‘American Gods’ finale sets up new conflict for next season

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Great Odin’s raven! The Allfather has been revealed on American Gods, and he is seriously ticked off.

In the finale of the Starz road-trip fantasy’s first season, divine grifter Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) showed off his power to the New Gods and everybody else at a festive Kentucky shindig hosted by Easter (Kristin Chenoweth), drawing battlelines between the old deities and their high-tech foes. Wednesday’s forceful appearance as Odin shocked his traveling partner Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), though the god doesn’t look pleased when Shadow’s resurrected wife Laura Moon (Emily Browning) shows up at the end.

Laura isn’t exactly all chocolate bunnies and Peeps, either. She’s just found out from her leprechaun frenemy Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) that Wednesday/Odin orchestrated the events leading to Shadow’s jail stint, Laura’s death and Shadow and Wednesday’s “chance” meeting in the show’s first episode.

So, is he truly a bad guy, or just a dude willing to go to extremes?

Media (center, Gillian Anderson) and the New Gods’ goon squad crashes Easter’s party. (Photo: Jan Thijs, Starz)

Michael Green, who executive produces the show with Bryan Fuller, won’t say.

“We’ve seen him do some dastardly things, and he remains charming,” Fuller says of Wednesday. “He chopped off his friend’s head, and we’re like, ‘Well, he had it coming.’ You can give them questionable things where any other actor might not be likable, and Ian McShane somehow finds a way to stay in your heart.”

For Shadow, the finale wraps a season in which the ex-con has gone from faithless to believing in Wednesday.

“It was a really happy and mischievous discovery for us that the moment we were building to the entire season – where he says he believes – shares a breath with his wife coming back yet again,” Green says. “His faith has always been split between the two: Lacking anything else, he made a religion out of loving his wife for so long, which we find is the very reason Wednesday felt she needed to be taken off the table. As a result, she is the one thing that he did not account for in all his grand scheming.”

When Laura interrupts and says, “I’d like to have a word with my husband,” she and Wednesday share a look introducing a dynamic “that Michael and I are super excited about exploring in Season 2, which is Wednesday vs. Laura,” says Fuller.

Mr. Wednesday (left, Ian McShane) reveals his true name to Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) in the season finale of ‘American Gods.’ (Photo: Starz)

Following Easter wilting all surrounding greenery (“Tell them we’ve taken the spring,” Wednesday says. “If they want it back, they can pray for it”), the epilogue finds the love goddess Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) pulling up in Wisconsin at a sign for The House on the Rock, which in Neil Gaiman’s novel houses a portal into the minds of the gods. “We love that part in the book, and there are a lot of stories to tell,” says Green.

Green says fan support for the show’s first season “exceeded expectations on every level,” though Fuller has been surprised at how divisive Laura has been.

“The idea that someone would not like her leaves me shook,” Fuller says. “And there’s a big contingency of women who will not forgive Laura. It’s interesting how much the other side that loves her is as vocally passionate in a different way, and they find her flaws to be relatable and not quite so easily condemnable.”

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