American Gods season 1 ending explained - everything you need to know for season 2

American Gods season 1 ending

With American Gods back on our screens, it’s no wonder some of you are here, trying to familiarise yourself with what happened in the American Gods season 1 ending. The second season will still see the Old Gods and the New battling it out to come out on top, but the New Gods have had a bit of a setback with Ostera spreading famine throughout the country. 

That final showdown at Ostera’s Easter party led to the reveal of Mr Wednesday’s true identity, and although that one big question was answered, as a whole the season left plenty of questions hanging in the air. Laura Moon is now reunited with Shadow after one hell of a road trip, but what is that giant beating heart she sees inside him, and what does it mean? Below are all the questions I have about the American Gods season 1 ending, so just glance below to see the various ends that need tying up, but beware of spoilers!

1. Will the famine make humanity worship the old gods again?

Easter has been converted to Mr Wednesday’s cause, and she’s not pulling any punches. Quite literally letting her golden hair down, she banishes Spring from the continent. Without Spring (she thinks), they’re bound to start praying to her again to restore the time of rebirth and blossoms - and with each prayer she’ll grow a little stronger. 

Except if I know our race even remotely well, there’s no way we mortals are going to start praying again. Easter has become the time of chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies, and you can’t just resurrect an ancient god like that (*snaps fingers*) when their name has been redefined as something commercial. Without Spring, humans are likely to turn to science and climate change research to explain why the season has suddenly disappeared. If anything, surely people will start relying on technology more to give them answers - searching for what’s happened on the web (which Mr World will be happy about), watching TV for answers (enter a chuffed Media). What happens if they start believing in something else? Something new? Something maybe Mr Wednesday won’t have anticipated...

2. Is Mr Wednesday the bad guy?

Speaking of the main god, Mr Wednesday has gone from the lovable underdog who’s just wants to be back on top to possibly the baddie of the series. Just think about it: the new gods have offered him ways to become relevant in the 21st Century. But Mr Wednesday is so stubborn, so set in his ways, that he won’t compromise or even recognise that humanity has simply moved on from worshipping Gods. Now he’s decided to get leverage over the new gods by making humanity suffer - hence his manipulation of Easter to get her to banish Spring. We’re the ones who are paying the price for his ambition, which doesn’t exactly make him look like a good guy. I hope Shadow will confront him about his callous disregard for humanity - especially after Wednesday’s hypocritical comment that “Gods used to give something back”. What is Wednesday doing for humanity, exactly? 

3. Does Mad Sweeney have a soft spot for Laura Moon?

I can’t forget the look in Mad Sweeney’s eyes when Laura found out that he was instrumental in her death. Mr Wednesday might have instructed it, but Mad Sweeney carried it out. He looked ashamed, sad - meek, even. In a previous episode we found out that Laura Moon is the spitting image of Essie McGowan, an Irish woman who lived 100(ish) years ago and left gifts for the fey folk so they’d reward her with good luck. Mad Sweeney came in contact with Essie from afar, so he might recognise Laura as her reincarnation. If that’s what Laura is, mind you - she could just looking strikingly similar. It could just be a coincidence. Either way, Mad Sweeney didn’t leave with his coin when Laura crashed for the second time. He stayed by her side. Perhaps he thinks that he owes Laura something, and is looking for a little bit of redemption. The second series could see the two growing closer, as they certainly seemed to be tied together by fate. 

4. Why does Mr Wednesday want Laura dead?

While we’re on the subject of Laura Moon, let’s not forget that Mr Wednesday sped off in his car with Shadow when he saw her in the rear-view mirror. He clearly doesn’t want the two to reunite, but why? Shadow has already found out Laura has come back to life (well, with her decaying body perhaps ‘reanimated’ would be a better choice of words). Shadow has a thumping gold heart inside him that Laura is irresistibly drawn to, and when he kissed her, her own heart started to beat again. Clearly something major is on the cards when - or if - the two get back together. Maybe he’ll resurrect his wife if she can hold onto him for long enough. 

