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"A Prayer for Mad Sweeney" explores some of American Gods' core themes - and the relationship between core characters - in the final hour before the season finale.
If we've learned anything this episode, it's that gods are as fickle and temperamental just as often as they are benevolent or sit in any sort of judgement of us mortals.
How they managed that in one hour of television featuring a zombie and a leprechaun, both of them total a-------, must be something like magic.
For an episode that is supposed to have so much heart and warmth, it leaves the viewer feeling how Laura must be now: cold.
Two of the most messed-up characters on American Gods-spend some quality time together in the show's seventh episode, and we see how the big ol' wee person has done both admirable and terrible things over the last 300 years.
American Gods gave us its most tender episode of the show to date.
I'm still not crazy about it, it's a better episode than most.
Other things worth paying attention to in Prayer for Mad Sweeney? That big albino buffalo. His name is Tatanka Ska, and he's sacred to the Lakota tribe.
Personally, I am enjoying American Gods' meanderings more than I am the central plot. (Though I like that, too.)
What "A Prayer for Mad Sweeney" is truly successful at is in demonstrating the malleable nature of identity and how circumstances and need can forever alter who a person is, which can be something of a surprise even to themselves.
"Prayer for Mad Sweeney" works well as a standalone episode, though its placement as the penultimate episode of American Gods: Season 1 is a bit curious.