American Gods introduced a couple of the gods that will go to war with one another in its pilot on Sunday, but a new clip released by Starz ahead of the second episode includes one of the most memorable introductions.
Mr. Nancy, played by Orlando Jones, is an Anansi trickster god. He’s mischievous and bases his tales on West African animism, using animals characters like Tiger and Monkey as a way of getting his story across. In the opening scene of the second episode, Mr Nancy takes on the body of a spider, crawling around a ship carrying a number of black slaves to America. It can be seen below.
As the men beg for Anansi to free and protect them from the men who have taken them prisoner, Anansi tells them the story of what’s to come if they try to escape. In just under two minutes, Jones delivers one of the most impressive performances of the four episodes Starz gave to outlets for review, explicitly breaking down the horrors they and their children and their children’s children will face once they reach American shores.
It’s a tough scene to watch — made all the more powerful by Jones’ uncensored performance. It’s a scene that will stick with you far after the episode ends and for good reason.
American Gods airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.