American Gods: The Secret of Spoons   Show Only 
May 8, 2017 5:15 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

As Mr. Wednesday begins recruitment for the coming battle, Shadow Moon travels with him to Chicago and agrees to a very high stakes game of checkers with the old Slavic god, Czernobog.
posted by oh yeah! (24 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Heya show-only people - I figured someone else would make this thread yesterday since I didn't get to it (too wrapped up in Sense8 binge-posting), but seems like you've been braving the spoiler-mines of the 'books-included' thread instead. Whoever feels like posting for future episodes should feel free to go ahead and do it, I'm not feeling territorial about this series.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:24 PM on May 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

How Orlando Jones Constructed His Showstopping American Gods Monologue (Vulture, again). That monologue blew my socks off - and the spider and DAMN this show just got better.

Not too keen on the lead actor but hanging in there for Ian McShane and the Fuller magic - this episode had so many moments that bore a strong Hannibal stamp, they could've been outtakes.

Still mourning the ending of "Feud" and "Grimm", hoping this will be a good replacement.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:55 PM on May 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a feeling of dread when the scene opened in a slave ship hold. Not as intended, but as "oh, god, they're going to fuck this up and it's going to be awful". But then after Jones appeared, I slowly became okay with it and then to be impressed. By the end, I was completely won over. I'm still super-nervous about how the show handles race; but this seems like they're more adept at treading dangerous ground but (arguably) staying on the right side of the line than I previously feared.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:17 AM on May 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ivan I so feel that! I thought during this ep 'god I hope the two white dudes in charge of this show aren't doing all this stuff with no input from black people.' I read a couple of interviews afterward that kinda assuaged my fears - the one above with Orlando Jones where he said he was given total control over the way that monologue was delivered, and one with Fuller and Green where they acknowledged that they hadn't been sure if they really had the rights/chops to write it.

I'm very curious how the rest of the race stuff around Shadow is going to develop. So far it's seemed like a lot of imagery that isn't necessarily connected to the plot, and I wonder how (or if) it's going to tie in.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:00 AM on May 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just out of curiosity joseph conrad is fully awesome, are you not keen on Shadow has a character or the acting chops of Whittle?
posted by INFJ at 6:48 AM on May 9, 2017

I made a comment in the other thread about how i was bored by the checkers/cigarette ashes scene, but in general I am willing to let the showrunners lay out the exposition at whatever pace they choose.
The cast is stellar. The Orlando Jones scene was terrific. I just don't love the look of the show. It seems they used their budget for star power not effects and that's a valid choice, but in a world inhabited by magic and magic beings it pays to have good effects.
Magicians does it better, Legion did it better. I guess every time i see backlit rain I expect awful nighttime football to breakout. It just looks cheap.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:07 AM on May 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

A lot of the CGI is definitely iffy. It just looks kinda... textureless? Like decent-enough video game graphics but below the quality you'd expect to see in a prestige drama.

You're probably right about the budget. And not just in terms of star power - also, the fact that it's basically a road trip show meant that they had few permanent sets and had to travel around and shoot on location for a lot of it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I feel the same way about the lead. Shadow is so impenetrable that it's hard to be emotionally invested in the character. Hopefully it's still too early and he'll be fleshed out in later episodes.
posted by cazoo at 12:55 PM on May 9, 2017

I feel the same way about the lead. Shadow is so impenetrable that it's hard to be emotionally invested in the character. Hopefully it's still too early and he'll be fleshed out in later episodes.

I don't think it's a spoiler to say that he is already vastly more charismatic and relatable than the book version, if you can believe it
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:29 PM on May 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

For all the production whiz-bang going on, they are really getting some very good straight-up acting in this. I loved Pablo Schreiber last week, and both Cloris Leachman and Peter Stormare were terrific this week on top of the always good Ian McShane. More like this please.
posted by hwestiii at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm loving it. As a long time fan of the book, I was nervous as hell. But the actors are killing it and the writing is great. So far, the only thing I really dislike is the opening credits.

I don't think we needed the EP 2 redundant scene of Bilquis. That seemed entirely for sexy-time shock value, unlike ep1, where it was plot-driven shock value.
posted by greermahoney at 11:26 PM on May 9, 2017

Agree on the opening credits, do not like them at all. I suppose that's not too important though. I'm blown away by the rest of the show. Unlike OHenryPacey, I loved the checkers, thought the pacing was stressfully deliberate. I think the over all quality of the acting is stellar, I don't have any nits to pick whatsover. But I do agree with greermahoney, Bilquis Part II wasn't particularly necessary. Except maybe to show that she's an equal opportunity seducer.
posted by conifer at 9:57 AM on May 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks for making this post! I meant to do it Sunday night, and then got distracted and forgot about it.

