American Gods season 3 finale spoilers follow.
American Gods star Ricky Whittle wasn't kidding when he told us "fans will be angry" about the ending of season three, and not because it was bad or disappointing either. Wednesday betrayed Shadow in the worst way possible, leaving us with a cliffhanger that's as frustrating as it is exciting.
It's not all bad though. As we've mentioned before, this latest chapter is a "miraculous" return to form, and judging from what just happened in the finale, there's a lot to look forward to in season four (assuming it's renewed, that is).
Without god-like powers of divination on our side, we can't guarantee that next season will continue to improve in this way — the show is more slippery than Odin's wily charms — but it's entirely possible that this finale may have just set up the best season yet.
Did Shadow Moon just die?
After casually killing off Odin last week, the writers pushed Shadow into his father's... well, shadow, by forcing him down the same path. Once the Old Gods retrieved Wednesday's body, Shadow was supposed to avenge his father first before watching vigil over his corpse on Yggdrasil, the sacred Norse tree which roots existence itself.
While Shadow foregoes the vengeance, letting his ex-wife, Laura Moon, roam free, he does decide to hold vigil over Odin's corpse for nine days and nine nights. Unfortunately, Ricky Whittle's character doesn't survive, even though he's the hero of the story. Cue a trippy sacrifice, lots of male cleavage, and then... a plane ride?
Following Shadow's "death", we're back in first class with a scene that's reminiscent of Shadow's very first meeting with Wednesday, long before he knew the truth about his father's identity. And once again, Shadow doesn't know what's going on. This time though, answers come much quicker when Odin reveals that his death was simply part of a larger plan.
After he failed to rally the Old Gods around him, Odin realised that the only way he could gain more power was by tricking someone else into sacrificing themselves for him. And that's why he let Laura Moon kill him, so that Shadow would give himself up for Odin as part of an ancient ritual.
From day one, Wednesday has always manipulated his son, but this is by far the cruellest thing he's done yet. Speaking to TV Line, Ricky Whittle opened up about this "heartbreaking" moment.
"He’s never had a father in his whole life, not even a father figure, and then here we have a father who is all-powerful Odin…" Shadow starts to believe he's supposed to rule alongside his father, so this betrayal plays into his "worst nightmare." It's safe to say that Odin never loved Shadow and "In fact," Ricky adds, "You were only there so that he could use you to become even more powerful.”
At the very end, Odin jumps out of the purgatory plane and presumably heads back to the land of the living. That encroaching storm the Old Gods spot in the sky also hints at Odin's physical return, one fuelled by more power than we've ever seen the All Father wield before.
But don't count Shadow out just yet. Sure, things don't look great for him right now, but as Ricky points out, "This is an actual demigod. This is someone with power, motive, strength."
If Laura Moon can be brought back to life more than once, it's safe to say that the show's central character will be coming back too, right behind Odin. And if that's true, the All-Father should watch his back, because "It will be a great challenge to play this morally good demigod who’s being burned by his father, and what that looks like in Season 4."
Who is Mr World? And who is Technical Boy, really?
Mr World has always been the most shifty character in American Gods, and that's particularly true this season thanks to all of his literal face-swapping. But as fans of the book already know, there's another face hidden underneath all this which might shock viewers.
Note: American Gods book spoilers follow.
While the show is yet to go down this route, the final conversation between Mr World and Technical Boy suggests that yes, the leader of the New Gods is none other than Loki, the god of mischief. That's right, Mr World is actually Odin's brother, and the pair have been in cahoots this whole time.
Together, they've been playing the long game, deliberately pitting their two sides against each other to feed off the chaos that ensues. So Shadow isn't the only one that Wednesday has been fooling this whole time.
Whether the show plans to follow this story exactly isn't clear just yet, but by the end of the finale, it looks likely that another twist from the book has remained intact.
Throughout season three, Technical Boy has been on a journey of self-discovery, trying to reconnect with his history in a bid to stop glitching. There's a lot that Technical Boy still doesn't know yet, but a final conversation with Mr World reveals that he isn't who he thinks he is.
This all kicks off when Technical Boy finally retrieves Artefact 1, which is far more than just a mere rock. Touching it sets off a series of visions, detailing all of mankind's biggest technological innovations. Fire, the printing press, electricity and eventually, nuclear weapons are all derived from this one primal spark.
Mr World explains that Technical Boy isn't just the god of technology. He's the embodiment of human innovation, bridging the gap between gods Old and New. This makes him the most powerful God of all, but representing something that's constantly in flux also creates a big problem for Technical Boy. Every time human technology evolves, he evolves along with it, forgetting who and what he was beforehand.
Moving forward, it looks like Mr World will keep Technical Boy prisoner to help him develop the Shard app, which represents the next development in human technology. But, what the show avoids mentioning here is that Technical Boy doesn't just bridge a gap between the different Gods — he was actually an Old God himself, one known to Ancient Greeks as Prometheus.
Don't be surprised if this revelation impacts the show too in season four, switching up who might work with or against Shadow moving forward.
End of book spoilers.
What's next for Bilquis and Laura Moon?
Laura Moon has been on quite a journey this season, and it's not over just yet. Sure, she fulfilled her dream of "killing" Odin, and yes, there's no love lost between Laura and her ex-husband, Shadow, but a surprise visit from Bilquis (not to mention that kiss) suggests there's more to come in season four.
Although it's hard to predict Laura's future given how much the show has deviated from her story in the book, it's clear that her new partnership with Bilquis will play a key role in season four.
Speaking to TV Line, Yetide Badaki said: "For these individuals that have now learned about themselves, have now stepped into their own power, the idea of being able to come together is… a powerful thing."
That's pretty vague, but also extremely promising. Although Laura and Bilquis are two of the biggest standouts in this heavily packed cast, their stories have fallen by the wayside more than we would like at times. But moving forward, it sounds like their combined strength will become far more pivotal in future episodes, mixing things up in ways that could change everything we thought we knew about the impending war.
When Ricky told us that "fans will be angry" about the way this episode ends, he also mentioned that this chapter was "the strongest season yet." But truthfully, we have a feeling that season four could surpass that by picking up the pace even more while hurtling ever closer to that final miraculous confrontation.
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