american gods git gone review

(Each week, we’ll kick off our discussion of American Gods by answering one simple question: which character do we worship this week?)

Bone orchards, man-eaters, fire genies, oh my! The first three episodes of American Gods gave us a lot to swallow, but episode four, “Git Gone,” following Laura Moon’s journey to and from the grave, showed us that things aren’t just not what they seem when it comes to gods, but also when it comes to (seemingly) boring, uninteresting humanity.

Who do we worship this week? Laura Moon

This week, we worship Laura Moon (Emily Browning), not just because “Git Gone” focused on her story, but because, parallel to Shadow Moon’s journey from grief stricken ex-con to making snow (as seen last week, Laura Moon also managed to take back a more active role in her own life…er…death.

When we meet Laura Moon at her dead-end casino job, she is unhappy and bored. She goes home alone to her cat and attempts suicide. After meeting Shadow, getting married, and settling into her life with him, she remains as apathetic as the night she brought the bug spray into the hot tub. This Laura Moon may have been breathing oxygen, and her heart may have been pumping blood through her circulatory system, but she wasn’t really living. Her constant search to feel something more than her ‘uninteresting’ life leads her to plan the robbery that gets Shadow arrested, which sets in motion her affair with her best friend’s husband, Robbie (Dane Cook). You have to take her at her word that she loves Shadow, because she has done nothing to show it.

Ironically, it takes death (a violent and somewhat humiliating one), to wake her up. Post-mortem Laura has passion, she tells off Anubis (Chris Obi), she slaughters the goons that lynched Shadow, she has a confrontation with Robbie’s wife about the affair that ruined their lives, and she rediscovers her love for Shadow, seeing him as the “light of her life” (literally).  She has a more meaningful life in the first weeks of her death than she had in the last eight years of being alive. How do you not worship a woman who went from attempting suicide to standing in the literal presence of death and telling him to fuck off?

American-Gods-robbie-shadow

The Mortal Side of American Gods

We have met old gods and new gods, and have seen the rumblings of conflict between the two. We know they are fighting for relevance in America, fighting for the attention of the people and power and the first three episodes were all about immigrants and slaves and the gods they brought to this land. However, we haven’t really focused at all on actual American life. What about the American people who aren’t hanging our and hooking up with the immortal class and are still completely unaware that there is anything more than the monotony of day-to-day life?

Laura Moon is bored with her life and comes home to find her doting husband asleep on the couch with a book on taxes. Work. Sleep. Repeat. Death and taxes. That’s life. The other purely human couple we get to see are their best friends Audrey (Betty Gilpin) and Robbie. We never see their home life in detail, but we have enough shots of barbecues, shop talk, and adultery to know how their fairytale American dream is working out. Shadow feels defeated when Laura pressures him into the robbery because she needs something more than him, but Shadow is his own contradiction, building up this idea of his perfect life during his three years in prison, only to find out that he was as ignorant of his own mortal surroundings than he was about the existence of gods.

Getting a taste of Laura Moon’s perspective gives us more insight into Shadow and how a man can watch a woman literally pull the moon from the sky or watch a man pluck gold from thin air and still be a skeptic. He sees what he wants to see. Just as Audrey missed the clues of Robbie and Laura’s affair, and just as Laura ignored consequences to some of her less than perfect actions (she’s “the girl that brought a thief home’), this flawed foursome suffers from the same condition that most Americans suffer from. They have blinders up. They see what they want to see and settle for contentment. It took dying for Laura to gauge what she really cared about, which is the dramatic wake-up call that people like Robbie and the rest of the human population don’t have the luxury of getting. I doubt that there are enough Leprechauns accidentally passing off their luck to go around.

american gods git gone

Grief and Anger Make Me Vulgar

Aside from insight into Shadow’s life B.W. (before Wednesday) and the introduction into Laura Moon and her death-defying super strength, this episode offered up a little humor. There were weird things going on (we got to see more of Anubis and the afterlife and Laura’s Shadow-centric spidey senses), but parts of this episode felt more like a weird zombie rom-com than what we have grown accustomed over the first three episodes. A Zombie crawls out of grave, reassesses her “life,” expels embalming fluid out of both ends, seeks out her lost love, and slaughters goons to save his life. In a show that has started to make you expect the most mind-altering visuals and most enigmatic characters on television, “Git Gone” gave us the unexpected by providing us with pure silliness.

Audrey’s reaction to Laura’s “haunting” coupled with the good old fashioned zombie bathroom humor was almost too normal (albeit hilarious) for a show like American Gods. Audrey describing what she did with that part of Robbie that Laura bit off, and her attempt to seduce Shadow into having sex with her on Laura’s grave (which even Laura had to deem as fair), makes you wish we could get more of Audrey’s comic relief in the future. She is arguably the most relatable person on the show. None of this was as impactful as scenes from previous episodes, like Anansi’s scene on the slave ship and last weeks encounter between Salim and the Ifrit, but it still served its purpose. There were no impassioned speeches, but it is hard not to fall in love with Mr. Ibis’s (Demore Barnes) soft-spoken advice or Anubis’s dry but wonderful 6,000 year-old shade towards Laura. The humor was refreshing. This episode acted as a palate cleanser for what is sure to be a fast-paced second half of the season.

Adaptation Notes

We’re going to talk book spoilers now. If you haven’t read the novel, you’ll want to stop right here.

This episode gave us a lot of backstory that was never fleshed out in the book, but for the most part, their story carried on as expected, with some changes. We finally got the answer to who saved Shadow from the lynch mob, but judging by the scenes for the next episode we are going to get to Shadow’s abduction by the New Gods, which is Laura’s big slaughter in the book. However, in the show, it appears that Mr. Wednesday will be abducted with him. It is unlikely that the scene will play out the same with Mr. Wednesday present, and might ultimately serve a different purpose than it did in the book, but it opens up a lot of questions when it comes to the adaptation.

Now that Wednesday is there, is Laura still going to be the one that rescues Shadow? Does this mean that we wont have Shadow walking alone back to Wednesday, missing out on the various encounters that he has along the way? Also, Crispin Glover is playing Mr. World, and he is making his debut next week! This makes me question a spoiler so large I don’t dare to write it, lest wandering eyes see.

Lastly, this episode offered our first look at the funeral home. This Egyptian-run establishment is one of my absolute favorite parts on the book, and I was under the impression that we weren’t going to see it until season two. Anubis and Mr. Ibis are already making their mark on the show, and I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of them soon.

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