‘American Gods’ Highlights: S1E1: “The Blood Orchard”

Tonight marks the premiere of American Gods, Neil Gaiman’s on Starz.  The inaugural episode was visually arresting, and totally engaging.  We are now in a world where Gods (Old and New) exist in our current world, and those Gods are soon to be at war with each other.  In the first episode, we got a bit of everything: tall leprechauns, sex goddesses, blowjob car accidents, and even an alternate reality ruled by a “Technical Boy.”  The show was also visually arresting.  Given it’s being run by Brian Bryan Fuller (of Hannibal fame), it’s going to be visually spectacular.  However, in the season premiere, we got to see a whole new world, some interesting characters (especially Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) who pretty much stole the show as we met them).

Here are a few highlights from tonight’s season premiere “The Bone Orchard.”

1. The Opening Segment: old times and the devotion to gods.

The episode opens up Mr. Ibis narrating about the past as we see Vikings who just arrived at the New World.  They are immediately met with the reality of the cold cruel world.  They are quickly met with hundreds of arrows from the native population greeting their perceived invaders.  In addition to this hostile threat, the Vikings have to also deal with the elements as new diseases come forward.  The Vikings decide they have to head back to the Old World, but without the wind on their side, they have no way to sail back.  Giving that they are a religious people, they pray to their Old God (Odin), and they also give the sacrifices required for good fortune.  They cut their eyes in honor of their god.  They also sacrifice members of their group, and even engage in battle with each other.  When the breeze picks up, they deem that the sacrifice was worth it.  This goes to show that in this world, devotion is key.  In order to appease their gods, they have to be completely devoted.

2. Shadow Moon’s Visions
As we meet Shadow Moon, he’s immediately special.  After all, Mr. Wednesday really wants to hire him.  One thing that stands out is the visions that he experiences throughout the first episode.  As stated, Brian Fuller gave us a visual smorgasbord as we saw the most beautiful death and dismemberment we have seen in Hannibal.  He continues on American Gods.  Shadow experiences many visions throughout the episode focusing specifically on the Bone Orchard, a tree that will somehow play importance throughout the episode.  So far, it’s just visual porn and not completely impacting on the story.  It will probably pay off later on in the season.  But for now, it’s a very interesting motif.

3. Bilquis’ Sex Scene

The single most crazy moment of the episode was the introduction of Bilquis.  After a Tinder date, the Old God takes an unsuspecting person home for a passionate night of sex.  However, her sex is not your usual sex.  She requires worship and devotion.  The unsuspecting person is more than eager to give her just that.  However, it seems like he got more than he bargained for.  As she is riding him, she slowly swallows him into her nether regions.  It is visually interesting as it’s a tasteful sex scene and not just straight up porn, however it still is graphic, all the way to when she swallows him into her vagina.  Pretty much everyone watching it screamed WTF at the screen.

4. Bar Fight With Mad Sweeney
As Shadow goes to a bar, he once again runs into Mr. Wednesday who once again offers him a job as his security job.  At the same bar, he meets Mad Sweeny, a “tall” leprechaun who has a chip on his shoulder.  Mad Sweeny also has an endless supply of gold coins.  This is Shadow Moon’s first introduction to the world of the bizarre as Mr. Wednesday has been keeping it cool and not displaying his powers.  However, not all is well.  The two engage in a brutal fistfight with each other that is well choreographed and brutal.  With this being the first episode, it looks like we will be getting down and dirty this season on American Gods.

5. Shadow Moon’s Wife’s Betrayal

As with most troupes revolving around guys getting sent to prison, sometimes their wife tends to venture off due to loneliness.  Shadow find out the hard way when it is revealed the cause of his wife’s death.  He is first told that his wife died in a car accident.  Unfortunately for him, he finds out the real cause of the car accident.  His wife was having an affair with his best friend, and she ended up giving his former best friend oral sex in the car which led to the accident.  The further dig the knife deeper, he finds out at her funeral, where he is supposed to honor her.  His best friend’s former spouse is the one who tells him.  To make the episode even crazier, she offers him a revenge blowjob to get back at their dead spouses.  Shadow, being a noble person turns her down, but I’m sure the thought crossed his mind.

6. Enter: Technical Boy

We get to meet one of the New Gods in the first episode as well.  After the funeral, Shadow runs across a weird gadget in the field.  He is immediately transported into another place, the world of the Technical Boy.  The New God who loves to vape toads for some reason is vastly curious with what Mr. Wednesday is planning to do.  This helps set up the Old versus New Gods battle that is on the horizon, but also shows the power of this specific New God as he threatens to “delete” Shadow with his mindless drones.  He almost succeeds.  But before he does, Shadow is rescued from a hanging by someone (probably Mr. Wednesday.