You never know what to expect with each new American Gods episode as they continue to alter their structure, and with the first season almost over, it certainly hasn’t progressed as far as one might have thought. With its continual detours, and by detours we mean episodes that go off on a complete tangent from the central plot such as Episode 4 ‘Git Gone’, the show has most definitely been slow-paced, but not to the point of boredom. While the series was renewed for a second season after the first episode aired, it still feels as though the show could have gone further in Shadow’s journey, but perhaps the series finale will come to good conclusion with a promise to deliver an even better second season.
‘A Prayer For Mad Sweeney’ is another one of American Gods strange episodes with it not featuring either Shadow or Wednesday. If compared to another episode, it is similar to ‘Git Gone’ but it is far better since it’s more interesting and put together well, despite it being mostly a filler episode in a very short season.
Welcome To My Humble
We return to visit Mr Ibis and Mr Jacquel at their funeral parlour where Jacquel works on a recently deceased, and very naked, male while Ibis has another story to tell. He soon whisks us away with his delightful voice into the 18th century for another ‘Coming To America’ instalment where we are greeted by the lush landscapes of Ireland. A grandmother tells a young girl by the name of Essie about the fair folk and leprechaun’s which then causes an older Essie (who is also played by Emily Browning) to tell them to young children and leave gifts for them in order to be on their good side. When Essie gives a gift one night, it attracts our very own Sweeney and later on Essie sleeps with a young man of her household who gives her a necklace and promises to marry her when she returns.Unfortunately for Essie, the lady of the house believes her to have stolen the necklace and when she confronts her son, he denies giving her the gift. She’s then sentenced to hang, but instead she is sentenced to 7 years transportation. During her travel to the Americas, her womanly charms attract the eyes of the captain and the two soon return to London and marry. When her husband leaves for transportation again and promises to return, Essie becomes the thief she’s been accused of and steals anything worthwhile and she herself also leaves.
The Roadtrip Continues
This episode cuts back and forth between Essie’s past and Laura’s present who is still travelling with Salim and Sweeney. Forced to stop again for Salim’s prayer rituals, the episode lightly touches on belief’s again, but it ends up mostly banter between the very tall Sweeney and the very short Laura. Fed up with Salim, Sweeney wants to move on which causes Laura to tell Salim where he can find his Jinn and drives off towards Kentucky.Abandoned with no car, the pair steal an ice-cream truck. As they continue on their journey, Sweeney speaks of being a king once and a war he where he became a deserter after seeing his death. It seems as though his death could be imminent as Laura swerves to avoid a bunny and flips the truck several times causing Laura to go flying with her coin falling out of her chest.
Emily Browning’s Characters Can’t Catch A Break
Essie has become quite the accomplished shoplifter, but her luck runs out when she is caught stealing. Accused of both stealing and returning from transportation, she is imprisoned and her next-cell-neighbour turns out to be Sweeney. The two talk for a while, but when she awakes he is no longer there and is soon presented with a new opportunity in the form of a man. Her womanly charms once again attract a man and upon the revelation she is pregnant by this stranger, she is committed to permanent transportation to Virginia.She becomes a wet-nurse for a man who’s wife passed after childbirth, but over the years, her master desires more except Essie refuses due to her status and her romantic feelings towards him. Upon hearing this, he proposes and the two share a happy life together for the next ten years. We then see a montage of her life where she continues to tell her tales of the fair folk to young children, until one of them becomes too scared and she stops. One afternoon, Sweeney turns up to introduce himself properly and tell her she is the reason he ended up coming to America.
Laura’s Dead, Again.
Sweeney wakes up after the crash and spots a very dead Laura along with his now free coin. He can barely contain his excitement but as he leaves, he has a flashback to Laura’s original death as he was there and reveals it was all planned by the big man himself—Wednesday. Feeling guilty, and very angry because of it, he gives her the coin back and Laura is soon back up on her feet. After using her super-returned-from-the-dead strength, she flips the van and the two continue on their journey.
The purpose of this episode? Who knows. While it was very interesting to see how Sweeney made it to America, did it really have enough substance or necessity to take up an entire episode? No, and although its original source material was long and confusing, the added detours make it even more of a struggle to grasp the world of American Gods and the strange lore it withholds. Perhaps if this episode featured a little of Wednesday and Shadow or even some of the New Gods, it would provide much-needed continuity and I hope this is something they can focus on in the second season, especially if there will be more episodes. Surprisingly, this episode receives a much higher rating than ‘Git Gone’ since the plot and essentially everything else about it was much better, despite it lacking some crucial elements.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below!