American Gods 2x07 “Treasure of the Sun” Review
“I used to be a king” is probably the saddest thing I’ve ever heard come out of this show. Mad Sweeney met his end in this week’s episode and I’m still feeling pretty raw from it. With that being said, it was probably the best episode of the series so far and Pablo Schreiber truly stood out amongst this exceedingly talented cast.
There was just an entirely different vibe about the episode and how it started certainly did nothing to calm my fears. You see, in the book, Shadow finds Sweeney on the side of the road before Sweeney dies. That’s exactly what I thought was going to happen right then and there. Thankfully, that was spared, but only for a little while.
When Mad Sweeney reached Mr. Ibis’ funeral home where everyone was staying, he saw three grieving women, but he saw them as banshees. Banshees are a omen of death. He was convinced they were banshees when all anyone else could see were three grieving women. It is a funeral home, after all. He’s warned Shadow not to interfere with the death that would be occurring there. Naturally, just about anything these gods tell Shadow is bound to confuse him until he can work it out for himself. Nobody ever gives him a straight answer. Shadow wants to know what the hell Sweeney is talking about.
Throughout the episode we were shown bits of Sweeney’s past. We had Bilquis and Salim, both, asking him about it. Sweeney was clearly looking rough and these two most likely felt that talking would help him. Bilquis and Salim are very interested in connection. Bilquis has seemed so fascinated by connections between people, not just sexual, this season. Salim, meanwhile, is a gentle human soul. He’s just along for the ride, at this point. He doesn’t have much interest in the “god” aspect of these people because he only believes in his god. He’s following the Jinn, but is fine taking the backseat when war talk comes around. They both take the time reach out to Sweeney and it’s something I truly appreciate.
Sweeney’s state of mind was troublesome for much of the episode. This giant leprechaun likes to drink, but this was more than that. He tried to tell his story three separate times and each one had different details, like he was having trouble with his memory. Despite what Bilquis, Salim, and even Mr. Storyteller himself, Ibis, had to say, Sweeney’s stories were all interconnected. Sweeney WAS a king in Ireland. He had a beautiful wife and daughter. Catholicism was starting to make a home in Ireland and, instead of making allies with these new people, Sweeney wanted nothing to do with them. The history of his people became nothing more than stories as time went on. What were once gods and fae people turned into caricatures of little green men.
When the big battle came between his people and their foe, Sweeney ended up beheading his own grandfather. It was destined that he would be killed by his grandson and had them all slaughtered. Sweeney slid under the radar and grew up to be a strong king…and behead his own grandfather. When speaking with Mr. Ibis about this particular tale, Sweeney’s memory becomes unreliable, according to Mr. Ibis. Sweeney is convinced that he had actually beheaded Odin. It all always comes back to the Allfather.
One thing Sweeney made perfectly clear though; he was done being Wednesday’s errand boy. He wanted out. However, Wednesday wouldn’t grant him that. Laura was still alive (by her own unique standards), so she was still a problem for Shadow. That means that Sweeney wouldn’t be able to leave his contract with Wednesday. Sweeney is clearly just so tired. He’s prepared to kill Odin to end the contract. Shadow clearly won’t let that happen, even though Sweeney had already told him to just let the death happen.
Well the death that ended up happening was his own. In a fight that very much mirrored their introduction, Shadow and Sweeney were locked in their very own battle. Sweeney went for Odin’s spear, the spear that Wednesday told Shadow to guard with his life. During this bloody brawl, Sweeney confesses that Laura’s death was at his hands on Wednesday’s orders. As anyone could tell, that had been weighing on Sweeney’s mind before the Season 1 finale. Also, he fucked her in New Orleans. This gives Sweeney a chance to grab the spear, but Shadow’s just as quick and grabs it back. He whips it around just in time for Sweeney to impale himself on the end of the spear. You knew it was coming the entire episode, but I never would’ve guessed Sweeney’s death would happen at Shadow’s hand.
As a final “fuck you” to Wednesday, Sweeney pulled the tip of the spear out of his chest and made it vanish and turn to gold coins. “Your spear is the sun’s treasure now.” Earlier in the episode, Sweeney had told Shadow about the magic of pulling the coins out of nowhere. All he had to do was visualize his stash, so to speak, and he could access it whenever he wanted. Yeah, Wednesday’s going to have one hell of a time getting that spear back now.
One clue as to Pablo’s series departure was the announcement that he had been cast for a Halo series. I’ll be sad to see our favorite leprechaun go. Pablo has certainly left his mark on this series and in our hearts. It looks like we’ll actually maybe get to say goodbye in the finale. I’m prepared to cry.
Some thoughts on the episode:
Mad Sweeney was one of my favorite characters in the book and I’m so glad the show had the opportunity to really flesh the character out and give him life. His death was far more interesting in the show.
Pablo deserves an Emmy for his performance this episode. I am just blown away by the talent of that man.
I was just waiting for Mama-Ji to slap the crap out of Laura for being so disrespectful. I’m waiting for literally ANYONE to do so because Laura is so beyond disrespectful to just about everyone. How has no god, besides Sweeney at the beginning of the show, even tried yet?
Bilquis is adapting! She seems all about human connection, not just their physical connection. Things are getting spiritual!
American Gods airs at 8/7c on Starz.