[Warning: this story contains spoilers through the season finale of Starz’s American Gods, “Come to Jesus.”]
The final episode of the inaugural season of American Gods, spearheaded by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green for Starz, ended just short of a major milestone from the Neil Gaiman novel on which it’s based.
All season long, viewers followed the journey of Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), a recently released ex-con who fell into an otherworldly pursuit following the death of his wife Laura (Emily Browning). Shortly after the funeral, Shadow embarked on a road trip across middle America alongside a charming confidence man named Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). Perhaps it’s more accurate to call him a confidence god, however; Wednesday made grand overtures throughout the first season of the Starz series, even somehow compelling Shadow to create a snowstorm with nothing more than the power of belief, but any questions about Wednesday’s true form were put to rest in the finale as he revealed himself as Odin, the great Norse god of thunder — among other names and titles, of course.
While Wednesday’s true identity is certainly an important revelation for the series, it’s not the stopping point most fans of the Gaiman novel would have expected for the season. Instead, those fans were likely expecting to see Wednesday, Shadow and some of the other deities — including Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy and Peter Stormare as Czernobog — arriving at the The House on the Rock, the site of what’s easily the single most iconic moment from the source material.
Based on the real-life Wisconsin tourist attraction of the same name, the House on the Rock is an architectural anomaly designed by Alex Jordan Jr. and originally opened in 1959. For those unfamiliar, the YouTube channel Atlas Obscura has an excellent breakdown of the “mind-tripping brain warp” nature of this extremely unusual location, which you can watch below.
In the fifth chapter of Gaiman’s book, Wednesday takes Shadow…