selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
Which to this reader was great, but also makes me wonder what on earth show-only people make of it, because a self contained episode, this was not.



I spy the first significant departure from the novel by Fuller withholding the reveal that Laura is now undead and her first post mortem encounter with Shadow, which in the book takes place in his first night in the America Motel. One possible reason, I think, might be that Wednesdays "believe it or believe you're mad" challenge works out differently, and so consequently does Shadow's decision to play Checkers with his life as a stake with Czernobog. Talking to tv screens and getting beaten up and nearly lynched by Matrix Agent wannabes is on a different emotional level than having a conversation with your recently deceased wife who is very clearly a walking corpse and quite capable of turning other people into corpses. Though it's not their first meeting but their second in the book as far as I recall when Laura rescues Shadow from Techonological Boys kidnapping, and she does kill those guards and leaves the corpses behind. There's no way he's imagining that.

The first post-mortem encounter also has Shadow asking, not surprisingly, "why?" re: Robbie, and Laura answering that question, and apparantly Fuller wants to keep Shadow in a state of emotional torment and uncertainty about it a while longer? Which in the show version contributes to the recklessness of accepting Czernobog's challenge. But I'm curious whether there are also other reasons for holding back Laura's first appearance outside of dreams and flashbacks. Well, we'll see in future episodes.

As for what is in the show: we open with the "Coming to America" story that introduces Anansi, aka Mr. Nancy, and Orlando Jones is great in the part. What he actually does is also neatly ambigous: yes, the slaves were doomed either way, and there's something to be said for going out fighting and taking your murderers with you, but otoh note the word "sacrifice": there's also (to me) the clear implication that the slaves dying this way empowered Anansi and enabled him to become a god in America, and he knew it would, but of course he didn't tell them that. And you can see the connection to Wednesday manouevring Shadow into the situation with Czernobog (and, um, other things). Maybe even to Bilquis and her human sacrifices.

Gillian Anderson as the Goddess Media: far more regal and impressive than the book version, who came across as mostly irritating to me; true for all of the new gods, come to think of it, in the book. Mind you, given today's technology the whole "speaking from a tv screen even after Shadow unpluggs it" isn't half as freaky or impressive; you can do it without being a goddess. Speaking of technology: updating the novel into the show set 17 years later means there are mobiles, and not until we got that scene between Wednesday and Shadow did it occur to me that this could cause plot having later (if Wednesday, or for that matter anyone else, could simply reach Shadow on his mobile phone, and vice versa), so go Fuller for coming up with an in-universe explanation why Wednesday and Shadow don't have mobiles. (Not anymore. Poor Shadow.) Mind you: on a Watsonian level, I wonder whether Wednesday also doesn't want mobiles near him because they're worshipping devices for another divinity, or because of the more modern reason that they're making him traceable.

The Zoryas and Czernobog so far are just how I've imagined them. I squeed a little when we saw the genie taking his leave of Wednesday; presumably his and Salim's episode is coming up?
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