I think I liked this episode better than the first one. However, both this episode and the first felt kind of disjointed to me. Its like all these individual scenes that are interesting and entertaining in their own right, but then they're just kind of stuck together to fill up the hour. Of course, the Shadow/Wednesday scenes are connected in terms of the plot, but it still all feels kind of disconnected, in a way that I can really explain. I think this is a show that might benefit from uninterrupted viewing once all the episodes air for this season. Or maybe if I'd read the book it would feel different.

Although it didn't bother me as much in the first episode, now having watched two episodes, some parts do feel kind of gratuitous. I don't mind swearing in the least, but it felt a bit overdone in some scenes. And Bliquis's scene also felt unnecessary and gratuitous to me as. I'm starting to feel that way about some of the violence too.(Conversely, Hannibal's gore didn't feel gratuitous to me, for some reason). It's not a huge problem for me yet.

There were also a lot of parts I liked. Gillian Anderson and Orlando Jones stole both of their respective scenes and were a joy to watch. Wednesday continues to be a great character, and I like Shadow okay too.

And as for the show as a whole, I like it enough to keep watching it, but I'm also not in love with it. Like, I don't find myself desperately counting down the days until the next episode airs, or wanting to re-watch the episode. Maybe the momentum will pick up more in future episodes.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:56 AM on May 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

My only complaint about the credits is how quickly they move. You barely have time to register the names. Design wise, I love them.
posted by hwestiii at 11:15 AM on May 10, 2017

showbiz_liz: A lot of the CGI is definitely iffy.

the spider was really off.
posted by dhruva at 11:18 AM on May 10, 2017

So, am I the only person not super loving Ian McShane at this point?

I am? Oh, ok. Good to know.

I can't put my finger on it, but something about his delivery... itches me. His presence is amazing and i don't doubt that he's got a good grasp on all of the machinations of the character but the rhythm and melody of his speech aren't doing it for me.

I look forward to the Peter Stormare-driven Czernobog spin-off, though.
posted by hanov3r at 11:49 AM on May 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also felt McShane's delivery seemed odd in places, and could have worked better, maybe a little slower in places, maybe a little more measured and relaxed.

One thing that did strike me, watching as I was in the UK, but a boner on UK TV!? I thought that was still illegal/against the licensing regs. Does anyone know if that has changed?
posted by biffa at 12:59 PM on May 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

biffa, I'm not seeing anything in the British Office of Communications guidance for broadcasters that would imply that boners can't be shown. Was this pre-watershed?
posted by hanov3r at 1:17 PM on May 11, 2017

A lot of the CGI is definitely iffy. It just looks kinda... textureless? Like decent-enough video game graphics but below the quality you'd expect to see in a prestige drama.

Honestly, I don't care about the CGI. I much prefer to have top-notch acting and mediocre CGI of this show, then great CGI and noping out mid-1st episode like I did with The Magicians.
posted by happyroach at 9:33 PM on May 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

hanov3r: it was on amazon prime, but I thought that was still restricted. I've tried to look into this a bit more. The comms regulator Ofcom has the following: Rule 1.19 states that "Broadcasters must ensure that material broadcast after the watershed [between 21:00 and 05:30] which contains images and/or language of a strong or explicit sexual nature, but is not 'adult sex material' as defined in Rule 1.18, is justified by the context."

Rule 1.18 refers to 'Adult Sex Material', i.e. R-18 (pay-per-view) type material, which is intended to cause sexual arousal. This type of broadcast is completely forbidden from being shown on 'normal' channels, and can only be made available via channels using Mandatory Restricted Access (subscription/pin protection).

So the watershed is irrelevant but maybe they can get around it because Prime is essentially a subscription channel. This is still quite a departure for anything being shown in the UK which isn't porn or related to sexual health.
posted by biffa at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2017

Honestly, I don't care about the CGI. I much prefer to have top-notch acting and mediocre CGI of this show, then great CGI and noping out mid-1st episode like I did with The Magicians.

It doesn't exactly bother me, but it stuck out for me in a show that otherwise has pretty high production values...
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:28 AM on May 12, 2017

I loved the Anansi / Orlando Jones monologue.

I thought the floating guy who Bilqus consumed seemed pretty happy with the situation. I didn't need to see the multiple seductions, but I did like the museum scene.

Gillian Anderson's scenes were also terrrific, I found her much more terrifying than Technical Boy.
posted by Julnyes at 11:59 AM on June 9, 2017

There was definitely "2 cell phones" on the shopping list, which became confusing when Odin got mad about the phones. I'd expect a show like this to have that sort of thing lined up correctly, so either I'm wrong about that and no one told the art department, or we're supposed to learn something from it but I have no idea what the take away would be
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:53 PM on September 6, 2017

My guess is the former. Seems like a simple enough explanation that the same people were responsible for both the list of items and the actual items.
posted by ODiV at 7:32 AM on September 7, 2017

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