“Come to Jesus” ends the first season of American Gods on an awkward and anticlimactic note. Creators and co-screenwriters Bryan Fuller and Michael Green seem to be aware of their own perversity, cracking a joke about it early in the episode. Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) and Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) are at the office of Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones), the present incarnation of the god Anansi, who’s tailoring suits for the next leg of their journey. For a moment, it seems that we’ve dodged the obligation of sitting through a deity origin tale that typically opens each episode, until Mr. Nancy announces that he has a story, which Wednesday greets with comic frustration while nursing a tall whiskey. Wednesday is clearly speaking for the audience here, who may be understandably weary of yet another damn flashback. I’ve often defended the flashback structure of American Gods , as it has indicated a willingness to deviate from the plot-dispensing obligations of prestige television and screw with audience’s expectations. “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney” was almost entirely a flashback, which movingly refuted the functions of penultimate episodes that perfunctorily serve to ramp up tension or resolve outlying plot threads. This willingness to […]

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