Fans who were hoping to see a glimpse of the House on the Rock are in for a bit of disappointment, but the season finale of American Gods, “Come to Jesus”, answers quite a few questions and reveals a few truths for fans who have not read Neil Gaiman’s novel on which the series is based.
Need a quick catch up? Be sure to check out our recap of last week’s episode.
This recap contains spoilers.
While the final episode of the season does not open with the expected “Coming to America” story that fans of American Gods have grown accustomed to, we are given a story to remember. Narrated by the wonderful Mr. Nancy (Anansi), we are finally told the story of Bilquis. As we haven’t seen or heard much about Bilquis since the beginning of the season, Nancy’s story is an unexpected surprise that sheds light on her character and is very much a coming to America story in its own right.
Nacy begins to tell the story of the Queen of Sheba in the Temple of Bar’an, where we see Bilquis during her prime. It’s clear from the rather sensual, yet unexpected scene unfolding that Bilquis is incredibly powerful, as the goddess of love and devotion is hosting a rather successful orgy. Nancy argues that her power makes her a target, as his narration continues throughout the scene as at depicts a king trying to take over the throne unsuccessfully. Before transitioning, the king, as well as the followers, are given up in sacrifice to Bilquis through sexual acts.
Over the years, Bilquis is forced to leave her temple but proves to be fairly adaptable as time advances. She moves from place to place, adapting to the trends and fashions of the time, but violence continues to follow her and slowly results in a loss of power. Bilquis decides to make the move to America but reaches an all time low. Homeless and alone, she watches the news through a restaurant window, only to see that she is slowly being destroyed by violence – the temples that were created in her name are being destroyed by militant ISIS groups. Just when Bilquis begins to give up hope, however, the Technical Boy appears, offering her a new altar in the form of a cell phone. Although reluctant, Bilquis is forced to take the offer or die out and transitions to the world of social media, online dating and hookup apps.
In the present day, Bilquis appears refreshed but continues to visit museums to experience and relive her past, as we have seen her do a few times in earlier episodes. Bilquis’ story ends with the Technical Boy calling in a favor, and Nancy declaring that Wednesday and the Old Gods need to find a queen of their own.
As Wednesday and Shadow continue their journey on the road, the viewer’s hopes of making it to the House on the Rock are destroyed as Wednesday announces that Wisconsin is the next step and that they are making one final trip on the way there. At first, this journey seems as if it will he a happy one. The sun is bright, the road along the way is full of flowers, and the car is even followed by a herd of bunnies. Things take a turn quickly, as the rabbits attempt to barricade the road. Wednesday, unphased, runs them over before continuing down the road, arriving at a beautiful house on a lake.
Shadow and Wednesday make their way inside and find themselves in attendance of a large, and rather luxurious, Easter party. If the new god to become queen was in question, it has now become clear that Wednesday is seeking the help of Ostara, better known as Easter (portrayed by Kristin Chenoweth). Although Easter was originally a celebration of the coming of spring, it has since evolved into the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Realizing this, Shadow takes another look around and notices that almost everyone in attendance at the party is a different representation of Jesus. While Shadow realizes that this is a party of the gods, he finds it difficult to believe in anything, despite everything that he has seen so far on his journey with Wednesday.
Wednesday begins his recruitment process, as Shadow’s presence has lightened up Easter’s attitude toward the old god. Although Easter is well off on Easter, the holiday is no longer celebrated in her favor. While people might celebrate Easter, they do not do so to mark the coming of spring, but rather, to celebrate the Christian holiday that it has become. Wednesday and Easter go to talk in private, and Shadow is left questioning his surroundings, where he happens upon the most stereotypical representation of Jesus, who is sitting on top of the water of a pool. Shadow reveals that he does not really believe in any of the things happening around him, and Jesus tells him that that is okay and that he will continue to travel along in life in the way that feels natural to him.
Meanwhile, tension begins to rise as a broken down ice cream truck appears at the party and Laura and Mad Sweeney appear. Who knew that Sweeney was on the way to Easter all along? Easter, sensing their presence, breaks off from her conversation with Wednesday and finds the two, where Sweeney asks if she can resurrect Laura. Realizing her connection to Shadow, Easter agrees but claims that she needs to begin with the cause of death. Through an ability that allows her to see the scene of death upon Laura’s eyes, Easter reveals that Laura cannot be brought back to life because she was killed by a god. Although Laura immediately realizes that Wednesday is the reason she died, she tortures Sweeney until he reveals the truth, including the fact that he was the cause of Laura’s death under the orders of the old god. According to Sweeney, Laura wasn’t murdered, she was sacrificed because Wednesday needed Shadow to be in a place of complete and total desperation.
If things weren’t already bad enough, Media appears with a group of faceless technical guards. After claiming that Media has brought fame to Easter, Wednesday appears and another confrontation between the gods occurs. Not only does the Technical Boy show up, but Mr. World in his downright sinister and incredibly creepy fashion takes the place of one of the faceless guards.
As the scene begins to darken and storm clouds roll in, the new gods take turns trying to persuade Easter to join their side, but Wednesday reminds Easter that she does not need media to become popular again. Instead, the people can be swayed to remember who she is. To demonstrate his point, Wednesday strikes down the faceless guards with lightning before revealing his true identity to Shadow. Although the viewer has been made aware of Wednesday’s true identity through a number of increasingly obvious hints, Wednesday’s true identity is revealed in powerful scene worthy of the title of god, wherein he reveals all of his names amidst a growing storm, finally ending with the pronouncement that he is, in fact, Odin.
Following his lead, Easter declares her allegiance with Wednesday by stepping forward and revealing her true power. At first, the viewer is presented with a beautiful scene full of glowing light, swirling winds and flowers everywhere. With nothing more than an exhale, Easter destroyed everything. Crops wither, plants die, and flowers cease to bloom as their petals fall, and all things green turn brown in death.
After this incredibly powerful display, the new gods declare war, vowing revenge upon the old gods. All the while, Wednesday has created a situation that will bring the old gods power; they have taken spring and it will not be returned until believers and nonbelievers alike pray for it to return.
Before the episode comes to an end on the note of war, however, Laura reveals her presence and asks to “have a word with her husband”, presumably about the fact that she was killed by the man that he is now following.
In a very brief transition, viewers find themselves following Bilquis, where a sign for the House on the Rock can be seen before the final episode of this season of American Gods comes to a close.
While this season of American Gods has definitely been a surprise, it has been an absolutely wonderful look at the world that Gaiman has created. Despite all of the changes that have been made, each and every one feels as though it could be a part of the original world in which Gaiman created. I would even go so far as to argue that American Gods has been the best adaptation in a very long time. It has been a wonderful journey learning more about the many different characters of American Gods, and I can’t wait to finally end up at the House on the Rock next season.