Easter and the Jesuses
Shadow may not understand the lesson inherent in Mr. Nancy’s story, but Wednesday does. He’s gained a few followers, but he’s lost Vulcan and potentially Bliquis. Luckily, she’s not the only queen out there. Like Laura and Mad Sweeney, Shadow and his boss head to Kentucky on the vernal equinox to treat with Ostara. Known alternately as Ēostre, Ostara is the Germanic god whose ritual of fertility and rebirth has been transmuted into Easter. As in our world, Media and Christianity eventually co-op this pagan festival, transforming its rituals into genteel activities and placing its prominence on Jesus.
In the books, Jesus is but a passing name. The show, however, has cleverly transformed him into the godly version of franchisement. For every branch and faction of Christianity, there’s a different version of Jesus. Two weeks back, we met Mexican Jesus, who makes an appropriate reappearance in the episode as part of his storied resurrection. We also meet Jesus Prime, briefly but masterfully portrayed by Jeremy Davies (Lost). Crowned with a halo of light, we see him apologize for the theft of Ostara’s holy day and curse his father when he realizes his glass can’t stand on water.
The whole celebration is not only a visual treat, but a perfect summation of the book and show’s central theme: the power of belief. There are so many Jesuses because so many different types of people believe in so many different types of the man. Ostara, meanwhile, has been forgotten in all but her Romanized name. Still, she’s taken a page out of the New God’s book and used modern systems of belief to reinvent her worship. She’s not what she once was, but she’s still living better than many of her peers. Like Vulcan and Bilquis, she seems to have taken the help of Media and the New Gods. The deal doesn’t look to be as explicit, but they’ve nevertheless had a symbiotic relationship for some time. After all, Ostara is no stranger to rebirth.
Unlike Ostara’s image and Mexican Jesus’ body, Laura Moon isn’t granted resurrection. She may be walking, talking, and beating up Mad Sweeney every chance she gets, but her animated corpse isn’t truly alive. Mad Sweeney thinks Ostara can grant Laura the boon she seeks, but he’s actually helped ensure that the Goddess of Dawn can do nothing for Dead Wife.
This episode, we finally get confirmation of what was teased last week: that Mad Sweeney killed Laura (and Robbie) under the orders of Wednesday. As if the reasons weren’t obvious, Sweeney elucidates Laura and the audience. From the failed casino robbery to Shadow’s time in jail to the car crash that left him without a wife, best friend, or semblance of a life, Wednesday has been pulling the strings all along. He needed Shadow to be utterly without hope or faith, ready to be pulled along on a wild journey that would lead to him eventually bestowing belief on Wednesday. Of course, Shadow doesn’t yet know this, leading to him giving the Old God exactly what he desires.