The third and final season of American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, was broadcast on Starz between January 10 and March 21, 2021, and consisted of ten episodes
American Gods, easily one of grander thinking person’s adventures to come along in long time hits us for a mighty 3rd season. picking up from our last review for season 2
Visual style, acting performances and script style all contribute to a rather fantastic journey that while engaging is also chock full of mythology, lore, history and supernatural elements that make for a mighty helping to take in.
For starters, if you really want to take the American Gods plunge you’ll need to “catch yourself up” per the first 2 seasons which introduce the characters, the epic journey ahead, and the complex mix of character fiction and lore that contribute to this great TV series.
To talk about “American Gods”, you have to give an impressive nod to the series intro title which mixes its imagery and sculpture pieces into a welcoming hearty blend of colorful mystery.
Called a fantasy drama, this visually enriched piece of work comes to us under the umbrella of Starz network culminating in a 3rd run (that would also be its last). The series consist of 10 episodes that further explores the life of Gods and deities living on earth constantly in battle for dominance and the approval of the masses. Season 3 delves deeper into the religious aspects of the series .
Note to new viewers: Some spoilers on recent Seasons
In this final season we find Shadow Moon/Mike Ainsel (Ricky Whittle) trying to live his life free from the influence of gods of any category old or new. However it is not too long before Mr. Wednesday shows up again requesting his assistance in the journey ahead. Now revealed that Mr. Wednesday is in fact the God Odin and father to Shadow Moon, Shadow Moon is determined to live a life of choice and free will choosing instead to move to the small town of Lakeside, Wisconsin under his new name of Mike Ainsel.
In the background, Gods plot, plan, and enlist for what is destined to be a final showdown like no other. The “new gods” are concerned that Odin is trying to recruit others like him while attempting to resurrect his legacy and legend. While Mr. World (Crispin Glover), the New God of globalization and the leader of the New Gods is not about to let that happen. Mr. World also turns up the heat in the way of New God saturation efforts. With billions of media followers at their disposal under (aka SHARD), they begin to deploy their plan to rise to power while taking Wednesday out (Odin) in the process.
In the series start, Mike Ainsel accepts an apartment left for him by Odin as he acquaints himself in Lakeside to start his new life. Cordelia (Ashley Reyes) is introduced as a new addition to Mr. Wednesday’s under employment supporting him on his road trip.
Special guest this season include Marilyn Manson as Johan Wengren, the lead singer to the Viking Death metal act, Blood Death and SNL alumni Julia Sweeney as the convenience store owner Ann-Marie Hinzelmann.
Mike acclimates to his new residence in Lakeside making friends and discovering the inherited quirks of small town living. As he befriends the local sheriff Chad Mulligan, and mayor/store clerk Ann-Marie Hinzelmann, he develops a love interest with his landlord Marguerite Olsen (Lela Loren) a local reporter in Lakeside.
All the while Mike receives the occasional call from his father Wednesday and his assistant Cordelia who are preparing for the inevitable confrontation.
We learn more about Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) as this season concentrates more on her religious connections. Laura Moon dies while trying to resurrect Mad Sweeney but is extracted back to earth from purgatory and given a 2nd chance with the living.
Mr. World, in between physical identity changes, prepares his minions for battle while Tech boy tries to regain his molecular structure after a confrontation with Bilquis
Wednesday reunites with his former wife Demeter who has been shelled up in a retirement home. We discover their original history together and Wednesday’s fondness for her as he also tries to rectify the pains of the past.
Salim, struggles with his position in life and former experience with his lover Jinn
Tyr (Denis O’Hare), a former Norse god heats things up over decades of past history with Odin challenging him to a fight to the death.
For viewers, the town of Lakeside, Wisconsin was actually filmed at Port Perry in Ontario,Canada. For those interested in more details on the film locations I recommend this page.
In all, the season, while stunning as usual, moves a little slower than previous seasons focusing more on Mike Ainsel’s journey back to a normal existence while the characters of American God are given more isolated back stories. A subplot mystery is interjected involving the disappearance of Alison one of the teen residents of Lakeside. Mike begins to sense additional abilities he inherited as the son of Odin and is drawn to the possibilities it entails
The pace while slower than previous seasons still intertwines between several fantasy situations and reality. This aspect seems to be at the heart of this series and season 3. As someone who has watched reviewed and followed all 3 seasons, I was immediately sensed the “winding down” of this season 3 to bring some closer to its back stories and character development stages. The series is so complex that it was necessary to start killing off characters and bringing resolve to others.
I wont give away the ending, however it appropriately brings the intent and reality of Odin’s intention full circle while leaving other discoveries open-ended.
While it’s easy to say that “American Gods” might be a bit too heady for mass appeal, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a bold uniquely originally series of work born under the writing styles of author Neil Gaiman. It begs itself to ask, “Are you in it for the journey? as it evolves each season. Ending with season 3, fans of the series see its tale come full circle.
It was a fantastical and visually enriched experience that cements this series as one to behold. I strongly recommend others spending some time with American Gods and seeing it for what it is!
American Gods season 3 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD