TV | The show prepares for its season one finale with the refreshingly warm story of resident-grump Mad Sweeney
Clever casting takes inspiration from the stage to blend the past with the present.
In an episode without a single frame of Ricky Whittle's Shadow or Ian McShane's Wednesday, the writers produce another storytelling twist that explores the benevolence of even the hardest Old Gods and history's favorite trick: repeating itself.
Laura steals an ice cream truck. (YouTube)
Mr. Nancy's roommate/coworker, Mr. Ibis, narrates "A Prayer for Mad Sweeney" as he writes it in his heavy book of "Coming to America" stories. In the Leprechaun's arrival story, a young Irish woman who believes in him is responsible for his travels from Ireland to the Americas to London and, finally, back to America.
Ibis also narrates parts of the flashes forward to our current story, where Browning's Laura and the never-changing Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) steal an ice cream truck to quicken their pursuit of Shadow. This allows the writers to further weave the episode-long intro-story into Sweeney's past by casting Emily Browning as Essie Macgowan, the young believer sent to the New World. While Sweeney, her Leprechaun in both times, finds himself in prison, in debt and in increasingly bad spirits, both Essie and Laura chase their ambitions and bring Sweeney along with them.
Browning as Essie Macgowan. (YouTube)
At first, the trick of casting suggests that, like so many other characters, Laura isn't the mortal person that she appears to be. Soon, though, the story becomes clear: that these are two linked stories and that it's the showrunners' intentions to blend them almost inseparably. Like a stage play casting the same actress/actor in multiple roles (think Daveed Diggs as both Lafayette and Jefferson in Hamilton), Browning's duel-part fuses Sweeney's two stories together.
The show separates the time periods by music—not with 18th century Irish music for the Essie sequences, but with early 1960s doo-wop/rock and roll. The juxtaposition is hilarious, especially when John Richardson finally marries Essie to the tune, "Daddy's Home," by Shep & the Limelights, or when Essie learns to steal behind the Captain's back to Dion's "Runaround Sue."
Sweeney's story reveals a regretful, lost Old God whose debt to Wednesday weighs on his remaining life. "I was a king once," he tells Laura. "Then they made me a bird. Then Mother Church came along and turned us all into saints and trolls and fairies. And General Mills did the rest." Sweeney lives as a fallen king, a forgotten god like Wednesday and the rest who knows that his destiny places him at House on the Rock, Wisconsin.
Sweeney broods. (YouTube)
When dead-Laura dies again, thrown through the windshield of the ice cream truck, her stitches torn open and the lucky coin spilled onto the road, Sweeney is faced with a decision and a recent memory that changes the entire story. We see Laura's first death and, standing over her, Sweeney, telling the raven that his job is done. So Laura was Wednesday's—and Sweeney's—first victim in this war, her death part of a grand plan to recruit Shadow and set the whole machine in motion.
Sweeney's decision as he stands over Laura's dead body for the second time becomes more meaningful after that reveal: he gives up his precious lucky coin to resurrect her. At the same time, the parallel story shows him comforting the elderly Essie in her dying moment, uniting two moments of kindness in Sweeney's troubled past.
Salim called Sweeney an "unpleasant creature" when Laura released him early in the episode. But forty-five minutes later, Sweeney earns all of our sympathy and suddenly becomes one of the heroes of the story. This is material that is completely absent from the book but that shows the ambitions of the show's creators, Fuller and Green, to expand the universe created by Neil Gaiman and use the opportunities of a TV show to give each character the story they deserve.
After an episode featuring only three of the show's main characters, next week's season finale promises to bring together everyone for what it's safe to guess will be quite a clash of personalities. One more week of American Gods before we're left waiting for Season 2.
Watch the Season 1 Finale this Sunday at 9pm Eastern.
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Sometimes you've just got to get yourself that Winter Candy Apple and Iced Gingerbread.
I hope Jen from Appleton, Wisconsin is doing well these days.
As for Angela, the star of the best Bath & Body Works rant of all time (and there are surprisingly many on YouTube), I hope she's living a Winter Candy Apple-scented life to the fullest.
In 2012, the aspiring vlogger posted a rant about her dire mission to acquire two coveted candles from Bath & Body Works: Winter Candy Apple and Iced Gingerbread. The outstanding 11-minute video recounts her harrowing journey to the store in APPLETON, WISCONSIN (it's very important the store is called out for their heinous treatment of Angela).
After the video was discovered and spread across Tumblr, it was recognized as a cultural masterpiece of our time, a treatise on the frailty of the human condition and our undying perseverance to end our own suffering at any cost.
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It's an unprecedented time for brand deals and nonsensical collaborations
I'm convinced that the Supreme Oreos that terrorized the internet (and which I haven't stopped thinking about since) were the cultural reset.
Released in February 2020, right as everything started to go wrong, these bright red Supreme Oreos were met with equally visceral confusion and anticipation. Despite many on the internet claiming that Supreme and Oreo had gone too far, the 3-pack of Oreos inevitably sold out in minutes online.
It seems Oreo have not learned their lesson. Just announced: their collaboration with Lady Gaga
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Life is short, go for a bold eye like Jules.
