Even for a season with just 8 episodes, American Gods has felt like a satisfyingly long and winding road. There's been murders, resurrections, portents, checkers and leprechauns. With Mr Wednesday at the wheel the destination has been somewhat mysterious, but it's been a heady and amusing ride. However, there does need to be some reward for staying the course.
Most season finales culminate in some kind of showdown and set up for the next. However, American Gods has always been it's own animal. We may not have expected an action packed conclusion - we probably didn't know what to expect! - but in staying true to form it offers something tantalising and disappointing in a season finale.
For a show that has teased and hinted throughout, it seems odd that the climax offers limited satisfaction. Yes, Mr Wednesday finally reveals his true name(s). Yes, he finally recruits an old god. And, yes, all parties in this tangled whimsy finally coalesce. Yet, it isn't quite enough. Obviously, to bring too much closure would offer nothing to return for next season, but it all feels oddly inevitable. Wednesday does indeed announce himself, but at this point (somehow), Shadow is the only one that hasn't figured it out. An old god joins the fight, but it was going to happen sooner or later. The new gods arrive to challenge, but aren't quite the force to be reckoned with.
The finale does invest in the same flourishes that have kept it one of the most visually arresting shows on TV. Anansi's tailors is as well turned out as he is. Careful and deliberate is the order of the day, even down to the manual sewing machine. It's refined and tasteful...when it doesn't have spiders crawling all over it. Easter's estate is the definition of kitch, the bold patterns are only matched by the eye-popping colour that soaks each frame. Even a horde of Jesus Christs, in their monotone robes can't dull the party atmosphere.
However, the real delight has been the story and the rules it has carefully eeked out, episode by episode. American Gods has been brave enough to break the mould and go for broke. If each episode has been a road, they've all led to this place. The only problem, is that it feels like there's just another signpost to the distant horizon.
3* - Bash of the Titans
Other Episodes in American Gods - Season 1: