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S01.E07: A Prayer for Mad Sweeney


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Following her brief reunion with Shadow, Laura turns to an unlikely travel companion to find her way back to life; Mad Sweeney's long, winding, and often-tragic past is explored.

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Any time Fionnula Flanagan shows up for anything, you know it's going to be a good thing.

I loved all the doo-w** songs they used for Essie, then transitioning to the Irish music at the end.

I don't know if this is going to be a popular opinion or not, but I had tears in my eyes by Essie and Mad Sweeney's last scene together.

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That was just a supremely beautiful episode.  I was entranced - like my husband tried to have a conversation with me and I didn't even register that he was in the room.

The music was on point, the shots were beautiful (as usual), the costumes were fantastic, and my lord I love Mad Sweeney.  Also, Emily was fantastic this episode.

I loved Ibis' narration on this story so much - I think he is up there with someone I would want to just narrate everything (along with Morgan Freeman, David Attenborough, and a few others).  This particular story was just so well done.  

Loved Salim's retort to Mad - "You are a very unpleasant creature." I would love a spin-off of those 3 on a true cross-country road trip.

I think this might actually be my favorite episode so far - which is just so surprising.  

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4 hours ago, gik910 said:

I think this might actually be my favorite episode so far - which is just so surprising.  

Without getting too far into book discussions, in the book Essie is from Cornwall, not Ireland, and the person who comes for her in the end isn't Mad Sweeney.  

I was prepared to be annoyed at the change, but having seen it now...I'm so glad they did that.

"You've done me many a good turn."

"Good and ill.  We're like the wind, we blows both ways."

<sniff>

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"General Mills did the rest"  Oh, Mad Sweeney

Salim go bye-bye, though :(

And the Emmy for best writing in a Television Series should go to this episode.  Beautiful beyond words.

Next episode, the season finale!  And Chenoweth finally shows up!

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(edited)

First let me state I absolutely loved this episode. However, for an episode titled A Prayer for Mad Sweeny, I actually expected more Mad Sweeny. That being said I loved the journey of Essie and Mad Sweeny (in the background) and, how the Old Gods and Magic folk came to the New World. 

I can't believe how much I've grown to like Laura Moon over the last few episodes.  Even though this was a complete break from the main story I thought it was fantastic.  As much as I thought the Road Trip was the best part of last week, a whole episode dedicated to Sweeny/Laura was so much better.

4 hours ago, AimingforYoko said:

So this confirmed what we pretty much knew, Wednesday had Laura killed.

Is that what that scene in the dark was with Sweeny talking to the Raven? I couldn't figure out how the time jumped from day to night and back to day again.

Edited by Morrigan2575
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2 hours ago, yagathai said:

The white rabbit was a nice touch.

Ah, but what did it MEAN?  I think it means Easter (a.k.a. the Goddess Ester) is working for Wednesday, trying to finish what Sweeney started.  (And that's not a spoiler -- I learned about the Easter/Ester connection from the movie "Chocolat.")

On the other hand, maybe the white rabbit was gunning for Mad Sweeney as Wednesday's man because Easter has been seduced by the new gods, just like Vulcan.

So twisty.

I missed Shadow & Wednesday but I loved getting a deeper look at Mad Sweeney.

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That was beautiful.

I for sure didn't understand the meaning behind everything, but it was beautiful.

I still don't like Laura, despite whatever connection and parallels the show was making between her and Essie MacGowan.

There is something heartbreaking when something appears to die out because the new generation doesn't appreciate it.  After all she'd been through, one little girl's tears was the end of the magic.  I don't know if that was a comment on how coddled kids are today and helicopter parents who try to protect their kids from any, tiny level of discomfort.  The world can be an ugly place.  No harm in knowing that.  

Sweeny taking Essie's hand to lead her on was just beautiful.  I enjoyed seeing that side of him.  And of course him giving Laura back the coin.  I would have left her ungrateful ass.  Why does she deserve to be resurrected?

