American Gods episode 8 recap and review: Come to Jesus


We’ve reached the season 1 finale of American Gods, “Come to Jesus.” It’s time to take a leap of faith and start believing Wednesday.

Episode 8 marks the finale of season 1 of American Gods, and starts to bring together the various threads of the story. In “Come to Jesus,” Shadow spends most of the time with his mouth hanging open, looking vaguely stunned. So if you’re wondering what he’s doing while the other characters speak, that’s it. He’s just kinda standing around like a big dummy. But he’s a very nicely dressed dummy, thanks to a stop at Mr. Nancy’s.

For the finale, everyone is going to Easter’s Easter party. Of all the actors cast for American Gods, the only one to get negative blow-back was Kristen Chenoweth’s Easter. Well, everyone was wrong. No, her thighs probably don’t rub together like book-Easter, but Chenoweth made me believe she is the Goddess of the Dawn. She gets the balance of American Easter just right. She’s bright, festive, warm and welcoming, but cloyingly sweet and somewhat artificial looking. Her smile is sincere, but brittle, like she’s struggling to believe her own narrative. And her eyelids need an Emmy of their own.

Really, the biggest issue with this episode is there are too many awesome quotes. Every word is perfect and expresses layers of meaning like a giant onion stuffed with a series of succeedingly smaller onions.

But we’re starting out this recap with a different metaphor.


On their way to Kentucky, Shadow and Wednesday make a stop at Mr. Nancy’s parlor for some new threads. Mr. Nancy’s gets up from his sewing machine and announces that this is all too weird. He’s going to start with a story. He steps onto his tailor’s platform like it’s a stage and starts to weave his tale.

Orlando Jones (Mr. Nancy) (Official image 6d44e705-549b-4555-85d9-b15f5eebf1be via Starz)

Yemen, 864 B.C.E., The Temple of Bar’an: The queen wears a gown of the finest silver net. Many kings come to take the queen and her kingdom, but she consumes them all. As bodies writhe in the temple’s pool, the fires of Bilquis’ love turn another would-be usurper to ash. The water turns black and rises up, overtaking the naked worshipers. Bilquis opens her thighs to drink them all into her womb.

"Clothes and hair changed with the times, but this queen, she kept the party going."

Modern love

Teheran, 1979, a disco: Men and women wearing slinky seventies styles dance together. Bilquis grooves with a woman in heavy kohl liner.

Yetide Badaki (Bilquis) – 108 (Official image bd1a2e9e-d448-429a-9dd8-1420fea53b96 via Starz)

"But the kings, they kept coming after her. Our queen’s power, which is the power of all women, the power of rebirth and creation. It makes some men kneel in awe and give gifts, but it makes other men angry. They took from her that power–they grabbed the power they were too scared for a queen to have. They laundered it, and gave it to men."

Bilquis long ago made her peace with change. She’s determined to stay in the game, so she hops on a plane to America. Toward the back of economy class, Bliquis asks her mustachioed seat-mate to help her find the bathroom. He follows her in. He doesn’t come out again. The queen smiles and leans back in her seat, looking sated.

"America, too, can take issue with a woman of power. It finds ways of cutting her down. Of punishing her for her daring to be."

Post-modern love

It’s the 1980s; the age of AIDS. Free love is over, and it’s a terrible time to be our goddess. By 2013, the queen pushes a shopping cart down a dirty city street, dressed in rags. Her once-flawless skin of her face is spotted with ugly welts. She stares at the bright sign of the Marib Ethiopian restaurant. Inside, well-dressed white men look over the menu; on its cover is her face.

The Marib’s TV shows the breaking news: ISIS fighters attacked Temple of Bar’an. She watches with watering eyes as militants tear it apart. Bilquis presses her hands to the glass of the Marib’s window as she weeps.

Bilquis lies in a bundle of rags, huddled against a shop front. A white limo pulls up to the curb. Technical Boy is here to offer her a new altar. He hands her a cell phone with a hookup site profile all set up.

"Worship is a volume business. Whosoever has the most followers wins the game. Wanna play?"


Mr. Nancy finishes the tale. The moral of the story is that you can get yourself a queen. It’s a message to Wednesday. Mr. Nancy says he needs to get himself a queen, because he killed one of the new gods’ people. Sure, Vulcan was an old god, but he hadn’t been on their side for a long time. When Wednesday killed him it was the first shot across the bow. Wednesday says to wait until they see shot two, when he gets himself that queen.

Nancy turns to Shadow, asking what his deal is. He observes that Shadow and the old man have a binding blood contract. But Shadow objects, because Wednesday ticked him off, and that violates the terms of their contract. Wednesday asks why.

