American Gods season one has drawn to a close, and in a year that has featured many standout book to screen adaptations, the show has firmly held its ground as one of the most entertaining, if sometimes confusing, shows on TV right now. Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have taken the source material, expanded upon it, rearranged scenes and characters to make it all fit together, and have delivered something that is both faithful to its literary predecessor, yet still completely new and fresh.
As it stands at the end of season 1, Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) has been revealed as Odin, God of War, while Easter (Kristin Chenoweth) has both given and rapidly taken away the springtime, as a punishment to non-believers. Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber), having restored Laura (Emily Browning) to her undead state, has revealed that he was sent to assassinate her by Wednesday, in order to push Shadow (Ricky Whittle) to accept Wednesday’s offer of employment. Needless to say, Laura isn’t taking this well, but will her anger get her anywhere now that Shadow has confessed he’s a believer? After seeing all he’s witnessed, and with the war between old Gods and new looming, it’s hard to imagine Shadow is going to have too much time to deal with the drama concerning his dead - yet very much alive - wife.
Laura won’t give up without a fight, though. Having learned that Easter can’t resurrect her because she was killed by a god, she is now looking sallow, gray, and…well, like a corpse. She’s also vomiting maggots, and trying to hold her flesh together with butterfly hair grips. It’s not a good look, and, heading into season 2, we can expect to see her determined to make Wednesday admit to his plan, and most likely she’ll be wanting some kind of revenge, too. The problem is, it’s not all that easy to get revenge on a God of War. In death, Laura has truly learned what it is to live, and to love. Hers is a tragic tale; she’s unable to let go of Shadow because she now realizes exactly what she once had, and she wants that back. Here’s also hoping for a lot more scenes between Browning and Schreiber, because those have been a joy to behold.
The characters of Laura and Mad Sweeny have been expanded upon vastly from the book, and it’s something that has worked exceptionally well, allowing us to see more of their backstories and adding another dynamic to Shadow’s journey. So far, we’re about a fifth of the way through Gaiman’s book, so there’s lots more to come in season two, not least the war between old and new.
If season one was the appetizer, then season 2 must be the main course. Through the eyes of Shadow, we’ve discovered this strange world, new powers, new ways of living. Now he’s professed his belief, we can see him become stronger, more confident, and slowly he will emerge from the shadow of his former self. He’s no longer defined by Laura, but is he now defined by Wednesday? How will Wednesday influence Shadow’s beliefs now that he’s taken the first step of admitting he does believe all he’s seen? Shadow’s outlook will change, and it could well be that we see him becoming fiercely dedicated to Wednesday’s protection. Since there’s not so much explanation needed in season 2, it’s also likely the pace of the show will pick up, with more complex storylines. Yes, even more complex than we have already.
One event that's sure to happen in season 2 is the meeting at the House on the Rock. Those who have read the novel will know all that that entails, and many will have heard that season 1 would end with all the gods - old and new - assembled there. However, Fuller and Green decided to restructure the narrative and in doing so, dropped two hours from the season one run time. Season 2, however, is said to be ten hours instead of eight. The meeting at House on the Rock was hinted at with Bilquis on the bus to Wisconsin, and Shadow and Wednesday are heading that way. It’s likely they will bring Easter with them, and there they will also meet with Czernobog (Peter Stormare), and Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones). Media, Technical Boy, and Mr. World will also be in attendance, representing the New Gods. Remember that Bilquis owes some kind of debt to Technical Boy. Laura also said The Jinn is heading there, and Salim will be hot on his heels.