And was she alive initially after the accident!?  And Sweeny didn't help her then, so this was his redemption?

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(edited)
On 6/11/2017 at 9:00 PM, KBrownie said:

Sweeny didn't help her then, so this was his redemption?

Not only did he NOT help her -- he's the one who killed her (on Wednesday's orders).  That's what he was telling the raven -- that it should go tell Wednesday the deed was done.  So yeah, Sweeney seems to regret his role in that, which I guess is a kind of redemption.

Am I right that Sweeney picked something up and put it inside Laura's body before he gave her the coin back.  Did one of her organs tumble out?  if so . . . ew.

Edited by WatchrTina
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(edited)
5 minutes ago, AimingforYoko said:

Well, technically she showed up tonight.

So wait.  

Is Easter the god that can resurrect Laura?

We see Sweeny leaving a gift (coins) which landed by the white bunny. Later same white bunny causes and accident?

1 minute ago, WatchrTina said:

Am I right that Sweeny picked something up and put it inside Laura's body before he gave her the coin.  Did one of her organs tumble out?  if so . . . ew.

Yeah, i believe he shoved an organ back in her body.

Edited by Morrigan2575
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(edited)
4 minutes ago, Morrigan2575 said:

We see Sweeny leaving a gift (coins) which landed by the white bunny.

Ahhhh, I had forgotten about the gold.  Is THAT what he was doing?  But if that's what he was doing -- asking Easter for some help finishing his assignment with Laura -- then why did he give her the coin back?  He wasn't really on the flash-back journey with us.  What would convince him to change his mind only a few minutes/hours later?

Edited by WatchrTina
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4 hours ago, AimingforYoko said:

So this confirmed what we pretty much knew, Wednesday had Laura killed.

Is that what happened?  That kind of went over my head.  I got that he was the crow, but what did Sweeny do to kill her?  Or the fact that he didn't do anything?Wednesday wanted her dead so he could have Shadow?  Surely he could have accomplished that goal without killing her . . . 

Is Laura a descendant of Essie?  Was Sweeny responsible for her and he failed in his duties which is why he can't get his coin back unless she gives it to him?

I echo others in that this was my favorite episode, even surpassing my love of all things Gillian Anderson, but so many questions . . . 

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I like how the show takes its time with the Coming to America stories. And in this episode I really enjoyed them showing how stories get handed down from generation to generation.

Laura still doesn't interest me much, but I like her dynamic with Sweeney.

Good to get some background on Sweeney, and I liked his scene with Essie at the end.

The finale looks good!

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7 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

Not only did he not help her.  He's the one who killed her . . . on Wednesday's orders.  That's what he was telling the raven -- that it should go tell Wednesday the deed was done.  So yeah, Sweeney seems to regret his role in that, which I guess is a kind of redemption.

 

4 hours ago, starri said:

"Good and ill.  We're like the wind, we blows both ways."

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Really enjoyed this episode and I appreciate when an ensemble show focuses on one of their characters. 

That was Fionnula Flanagan, huh?  I thought she looked familiar.  She and the primary actress playing Essie were very good.

Always appreciate the focus on Mad Sweeney, who is great.

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(edited)

Three random thoughts:

  1. I presume the title of this episode is a play on words vs. the title of the John Irving novel, "A Prayer for Owen Meany".
  2. Emily's wig in the flash-back scenes was tragic.  They couldn't come up with a wig in a more realistic color of Irish-lass red?  The flying saucer hat and the pink gown were equally sad.  (Pink on a red-head is always a risk.  Were they trying to make her look bad?)
  3. Salim ran off without his prayer rug.
Edited by WatchrTina
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1 hour ago, WatchrTina said:

Am I right that Sweeney picked something up and put it inside Laura's body before he gave her the coin back.  Did one of her organs tumble out?  if so . . . ew.

