Note: Reminder that this recap is from the point of view of someone who hasn’t read the book. Because I haven’t read the book. Please no spoilers or comparisons between the two in the comments. Thanks! Also note: This recap may contain adult language.
Previously on “American Gods”: Anubis (Chris Obi) appeared to shepherd a woman to the other side. Shadow (Ricky Whittle) had a vision in which he met Zorya Polunochnaya (Erika Kaar), who explained the role she and her sisters play in the universe. She gives Shadow the moon in the form of a coin. Shadow challenges Czernobog (Peter Stomare) to a double or nothing game of checkers which Shadow wins. Mad Sweeney (Pablo Schreiber) realizes he accidentally gave Shadow his lucky coin. Salim (Omid Atahi) meets The Jinn (Mousa Kraish) and appears to switch places with him. Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) tells Shadow they will rob bank because his “army” needs cash. The concept of multiple Jesuses is introduced during one of their conversations. Mad sweats Shadow for the location of his coin, and heads to Laura’s (Emily Browning) grave when Shadow says he placed it there; he finds the coffin empty and with a coin-shaped hole in it. After successfully robbing the night deposits at the bank, Shadow leaves Mr. Wednesday and returns to his motel room, where he finds Laura sitting on his bed.
This week, we interrupt the saga of Shadow, apparent pawn of the gods, to find out more about the woman he loved so much, he changed his previous trajectory (which still landed him in jail, so…). Considering the long shadow (yeah puns) she’s cast over his life, it’s only fitting we learn more about her beyond the fact that she died a rather ignoble death with her lover. Here I must confess a secret: I accidentally saw this episode first when I was getting ready to recap the series. Imagine my confusion in thinking this was a series about an undead woman named Laura when I went back and watched the episodes in order! Hopefully, I managed to disguise that foreknowledge in my previous recaps.
Anyway, “Git Gone” opens at an Egyptian-themed casino called “26th Dynasty” where Laura works as a dealer. We see her go home to her cat, Donnie (who is watching Woody Woodpecker cartoons courtesy of his owner), make dinner, and kill a fly that’s pestering her with bug spray. She’s not living the greatest of lives, an impression which is thrown into sharper relief as she gets into her jacuzzi, pulls the lid over her head, and sprays more bug killer. Shortly thereafter, Laura emerges from the spa, choking. She is not a happy woman.
The next night, Shadow sits down at Laura’s table alone. He’s about to cheat at cards when she warns him to stop; Laura is smart, but compassionate after a fashion, as she sends him on his way after another hand so it doesn’t look suspicious and he doesn’t get flagged by security. Shadow waits for her in the parking lot; when she is leaving after her shift, he approaches her and tries to recruit her to be his “inside man” so he can rob the casino. Laura declines, but takes him home and beds him.
The following morning, Shadow teaches her card tricks. The one-night stand blossoms into a marriage, and Shadow takes up boxing. Soon, their life falls into routine (set astutely to Garbage’s “Stupid Girl”). Laura does not appear to be fulfilled by their married life, even though it’s abundantly clear that Shadow is besotted and doing everything to change his previously devious ways.
One day, Laura declares she will be his inside man at the casino; he asks if she’s unhappy because he’s very happy, and she says she feels resentment; while she loves him, happiness eludes her. Laura desires that Shadow become a thief again; she gives him her “perfect plan” for robbing the 26th Dynasty, but he gets caught anyway. Laura is willing to go to prison with him, but Shadow, clouded by his love for her, refuses to turn her in. He gets convicted for a few years and she says she will wait for him, but throughout all her visits to the prison, it is clear she is still unhappy.
After coming home one night to find Donnie dead, her friend Audrey’s husband, Robbie (Dane Cook), comes over and buries the cat for her. He asks her to come stay with Audrey and him so she won’t be alone. There is a fraught moment between then and then they start to make out, but Laura backs off. Robbie apologizes for trying to kiss her, and after another fraught moment, the pair have sex.
Quick aside: Ravens hang out near Laura. A lot. Not a good sign. At all.
Robbie comes over the next day, but she won’t rebuffs his advance, saying she’s waiting for her husband. That lasts as long as their previous “nos” and they go to bed. They continue their affair up until five days before Shadow is due to come home. She’s setting up a “welcome home” party for Shadow, she tells him, while Robbie is naked in her bed. Hrm.
As they go for a drive, Robbie says he wants to leave Audrey for Laura, but she insists she loves Shadow. She tells him this is their last night, after which the affair will just be a memory. To give him one last memory, I guess, she fellates him while The Band’s “The Weight” is playing on the radio. She wants him to sing it to her, and he does right before they crash into a truck.
