And then war was declared.
What an interesting episode in many ways. We didn’t get a standard “Somewhere in America” story from Mr. Ibis. Instead, we get something similar from Mr. Nancy, namely, for lack of a better word, an origin story on Bilquis.
I think I’ve been waiting a bit for this information. Bilquis in the book doesn’t do much. She has a quick scene where, working as a prostitute, she swallows a customer into her, well, you know, and then later she’s run over and killed by the Technical Boy. We saw something like a recreation of that first scene in the pilot episode, and then she was back doing more of that while hanging around a museum in the second. Then she disappeared while the actress playing her has had her name listed in the opening credits the whole time. Why?
Well, now we know.
While Shadow and Wednesday wait for Nancy to finish some new suits for them, he stops to tell a story. Bilquis was once a powerful queen, and her followers would have the standard sorts of wild orgies that always ended with Bilquis more or less absorbing everyone involved. As Mr. Nancy puts it, there are far worse ways to die. She was living in Tehran in 1979 when the Iranian Revolution happened and the thing she’d managed to avoid all that time–being controlled by men jealous of her womanly power–finally came to pass so she fled with a follower to America.
By the by, don’t show her the bathroom if she’s sitting next to you.
But the follower died, and like all old gods, Bilquis lost her power and devolved into a homeless bag lady. She sees her old temples being destroyed in the news through the window of an Ethiopian restaurant, and then, when she’s as low as possible…in comes the Technical Boy with an offer. An online dating service as a form of prayers, more or less named for her in the guise she mentions passing in Gaiman’s novel: Sheba.
That’s why Bilquis has power now.
Nancy asks us not to judge. Who wouldn’t do that? And as we saw with Vulcan last episode, the new gods aren’t above making offers to the old ones to allow them to “stay relevant” and steal followers from Wednesday.
Which bring us to Easter.
Yes, Wednesday and Shadow are off to recruit Easter as played by a literally glowing at one point Kristin Chenoweth. Her large house is surrounded by rabbits (Wednesday runs some over while saying he and Shadow might not be welcome at first), and there’s all sorts of jelly beans and other candy all over the place since it’s Easter that day and Easter is celebrating with a large party where many of the guests look like Jesus Christ.
That would be because many of these guests are Jesus Christ. The only one to speak, as played by Jeremy Davies, is a very nice man with a glowing halo. Does Easter, a Germanic goddess of dawn and rebirth, feel a little miffed she lost her day to Jesus? He’s apologetic about it, but she’s trying to say she isn’t.
Then the party gets crashed by two other women: Laura and Media.
Laura first. She and Mad Sweeney pull up in the dilapidated ice cream truck. So, while Shadow is chatting with Jesus Prime, she’s chatting with Easter. Will Easter resurrect her? Well, Easter…can’t. Normally, no big deal though it ain’t cool to bring dead girls to her house. Easter can’t revive someone killed by another god. Which god killed Laura? That’s what she’d like to know, since Mad Sweeney seems to know and he isn’t a god, and if you hold him against the wall four feet off the ground by his testicles in a superhuman grip, he will talk. Why would Wednesday mess with Laura? Well, neither says “mess,” but Sweeney’s point: that’s what gods do.
As for Media, showing up in a Judy-Garland-in-Easter–Parade look, she’s sharing credit for Easter’s…success. Won’t she come over to the new gods’ side? Technical Boy appears amongst his minions. Mr. World talks through another. They already got Santa. Why won’t she?
Well, because Wednesday already talked to her and gave her an idea. Gods are what people believe they are, and if people believe, beliefs can come to life, but gods also have specific functions. See, Media is all about image. That’s it. Easter, well, she is springtime. And now, after being asked again and again, Wednesday tells Shadow his name. All of them. He’s Odin, a war god, and he’s going to war. First step: strike down Technical Boy’s minions as a tribute to Easter. With the power there, she can prevent spring from happening. Plant life around her for miles just…disappears. Easter picked a side.
Then Laura appeared and asked to talk to Shadow.
But Bilquis also chose a side. Technical Boy gave her her power back, and now she’s on a bus to the House on the Rock.
And therein ends season one.
Dammit, this is good stuff.
Anyway, I have about ten weeks on the calendar before Stranger Things resumes, so I need something that will run for ten episodes. You know, and here’s a phrase I never thought I’d write, how the about a critically acclaimed Hulu series?
Be back next week as we start the distopic world of The Handmaid’s Tale.