The Dominant Paradigm is a weekly podcast where Geeks of Doom Podcast hosts Dwayne D, Andrew Sorcini, and Tosin Onafowokan discuss STARZ’s TV series American Gods, the works that inspired it, and the larger questions about the lenses in which we see our world, AKA, the paradigms.
Below you’ll find a written recap of the season 1 finale of American Gods (Episode 1.8 “Come To Jesus”), followed by some salient points regarding Mad Sweeney’s history and Laura’s newfound shame.
Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones), the spider god from Africa, gives us Coming to America: The Belquis (Yetidi Bakari) edition. His story covers her time in ancient Egypt and though to the Iranian revolution and then, in a rare thing for this universe, a God actually bringing herself to America, rather than arriving via someone else’s beliefs.
Bilquis falls destitute, and is offered a *merger* with the New Gods.
Wednesday (Ian McShane) and Shadow (Ricky Whittle) head to Kentucky, where they meet Easter (Kristin Chenoweth). Wednesday appeals to Easter to help him despite her protestations that she is not like him. Laura (Emily Browning) arrives, and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) asks Easter to resurrect her, but she states she cannot, since Laura was killed by a God. Mad Sweeney confesses to Laura that it was Wednesday who killed her.
[Gillian Anderson as Media.]
Media (Gillian Anderson) shows up to remind Easter that she’s only relevant because her holiday is now Christian. Wednesday kills Media’s minions with lightning, dedicating their deaths to Easter, and revealing himself to Shadow as Odin. Easter takes that favor and uses it to hold the Spring ransom, much to Media’s dismay.
Laura confronts the group, saying that she needs a word with her husband.
Salient Themes and Imagery:
Feelings about the ending: We felt it was weird. I get cliffhangers, but for all that the show’s got going, Laura having the last line rather than Easter or Media. It didn’t end as tightly as it could have.
Odin’s big reveal scene: It felt a little cheesy. Andy gave us all a laugh when he reminded us that Wednesday being Odin was pretty much the worst kept secret in TV.
Technical Boy sums up all religion. Here’s the quote: Technical Boy: “Worship is a volume business. Whosoever has the most followers, wins the game.” There are obvious ties to social media here, but when we look at the state of the world today, we think in terms of “major” religions, that is the religions that have billions of followers. Curious, then, why the show doesn’t have more Buddhists and/or Hindu deities in its universe. That said, the depictions of Jesus were nuanced and well researched. Mary snuck up on us too. Overall, it was very impressive.
[“What do you think gods do? They f*ck with us.” – Mad Sweeney]
Mad Sweeney and the Gods: Sweeney: “What do you think Gods do? They do what they’ve always done. They fuck with us.” Sweeney says that gods just mess with people… as if on principle. It’s a fun line, but it doesn’t really give us any real color into the motivations of the gods. It could be that it’s too much to ask a show to answer that for us ;-)
Wednesday explains Easter: We the audience have to ask ourselves – What do we really know about Easter? About all of the holidays we celebrate? Wednesday says: “Yeah, you could call this Easter. Or we could call it what it really is – a pagan ritual in celebration of the beginning of Spring dating back about 12,000 years….”
We also have to ask whether we trust Wednesday to deliver that info to us? DWAYNE: Is Easter really 12,000 years old? We’ve had an ice age that ended about 10,000 years ago that began the climate that allowed us to build the various civilizations recorded and known to us today, along with some that we’re still figuring out and certainly some that we’ll never know. So Spring seems like a hard concept to understand — before that.
The characters don’t seem to think about the truth of the day, and why would they? In that shot, you see a woman breastfeeding a child, reminiscent of the fertility associated with the 12,000-year-old holiday, and wearing the blue that’s associated with Mary, virgin mother of Christ. Since Christ is already there as an adult, we must acknowledge that we’ve got two (or more) incarnations of Jesus in the Christian world – not just ethnically, but in terms of being.
Supernatural characters introduced in “Come to Jesus”
Easter AKA Ēostre AKA Ostara
The holiday Easter was taken from pre-Christian, pre-Greco-Roman religious traditions and based around the goddess of the East, where the sun rose, where earth was renewed each morning during the dawn. Proto-germanic tribes held the name Austrō, which morphed into Ēostre for the follow-up Germanic speaking tribes of Northumbria. Even once Christianized, they kept the traditions of fertility (eggs, rabbits, and the colors of northern flowers), associating it with the Resurrection of their new religion’s major figure: Christ.
Even before the proto-Germanic tribes had their Goddess, linguistic historians have linked the deity to Ausṓs, a proto-IndoEuropean deity.
In American Gods, Kristin Chenoweth’s Ostara represents the religious syncretism of the old Germanic pantheon with modern religion. She’s tied to modern religion so she does well, but she lacks the power that the deity of a major religion would have.
Ostara’s synchronicity with Jesus is the source of her wealth and power.
Ostara has the power to resurrect human life if and only if it has not been taken by a god.
Ostara can also speak to rabbits (which is disgusting).
Jesus AKA Jesus of Nazareth
Son of God
Forgiver of sins
One of the immaculately conceived
Ability to sit and walk on water
Ability to change water into wine
Ability to save the souls of others
Ability to foresee the future
Mary, Mother of God & The Christ Child AKA Baby Jesus AKA the Holy Child, AKA Santo Niño
We see a woman in blue feeding a baby while at the Easter party. Later we see the light behind hee form a halo, revealing her as none-other than Mary, mother of God, or mother of God’s son, depending on the branch of Christianity being observed.
Mary, like Jesus, was immaculately conceived, that is, she was born without the Sin that the Bible attributes to all humanity born after Adam and Eve.
We also see Jesus, the infant Son of God or infant human incarnation of God
Child King of Kings
Finder of the Temple
Aid of the missionaries
Ephemera: Stuff to read or watch related to this season finale episode, “Come to Jesus”