In the books, Mad Sweeney was a character who only showed up for two scenes before meeting a tragic end. Though he was mentioned throughout the book periodically, he was never fleshed out the way he was in the series. That on top of Pablo Schreiber’s wonderful performance has made this character one of the fan’s favorites. Which, made everyone nervous while wondering if the show would go in a different direction, considering we have gotten so much more of him.
Episode seven in season one may have been called “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”, but this episode is truly his episode. We have Sweeney dealing with the emotional aftermath of his falling out with Laura Moon and whereas before his mission was getting his coin back, he has accepted that the chances are slim and reserves himself to die.
Only, the storyline does not go in the way it does in the book. Sweeney does not take the 20 dollars and drink himself to death. Surely, he drinks a lot and we see him wandering around the funeral parlor in Cairo, as almost everyone he interacts with seems to know more about him than he does. This episode dives into why and what made Sweeney “mad” and why it is so hard for him to remember who he truly is.
The episode ping pongs back and forth from the past to present and some of the “memories” themselves are confusing and unsure, the same as it is in Sweeney’s mind. Those who work behind the scenes in this show have to be given applause for the masterful way they use scenery to tell the story, giving us all a better view of this world that Sweeney once lived in.
We have to give it up for Schreiber for giving an absolutely heartbreaking performance in this episode, as we experience everything that Sweeney is. Every moment, we see how conflicted and confused he is. It’s nice seeing him interact with Salim on a more positive level and even seeing him and Bilquis is something I didn’t think I would see, but I enjoyed.
There were so many turns in this episode and you have to applaud everyone for keeping the audience on its toes. I’ve heard from critics say over and over again that this season does not compare to season one and I believe that is simply because it is on a grander scale. A higher emotional level. The plot is fleshed out and we are given beautiful storytelling.
I don’t know what will happen in the final episode, but the repercussions of the final minute or so in this episode will surely affect the finale and as much as my heart hurts for the outcome we got, I know that Sweeney at least, got his battle.
A girl with too many fandoms to count.