Now that American Gods has been officially renewed for a second season, watching the show takes on a less desperate feel. Instead of a small voice in the back of my head asking “Is this too weird for mainstream audiences?” as Mr. Wednesday’s car drives off a giant hot chocolate marshmallow, instead I can focus on absorbing every decadent inch of this bonkers series. With each new episode, I can’t believe American Gods exists. Truly this is a gift from the Media, or one of her court. Is there a minor deity named Peak TV™ perhaps?
Unlike previous weeks, tonight’s article will be fairly succinct. “Head Full of Snow” changes little from the original text, moving through the episode with near total fidelity to Neil Gaiman’s source material. The changes — such as they are — are either additions to flesh out the world of American Gods or minor reconfigurations of existing scenes. Such as:
#1: We spend more time with Mr. Wednesday and Zorya Vechernyaya
In The Book: Being trapped (for the most part) in Shadow’s point of view in the novel leaves readers knowing what he knows and seeing what he sees. So while Shadow is meeting with the young Zorya Polunochnaya (Erika Kaar), we stay with him with little knowledge of what Wednesday is up to in his free time.
On The Show: Being able to spend time with the gods as they reminisce about their glory days is always a melancholy thing, but watching Ian McShane flirt with Cloris Leachman as they walk through both the rain and their characters’ memories is one of my favorite moments in the series thus far.
#2: The introduction of Anubis
In The Book: Mr. Jacquel (Chris Obi) is one-half of the owner of a funeral parlor that he shares with his cohort Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes). Once known as Anubis and Thoth, respectively, the two Egyptian gods eke out living putting people to rest in their small town of Cairo, IL. Oh, and Anubis occasionally, with great respect, eats a portion of the deceased’s heart before embalming them.
On The Show: Again, American Gods is doing a smart thing by introducing the gods via vignettes before the big meeting at the House on the Rock. Seeing Anubis in his natural state — shepherding believes to the afterlife — does a quick and easy job of showing that his true nature. Anubis may be a god of death, but he’s a sweet boy.