American Gods: Donar the Great   Books Included 
April 15, 2019 7:35 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Wednesday and Shadow get a gift for a dwarf, which makes Wednesday think back to the 1930s and his son, Donar. [Books included]

American Gods 2×06 Review: “Donar the Great” (Jamie Sugah for The Geekiary)
Bouncing back and forth between the past and the present, “Donar the Great” may be the best episode of American Gods Season 2 so far. It gave us context and backstory and a little more depth to the series’ most mysterious character.
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Thor and his death were only a passing mention in the book, so it was great to see the whole situation get a little more backstory, and helps explain why Thor – quite possibly the most recognized god in the Norse pantheon – is not around in the present day. The confrontation between Donar and Odin was particularly epic, and it shows us how Gungnir was broken in the first place. It makes you wonder what happened to Mjolnir, and if it was able to retain any power after Thor’s death.
Episode soundtrack from Tunefind
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nancy, Odin, and Thor get more backstory, which is important as Thor is much better known now thanks to Marvel movies so explaining his absence is more important. (Although it should be noted the Thor of Norse mythology is different from the Thor of the Marvelverse-not being an alien and all that.) But showing how the bishop con works (which is described in the book) is particularly smart in terms of integrating it into the story rather than having Odin talk about various cons.

It's fun that they made Rosie the Riveter into a goddess, but as such they should have her bouncing around (as her iconic image is still popular).

This ep lays the groundwork for Thor working both sides to his own benefit (although he does fail in this endeavor). His apathy about Thor (he doesn't know if the Valkyries came for him). Also his willingness to sacrifice a son and specifically the importance of sacrifice to gods. And of course the "you remind me of my son." Shadow Moon immediately thinks Thor and not Baldur as he is not up on his Norse mythology.

What makes less sense is having Tech Boy be present in the 30s. Sure by Odin's stance he would still be a new kid, but in the book Tech Boy is a particular KIND of Tech (specifically 80s hacker). In the show they updated that. And we've seen media become new media, so the god of 1930s tech (the telephone, for example-nylon was invented in 1935 which could have been worked into this episode easily with its framework of burlesque) shouldn't be played by the same actor or, like the original media, should look very different (and sure there were "tech nerds" even then-which he didn't characterize).
posted by miss-lapin at 4:47 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Side note: they do not explain how mall security gets involved in the con. Are they imposters (who presumably would get a cut) or did Shadow snow them himself. Shadow is never represented as a con man (in the book or the show) so it seems odd he would suddenly be so skilled at it.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:12 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I thought they missed a trick by transforming Columbia into Rosie instead of letting her become the famous Columbia Pictures logo, which conveniently enough was adopted in 1936.

I did like how Odin was shown as being willing to make use of American Nazis, since Nazi occultists would have been giving him a nice big worship dinner over the next decade.

I think I've either lost the plot or lost interest in the present-day story, though. Also, does adoration of Lou Reed extend very far outside tastemaker circles? My feeling is that a random person on the street wouldn't even know the name, although they might have a vague recollection if you prompted them to think of the "Walk On the Wild Side" guy, although even then it's a good bet they'd be thinking of Tone Loc.
posted by mattwan at 7:30 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Lou Reed in "the real world" doesn't matter. The mall has the banner "The future is 1989" so in that world Lou Reed is a powerful being. Yet another call back to how the US is a bad place for gods.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:05 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Shadow is never represented as a con man

he isn't in the books, but he is in the show - when we see him meet Laura at the casino he's trying to cheat the game, and when he first talks to Wednesday on he plane he names the con Wednesday was playing at the airport (or something like that)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:40 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]


The one thing I miss is that the line in the book about Shadow reminding Wednesday of his son is he first says "My son got stupid at a two for one sale. You remind me of him."
posted by miss-lapin at 8:48 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Misslapin I vaguely recall a line like that in season 1
posted by museum of fire ants at 12:52 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


> What makes less sense is having Tech Boy be present in the 30s. Sure by Odin's stance he would still be a new kid, but in the book Tech Boy is a particular KIND of Tech (specifically 80s hacker). In the show they updated that. And we've seen media become new media, so the god of 1930s tech (the telephone, for example-nylon was invented in 1935 which could have been worked into this episode easily with its framework of burlesque) shouldn't be played by the same actor or, like the original media, should look very different (and sure there were "tech nerds" even then-which he didn't characterize).

Neil Gaiman Discusses the Past, Present, and Future of AMERICAN GODS: "With the Technical Boy, we actually established he was once the Telegraph Boy, and the Telephone Boy, and the Television Boy. The Technical Boy of now, there's another Technical Boy coming, and they murder him. They replace each other, and it's not necessarily a nice process, being replaced."
posted by homunculus at 7:14 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Now that the season is over, I can say that this image from this episode is my favorite representation of Odin.
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on April 29


Oops, this image.
posted by homunculus at 7:20 PM on April 29


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