American Gods – Ep. 4 – “Git Gone”: A Review

Posted: 05/23/2017 in Uncategorized

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If you read the novel and thought that Laura Moon (Emily Browning) was an awful human being, the more expansive development of her character in this run probably won’t change your mind. Emily Browning’s portrayal however is riveting for the deep illustration of profound disillusionment and exceedingly visceral brutality in a later sequence. This latest run set the bar for this show impossibly high.

When we meet Laura Moon, a dealer at a casino, we are not given much of an impression. She is barely there, seemingly coasting through an unfulfilling life. Her routine is presented with equal banality. That Browning’s portrayal  of Laura got such a resounding approval by Neil Gaiman is earned. Laura Moon is unlikable, unreachable and without hope. Her hopelessness is shown via a can of bug spray and her sadly creative use of it. Through the sheer will of her performance however, Laura Moon becomes empathetic if not ever likable. Her self awareness at her inner unhappiness is summarized beautifully in a sequence with Shadow (Ricky Whittle) in which they discuss an after life. He is unsure and cites his mother’s opinion. “I only know that there’s more than I know.” Laura rebukes this notion, speaking of having lost all ‘magic’ in her life and feeling that there is nothing beyond but “rot”. She sees in him a potential for rekindling the magic as when he first meets her there is an element of danger via his being a thief. His love for her bordering on adoration renders him domesticated which in turn leaves her unhappy and resentful.

Her self awareness is her armor and she wakes him up offering him an option at reinvigorating their marriage and making her happy. Her  nickname for him “puppy” takes  a different meaning in this on screen version and captures their relationship dynamic perfectly.  Even her best friend whom she readily betrays, Audrey (Betty Gilpin), sees Laura’s relationship for what it is when she states she wishes her husband would look at her as Shadow does Laura. Audrey’s later declaration that she never loved him as he loves her. Dane Cook plays Robbie, Audrey’s husband, and brings the gravitas to the character that is deserved.

When Laura’s master plan for the casino ends up the way it does, she offers to share the blame with Shadow who is so devoted, he will have none of it. He tells her he can endure his time in jail knowing she is out there waiting for him. He asks her if she can wait which we know she cannot. The affair is presented warts and all but a moment in which Laura arrives home and finds her cat dead allows us one glimpse of her emotional core. There is a decent human in there but it is buried pretty deeply. Her subsequent actions while not unexpected increase the already bountiful sympathy the viewer has for Shadow. Laura’s earlier confession that he is too good for her is both sincere and apt.

Where the episode becomes something incredible however is the depiction of her death. Her meeting Anubis (Chris Obi) is a terrific scene. Gone are the acceptance and guidance shown in an earlier sequence with an older woman. With Laura, we get defiance  of judgement. She knows what she is and accepts that she isn’t a good person. Seeing her rile up the god of death was pretty epic. Her ‘escape’ sequence was trippy as heck culminating in a bleak ‘resurrection’ of sorts.

Her seeing a powerful light and being guided by it takes her to Shadow. In death she sees him for what he is. In death, she bizarrely gains new life and love. It is troubling, disturbing and gripping. Her scene with Shadow’s attackers (tech boy’s army) made for the most visceral battle sequence I have ever seen including a kick that literally takes an opponent apart. Powered by both the ‘lucky coin” and renewed purpose, Laura Moon becomes a force.

A scene in which she returns home to deal with an ‘injury’ was just over the top unsettling. Equally so were her moments with Audrey in which the two are able to broker some form of closure.  Audrey concludes things harshly but not unreasonably that Laura is a “shitty person who has lived a shitty life.” The emotional scenes are equally powerful as those riddled with violence or those that are simply surreal. That Laura’s potential judge takes on a more supportive role in her new journey adds another unforeseen element. That this run ends as the preceding run ended is perfect.

American Gods continues its quest to be the most oddly engaging show on television. While often beset with Gods, supernatural entities, and their backstories, a more personal, human take allowed this run to becomes something truly new and refreshing. American Gods with four more episodes to go is simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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