American Gods S1E1 "The Bone Orchard" Recap

The episode begins with the narration of a group of Vikings arriving in America in 813 CE. But their hopes for great things are short-lived, as the Natives of the land shoot them up with arrows if they dare to come too close from the shore where they landed. They are determined to leave but do not have the wind needed to steer the ships of their sails back home. They carve a statue of Odin and make offerings to him by blinding themselves in one eye to gain wind for their sails. After some time and further sacrifices, including death and bloodshed among their own group, the wind rises enough for them to leave in a hurry. The ones that made it home never set foot on a boat again and never spoke of that land.

The story shifts to present day where Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is in prison. He calls his wife, Laura, and we learn that he is set to return home in five days. Shadow Moon senses something ominous is coming but Laura reassures him that soon he will be home and she is planning a party with a friend, Robbie. That night, Shadow Moon has a nightmare of himself in a forest being slapped by trees and one offering him a noose. When he wakes, he is informed that his wife died in a car accident and is shortly thereafter released early.

When waiting at the airport, Shadow spots a man named Wednesday home he later meets on his flight. Wednesday turns out to be a con man who scammed his way onto a first class seat in the flight. Shadow is sitting next to him because the overbooking in coach forced the flight attendants to move Shadow up to first class, too. Shadow offers Wednesday a job as a bodyguard but Shadow isn't interested in taking it. Once again, he dreams of the trees but this time, he sees a buffalo-like creature with fire shooting from its eyes that tells him to "Believe." The flight has to make an emergency landing and he decides to drive the rest of the way back.

Bilquis, an Old Goddess of love, seduces a man into sex and tells him to worship her during intercourse. He does as she asks and and consumes his entire body up into her vagina; her physical form remains the same even after consuming a man significantly larger than her.

Shadow stops at a bar and once again encounters Wednesday. He also learns that his best friend Robbie also died in the accident that killed Shadow's wife. This means that he is out of the job he thought he had waiting for him. A character named Mad Sweeney introduces himself to Shadow, claiming to be a leprechaun, and tensions brew between them. Shadow agrees to a reluctant and temporary hiring as Wednesday's bodyguard. The first order of events is for Shadow to fight Mad Sweeney; Shadow wins and earns a gold coin as a prize.

Shadow reaches home in time for Laura's funeral where he learns that she had not only been having an affair with Robbie but the two were messing about in the car when the accident happened. Once the burial is complete, he speaks to her coffin to vent his frustrations over the affair and his grief at losing her. He proceeds to throw his new gold coin at her grave and it disappears into the ground. Audrey, Robbie's widow, tries to proposition him at the graves as revenge for the affairs inflicted on both of them but he turns her down.

Upon walking away from the cemetery, Shadow is plunged into darkness as all the street lights around him go out. He spots some firefly-like bugs that lead him to a humming object pulsating with light. He prods it with a stick and begins to open and mechanically unfold before leaping out and attaching itself to his head. When Shadow wakes, he is in a strange room with the Technical Boy who interrogates Shadow about Wednesday, threatening to kill him if he doesn't answer. Technical Boy orders his Technical men to kill Shadow and delete him. He is flung upward and finds himself back in the read world where Technical Boy's men are beating him badly and proceed to hang him with a noose. The noose snaps before he can die, dropping Shadow to the ground, and Technical Boy's men are killed by an unknown assailant.

American Gods airs on Sundays on Starz at 9PM.


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