American Gods Season 2 premiere recap: A ride on the carousel

American Gods -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ Media Center
American Gods -- Courtesy of STARZ -- Acquired via STARZ Media Center /

The Season 2 premiere of American Gods picks up right where the finale left off and is as dazzling as ever as the stakes rise even higher.

Tonight, American Gods finally returned after a long hiatus off the air, picking up right where Season 1 left off as it gracefully slides into the next chapter of the story. In case no one remembers, Season 1 ended with Easter drying up the earth as Mr. Wednesday revealed his true identity as Odin. The season premiere is set just a few hours later, revealing the repercussions of their actions.

Shaken from the actions of the Old Gods, Mr. World and Technical Boy put their next move into action by heading to Black Briar, a secret government facility used only by the president. Officially at war, Mr. World’s semi-nice side is wiped away in his new goal of stomping out the enemy. However, he can’t sell a war without his best saleswoman and orders Technical Boy to find Media.

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Meanwhile, the Old Gods are practically chummy with their recent victory. Mr. Wednesday, Mad Sweeny, and the Moons are all crammed in a car headed to House on the Rock, WI for a meeting with the Old Gods, or the ones who agreed to show up. The car ride reveals some telling details such as Mad Sweeney is a litterbug, mermaids are apparently real and sexually aggressive, things between Laura and Shadow are awkward, and Shadow continues to doubt the miraculous things he’s seen since meeting Wednesday.

Even though sitting in a car beside his zombie wife should be enough to convince him at least some of the crazy stuff isn’t a hoax. The whole ride, Laura is giving Wednesday the evil eye and Mad Sweeney talks to Laura like they’re best frenemies, so it’s basically like most road trips with four or more people.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ Media Center
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ Media Center /

House on the Rock

The group arrives at the tourist attraction that Wednesday later explains was built because it contains natural energy humans are drawn to and that most road-side attractions carry the same energy. When they get there, Nancy, who was waiting for them, offers up an explanation as to why Easter will no longer be on the show.

In real life, the actress who plays Easter had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t film Season 2, but as Nancy explains it, Easter is angry at Wednesday for running over her bunnies with his car. To quote Nancy, “she ain’t coming on account of you mowing over bunnies with your car like some kinda f*****g rabbit racist.” So, that’s that, Easter quit the team for an animal rights protest.

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Watch American Gods with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels! /

Bilquis and the Jinn are there as well, though Bilquis wasn’t invited. Salim suddenly shows up to reunite with his Jinn, arriving at the worst possible time. Despite Jinn’s protest and his insistence that the House on the Rock isn’t safe, Salim stays.

When the group is all together, the Jinn hands the Gods, except Sweeney, coins to put in a fortune telling machine and move on to the meeting. Sweeney’s put out and confused as to why Wednesday doesn’t want him involved, but knowing Wednesday, it can’t be good. More likely a back-stabbing reason with a shifty motive that will irrefutably cause more trouble for the ever-suffering leprechaun.

Shadow, Bilquis, and Wednesday all retrieve a fortune, but we only see Shadow’s- “Every ending is a new beginning. Your lucky number is none. Your lucky color is dead. Motto: Like father, like son.” Laura gets her fortune when they leave the room, but the paper is blank most likely on account for her being dead.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

The carousel

Their press conference room is in the back of the building where a truly magnificent carousel takes up the entire room. Let me just take a minute to gush over this carousel because it was absolutely beautiful; if all carousels were like that, I’d live at the carnival. As if the magic inside every holiday came together and built a riding device.

Shadow watches in awe as the others climb on the ride and beckon him to join, their movements slowing down into dreamlike apparations as he climbs on with them. It begins to spin at a ridiculous speed and sends them into Wednesday’s memories where the Gods appear in their original forms. Their reverent bodies surrounded by ghostly fire revealing their former glory, and glorious they were.

Several Gods are there, including Zorya and Czernobog and we meet some new Gods, such as Mama-Ji/Kali (Sakina Jaffrey) the Hindu Goddess of death.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

Here they have their meeting. Odin, Nancy, and Bilquis reason that they must rise up and take back the land they owned long before the New Gods took over. They were brought to America by humans but abandoned when better things came along. They’ve become forgotten Gods in a world without Gods, and they must either fight back or die out.

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Bilquis, who we’ve seen adapt to the new world with technology, announces the new requirements met with this modern world and believes conformity is the key to their survival. According to her, only once they adapt, can they evolve.

Shadow speaks up in favor of Odin, urging them to fight back and not die away in memory because he knows what it feels like to lose everything. No verdict is made but the pro-war Gods seemed to have the more popular vote.

American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ
American Gods — Courtesy of STARZ — Acquired via STARZ /

Mr. World sends a counterattack

After the carousel ride, everyone’s eating at a diner and Shadow is wondering what the hell happened. No one there is straightforward so he can’t get a straight answer out of them, but he’s coming down from a strong high regardless. For the first time since the series began, Shadow looks happy. Not even Laura can steal away his attention.

Speaking of Laura, she’s unhappy about this change in Shadow and sticks to Sweeney’s side the whole time. Those two are becoming my favorite non-romantic relationship of the series, with a nice “I hate you but please be my friend” vibe going on.

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While the Old Gods are hanging out, Bilquis is shown to have a tracking device on her leading Tech Boy and World to their location. I’m pretty sure she’s in on this ploy based on the supposed alliance she made with Tech Boy a while back and the fact that they waited until after Bilquis left the building to attack. Mr. World sends a message to someone named Mr. Town and a sniper starts shooting at the diner, killing several of the Gods including Zoyra.

Shadow runs outside to stop the sniper but is beamed up into the sky like an alien space ship abducting farm cows. The end of the massacre has Czernobog vowing revenge for Zorya, and Wednesday asking his companions if they’re going to let the New Gods assassinate them without repercussions, thus ending the Season 2 premiere and starting the war between the Old and the New. That escalated quickly.

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The next episode of American Gods will air Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on Starz.