We Need To Talk About Easter In The 'American Gods' Finale

by Ani Bundel

Last night saw the long awaited arrival of Easter to the American Gods pantheon. Played by Kristin Chenoweth, we discovered the spritely upscale goddess who was once known as Ostara lived in an upscale Kentucky plantation home.

Unlike some of our other down-on-their-luck old gods, she was living it large, throwing a Easter party with a spread that would leave HGTV's Sandra Lee and even Martha Stewart eating their little hearts out. (Hearts filled with jellybeans, natch! Tis the season.)

But, as we learned with the other major goddess of the show Bilquis this week, Easter's luck is not something she made herself. Both goddesses have taken the deal that Mr. Wednesday (Odin) turned down back mid-season. Despite her great show of letting dozens of Jesuses (Jesi?) into her home for the celebration, her strength in the modern world comes via the patronage of a new god: Media. Media happily promotes the buying of eggs and consuming of chocolate rabbits in Easter's name, keeping her relevant enough to survive, but at a cost of her loyalty.

Mr. Wednesday comes in and forces an end to all that play pretense, by calling Easter by her true name, and sneering at Jesus for stealing her day. (For the record, the Jesi are the nicest of men, and clearly all feel horrendously guilty and sinful for their actions.)

Media arrives not long after Odin's entrance and reminds Easter of her place in this world, a survivor working the road of Religious Darwinism. As Media notes, it's not only the old gods who are trying to survive, but the new ones too. What happens if one day people all stop believing? In anything?

Perhaps it's Wednesday's artfully constructed lies that sway Easter, or perhaps it's his ripping away the mask to remind her how fragile her pretense of still being worshipped is. Or perhaps it is Media's admission that they're all working to survive, every last one of them. But when challenged by Odin to "show her true power" Easter goes slightly mad. She parts the clouds, making a great show of the springtime blooms that are hers to control...before ripping them all away, killing every last green and growing thing for miles and miles and miles.

Image via Giphy

Easter has taken the Spring. She will not return it until she is worshipped, the way she once was. Gods giveth, gods taketh away.

But is Easter's choice to side with Odin and his old gods really the smart one? Despite the show's railing against modernity, turning back time is not a thing. The Old Gods are as likely to succeed in having temples built to Ostara as the GOP is to turn the clock back to the 1950s and resegregated society. This is a backwards looking notion on their parts.

American Gods Season 1 Episode 8. Gillian Anderson as Media. image via STARZ

Not to mention, Media's ability to spin the events that are happening any way she wants...would not it be a more likely outcome that the loss of the Spring would cause American society to turn more to technology, in hopes that our biospheres can regrow the planet?

Perhaps not. Perhaps Season 2 will see the rise of temples dedicated to Ostara, or Ēostre, or whatever we want to call her now. But it seems more likely that the seige to the land is merely the beginning of a long and protracted war.