverse country. Part of that comes from taking hard looks at difficult subjects, like the slave trade and border crossings. Still, they’re an essential part of this nation’s history and the creators of the show aren’t shying away from them.
Green, best known for co-writing Logan, followed up the premiere of the clip with an explanation of why he and Fuller felt the scene was necessary. In their mind, it would help to provide empathy for those ironically viewed as outsiders by a country populated by people from around the world:
“Our goal for the sequence was to try to experience a crossing over the border from the point of view of those desperate enough to do it, albeit through the show’s strange lens. If we had a hope it was that it might deliver a dose of empathy where it was needed. Trump’s maniacal rhetoric was out there but hadn’t yet been forgiven or supported by 60 million people so we were probably naïve as to just how desperately deficient in empathy our nation currently is.”
As Green notes, the scene was written and likely shot before the election last fall. There’s no telling how it might have changed since then or what Green and Fuller might have done differently if they wrote it today, but the message would likely be the same. While American Gods has received praise for its visuals and diversity, much of its appeal also comes from it unabashedly tackling religious, cultural, and political concepts with a rare honesty. With ‘A Murder of Gods’, the show looks to be continuing that work.
American Gods continues with ‘A Murder of Gods’ next Sunday, June 4th.