Having a scene from a show that could work well on its own as a short film is a great thing. And that is exactly what American Gods has managed to do with their second episode “The Secret of Spoon”. In the opening scene we get to see African slaves being transported by the Dutch in the year 1697. It focuses on one such slave praying to Anansi (Orlando Jones), begging for his help to be freed despite not being able to offer him anything in return. Anansi, otherwise known as Mr. Nancy, appears and begins a monologue surrounding the next few hundred years of black slavery. Eventually having the slaves accept that they are dead either way, and that they may as well revolt and burn the ship down. Jones deserves a lot of credit for his portrayal of Anansi in this scene, and for the emotion and rage he has put behind his words.
We then are transported back to the present with Moon (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) travelling across the country towards Chicago. This is all in an attempt to recruit an old friend of Wednesday’s. This leads to some great conversation pieces between the two, and is cut short when Wednesday send Moon on a very specific shopping run. It is here that we are introduced to Media (Gillian Anderson) who is taken the visage of 1950’s Lucille Ball. Media attempts to sway Moon to leave Wednesday and to work with her and the new gods. Even though I had known that Anderson was cast as Media, it still struck me when she first appeared as they had done an impeccable job at making her look like Ball.
Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) is shown in a new scene consuming more people. What can only be described as a vagina nebula is shown to have her previous sacrifices floating in perpetual euphoria. We also get to see her walking around in what looks like a museum display detailing her history. She takes a great interest in a cabinet filled with jewelry. The cabinet shifts and a body briefly takes shape under the jewelry to show how it would have sat in Bilquis’ body once upon a time. It will be nice once we get a little more in to the background of Bilquis, and what her motives are.
The final scenes of this episode introduce us to two of the three Zorya sisters, and their cousin Czernobog (Peter Stormare). Zorya Vechernyaya (Cloris Leachman) and Zorya Utrennyaya (Martha Kelly) treat Moon and Wednesday to dinner once they have arrived. They explain why they are there, and that they have come to speak to Czernobog. Czernobog wants nothing to do with Wednesday’s plan, but stops them from leaving as dinner is almost ready. Moon and Czernobog are then seen playing a game of checkers with a bet riding on the outcome: Should Moon win, Czernobog will join Wednesday. Should Moon lose, Czernobog will kill him with a blow to the forehead with his bloodied mallet, much like that of a cow on a killing room floor. The back and forth between the characters in this scene are great. With Moon attempting to help the sisters with dinner and being shut down, to Czernobog intimidating Moon and Wednesday during the checkers match. The lighting and atmosphere of their abode really brings it home that they are in fact old Gods, and not quite what they once were.
Much like the first episode this is a must watch. I hope that the coming episodes remain on the upward trend of the previous two, and we get to see what this show is truly made of.
Check out the promo for episode two below: