American Gods Season 1 Finale, Episode 8 Recap: Come to Jesus

American Gods Season 1 Finale, Episode 8 Recap: Come to Jesus

Kristin Chenoweth as Easter in a still from American Gods

HIGHLIGHTS

  • American Gods streams on Amazon Prime Video
  • The first season contains a total of eight episodes
  • Episode eight introduced Kristin Chenoweth as Easter

From its start, American Gods – from creators Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, with the author Neil Gaiman as an executive producer – has been unafraid to alter its written source, to either update it for our times, place a bigger emphasis on the book’s minor characters, or set things on a course that takes longer to come to fruition. During the first season, which ended this week, that has resulted in some fascinatingly unique episodes on television (“A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”) and others that tended to meander for no obvious reason (“A Murder of Gods”).

The eighth episode, “Come to Jesus”, is far from an ideal season finale. It manages to bring together the disparate and separated cast together for a spring outing, but the show meets none of the usual expectations from a finale: there’s no big revelation, nor a setup for the next season, nor even an offer of some closure. Sure, Wednesday finally uttered his real name upon Shadow’s insistence, but since the audience has always been so far ahead of our “hero”, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

The bigger reveal in the season finale was the story delivered by Mr. Nancy, the alter ego of the African spider god Anansi, whom we first met in the second episode. He’s a storyteller by nature, and he starts off with the most traditional of openings: “Once upon a time… See? It sounds good already. You’re hooked.” It helps that Orlando Jones is a fascinating orator, from his enunciation to his mannerisms, but the story is equally fascinating.

From the Bar’an temple in 9th-century BCE Yemen, where a queen participates in an orgy, and a nightclub in 1979 Tehran, which is stormed by Shi’a revolutionists, to her turn as a homeless person in the land of Hollywood, Nancy describes the fall of a goddess who had it all. The story is also constructed as an attack on all women by the world of men, in his own words, which serves as an allegory for the rise of sexism over time. Through it all, the show hints at her identity, with her ability to make people disappear with sex.

american gods s01e08 bilquis American Gods

Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, and Yetide Badaki as Bilquis in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

With her best days behind her, she is paid a visit by none other than Technical Boy, who offers her the gift of an iPhone. Or more accurately, a gift of what’s on the phone. It’s a Tinder-like app called Sheba, which gives her unrestricted access to a bigger pool. And going by what we saw of Bilquis in the season’s beginning, it’s safe to say she readily accepted the deal handed to her by the New Gods. It’s a different arc for the character from the book, but it makes a lot more sense since dating apps weren’t exactly around in the same fashion when Gaiman wrote American Gods, which was published in 2001.

Nancy, of course, is more interested in the moral of the story. Shadow doesn’t have a clue – “Did you get this one off the discount rack?” Nancy jokingly asks of Wednesday – but the old man knows what he’s referring to. After killing Vulcan, who was part of the New Gods’ team, Wednesday needs a queen of his own. He then berates Shadow for not understanding “the concept of pissed off”, and the latter eventually accepts that he’s very confused.

In a short dream soon after, Shadow climbs a mountain of skulls to come across a buffalo with fire in its eyes. He wakes up in a shock to find himself on the passenger seat, with Wednesday driving the Cadillac. The bunnies from the previous episode make a return, except there’s a colony of them this time around. Their attempts to drive Wednesday off the road, like one did with Laura, don’t work, as he knows what they represent, and instead just floors the accelerator. Thank goodness American Gods doesn’t deem it necessary for the rabbits’ killing to be given its usual graphic treatment.

What follows for the next few minutes is a gallant depiction of the production designer and food stylist’s work. The house they arrive at is brimming with the colours – Shadow is quick to remind us that it’s Easter in the show’s timeline – from the ostentatious decorations, the multi-coloured beans and macaroons, and the bright dresses worn by the guests. Wednesday then proceeds to deliver the history behind the holiday, culminating with a raised glass to Ostara.

american gods s01e08 wed shadow American Gods

Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, and Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

Shadow is smitten from the first moments he lays his eyes on her, and after a brief encounter with a Jesus Christ – not the, but one of the many versions people believe in – he checks with Wednesday: “That’s Easter? Because people believe in Easter.” Easter (Kristin Chenoweth) is surprised to find Wednesday at her home, and she toys with Shadow who face turns into a full blush after greeting her.

Out in the lawn, Wednesday and Easter’s conversation gets hostile after he takes the blunt route. Sure, the holiday is in her name, but it’s Jesus Christ that people remember. Even as they enjoy searching for hidden eggs, no one prays in her name, he says. An aghast Easter drags Wednesday back into her home, and demands why he’s trying to spoil her day. Wednesday then spins the death of Vulcan as an orchestration of the New Gods – he’s a big liar, as Nancy attested – and pitches his war to Easter.

