‘American Gods: Season 1, Episode 2 - The Secret of Spoons’ - TV Review

“The Secret of Spoons” saw the introduction of several more deities into the world of American Gods while Shadow processes the death of his wife.  It may just be due to Ricky Whittle’s performance, but the show managed to portray Shadow’s grief as the motivation for his journey better than the book.  The final moments of the episode can be directly linked to his conflicting emotions and confusion brought on by the sudden death of a loved one.

In the second episode, we were able to see the more pensive Shadow from the books.  He was not interested in talking about his loss and chose to deal with it in isolation.  That isolation is amplified as he gets deeper into the world of gods.  He is a stranger in this territory at a point in his life when he already feels disconnected from reality, and we can relate to his eventual acceptance to this bizarre new world.

This week’s coming to America prologue showed Mr. Nancy (Anansi) brought to the New World on a slave ship.  For those unacquainted with mythology, Anansi the Spider is an African trickster who is skilled at manipulating others to fight his battles for him.  Seeing him in his technicolor suit with all of the charm that Orlando Jones has to offer was sensational.  He was entertaining and terrifying: in short, everything that Mr. Nancy should be.

The Slavic gods Czernobog and the Zorya Sisters make their first appearance in this episode.  Wednesday and Shadow visit them in Chicago to recruit them for his cause.  With acting talent at the level of Peter Stormare and Cloris Leachman, it comes as no surprise that their scenes were fantastically amusing.

We not only saw old gods, but we even saw another new one—Gillian Anderson made her debut as Media.  The way we consume media has changed since the book was released in 2001, and her character reflects these changes.  In the book, she met Shadow alone in his hotel room, but in the show her first appearance is in a noisy department store in a sea of over-stimulation.  There is something far scarier about a confrontation in the middle of a crowd where the masses are oblivious to the situation rather than just being alone.  We sacrifice our time and binge watch to the cacophony of multiple screens simultaneously, and the show conveys that in an interesting way.

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