Something which Mr Wednesday wants to avoid very badly. Not particularly surprising, considering that he was the one who orchestrated her death in the first place. He also interfered in her grand casino robbery, which led to Shadow being sent to prison. It could be that he simply wants Shadow all to himself, without him being distracted by his headstrong, tenacious wife (two qualities which do Laura credit, by the way). Considering Laura was the one who came up with the robbery plan, and who is remarkably detached from any possibility of failure, her and Mr Wednesday could be evenly matched for influence over Shadow, which is exactly what the god dreads. Because Shadow certainly wasn’t picked at random...

5. Is Shadow a god?

Which leads me onto this burning question: how the hell did Shadow will snow into existence if he’s not a god? Humans can’t do stuff like that. We can give Gods life, but we can’t make any magic happen ourselves. Shadow was named so by his “hippie” mother, but perhaps his name is much more significant. He could be a Native American God, as he sure has a lot of visions of the flame-eyed bison that appeared in the Coming to America story featuring the very first settlers from Siberia. After all, in that scene the whole world is filled with snow. So perhaps Shadow is an ancient god of the weather who’s somehow lost his memory, or has been reincarnated to help Mr Wednesday in his battle (this is all conjecture, I should mention). 

6. Who is that flame-eyed bison?

When the giant beast appeared in the Bone Orchard in Shadow’s dream, it seemed to speak with Mr Wednesday’s voice as it growled “believe”. Yet it appears in a Coming to America story set way back when Siberians - the ancestors of Native Americans - first came to America. Mr Wednesday is the Norse god Odin, and seeing as the bison is definitely not a Scandinavian animal, so it can’t be him. Surely it has to be an American god of some sort - but which one? Plus this god is old. Very, very old. About 23,000 years old, apparently. So it must be strong to stick around this long, even if it’s just in dreams. 

7. How is Bilquis going to help the New Gods?

She’s pretty irresistible as far as seduction goes, and now she’s been recruited by the new gods, we have to ask how she’s planning on undermining the old god’s rebellion. Her particular talent is absorbing (that’s putting it delicately) those she copulates with, but I don’t think she’ll be able to do that with a god. Choosing between seducing Mr Wednesday or Shadow is going to be an interesting choice, as I think Mr Wednesday would see through her lies pretty quickly. 

Either way, in the final episode we got a brief glimpse of the vulnerable Bilquis as well as what she was like when she was top dog, so with her getting more time in a spotlight I hope she becomes more of a rounded character. At the moment her only power comes from her sensuality, so seeing her as a tactician or charismatic diplomat would be exactly the kind of fleshing out her character is in need of at the moment. Because you don’t get to be queen just because you’ve seduced a few kings. It takes intelligence, tactics, and ruthlessness, which we have yet to see fully realised in Bilquis. 

8. Is Shadow loyal to Mr Wednesday now?

Shadow is now completely, 100%, without a doubt convinced that Mr Wednesday is a god. Odin, to be precise. He saw his face appear in storm clouds and call down a strike of thunder, for god’s sake. Considering Shadow was questioning reality and whether anything he was seeing was real up until this point, what kind of change are we going to see in the ex-convict? He might become much more acquiescent to Mr Wednesday’s demands. However, when he finds out - because he must do eventually, right? - that Mr Wednesday ordered Laura’s death, I can’t imagine he’ll be very pleased. Seeing a potentially dormant god and a full-blown thunder god go head-to-head would make some excellent TV, though.

Discover what else you should be watching with the best new TV shows of this year, or watch the video below for the top 5 shows of 2019 you should definitely check out.

Zoe Delahunty-Light

While here at GamesRadar, Zoe was a features writer and video presenter for us. She's since flown the coop and gone on to work at Eurogamer where she's a video producer, and also runs her own Twitch and YouTube channels. She specialises in huge open-world games, true crime, and lore deep-dives.