Starz’s American Gods
Season 2, Episode 7: “Treasure of the Sun”
Directed by Paco Cabezas
Written by Heather Bellson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Donar the Great” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Moon Shadow” – click here
Under an old bridge, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) finds Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) lying unconscious. He wakes the leprechaun up to take him back to the funeral parlour. The big angry Irishman doesn’t say much about Laura Moon (Emily Browning), the “dead wife,” even though, after having sex with her, he’s got ants crawling over his skin. He says she’s run off somewhere.
Back at the parlour, Yggdrasil has grown pretty quick. Ready for war, says Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane). He and Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes), the latter telling Odin that Jacquel will come when he’s called. The Jinn (Mousa Kraish) is along for the ride with a lot of reluctance.
There’s business meant only for Odin and Shadow. Wednesday cuts into Yggdrasil, taking a small branch to forge the split in his spear, Gungnir. He tasks Shadow with guarding it. An honour, and suggestion of the larger role Mr. Moon will play.
At a roadside diner, Laura’s giving attitude to Mama-Ji (Sakina Jaffrey), who has to school the undead lady on her true goddess identity. She’s best known as Kali— destroyer of evil forces. Great visual of her presenting herself to Ms. Moon, which reflects this image of Kali well. “A little respect is all I ask,” she tells Laura. She does offer her help, too. She explains Laura already holds the power inside “to destroy.”
Mad’s experiencing strange side effects from having sex with Laura in New Orleans. He’s seeing strange visions. He hears wailing voices in his head, believing it’s the banshee following him. He stumbles into the funeral parlour as Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) gives a sermon. She reads from the Song of Songs. The whole thing moves from religious worship to near ecstasy. Bilquis is sensual, even reading Old Testament. Afterwards, she sits with the leprechaun to hear his confession.
Mad speaks of his past as a warrior. He and a woman drank and he “played with her boobies,” ignoring the prophecy she told him of what would happen to him. Today, he can’t quite remember the true story. He remembers bits and pieces of his own life as told by the tales of others. Even Bilquis knows he had a wife once called Eorann (Clare McConnell), and a daughter, Moira (Aniya Hodge).
Mad’s also seeking to be done with Odin a.k.a Wednesday a.k.a Grimnir. He’s trying to wait for Laura to give over his coin— it has to be given willingly. Wednesday’s not what you’d call sympathetic to his plight, walking all over him like he does with everyone else, all while chowing down potato salad. And, of course, the Allfather’s trying to use the leprechaun to get Laura out of the way in the first place, which he’s been doing all along.
A tricky, sticky, shitty situation.
“Fuck if I know what the truth is”
We see more of the past of Mad Sweeney as he remembers. He’d been cursed, living out in the woods. This came about because he felt his people were being betrayed by “the Grey Monks“— known as the Tironensian Order. He believed they were a poisonous entity. Eorann tried to tell him otherwise, but he refused to let them build churches on his land without repercussions. He walked away into the wilderness after being cursed for his actions. The past seems to parallel the future, with Mad’s troubles both in love and in war. In present day, he tries to warn Shadow from becoming someone being used up by Odin whenever the Norse god pleases.
Theory (from Father Gore who hasn’t yet finished Neil Gaiman’s American Gods): Is Mad actually a god after all? Could he be Lugh? He doesn’t even remember his story entirely. Is it at all possible he doesn’t remember his true origin as a god?
scratch that— Mr. Ibis confirms the theory. Mad is, indeed, “the Shining One,” Lugh. The fact Mad’s been portrayed as a leprechaun is an EXCELLENT ALLEGORY for how Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church tried to reduce the history, folklore, and all around culture of Ancient Ireland by ‘making them small.’
Odin’s having dinner with everybody at the parlour. They’re interrupted when Mad shows up full of piss and vinegar. He’s done with taking orders from Mr. Wednesday, and he’s looking to get his hands on Gungnir. Only thing is, Shadow won’t let it go that easily, now that he’s its protector.
They kick the living shit out of each other a while. Mad doesn’t want to fight Shadow. He finally admits Wednesday ordered him to cause Laura’s car crash as a way to pull Shadow into his servitude. He also reveals he had sex with Laura. When Mad rushes at the spear, he takes the blade right through his stomach. Luckily he’s got god-like powers, and before he perishes he sends Gungnir into the Sun’s Treasure, to the hoard. Damn.
“You’re always my battle”
What a goddamn episode! Wow. Full of great stuff with Mad, and that finish was spectacular. Intense stuff. Lots of great writing, as usual. Season 2’s been even better, for Father Gore, than the fabulous Season 1.
The finale— “Moon Shadow”— is next time.