REVIEW | Divine powers clash on the AMERICAN GODS season finale

TV | Ostara and Wednesday finally show off their full power at the big Easter party reunion

At a party full of Jesuses, Easter finally takes her holiday back.

The first season of American Gods is over after only eight episodes, but they were episodes brimming with stories, beautiful shots and conversation-starting scenes. If nothing else (though as we've seen, there is so much else), showrunners Fuller and Green have gotten people talking about their outstanding new series.

(Spoilers below.)

Bilquis wants her power back. (YouTube)

Like other episodes, Mr. Nancy wants to tell a story. This one is about the Old God we've been missing since Episode 2, Bilquis. What we didn't see at the beginning of the show was the intense struggle Bilquis faced and the deal she made to regain her power.

Even in its season finale, the show displays the same patience that has made its shots gorgeous and its stories fascinating from the first minute. In "Come to Jesus," Mr. Nancy's story of Bilquis reveals an Old God suffering the same, forgotten fate as Wednesday and the others. From ancient Bliquis to disco-Bilquis, she struggled to hold onto her followers and keep power. She even fell victim to the pillaging of Daesh, who destroyed her temples and posted the videos online. Like Vulcan, she found salvation in the New Gods—by making a toxic deal with Technical Boy.

The moral of the story, according to Mr. Nancy? Wednesday needs a queen. The queen Wednesday chooses is not Bilquis, but a new face in the show, a god who is not only forgotten but whose praise has been stolen by none other than Jesus Christ, superstar.

Easter's Easter party. (YouTube)

Easter's (Kristin Chenoweth) grand Easter party celebrates the vernal equinox, the coming of Spring and herself, a.k.a. Ostara. Ostara is the god of Spring in Germanic traditions because her name is also the name of the month when Spring begins. Chenoweth's Ostara shares the frustrations of Wednesday and Bilquis but also feels replaced by the many, many Jesus Christs in attendance.

Ostara was one of the novel's best introductions because most readers were guilty of worse than forgetting her: they, as Wednesday explains in the show, were never aware of her at all because Easter became Jesus's day a couple of millennia ago. "It's religious Darwinism," Media says, praising adaptation over nostalgia. Technical Boy put it more bluntly: "You're old as f*ck. Things are never going back to the way they were."

Jesus sipping drinks on the pool. (YouTube)

Hearing that sentence, a viewer is faced with a conflict: Wednesday and the Old Gods are the good guys in the show, but can any of them, or us, really argue with Technical Boy's point? Can we really cheer for a bunch of washed-up gods whose power is lacking and whose relevance is questionable? Can we cheer for gods who require complex blood sacrifices when it's so much easier to welcome the future and pray through our screens? Can we, watching this series on TV (or streaming it to a laptop or however we're watching) and reading and writing about it later on tablets and phones, genuinely side with the kin of ancient Odin?

In answer to these questions and the challenges of Mr. World & Co., Wednesday and Ostara finally demonstrate the power they've bragged about for seven hours of the show. Adaptation might have kept Media strong, but her strength shrinks in the face of the old as Ostara strips the land of its blossoms and postpones the Spring entirely.

Give it back to them when they pray for it, Wednesday tells her.

As Bilquis ignores the threats of Technical Boy and rides a bus to House on the Rock, Wednesday and Ostara follow up the sacrifice of Vulcan with the second shot of the war. After all of the asides for characters whose histories aren't explored in Neil Gaiman's novel, it's difficult to predict where, exactly, we are in the story and where Season 2 might pick up. With the sides growing, the characters converging on Wisconsin and Shadow and Laura reunited, next season will bring even more clashes and more stories from both sides of the war.

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Watch all eight episodes now on Starz.


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