"You just cut off your friend’s head! OK, now you’re just going to get a suit made like you’re the […] godfather?"

Wednesday calmly explains they need to look good where they’re going, but Shadow isn’t mollified. He doesn’t even know the old man’s real name, and that’s not the least of it. Wednesday says he’s just confused and has questions he doesn’t know how to ask. But he needs to start getting angry.

Easter Sunday

Wednesday and Shadow arrive at Easter’s fancy house in Kentucky, and he announces they’re in the presence of a queen. All kinds of people roam the grounds, dressed in springtime finery. At Easter’s Easter party, there’s a buffet in every room.

Wednesday explains that everyone loves Easter, some for the rabbits, some for the resurrection, and some for the food. But it’s really a pagan ritual honoring spring. Whether it’s kids dyeing eggs, or spring breakers getting lucky, they’re all doing it in Ostara’s name, even if they don’t know it.

Easter greets her guests, calling everyone over to welcome them to her home and her day. A party-goer in simple, white robes and long, brown hair, walks up to Shadow. He carries a golden cup in his hand. Shadow asks if he knows him. “Yes, you do.” He grins and walks away.

Easter looks up and sees Wednesday.

"Oh for Christ’s sake. Praise the lords. Please help yourselves and those less fortunate to the buffet."

Shadow is starting to accept his new reality. He looks around at the guests, all of whom appear to be different versions of Jesus. Wednesday assures him that they are indeed all Jesuses. Every branch and denomination sees a different one when they close their eyes.


Easter asks Wednesday why he’s there, but she’s completely charmed by Shadow. Ostara is amazed that this is who everyone’s making such a fuss about.

Kristin Chenoweth (Easter), Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon), Ian McShane (Mr Wednesday) – American Gods Season 1 2017 episode 108 (Official image a3969896-e0ff-4025-a875-f71df0794313 via Starz)

She warns Shadow that there are far too many secret societies out there. Then she tells Wednesday not to bother asking for her help, because she’s doing fine. But he argues that she is just as forgotten and unloved as the rest. Before Jesus, people used to decorate eggs and pick flowers in her name.

"They still do, they still do! On my festival days they still feast on eggs and rabbit and candy and they do it in my name."

But they’re really thinking about Jesus. Every spring she does all the work and he gets all the credit.

"You crucified her day when they started following you. Everyone else got burned in your name."

Jesus feels terrible about this. Easter is scandalized. She drags Wednesday into the house for a private word.

"How dare you come into my house and uncork all over Jesus of Nazareth and all the other Jesuses who died on the cross and even the ones who didn’t? How dare you?? These are kind, generous men and they come to celebrate their day. My day. […] OUR day."

Wednesday says she’s a fool for thinking her Jesus allegiance makes her safe. He shows her his new sword, telling her they killed Vulcan after he’d made an allegiance. The old gods need Spring to fight with them. He wants Easter to starve the world. Hunger used to be a form of belief, but now most Americans are always full.

"Oh they’ll be hungry, but they will turn to you and pray to Ostara, once again. She withholds, she returns. Prayer, reward: the ancient contract."


Mad Sweeney and Laura finally arrive at Easter’s, and both ice cream truck and dead wife are in bad shape. Sweeney waits in the hall while Laura heads for the bathroom. She spits maggots into the sink. Laura is literally falling apart.

Easter, sensing death from the other room, runs in from her conversation with Wednesday. Sweeney explains they need a resurrection and that Easter owes him. When Easter realizes she’s looking at Shadow’s wife, Sweeney says he knows Shadow’s here with Wednesday.

Before Easter can bring Laura back to life, she needs to learn how Laura died. She takes a deep look into her eyes, at the last image Laura saw. Imprinted on her retina, Easter sees Sweeney’s face and gives him side-eye.

She asks Sweeney if he’s still working for the man. He says he was, and that’s a problem. Since Laura’s death was by a god, Easter doesn’t have to power to undo it. Laura is a different kind of dead. Easter departs, wishing both good luck. She has other guests to greet.

"I was killed by a god. Which […] god?"

Sweeney admits it was him, working for Wednesday. Laura wants to know why. Sweeney says Wednesday needed Shadow to be in a place where he had nothing to left and nothing to lose. Shadow is nothing special. He just happens to be the guy. This all leaves Laura wondering what Wednesday has to lose.

Peep show, creep show

At the front door, Easter greets Media as she breaks away from her faceless, top-hatted dance partner.

