Martin Carr reviews the seventh episode of American Gods season 2…
Reincarnation, immortality and mythology converge in this penultimate episode which digs deeper into the ideas of tradition versus progress. War is coming, weapons are ready and combatants are converging while others rebel. Flashbacks are rife while an atmosphere of ruination and alcohol dominate throughout. There might be flaming visuals from Hindu gods, salacious words of wisdom from our resident Queen of Sheba and even a little trickery from Odin himself but the floor belongs to Mad Sweeney.
Malcontent has rarely been instilled with such poetry as when manifested through this lamentable leprechaun. An embodiment of bedevilment brought low by his own rejection of progress, Sweeney is a survivor hiding few redeeming features beneath inches of self-loathing and pity. Circumspect and reprehensible yet pragmatic for all that, he remains the most relatable character in a room of reprobates and misinformed miscreants. An atmosphere of faery tale myth hangs heavy over this flashback into the past of an endearing legend. Schreiber imbues Sweeney with a supernatural sheen which gives his portrayal a reverence, whilst being generous enough to allow others room to contribute to his myth making.
There is a latent generosity amongst thieves which ties in with the brooding visuals and grounds events as they continue drifting towards the outlandish. As American Gods attempts to provide a satisfying conclusion there is less focus on truth and more on story telling. Old wives tales mix with contrived fictions and Chinese whispers blurring the lines without diminishing enjoyment. Languidly lustful and brazenly bloody it may be but Treasure of the Sun wallows in ambiguity, takes pleasure in prepping for war and weaves a visual epitaph worthy of greatness.
With retribution proving a tangible driving force it is an episode of passions both unfettered and unrelenting. This is where campfire eulogies, religious embellishment and the truth merge to create something everlasting. Never less than unique Gods is back on form and looking to give us a season two closer of note.