“They will worship you, if you make them pray,” Wednesday concludes. When Easter points out the bigger importance of Christ, Shadow butts in to add: “But he’s not the goddess of spring.” Wednesday’s plan is to starve people, to make them work for the food on the table. The show seems to be ignoring the involvement of science and technology in food production today, and the excuse of being a fantasy show doesn’t work when you’ve got New Gods around. Hopefully, we’ll get to see a Science God too.

Meanwhile, new guests – some familiar faces in Laura and Mad Sweeney – have arrived. After a bunny brings Easter word of dead in her home – it’s a holiday of rebirth, after all – she meets the pair in the bathroom. Sweeney asks Easter to resurrect Laura as a favour, but she concludes it can’t be done since Laura was killed by a God. A surprised Laura turns to her new favourite move – putting the screw on Sweeney, this time on his scrotum – who confesses that it was Wednesday’s plan all along.

american gods s01e08 technical media American Gods

Bruce Langley as Technical Boy, and Gillian Anderson as Media in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

The get-together is complete with the presence of Gillian Anderson’s Media, who’s dressed as Judy Garland from the 1948 musical Easter Parade. She has her own pitch to make, with the faceless goons from the lynching by her side. There’s talk about brand makeover, ‘religious Darwinism’, and an underlying threat as always. Frankly, it’s gotten a little repetitive considering we’ve heard it a few times already.

Wednesday crashes the party to offer his counter arguments, which is slightly newer though a retelling of the same basic principle. “People create gods when they wonder why things happen,” he adds. “Do you know why things happen? Because gods make them happen.” It’s an immediate warning to what’s about to occur, as Wednesday rejects Mr. World’s worldview and delivers lightning from above to strike the faceless goons.

It also sets up a dramatic reveal of Wednesday’s true identity, which seems anti-climactic given the show itself has undone its work over the season, having hinted at it so much since the beginning. He lists a dozen names, and finishes with the most popular among them all: Odin. The problem is that the look on Shadow’s face can’t possibly match with the viewer’s, as mentioned previously, and the moment doesn’t carry the power it had in the book.

Thankfully, the show has a trick up its sleeve: Wednesday hands the baton to Easter, and tells her to show them – the New Gods – what she’s capable of. With a simple lift of her arms, she opens the skies and makes the wind blow, as hundreds of petals start to revolve around her. As her power builds, the land around her turns from green to brown, with all the trees and crops withering instantly, receding into the sprouts they once were.

american gods s01e08 ostara American Gods

Kristin Chenoweth as Easter in a still from American Gods
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/Starz

And if it wasn’t clear enough, Wednesday confirms Easter’s doing: “Tell the believers and the non-believers: tell them we’ve taken the spring. They can have it back when they pray for it.” It’s addressed to Media and Technical Boy, who control all the channels of distribution in today’s time. Shadow’s belief system has been overturned – he believes everything, he says – but the moment is interrupted by Laura, who’s interested in a tête-à-tête with her husband.

The oddness of that moment, as evinced by the two actors and the musical cues, underscored the failings of the season finale. As an hour of visual splendour, it was top-notch as always, thanks to Fuller’s sense of crafting exquisite TV. But as season arcs go, the episode didn’t deliver enough on that front. At the same time, they are only a handful of shows that spend half their first season – a shortened run of eight episodes on that – fleshing out minor characters.

Those moments and asides have given us the season’s best moments – an empowering gay scene involving an Omani native, and commentary on vigilante gun violence and Mexican immigrants among others – which have hopefully shone through despite American Gods’ emphasis on experience over narrative. Now, we pray and wait for season two.

[“Source-ndtv”]

LG G6 Confirmed to Come With Improved Quad DAC to Better Sound Quality

LG G6 Confirmed to Come With Improved Quad DAC to Better Sound Quality

Photo Credit: The Verge
HIGHLIGHTS
LG G6 to feature 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC
LG V20 was the first phone featuring QDAC feature
LG G6 to be unveiled at the company’s event later this month
LG has teased yet another feature of the G6 flagship smartphone ahead of its launch later this month. The South Korean company has confirmed that the LG G6 smartphone will sport a 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (digital to analogue converter) for enhanced audio playback. To recall, LG V20 was the company’s first smartphone to come with Quad DAC feature, and the G6 will sport an improved version.

The LG G6 with Quad DAC means it will come with support for FLAC, DID, DIFF, and ALAC file formats, and will deliver clear sound by reducing distortion and ambient noise by up to 50 percent. Much like the V20, the LG G6 will also come with ESS Technology, which has been developer by a company that specialises in audio products. To recall, a single 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC was also included on the LG V10.

LG claims that the improved Quad DAC on the G6 increases circuit integration and lower the negative distortion to 0.0002 percent as well as minimises the loss of acoustic information. LG further adds that the new Quad DAC in the LG G6 will enable users to effectively control the left and right earphones separately. It will also let users adjust the balance of sound.
The Sourth Korean consumer electronics giant is definitely working to generate interest in the upcoming G6 flagship smartphone, with the company already revealing that the smartphone would launch at a pre-MWC event later this month in Barcelona.