Gillian Anderson as Media – 108 (Official image e1f1a1da-1757-4b47-833e-720ed4bf5261 via Starz)

"Happy Easter, Easter, I could hardly wait to keep our date this lovely Easter morning. And your heart beat fast as you came through that door. We had a date?Standing! Our marshmallow peep show candy creme eggs, cellophane grass, bunnies and duckies, we popularized the pagan, practically invented brunch. We built this holiday, you and me."

Media asks Easter if Wednesday’s there. She admits he was there, looking for help with a scheme. But she tells Media she sent him away before she found out any details. She doesn’t need him. Media knows something is amiss, and the top hat men divide like cells. Media ask if Easter feels she’s been treated unfairly.

"I feel like I’ve been misrepresented–in the media.Put a pillow on that feeling and bear down until it stops kicking. St. Nick took the same deal you did. The only reason you’re relevant today is Easter’s a Christian holiday… You should be thrilled, overjoyed that anyone believes anything that doesn’t have a screen anymore. What happens if they all decide that God doesn’t exist?"


The faceless men dance around Easter, creepy as weeping angels. Wednesday approaches from the house, asking what happens if they decide god does exist. And it doesn’t matter which gods, because there’s plenty of worship to go around once it’s redistributed. Media is not happy. The new gods are the distribution, the platform and the delivery mechanism. They control the story.

Gillian Anderson as Media – 108 (Official image 5ee5a2b2-cb23-4df6-bf73-d077f3563ba4 via Starz)

"What you offer is existential crisis aversion. You provide a product–an innovative distraction. And you keep innovating it and keep providing it. The beauty of what we do is we only need inspire."

Media says Wednesday can’t fight progress. But then why are the new gods even here? Media points out that she’s just visit her friend, Easter. Wednesday doesn’t matter.

"People create gods because they wonder why things happen. Do you want to know why things happen? Because gods make them happen. Want to know how to make good things happen? Be good to your gods. You give a little, you get a little. The simplicity of that bargain has always been appealing. That’s why you’re here and that’s precisely why I matter."


Mr. World emerges from a faceless man looking pixelated and incoherent. He wants Wednesday to know he only matters in matters of war, but there isn’t going to be one. This isn’t mutually assured destruction: The new gods have the guns and firepower. The old gods will lose if they try to fight, so they shouldn’t even try.

The sky beings to roil with a storm. Lightning strikes and the faceless men fall lifeless to the ground. Wednesday dedicates the deaths to Ostara, and asks Shadow if he has faith. Shadow asks Wednesday what he is.

"Do you know what I am? Do you want to know my name? I am called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider and Third; I am one-eyed–I am also called highest, and True-Guesser."

His names are Grimnir, the Hooded One, All-Father, Gondlir Wand-Bearer. Wednesday has as many names as there are winds, and as many titles as there are ways to die. His ravens are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. Freki and Geri are his wolves. His horse is the gallows.

He is Odin.

Odin asks Easter to show them who she really is: Ostara of the Dawn. She raises her arms and brings out the sun. The sky clears. Easter’s hair blows free, and in a widening circle around her, the earth turns from green to brown. Spring drains from the forest and surrounding fields, the life sucked from all the plants and trees.

Kristin Chenoweth (Easter) – 108 (Official image 1930bcbf-2159-4031-b9f6-8411bfb4e222 via Starz)

War and Laura

Shadow looks on with his mouth open. From one of the dead faceless man’s faces, Mr. World’s features flicker.

"You wanted a war, Glad of War? You got one. Be glad. It will be the war you die in.Tell the believers and the nonbelievers that we’ve taken the spring. They can have it back when they pray for it."

He turns to ask Shadow if he believes. He does. Shadow believes everything.

On the balcony above them Laura clears her throat. Shadow smiles up at her. She’d like to have a word with her husband.


Looking like perfection once again, Bilquis visits the museum with the Bar’an Temple exhibit. She gets a call from Technical Boy, but hangs up on him. He appears there, accusing her of avoiding him. She says she’s been occupied. He knows.

Yetide Badaki (Bilquis), Bruce Langley (Technical Boy) – 108 (Official image c2990eca-60e5-4145-88e4-77a6258b2c9e via Starz)

He’s noticed her impressive reach metrics and deep penetration. Impressions sell and no one leaves an impression like her. She sashays up to him, putting her hands on his thighs. He tells her to back off, because he has no plans to feed her soul. She owes him and he’s calling it in.

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But Bilquis doesn’t care what Technical Boy wants. Later, she’s on a bus, heading to Wisconsin. All the vehicles on the road are going in the same direction: toward the House on the Rock (here it is in motion) and into season 2 of American Gods.