Another aside: Laura Moon is pragmatic. To a fault.
Laura is sitting above the crash looking down at her death. Suddenly, she’s in a strange place with Anubis, who takes her to his scales upon which he places a white feather. He reaches for her heart, but she won’t let him take it; instead, she places her hand on the scale. Anubis tells her she passed through. He has her bug spray. He tells her she believed in nothing and will go to nothing where there “will be darkness.” Laura wants to go back, but he says it’s too late; her body is already buried. “Death is not a debate,” he says. Laura, of course, tells him to fuck off just as she is dragged upwards and away. Anubis is confused.
When we next see Laura, she is her crawling out of her own grave, immediately barfing up embalming fluid. She comes upon Shadow hanging from a tree while a bunch of men watch. Suddenly imbued with extra-human strength, Laura decapitates one with a blow and kills another, and we now know who saved Shadow from being lynched and left a bloody mess in her wake. She jumps up and frees Shadow, then kills the other men very gorily. Because of the heavy (and hypnotically gorgeous) rain, Shadow doesn’t see her. As Laura stumbles away, her arm, where she’d been hit earlier, falls off.
She walks with her arm in one hand to her house, then showers and packs. A glowing presence comes to the door and she hides. She goes to Audrey’s (Betty Gilpin) house later and tries to sew her arm back on, but her stomach begins growling loudly. Audrey finds her in the bathroom and is freaked out (I would be freaked out if I found a dead friend pooping embalming fluid in my bathroom, too!). Audrey asks how she’s here and if she is dead or “something else.” Laura says something else. Audrey asks Laura what’s the last thing she remembers before she died, and Laura calmly says, “Oh.” Audrey says she told everyone at the funeral what Laura and Robbie did, including Shadow, and confesses that she tried to fuck him on top of Laura’s grave. She adds that Robbie was buried with his penis “shoved up his ass” because Laura had bitten it off and Audrey was vindictive.
After calming down, Audrey sews Laura’s arm back on for her, and they go for a ride. Laura says she feels bad for what she did; Laura’s obituary is “shitty” because she “had a shitty life,” Audrey says. Laura loves Shadow, she says, adding that he’s the light of her life; Audrey laughs at the incongruity of Laura’s declaration with how she died. Laura sees a light shining ahead, but Anubis and another man are waiting for her up the road. She and Audrey make a hard stop to avoid the two men; they bring Laura, whose arm is off again, back to the funeral home. This time, her arm is restored with a hinge to keep it attached. “Love will always have you at a disadvantage,” she is told.
Laura is told the two men are tending to her flesh because it can no longer heal itself. Anubis says he will deliver her unto darkness once she’s done doing whatever it is she came back to do. Laura heads to Shadow’s motel to wait for him (and puts up flypaper because she attracts a lot of flies now). A golden-lighted presence walks past the windows and comes inside the room. It’s Shadow. “Hi, Puppy,” she says. End episode.
Director Craig Zobel sets a nice mood with Laura’s seeming melancholy and her pragmatic outlook on life: She loves Shadow, but being separated from him is harder than she expected, and so she takes a sort of solace in Robbie’s attraction to her. As written by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, the episode leans into the symbolism and philosophy already seen in the first three episodes, but it’s more grounded (no pun intended) because Laura is neither a god nor a person with sensitivity to gods the way Shadow is.
The two have a twisted “meet cute” when he goes to her table to scam her at cards, but the love they feel is real, even if it seems that Shadow’s love for Laura is much stronger and deeper than hers for him. Her practicality comes out in the way she deals with her unhappiness (trying to take advantage of her inside knowledge and Shadow’s thieving gifts; the affair with Robbie; putting her hand on the scales instead of letting Anubis pull out her heart to weigh it because she knows the outcome anyway). She heads to Audrey’s to sew herself up because she knows Audrey is crafty and will have the right materials (see: the elaborate scrapbook Audrey was making for Shadow’s release from prison). Her love really shines in the way she is able to save Shadow from the faceless minions of the Technical Boy, even as she doesn’t realize she’s battling supernatural beings—or really, that she’s become one herself.
Although the other characters don’t know yet, something about Mad’s lucky coin pulled Laura out of death and into her present undead state, and Anubis himself realizes the magick at play is something he must let be until Laura’s mission is fulfilled. Also, the golden light around Shadow reminds the audience of Zorya Polunochnaya’s declaration that Shadow has the sun (and needs the moon as well). Does that light reflect simply the way Laura sees Shadow, or is he a god himself, but doesn’t know it yet? We’ve got four more episodes to go this season, and I, for one, cannot wait to find out!
All photos courtesy of Starz