'American Gods' Season 3 Adds Dominique Jackson and Eric Johnson

Actors join Starz’s Neil Gaiman series in recurring roles

“American Gods” is full of characters who only show up for a brief time to do something delightfully weird and godlike. Here’s every single one, ranked by how intriguing, mysterious, flawed and strange they are. Spoilers beyond this point!

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  • 22. Robbie (Dane Cook)
    Audrey’s husband and Shadow’s best friend got mixed up with Laura and, seemingly, fell in love with her. Unfortunately, he failed to realize that Laura’s been working through some stuff — like latent depression. Overall, though, he’s just a typical human dude, and one who can’t seem to avoid ruining his relationships.

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  • 21. Vulcan (Corbin Bernsen)
    The racist embodiment of American gun obsession might be the most clearly evil of all the gods so far. Vulcan loves sacrifice, from animals to people, and is pretty simple in terms of motivations: death good. Despite being a really keen on murder and making veiled racist threats at shadow, he can at least make a pretty cool sword.

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  • 20. Low Key Lyesmith (Jonathan Tucker)
    Shadow’s bud from his days in prison has some good advice — like how you shouldn’t yell at airline officials. There’s no metaphor there, even though it seems like he might be building toward one. What we’ve seen of Low Key is pretty thin and doesn’t suggest a whole lot of depth.

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  • 19. Jesus Prime (Jeremy Davies)
    There are plenty of Jesuses running around with the gods of “American Gods,” and they all seem like pretty good dudes. There’s probably no god better known than Jesus, and the main Jesus doesn’t have a whole lot to do except be pretty chill in Season 1. Maybe he’ll be back in Season 2, but it seems doubtful given that Jesus is the last god who’d join a war.

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  • 18. Technical Boy (Bruce Langley)
    The impetuous new god that represents the internet seems a lot like its worst parts. He employs a faceless mob, and he seems to take offense to tiny slights and overreact. Oh, and after having his minions hang Shadow from a tree, he seems pretty racist in addition to violent. So yeah, a lot like a big chunk of the internet, but not a lot of depth there.

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  • 17. Audrey (Betty Gilpin)
    Laura and Shadow’s best friend gets introduced under the worst circumstances. But she quickly turns into one of the funniest characters in “American Gods,” especially after Laura’s return. Audrey surprises everyone — including maybe herself — when her justified bitterness combines with a reluctant willingness to help her former friend in her weird predicament.

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  • 16. Easter (Kristin Chenowith)
    The goddess of spring brings a pragmatism to her modern role that a lot of other gods can’t seem to manage. But her motivations are pretty straightforward: She’s tired of playing second-fiddle to the newer gods that have appeared in the meantime. What seems obvious is that she has an insane amount of power, which begs the question of how she and the Old Gods will use it in Season 2.

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  • 15. Salim (Omid Abtahi)
    Salim’s moment with the Jinn is almost a short story in the world of “American Gods,” one that goes through an arc viewers probably don’t expect. His struggles with finding his way in America, his time with a low-level deity, his literally magical sex scene and his new lease on life at its conclusion stand out in a show that’s usually about a fair amount of bad news for its characters.

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  • 14. Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber)
    Fighting, drinking and flipping gold coins. Sweeney slowly becomes more than just angry — he sees something in helping mortals like Laura, even if they don’t appreciate it. But Mad Sweeney’s best contribution so far are extended lewd metaphors related to Laura’s slowly rotting undead corpse.

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  • 13. Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes)
    The best thing about Mr. Ibis so far is his genuine zeal for helping preserve Laura’s undead body, “Death Becomes Her”-style. Hopefully he’ll have more zombies to treat in the future.

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  • 12. Zorya Polunochnaya (Erika Kaar)
    One of the three sisters living with Czernobog, Zorya Polunochnaya hasn’t been around much in the series, but her dream moment with Shadow and the whole “grab the moon out of the sky” thing is definitely intriguing.

