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‘American Gods’ Recap “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”

Published on June 12th, 2017 | Updated on June 12th, 2017 | By FanFest

This week’s episode stays close to the book on Mad Sweeney’s coming to America story, but departs from the book in his present day tale. As we shift from modern day to early America, we give our six foot, five-inch tall leprechaun his due. This and “Git Gone” are my favorite episodes so far.

Ibis has been brewing Irish Red Ale, just like the monks did, back in the 1200’s. The brew saved lives when the well-water went bad and there was nothing to drink. This image reflects the Irish red head, whose story quenches a god’s thirst for worship. And Ibis is itching to tell it.

Essie McGowan is an Irish girl well versed in the ways of the Shi, the Celtic mythical folk. Essie is played by the same actress as Laura Moon, another thief. This must be why Sweeney is so taken with her. As an adult, class separation proves too strong for Essie’s first love to stand up to his parents. She is tried as a thief for possession of her employer’s heirloom jewelry, given to her by their lovesick son. Essie never forgot to put out food for the leprechauns and other Shi of the mounds. She avoids prison by accepting transport to America, possibly luck given for her devotion. Before arriving she married her ship’s captain and sails back to England, where she picks up thievery as a way of life. After years of successful plunder, she is caught after forgetting to give sacrifice to the Shi.

While in prison awaiting the gallows, Essie meets Mad Sweeney, in the next cell. He is there for an accidental murder in a fight. (Had he lost is coin back then too?) During their conversation, she remembers her faith and takes her daily ration of bread to the window. He loves her stories of America and her wish for a decent life. She insists that America should one day have a king, because “Everyone needs a king.” Sweeney becomes her once and future king, who she pulls across the waves to America. The prison warden tells her of a way to avoid the gallows in the twelve weeks before her trial – becoming pregnant. He willingly helps her get pregnant, earning her transport to America again.

Back in the present day, Laura, Sweeney and Salim continue their travels to find a Jesus for Laura’s resurrection. They stop for Salim to pray. She asks him if he loves God or is he’s ‘in love with God’. She admires his belief and gratitude. Sweeney is plagued by Wednesday’s raven who spies and insists Sweeney get back on track.

In a moment of more bad luck, Sweeney gives up the location of all the gods – House on the Rock. Salim’s jinn will be there, so Laura informs Salim and lets him go.

Laura and Sweeney, without a vehicle, steal an ice cream truck. Sweeney tells Laura his story of being transformed from a king to a fairy. He refused to fight in a war as a king in Ireland and he transformed into a bird to escape. Then the Christian church turned his people into saints and fairy and trolls. He owes a battle to the Universe for cheating death once, so he is fighting in Wednesday’s battle. He says he has done worse for Wednesday already. Just then an animal runs out in front of the ice cream truck and it rolls. This is Wednesday’s work again, no doubt.

Back in early America, Essie never again forgets to give the leprechaun his tribute. She remarries and thrives the rest of her days and passes on the Irish traditions to her children and grandchildren.

At the present-day accident site, Sweeney finds his coin. It was ejected from Laura’s chest cavity in the accident. She is once again dead-dead, not animated-dead. We are then shown the images of how Sweeney caused the accident that killed Laura the first time, at Wednesday’s request. Sweeney feels too guilty to live with this again, cursing in Gaelic. He puts Laura’s organs back into her chest and then puts the coin back in. When she is reanimated, she punches him again. Will she ever know that he helped her, or does she think he was trying to take the coin from her?

Back in early America again, Mad Sweeny, calling himself a “Man of the Mounds” – the fairy hills, visits an aged Essie. She says she has no quarrel with him, “You’ve done me many a good turn.” And he tells her “We are like the winds, we blows (sic) both ways.” He takes her hand into death.

Next week we’ll catch up with Easter and all her many Jesuses! American Gods can be seen on Starz, Sunday’s at 9pm.

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Photo Source: Starz American Gods

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