American Gods Ep. 102 Recap & Review – ‘The Secret Of Spoons’
Legion of Leia has a new weekly podcast! Check out American Pods: An American Gods Podcast where I and a panel of super fans discuss the latest episodes of Starz’s American Gods. You can listen to Episode 2 – “A Spoonful of Czernobog” here.
Right away, after watching the first scene in “The Secret of Spoons,” you figure out that American Gods isn’t going to pull any punches. The cast and crew of the show are up front about their political and social commentary, particularly when it’s about race.
“Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time, a man got f*cked. Now, how is that for a story? Because that’s the story of black people in America.” This is the introductory speech of Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones), or Anansi, as he is traditionally known in West African folklore. Suddenly, the lynching imagery from the first episode (and the act itself) goes from subtext to text. “Shit, you all don’t know you’re black yet,” Mr. Nancy points out to the would-be slaves currently chained up below decks of a Dutch slave ship. “You think you’re just people.”
Mr. Nancy, dressed in a purple plaid suit plucked from the 70s, angrily lays down the truth for black people in America that would continue on for over 300 years. This scene continues to point out that not every “Coming to America” immigrant story is a positive one, nor is it ever as simple as we like to think. The opening scene to “The Secret of Spoons” reminds us that the origin of our diverse country descended from people who didn’t come here by choice. They were kidnapped en masse, enslaved, and treated as property by a group thinking themselves superior.
Anansi was often celebrated as a symbol of slave resistance and survival in the Caribbean, but no one survives when Mr. Nancy rallies the slaves to riot against the “Dutch mother f*ckers” and burn down the ship carrying all of them. It’s a win morbid win for the Africans because now they don’t have to live as slaves, nor do they have to carry with them the knowledge that it’s not going to get any better for their people a very long time.
The whole seen is chilling and reaffirms what a lot of us have known for years already: Orlando Jones is a great actor.
Speaking of having a great introduction, meeting Gillian Anderson as Media carried a certain weight for which I was not prepared.
Having Media visit Shadow in the middle of a Wal-Mart type superstore instead of inside another dreary motel room like in the book was a smart move. It shows off the cock-sureness of the New Gods who seem to love making an entrance. Plus, staging her conversation with Shadow in the middle of a store aisle lends a sense of grandeur. We expect nothing less from the type of god to whom we sacrifice our time and attention. After all, it’s hard to pull your gaze away when something cool is happening on TV.
Media wants Shadow to play on the side of the New Gods. We don’t know why, but she is willing to give him whatever he desires to get him into her camp. Unlike the Old Gods — gruff, jaded, straightforward, yet ready to admit their shortcomings — the New Gods, at least with Media and the Technical Boy, seem hollow and duplicitous in their grand-standing. Maybe it’s because the American people aren’t aware that they’re sacrificing their time and attention to physical manifestation of the very things they metaphorically and literally worship. The New Gods just take without having to prove their existence via “miracles.”
Maybe that’s why we’re a bit more comfortable with Wednesday’s “friends,” Czernobog and the Zorya sisters, as ornery as they are. I especially love Zorya Vechernyaya because she’s played by Cloris freakin’ Leachman. The woman downs a whole bottle of vodka in two seconds!
These Slavic deities are the definition of frankness, with the exception of Zorya Vechernyaya telling the “prettiest lies” when it comes to earning rent money from reading fortunes. Czernobog (Peter Stormare) is the most menacing of the bunch. He revels in the art and skill of killing, which is why Wednesday once referred to him as his “hammer.” When not acting as Wednesday’s enforcer, Czernobog had once put his skills to great use in killing cows before the meat market forced him to retire his hammer and replace it with a bolt gun. Boring!
But for all of Czernobog’s blustering and claiming that he’s still as strong as he was when he swung his hammer regularly, he also has a playful nature about him and begrudgingly appreciates Shadow’s confidence.
The purpose of Wednesday and Shadow’s visit was that Wednesday wants Czernobog to come to a meeting he’s got set up with a number of other Old Gods. He hopes that the others will be swayed into joining Wednesday’s upcoming war if they see that Czernobog is back at the old con man’s side.
Czernobog refuses at first, but then Shadow entices him with a bargain. If Shadow wins at a game of checkers, Czernobog goes to the meeting. If Czernobog wins, he doesn’t have to go…and he gets to bash Shadow’s head in with one blow from his hammer. Shadow reluctantly takes the bet, but loses.
Yeah. Shadow put himself in a really bad position, and he JUST started his new job!
- We check back with Bilquis who is much more predatory than before. Her second appearance gives us the sense that she’s not at all satisfied with her situation. Just how long has this version of Bilquis been on this Earth?
- Peen! We get full-man-frontal. A full erect peen, no less.
- We also see a real dick pick when Shadow flips through Laura’s phone. A great introduction to Robbie, who is played by comedian Dane Cook.
- Wednesday is legitimately offended that Shadow would never think to skim a “reasonable five percent” every time he sends him on shopping errands. “If you can’t look out for yourself, how the hell are you going to look out for me?”
- “It’s a shame. You’re my only black friend.”
- That’s Baskets’ Martha Kelly as Zorya Utrennyaya.