From Rue's grungy over-sized aesthetic to Jules' femme futuristic looks, there are plenty of outfits shown throughout the series to inspire you to reinvent your whole wardrobe. Not to mention the makeup looks, which are so unique and striking as to have inspired hundreds of Halloween costumes last year. But why reserve a neon eye shadow or sequin eyelid look for Halloween when you can channel your inner Maddie or Jules all year long?
Euphoria Season 2 may be a few months away, but HBO is releasing two special episodes much sooner. The first of these specials, "Trouble Don't Last Always," focuses on Rue (played by Zendaya) and just dropped on HBO Max. To celebrate, we've listed some of the most essential cosmetic products to help you make your Euphoria-inspired makeup dreams come true—no drugs required.
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Here's what to stream this weekend.
If you're anything like us, you're probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of albums being released on a weekly basis.
Popdust's weekly column, Indie Roundup, finds the five best albums coming out each week so that you don't have to. Every Friday, we'll tell you what's worth listening to that might not already be on your radar.
Jordana, Something to Say to You<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:2A6VsLoEwhNrIX1PnxSNoL" id="43d23" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c0e2765824817964f2530f04b869de70" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>Inspired by 2000s indie rock as much as current rap heroes like Lil Uzi Vert, Jordana Nye's second full-length album, <em>Something to Say to You,</em> is a chameleonic collection of lo-fi bedroom pop. After her early SoundCloud releases caught the ears of New York indie label Grand Jury, Jordana's sound has leveled up — wavering between layered electronica and acoustic ballads — without ever losing her homespun charm.</p>
Dogleg / Worst Party Ever, Go EP<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vbWVkaWEucmJsLm1zL2ltYWdlP3U9JTJGaW1hZ2UlMkZhYjY3NzA2YzAwMDBiZWJiMjVhYjkzNTkxNDJkYWViM2IzMzEyZDY5JmhvPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGaS5zY2RuLmNvJnM9MzQ4Jmg9NTQ5MWIwMzBiZjA5ODIwMjlhOGExMjc4OGY2ZDdkN2JmMzRiMjFiOGE5Njk1MTZkYzczN2FlZTgzOTdmYjFjNiZzaXplPTk4MHgmYz0xNjQxNTAwMjA2IiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjI2NjkyMn0.bm0HvEP0OlqD3CA4ZqtRJWHYLPhNQb8X6X9Lzt6zIKM/img.jpg" id="3c88f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b9aae84184b12a4b2de84b15b1052ff0" />Dogleg x Worst Party Ever - "GO"
Winston C.W., Good Guess<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:76e0yvuj6mQqf9A4l2MxR1" id="32d8f" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="21bd6eeae038c3dd0c92abde74a04988" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>Winston Cook-Wilson is a songwriter, music journalist, and frontman of the Brooklyn rock band Office Culture. On his latest release under the moniker Winston C.W., <em>Good Guess, </em>Cook-Wilson takes a quieter approach, with his jazzy piano and vocals backed by upright bassist Carmen Rothwell and guitarist Ryan Beckley. At once intimate and spacious, <em>Good Guess </em>acts as Cook-Wilson's reflection on a period of personal turmoil last year in a fitting soundtrack to healing.</p>
Drakeo the Ruler, We Know the Truth<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:3JHBh2GhfyEDtV9n2sSy77" id="fd6b0" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9c28db37b4280421677b5cec637ac060" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>In November, when most of America was awaiting the results of the 2020 presidential election, Darrell Caldwell—the Los Angeles-based rapper known as Drakeo the Ruler — was <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/12/01/940814717/drakeo-the-ruler-less-than-a-month-out-of-prison-releases-we-know-the-truth" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">released from prison</a> following years of institutional corruption at the hands of Los Angeles' District Attorney, Jackie Lacey.</p><p>Less than a month later, Drakeo has released his latest full-length project, <em>We Know the Truth, </em>a collection of gritty West Coast hip-hop that feels like a culmination of the rapper's emotions while behind bars. He wrote all the lyrics while in prison.</p>
Joan of Arc, Tim Melina Theo Bobby<iframe src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:741roIjrflAKmW4Cxe1U3K" id="310d5" frameborder="0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="915b9785440a12cb635fe3eb4c3acd29" expand="1" height="480" width="100%"></iframe><p>Joan of Arc were one of the most polarizing bands to emerge from <a href="https://www.popdust.com/essential-emo-albums-2645236632.html?share_id=5564901" target="_self">emo's second wave</a> around the turn of the century. Formed by frontman Tim Kinsella after the dissolution of his short-lived yet highly influential band Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc offered a more experimental interpretation of the genre. </p> <p>Kinsella's knack for challenging expectations is still prevalent today on the band's final album, <em>Tim Melina Theo Bobby. </em>Idiosyncratic, evocative, and sprawling, the record helps memorialize the legacy of a band whose impact was often overlooked in its heyday.</p>
Boba's back and our heroes lose. Season 2 just went full Empire Strikes Back.
With only two more episodes left in the season, The Mandalorian kick-started the final narrative arc with an explosive new entry.
The Mandalorian "Chapter 14: The Tragedy" premiered Friday, December 4th on Disney+. We're going to breakdown and explain all the major moments in this episode as well as its implications for the future of Season 2 and the series as a whole. It's all spoilers from this point forward. Do yourself a favor, watch Season 2, Episode 6, and come back!
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