We already know that LG G6 flagship will be getting a headstart compared to the Galaxy S8 availability in the market thanks to the Snapdragon 821 SoC. Based on a flurry of leaks, the LG G6 is widely expected to sport metal design which will be a departure from the company’s current plastic body in the LG G5. LG is also rumoured to run additional safety tests on the G6 ahead of its actual launch. Some of the highlights of the handset are said to be the first non-Pixel smartphone to come preloaded with Google Assistant out-of-the-box; dual-rear camera setup, and waterproofing capability with IP68 certification.

LG’s G6 flagship smartphone will be unveiled at the company’s February 26 event which will begin at 4.30pm IST (12.00pm CET).

Tags: MWC, MWC 2017, LG, LG Mobiles, LG G6, LG G6 Specifications, QDAC

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

It’s Come to This? Pro-Trump Entrepreneur Blocked from Incubator’s Social Network

Gab.ai founder Andrew Torba got booted from Y Combinator. Was it because his political views ran counter to those held by Y Combinator's leadership?

Andrew Torba, founder of Gab.ai, a social network preferred by conservatives, has been blocked from Y Combinator’s (YC) private social network, Bookface. Officials at Y Combinator, a funding source for early startups, says  it was due to a Facebook post that, allegedly, violated the investment firm’s harassment policy.

What was the Real Reason Andrew Torba Got Booted from Y Combinator?

Others, however, say Torba was banned strictly because his political views ran counter to those held by Y Combinator leadership, particularly its president, Sam Altman, a supporter of Trump rival Hillary Clinton.

Torba, who labels himself a conservative Christian, Republican and staunch Trump advocate, had received funding from YC for a previous startup and, thus, was listed as an alumnus. The position gave him access to the orgnization’s private network.

Looking at the Facebook post thread, which erupted over Torba’s comment — “Build the wall”  — a reference to Trump’s promise to construct a wall along the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico, resulted in plenty of sniping on both sides. In defending his comment, Torba used language that some may find offensive.

Techcrunch, reporting on the story, quoted Torba as saying the dust-up was not a one-time occurrence. Instead, he said it was the culmination of a “longer process of disenchantment with Silicon Valley liberalism in general and YC in particular.”

YC Partner Kat Manalac has insisted said that YC did not remove Torba because of his political beliefs but due to his behavior.

“[W]e believe that everyone is entitled to their political beliefs and they are welcome to support the political candidates of their choosing,” Manalac told TechCrunch.

It’s no secret that Silicon Valley tech billionaires widely supported Clinton and the Democratic party during the election. The Washington Post reports that Elon Musk donated to the Clinton campaign while Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates contributed to Democrats in other races.

“The next generation of industrial titans do not appear to have much confidence that Republicans are the political party that’s good for business,” the Post report said, and “Donald Trump is accelerating this shift.”

Whether or not that is the case, the overarching implication is that the presidential election may be so divisive it is beginning to impact traditional business relationships.

Donald Trump Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Apple Unveils 100 New ‘Gender Diverse’ Emojis to Come With iOS 10

Apple Unveils 100 New 'Gender Diverse' Emojis to Come With iOS 10

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The new emojis include a rainbow flag and a water gun
  • These new emojis will be introduced with iOS 10
  • The new set includes more options to represent women

The latest version of Apple’s mobile and tablet operating system – iOS 10 – is arriving this fall alongside the new iPhone 7, and it’s bringing along many new features and improvements. Apart from the iMessage overhaul and third-party Siri integration, the company has now announced that more than 100 new emojis are also coming with the software update. These are in-line with the new emojis introduced as the Unicode 9.0 standard in June this year.

The new redesigned Apple emojis for iOS 10 include more representation of professional women, a rainbow flag, and a water gun. Apple has highlighted 12 specific emojis in its announcement, giving a generic outline of the emojis that can be expected in iOS 10. These 12 emojis include women in different professions like a detective and even an engineer. Women representing different sports like Basketball, Swimming, Running, Skateboarding, Weightlifting, and Cycling have also been highlighting.

“This exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options,” Apple says in a statement.

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Significant family emoji additions that include a mother with her son, and a father with his son and daughter, have also been highlighted. Apple has also emphasised on the new rainbow flag and water gun emojis. Unicode had deliberated to put a rifle in its set of new emoji standard, but then decided against it. Pressure from companies like Apple, and Microsoft, and their decision to not support the emoji made Unicorn not include the rifle emoji altogether. Apple’s stress on the water gun is only to further its stance against the rifle emoji.

These new emojis are already available in the latest developer preview of iOS 10. The skin tones of these new emojis can also be changed. Unicode 9.0 introduced 72 new emojis that include a shrug, facepalm, fingers crossed, drooling, selfie, and even an emoji depicting rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL). The full list of new emojis introduced in Unicode 9 can be viewed here.

Share a screenshot and win Samsung smartphones worth Rs. 90,000 by participating in the #BrowseFaster contest.

Tags: Apple, Apple Emojis, Apps, Emojis, Unicode 9, iOS 10

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]