“A Prayer for Mad Sweeney” focused mostly on Mad Sweeney’s coming-to-America story through the eyes of an Irish immigrant named Essie MacGowan, played by Emily Browining (who also plays Laura Moon on the show). The episode weaves together this story in the 1700s with Laura and Mad Sweeney on a road trip in the present day, searching for a way to resurrect her so he can get his coin back.
The fact that Browning plays both roles illustrates that although Mad Sweeney and Laura are constantly bickering, there is a connection between them. As we learn in this episode, he is responsible for her death, so perhaps some of his hostility towards her is self-loathing for his own actions.
Strangely enough, the use of doo-wop music for a story set in the 18th century somehow worked. Mr. Ibis’ stories are always elaborate exaggerations of the truth, so anachronistic music that fits thematically seems to be the perfect addition.
There was also a bit of foreshadowing in this episode to what this season has been building to: the finale at House on the Rock. For those who have not read the book, some big things are going to happen in next week’s episode.