The Second instalment of American Gods is called The Secret of the Spoons after an eerie little song sung right at the end of the episode.
Orlando Jones’s Anansi/Mr Nancy is perfect! At the beginning of the episode, he is introduced in another Coming to America segment (this time it’s the 17th century), here he is summoned by the desperation of a slave on his way to America. Mr Nancy’s speech about the prospects of black men in America is a rather powerful moment because it’s all, unfortunately, true, this and the fact that his delivery is brilliantly theatrical and laced with profanity.
Shadow returning to his home was one of the most heartbreaking scenes. The decorations declaring ‘Welcome Home Shadow’ and half blown up balloons are made sadder due to the fact that his wife was cheating on him. With lingering shots and close ups of both Shadow and the imagined Laura, this scene is rather poetic especially with the slow melodic music, I felt really quite sorrowful. This moment is then immediately juxtaposed by Shadow packing everything up, close ups of sellotape loudly seeling their belongings away and hangers being stuffed into portable wardrobes is quite cold and emotionless, perhaps numb even.
Later on, in The Secret of the Spoons we are introduced to another New God, Media played by Gillian Anderson. Unlike Technical Boy who Shadow met in the premier episode, Anderson’s Media is alluring and patient, she gives shadow a proposition to consider. Her small speech is rather interesting too, it’s much more understated than Mr Nancy’s but it’s just as relevant. She says ‘The screen’s the altar, I’m the one they sacrifice to…’ and ‘Time and attention: better than lamb’s blood’, this scene is essentially exposition and is used to the same effect as it was in the book, revealing tidbits that make much more sense when you consider that these gods exist through thoughtform.
The second episode closes with Mr Wednesday and Shadow visiting Czernobog and the Zoraya Sisters residence in Chicago. What unfolds is ultimately an unsettling encounter especially after the gruff and moody Czernobog arrives home and starts a conversation about murder at the dinner table. Czernobogs talk of murder is about his job slaughtering cattle but it may as well be about humans as his words and explanations of his methods are nothing short of creepy. I have to say that this scene plays out wonderfully, all the elements are just right, the food is disgusting but Wednesday is applauding it for the sake of charming his host and Shadow is coerced into a fateful game of checkers.
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