It looked like a liver to me, though it was on the small side. Maybe shrunken postmortem?

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(edited)
2 hours ago, WatchrTina said:

Am I right that Sweeney picked something up and put it inside Laura's body before he gave her the coin back.  Did one of her organs tumble out?  if so . . . ew.

Yes, it actually looked like he picked up two different organs that fell out of her and put them back inside her along with the coin

1 hour ago, KBrownie said:

what did Sweeny do to kill her?

I believe he was the one who ran her off the road with his car, causing the accident.

I love, love, loved this episode.  The only (slight) complaint I might have was that since it was titled "A Prayer for Mad Sweeney" that the top billing should have gone to Mad Sweeney.  I felt like Essie got more background story and that there are still gaps in Mad Sweeney's history that I don't know about (and want to).  I can only hope they get in to more detail down the line or in the next season.  That being said, I loved that Mad Sweeney got his own episode separate from Wednesday/Shadow.

Was sorry to see Salim go, I enjoyed him traveling with Mad/Laura.  I hope we see him again down the line and he finds his jinn.  

Loved seeing Mad Sweeney in his early days and with the elder Essie.  Clearly he had a softer, more tender side back then and had just become jaded with time.  America did not give him the opportunity he hoped it would.

It appears like Laura is a descendant from Essie.  She never heard the leprechaun tales because later generations were denied hearing Essie's tales.  Otherwise she might have a softer side for Mad Sweeney...though I sometimes think she might have one for him.  She and Shadow have no chemistry whatsoever.  Her life with him has ended.  She needs to move on with the 7ft leprechaun...

Lol at the reference to general Mills.  You know he despises Lucky the leprechaun on that box!

Mad Sweeney felt legit guilt from his part in killing Laura, thus returning the coin to her.  There is still a heart in there, we got to see it tonight.

So I'm guessing the old gods can transform into birds.  Mad said that he was turned into one.  Wednesday has had conversations with them, tonight Sweeney did as well.  This may somehow be their advantage over the new gods?  

OK, can anyone translate for me what Mad Sweeney was shouting in Gaelic (?) as he stood over Laura's lifeless body?  I know "Niam" was said among other things.  Anyone?

Can't believe the finale is next week.  Just glad there is a season 2 that will happen!

Edited by LadyJaney
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(edited)

Silly rabbits and leprechauns.. this week's episode is brought to you by General Mills.

I actually thought Sweeney returned the coin to Laura because she needs to give it back of her own free will. 

And I have to wonder if the episode title is inspired by A Prayer For Owen Meany, a must-read novel about

Spoiler

a young man who prosephises his own death in the Vietnam War. 

Edited by Drogo
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This is a penultimate episode? If there were a few left, I'd be more okay with it. Instead, we learn about an Irish lady who makes bad life decisions, the possible origins of Sweeney, and Laura is not a good driver . . . at least when ice cream trucks are concerned.

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(edited)
Quote

I presume the title of this episode is a play on words vs. the title of the John Irving novel, "A Prayer for Owen Meany".

Emily's wig in the flash-back scenes was tragic.  They couldn't come up with a wig in a more realistic color of Irish-lass red?  The flying saucer hat and the pink gown were equally sad.  (Pink on a red-head is always a risk.  Were they trying to make her look bad?)

Salim ran off without his prayer rug.

yes, yes and yes! Cherry Koolaid hair.

The contemporary music with historic scenes is a hit or miss. It was jarring for me, but I think it was the Laura as the heroine that was the most jarring. I think it's the actress. I want to like her, I do, but I don't. Love poor Mad Sweeney, though. Why do I get the feeling he's not long for this world and that woman will come out just fine? "The world don't operate on right."

I've been loving this series, but it's been so uneven. Too many stories being strung together.

Edited by WaltersHair
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21 hours ago, starri said:

Any time Fionnula Flanagan shows up for anything, you know it's going to be a good thing.

Indeed!

