Judging by the series premiere and its source material, Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods at Starz is a phenomenal success. The show is a visually stunning exploration of fantasy and violence that fans of Hannibal will recognize and love, while those who read the 2001 epic novel will appreciate just how faithful the adaptation is (so far). What audiences have yet to see, however, is Orlando Jones’ amazing performance as the African trickster god Anansi, or “Mr. Nancy,” in the “Coming to America” vignette that begins the second episode, “The Secret of Spoon” at 9 p.m. ET/PT this Sunday.
“Let me paint a picture of what’s waiting for you on the shore,” Mr. Nancy tells the slaves chained together in the ship’s hold. “You arrive in America, land of opportunity. Land of milk and honey! And guess what? You all get to be slaves. Split up, sold off and worked to death. The lucky ones get Sunday off to sleep and f*ck and make more slaves.”
The monologue doesn’t end there, of course, as the suit-clad Mr. Nancy offers his captive audience a far-ranging prophecy about what their new homeland will do to their descendants. Things like segregation, police brutality and generally poor race relations that — if the current political climate is any indication — won’t improve anytime soon. For as Fuller recently told Uproxx, “We’re facing a violent time of great crisis, and that calls into question what we believe in, where we’ve placed our faith, how we navigate the secular and the search for something more meaningful.”