14th Jun2017

‘American Gods 1×07: A Prayer for Mad Sweeney’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Orlando Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Peter Stormare, Kristin Chenoweth, Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman | Created by Neil Gaiman | Developed for TV by Bryan Fuller


While the Gods are busy fighting among themselves, the teaming up of Laura Moon (Emily Browning) and Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) has been an interesting side story in American Gods. Today we get to learn more about the angry Irishman and his surprising connection to Laura.

While on the trail of Shadow (Ricky Whittle) and possible resurrection, Laura travels with Mad Sweeney. Looking back into his past we get to see just how he made his way to America, and his connection to Laura’s family which may explain his connection with her.

In the flashback, we are introduced to Essie MacGowan, also played by Emily Browning. A believer in the Leprechaun she often leaves out offerings of food to the gold loving creature, and tells children stories of him and the other fairy folk. A sad story of being branded a thief and being transported to America as a punishment, her voyage is more complicated as her luck at first takes her to London, where she becomes a thief. This is interesting because it connects with Laura’s story and thievery. When Essie does make it to America after being caught again, she still manages to land on her feet. Obviously her offerings the Leprechaun brings her luck.

Interestingly, Mad Sweeny (the Leprechaun) is drawn to her and even visits her before her death, just as he is drawn to Laura (and his coin of course). It can be assumed with Emily Browning playing both Essie and Laura, that Essie may be Laura’s ancestor. This may be just wishful thinking though, but it does give a reason for Mad Sweeney having a soft spot for his undead companion.

While it could be said that the connection is only due to the coin, the accident they are in cancels out that reasoning as the coin is dislodged and he sticks it back into her chest to bring her back to her undead state. We also learn a twist to do with the pair which is sure to come back and haunt Mad Sweeney at some stage.

While A Prayer for Mad Sweeney may not be a God filled episode of American Gods, I actually found this to be one of the better episodes. This may be down to my love of history and of course my enjoyment of Mad Sweeney’s adventures, but it is still a strong episode. Pablo Shreiber is easily one of the highlights of the show, stealing the scenes he is in. It is nice to see that as much of an ass Mad Sweeney is, Shreiber is still able to bring a softer side out of the character and make him such an interesting part of the show.

With this being the penultimate episode of the first season of American Gods, next week is sure to be exciting. Will Mad Sweeney’s revelation come back to haunt him? And if it was Mr Wednesday (Ian McShane) who requested it to be done, what was his motives? This teases that Shadow is something special, and maybe next week we’ll finally get to see it.

It’ll be a shame when this season of American Gods comes to an end, Mondays will feel a little less special. One thing we can be happy about though is that the second season will be coming and that will be well worth the wait, especially if the show manages to keep to the quality of the first season.

***** 5/5

American Gods is available in the UK on Amazon Prime.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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