TV Recap: American Gods, Episode 4: "Git Gone"
The fourth episode of American Gods takes a hard left turn for the series. "Git Gone" doesn't advance the plot in any way. Instead of the usual setup where we are introduced to a different god and then spend the rest of the episode following Shadow and Wednesday's still mysterious exploits, we get some backstory on Shadow's little seen deceased wife, Laura Moon (Emily Browning). She revealed herself to be alive at the end of the last episode, but we knew very little about her up until now.
The episode starts with Laura at her job as a blackjack dealer at the Egyptian themed Anubis Casino. She clocks out and heads home to her cat where she makes dinner, watches TV, and sprays flies with Git Gone brand spray. She takes the Git Gone out to her hot tub, closes the lid, and sprays wildly in the little space she has above the water. Her half baked suicide attempt doesn't quite work out, as she quickly throws open the hatch, desperately gasping for air.
The next day at work she meets the man who eventually becomes her husband, Shadow. He happens up to her table and plays some Blackjack, making low bets and using sleight of hand to switch the cheap chips for more expensive ones once he knows he is going to win. Laura catches on after the first switch and warns him to knock it off, her casino won't just rough you up like casinos of old - they prosecute. He takes the tip and walks away from the table with his meager winnings. After Laura's shift ends she heads to the parking lot where Shadow is waiting for her. He sweet talks her and she invites him back to her place.
Their relationship strengthens over a montage of sex, dates, and Shadow training at his best friend Robbie's (Dane Cook) gym. Shadow seems to be head over heels, but Laura looks wanting, merely accepting her unhappy life. In bed one night he asks her if she believes in the afterlife. She does not. Shots of her and Shadow's wedding play while she talks about how she believes we rot in the ground when we die, ironic considering what happens to her later.
Laura is clearly depressed so she comes up with a plan. She brings up the fact that Shadow originally wanted her to be his inside man and rob the casino. She's in now, it's Shadow that needs to be talked into it. She's successful at that and we cut to him in an orange jumpsuit. Time passes, they talk, she starts ignoring some of his calls, and she builds a sexual affair with Robbie. The years pass and it's time for the relationship to end: Shadow is being released from prison. Robbie is heartbroken while Laura has the same dead stare she's kept throughout the show. The two drive to pick up supplies for Shadow's coming home party. She goes down on Robbie as a parting gift. Robbie sings 'The Weight' by The Band and they soon crash.
In the afterlife Laura encounters Anubis who brings her to the scale. She refuses to give up her heart to be weighed against the feather, instead opting to push the scale with her hand. Anubis is offended, and walks her over to the hot tub where he informs her she will spend the rest of eternity in darkness. Before her fate is sealed she is suddenly forcefully plucked out of the sky, emerging from her grave. Rain pours as she follows a mysterious bright orange light in the distance. The light leads her to Shadow being lynched by the goons in the first episode. It is revealed that his unseen savior was Laura, who punches and kicks the faceless henchman into glorious pools of blood. In the midst of the fight she loses her arm. In the middle of the fight she jumps up to Shadow and pulls the rope apart with her bare hands. Before he regains consciousness she hides.
Laura carries her dismembered arm home to wash off the blood and mud. Shadow arrives so she goes to Robbie's home instead where she encounters his wife, Audrey (Betty Gilpin), screaming her head off at the sight of her. Laura calms her down and talks her into sewing her arm back on with her home sewing kit. After the arm's back on she gets Audrey to drive her towards Shadow's glowing aura. The two have an awkward conversation about the affair and Laura reads her obituary (she hates it, "shitty writing"). The drive is cut short by Anubis, he stops the car and takes Laura to a funeral home where he professionally reattaches her arm and gives her pale skin more color via spraypaint. After cleaning her up he makes it clear she hasn't skipped her fate; "When you're done, I will complete my task and deliver you unto darkness."
Laura goes to Shadow's hotel room. He walks in the door. "Hi puppy."
The episode ends exactly where the last did. The plot was not advanced in any way and we only see only see one of our other main characters. It was interesting to see past scenes from new perspectives, such as the prison phone call between Laura and Shadow that started the series. I'm open to American Gods doing more backstory episodes like this, but I'd hope that it happens with more interesting, less passive characters next time.