Wednesday, March 17, 2021

American Gods, Revisited

      After nearly all of three seasons -- and a few bobbles, nothing major -- I was a little disappointed in episode eight of the third season. 

      Oh, I can see what they're doing; there are four or five character arcs in progress.  One of them features a background character who is due a little closure, and gets it, in a kind of counterpoint to the turmoil, uncertainty and possible betrayal that The Technical Boy, Laura Moon, Shadow Moon and even Mr. Wednesday experience.  This is the kind of contrast that makes for good drama.

      Unfortunately, the script goes about it in an unnecessarily heavy-handed way, with an "orgy" scene set up, cast, staged and shot with a pretentiousness that teeters on the edge of silly (if not over it) and which left me wondering if the script had run short and needed padding to reach a full hour.*

      If you're a big ol' culture warrior,† this episode is probably where you turn the TV off and throw the remote across the room, if you hadn't done so much earlier.  If you're me, you are reminded once again that the Beast With Two (or n) Backs is kind of goofy looking most of the time, no matter who's dancing.  The script needed a very light touch from the director.  It didn't get it.

      The episode chugged along, with several good dramatic scenes that left the next episode nicely set up.  The director and screenwriter for this episode are both one-and-done in the series, so I'm hoping American Gods can avoid another stumble as the story wraps up.
* Sure, a series following pagan gods buys a lot of leeway in that direction.  But it's no excuse for making mediocre art while the storytelling stalls.
† The culture war is over.  Everyone lost -- and everybody won, too, especially if they have the price of a cheap ticket to some place that suits their inclinations.  Greyhound and Amtrak aren't going to stop running, voters and civic culture in Idaho, California, New Hampshire and Vermont aren't gonna change much or quickly, so relax and try to get along, willya?

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