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  • 11. Mr. Jacquel (Chris Obi)
    The god of the afterlife has had a couple of solid moments weighing the hearts of those moving on to the next life. His screen time has been a bit low so far, though, so while his careful ferrying of souls to the next life is compelling, he could definitely stand to have more to do.

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  • 10. Bilquis (Yetide Badaki)
    A god that straight up absorbs her worshipers in the middle of sex is easily the creepiest thing “American Gods” has yet thrown us, and that includes a zombie wife who loses an arm and gets it stapled back on. She still hasn’t quite had her moment, but in Season 2, it seems Bilquis might be the secret weapon the New Gods turn against Shadow and Mr. Wednesday as they try to build their army.

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  • 9. Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones)
    We’ve only seen a bit of Mr. Nancy in Season 1. But Orlando Jones absolutely crushed his harrowing speech inspiring a slave uprising. His impeccable style is pretty awesome, but we’re waiting for Mr. Nancy to really bear his spider fangs.

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  • 8. Mr. World (Crispin Glover)
    Though details about Mr. World are thing (as they are with basically every god), we know he’s a fan of things like globalization, synergy, and lack of privacy. Like any good capitalist, it seems he’s trying to set up a monopoly. He’s fun enough in a meeting that’s both parley and threat to Mr. Wednesday, but we’ll have to wait to see how he reacts when the chips inevitably don’t fall his way.

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  • 7. Czernobog (Peter Storemare)
    The dark Slavic god with a big hammer and a taste for artfully (and mercifully) dealing death, Czernobog is both a spooky badass and a god whose own nature is in doubt. He doesn’t even know if he’s a bad guy or not — after all, he might kill cows and people, but he tries to do it in one shot. That internal conflict might not go any further, but he’s cool to have around in any case.

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  • 6. Media (Gillian Anderson)
    Showing up in the guise of Lucille Ball on a set of department store TVs was a very cool touch for the godly personification of television. She’s the most stylish of gods, and one of the most dangerous, good at both negotiating and dishing out punishment. And her Bowie look is high in the running for coolest touch even at the end of the season.

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  • 5. The Jinn (Mousa Kraish)
    Though the wish-granting might be a little roundabout in this case, the Jinn still manages to create a compelling look at the idea of adaptation and assimilation to the changing time and place of “American Gods.” The intensity of the connection between the Jinn and Salim makes their moment together one of the most compelling side stories the series has shown.

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  • 4. Zorya Vechernyaya (Cloris Leachman)
    The Evening Star sister, Vechernyaya doesn’t even like Mr. Wednesday. It’s clear he isn’t interested in dealing with his BS, unlike just about everyone else. That alone sets her apart from most of the other characters, to say nothing of her unwillingness to abandon the rules of being a good host even for a guy she doesn’t want around.

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  • 3. Laura Moon (Emily Browning)
    With her own dedicated episode, Laura became one of the most complicated characters on “American Gods.” It was easy to blame her for betraying Shadow, but there’s a whole lot more going on with her than was first apparent. Now back from the dead, she’s got even more weird issues to contend with.

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  • 2. Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle)
    Shadow seems to be everyman walking through the world of gods with basically no idea what’s going on. Then again, there has to be a reason every god seems to be very interested in him. He’s apparently a formidable checkers opponent under the right circumstances, and he keeps managing to find solutions to ever-more-weirdo problems — suggesting there’s more to Shadow than even he knows.

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  • 1. Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane)
    Ian McShane always brings a certain well-spoken straightforwardness to his characters. Mr. Wednesday, better known as Odin, has an air of McShane’s character Al Swearengen from “Deadwood,” but with a little more class and a lot more mystery. He’s pretty great at holding his cards close to the vest, better at convincing gods to join his cause, and best at doing his fake dementia con.

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  • Everyone is a flawed human or a mysterious god, or both

    “American Gods” is full of characters who only show up for a brief time to do something delightfully weird and godlike. Here’s every single one, ranked by how intriguing, mysterious, flawed and strange they are. Spoilers beyond this point!

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