9 hours ago, KBrownie said:

but what did Sweeny do to kill her?

He was driving the car that caused Robbie to run off the road.

7 hours ago, LadyJaney said:

there are still gaps in Mad Sweeney's history that I don't know about (and want to).

I know!  How did he go from being a king to a cartoon character?  The new god of advertising (if there is one) has some 'splainin' to do.  (I have a book of Celtic mythology but the index doesn't have anything for either "mad" or "Sweeney" so I'll have to do further research.)  Until now Sweeney has been fun as a bad tempered, snarky foil to Laura, but seeing his compassionate side with both women was a nice change.  Returning Laura's scattered organs as well as the coin was a nice gesture.  

Pablo Schreiber killed it in this episode.  (No pun intended.)  But I did think Essie's story went on a bit too long with only one more episode left.

Li'l white bunny.  It's about time!

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7 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

This is a penultimate episode? If there were a few left, I'd be more okay with it. Instead, we learn about an Irish lady who makes bad life decisions, the possible origins of Sweeney, and Laura is not a good driver . . . at least when ice cream trucks are concerned.

As much as I enjoyed the episode, I agree this is a strange one to air before the season finale.

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SalimNotSalim told the pair he doesn't pray ask his god for things, rather he thanks his god for what he has.

Essie MacGowan remembered to pray when she was in need, but forgot when it was time to thank them. 

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32 minutes ago, Drogo said:

SalimNotSalim told the pair he doesn't pray ask his god for things, rather he thanks his god for what he has.

Essie MacGowan remembered to pray when she was in need, but forgot when it was time to thank them. 

When she was in London she forgot to pray, but after she arrived in Virginia, I think she was praying in thanks for her good life.

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5 minutes ago, jcin617 said:

When she was in London she forgot to pray, but after she arrived in Virginia, I think she was praying in thanks for her good life.

She saw what happened when she didn't.

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9 hours ago, Drogo said:

I actually thought Sweeney returned the coin to Laura because she needs to give it back of her own free will. 

Ooooooh, that's right.  Good one.  It makes Sweeney's actions less admirable but actually make them more believable.

I also like the speculation that Laura is a descendant of Essie.  Maybe that karmic thread is the reason Sweeney accidentally gave Shadow his lucky coin in the first place.  I hadn't really thought about it before but how could Sweeney have accidentally given up such an important token -- one he has safeguarded for centuries?  There had to have been an other-worldly force at work.  The Greeks would say the Fates wove that thread and made Sweeney lose the coin, knowing it would go back to Laura -- the descendant of the woman who gave it to Sweeney in the first place.  I'm just making this stuff up, but I like it!

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What a lovely episode that provided a lot of depth for a character who's mostly been played for laughs up to this point.  This show really is an exercise in adjusting expectations in that it's more like an anthology of interconnected short stories than any straight line narrative.  They'll get there when they get there and if there isn't much in the way of forward motion in the story in a given week, that's okay too.

I've loved the chemistry between Laura and Mad Sweeney and the actors who play them all the way along, and they ratcheted that up to 11 this week with Emily Browning taking the dual roles and seeing the multiple incarnations of Sweeney before he was just an angry washed up leprechaun.  Several reviews I've read have pointed to this as the show's unexpected heart or emotional core spilling out onto the pavement amid all the flashy effects and high profile performances, and I can absolutely see it.  We get confirmation here that Sweeney is responsible for Laura's death at Wednesday's behest and that there's maybe some real remorse about that driving him as much as his wanting to get his coin back.   Considering that he's been taunting her since they met that she'd eventually rot and he'd get it back one way or another, I'm not convinced that he couldn't have picked it up and kept walking if that was truly his only objective.  Laura is such a flippant character that it's hard to know when you're getting an accurate read on how she feels about any of this, but if anything, Sweeney seems to be more invested in the idea that he's taking her to be resurrected than she is.   Pablo Schreiber is doing some terrific work in this role.

