American Gods Review: A Prayer For Mad Sweeney (Season 1 Episode 7)

American Gods Season 1 Episode 7, “A Prayer For Mad Sweeney,” took another detour from the main story and, to be quite honest, I wasn’t here for it at all. This is the penultimate episode, and there wasn’t a single scene with Shadow in it. Instead, the show focused on the two characters that I don’t care about at all. I wasn’t impressed with this episode in the least bit. I would’ve preferred an episode focused mainly on The New Gods.

Essie McGowan, Not Merida

The story being told of Essie McGowan is almost an exact replica of Laura’s life and everything that’s happened since the show started to air. There are a few differences, but not much new was shown with this.

I’m not sure what the show wanted me to gain from seeing Essie’s life, but I wasn’t interested all that much. All of the reasons that I don’t like Laura as a character are the same reasons why I didn’t get invested in her story. 

She was done wrong initially, but I lost any and all likability for her once she started to actively steal things. She earned almost all the negative things that happened to her from the time she started going down the wrong path.

The only story-relevant thing I learned from all of that was that Essie, and a few other believers, are the reason that Mad Sweeney is in The Americas in the first place.

It wasn’t ever explicitly said in the show, but I’m sure that Essie was supposed to be some ancestor to Laura. Either that or Sweeney is drawn to people with similar genetic makeup.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

In the present time, Sweeney lets slip where the djinn will be, and Laura sends Salim on his way. It was a nice moment for the two and of them, and I’m always happy whenever she does things specifically to slight the annoying leprechaun.

I fully expected Salim to stick with them through the last episodes, but I’m glad that he can get what he wants. Out of all the characters on the show, he’s probably the one that deserves a happy ending the most. Shadow still hasn’t even accepted the fact that gods are real and he’s been in contact with one from the first episode.

They end up hijacking an ice cream truck and going on their way. It made perfect sense to me. She could’ve only survived in the taxi for so long before things started going even more downhill for her physically than already were.

She needed a remedy, and they were lucky enough to have come across an ice cream truck at the perfect time.

Conspiracy Confirmed

I knew Mr. Wednesday was beyond shady and, by the end of the episode, one of my major theories was confirmed. Odin wanted Laura dead. Whether it was for malicious reasons or not isn’t relevant. He wanted Laura dead so he could manipulate Shadow into joining him.

Sweeney threw some coins, as either payment or sacrifice, to the rabbit by the road. Oh so conveniently, said rabbit decides to run into the road and cause the truck to flip. 

Paralleled to that is the initial crash with Robbie. Sweeney shows up on the scene and confirms to Odin’s crows that ‘it’s done.’ If he were say something along the lines of ‘it’s true,’ I might’ve had a different conclusion. However, the words he said sealed the deal for me.

This is all one big conspiracy and Shadow isn’t even close to realizing the truth. If anything, he’s the one that needs the bodyguard, not Odin. Shadow’s been almost lynched, arrested, freaked out of his mind nearly every episode, beat up by a super-sized leprechaun, and bet his own life away to a god of darkness. Odin’s just been in the background not answering questions and causing far more trouble than he’s worth. 

Other Thoughts

  • Emily Browning’s Irish accent sounded extremely forced to me.
  • I wonder how Anubis balances taking souls to their afterlife and dealing with dead bodies all the time.
  • I just recognized the guy that plays Ibis played ‘Tokamak’ on The Flash in Season 2. 
  • Are the ‘Coming To America’ cold opens going to tie into the main story or are they just story devices to convey the ‘message of the episode’?

Overall Grade: (Aside from the small revelations I got during the final parts of the episode, this was my least favorite episode. With Laura’s episode, we got to know her character and how she came back to life. This episode spent more time on a long-dead Irish woman than the main characters of the current story.)

What did you think about this episode of American Gods? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

American Gods airs on Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.


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