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10 hours ago, Drogo said:

I actually thought Sweeney returned the coin to Laura because she needs to give it back of her own free will. 

He also said he can take it back when she decomposes enough that she loses it. I think he could have walked away with it this time but chose not to.

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I don't tend to notice things like wigs unless they're truly mop on the head egregious.  We've been watching the actress play her primary role with dark hair so it registered with me only as a oh, she's playing Essie as an Irish girl with red hair kind of thing.  Her main role is as an ambulatory corpse now with an open chest cavity.  A less than perfect wig on a character we probably aren't ever going to see again, meh.

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9 hours ago, BetterButter said:

"Créd as co tarlaid an cac-sa dam? Nach lór rofhulangas? 
Is lór chena, níam olc! Níam!"

"Haven't I believed enough in your bullshit? Haven't I suffered enough? Isn't that enough itself? 
I'm not evil! I'm not!"

Ooh, thank you!  I wondered if it was something along those lines, but couldn't for the life of me figure out what those words were.  Pablo Schreiber is nailing this role as once again he just shouted off Gaelic and it just sounded like Mad Sweeney spilling his guts out in frustration, which he was!

I kind of think that Laura figured out that he must have done something to help her, but just doesn't have it in her to display actual gratitude.  She punched him, but I think it was out of reflex.  When she just called him back into the truck and honked the horn at him as he walked by, I think it was a subtle way to play things off like "hey. thanks"

Hoping that more of their chemistry is explored next season, that the writers are noting what is working and what is not and Give Sweeney/Laura more core to the series.  I did see something where one of the writers said that spin-offs may come into play from this series eventually...if Mad Sweeney & Co (Salim?, Laura?) doesn't happen, then they will hopefully give them more on AG

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(edited)
12 hours ago, LadyJaney said:

Loved seeing Mad Sweeney in his early days and with the elder Essie.  Clearly he had a softer, more tender side back then and had just become jaded with time.  America did not give him the opportunity he hoped it would.

We've had a couple centuries of belligerent drunks on St. Patrick's day to color our view of "Irishmen", which may be having an effect on Mad Sweeney. (Though to be fair, back in the Great Britian of yore he didn't seem to be entirely free of the stereotype.)

Edited by Bruinsfan
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Its a shame there is only one more episode this this season this was so good! I could watch these stories every week. Again the story didnt advance really but it doesnt matter i thought it gave us lots of background on Sweeney (nice twist that it was mostly about her for an episode named after him).

So many great things about it like the music, the "behind the scenes" look at the narrators process, lauras attitude the whole time but especially when she woke up ("dont look" and then the rest that made me laugh of course thats how she plays it honking the horn was the icing on the cake!), Sweeneys anger the whole time even when he was gonna "do the right thing" hes still pissed, general mills (poor guy)! of course the scene of him and the older essie, any many many more memorable parts for an episode that "not much happened".

I cant believe next week its done already i feel like they just got going now we have to wait a year! At least i know that it can go on for a while and be incredible even if they stretch it out with background stories for all of the characters (even backgrounds for ancestors of characters like i assume essie is for laura) and then it can be important later too so its not just an aside! I feel that the more layers to the characters the better (in this show, not every one call pull it off).

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I'm in the minority, because I find Laura-centric episodes tedious. I liked Emily Browning as Essie, but for a woman who's come back from the dead and is searching for her "light", Laura's just...there's no there there. 

 

For all Mad Sweeney resents General Mills, Lucky Charms probably keeps leprechauns more relevant than they otherwise would be. 

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This was my favorite episode so far, could be my Mad Sweeney love.  The one thing that kinda creeped me out a little was the choice of song playing when Essie and John have sex  - Daddy’s Home.   Put a whole "Does Essie has daddy issues?" thing out there that I didn't feel until that song played especially since we first meet her sitting in a field looking out to sea waiting for her father.

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