Recapping American Gods Episode 4, Git Gone: "There's Nothing To Believe. Trust Me. I've Looked."

Submitted for your consideration by Bleeding Cool contributor Ray Flook:

Don't you hate it when your "dead" ex-wife surprises you in your motel room after you've spent an exhausting day making snow with your mind? I know I do…but how exactly did we get here? Ahh…glad you asked! Because with Git Gone, we get to see some of the blanks being filled in as we get up to speed. But before we jump into things, once again a little reminder…

***SPOILERS ARE MOST LIKELY GOING TO HAPPEN!***

While this isn't a formal review, it does cover some "takeaways" involving major plot lines and developments from the episode. So if you're not familiar with the book or the show, you definitely want to keep that warning in mind. If you are a fan of the novel or have an idea of what's ahead, then at this point spoilers probably aren't that big of an issue for you storyline-wise — but there may be some visual surprises or subtle changes that you'll want to avoid until you see them for yourselves.

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So here's what Starz has to tell us about Git Gone:

"Alternating between the past and the present, Laura's life and death are explored—how she met Shadow, how she died, and how exactly she came to be sitting on the edge of his motel room bed."

Overall Takeaway: This episode is mainly about Laura Moon (Emily Browing) first, with Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) a solid but distant second. For the first part, I found myself introduced to a Laura I didn't particularly like on a whole lot of levels…and that's not a bad thing. But again, this is where visuals can build upon the words.

In the book, I didn't connect with the aspects of Laura's life we were introduced to while she was alive — I connected more with her after she crawled from the ground. This episode made it easier for me to connect with and understand her much more, appreciate the world that she was coming from by seeing where she works, the house she comes home to, and her daily life-mantras that look to be slow-killing Laura with each passing day.

As much as the visuals offer us a more well-roundedness to the scenes, none of this would work if not for the amazing performance by Browning. Her Laura may still not be someone I particularly like, but her portrayal has me feeling so much more for her that I "get" what her living days must have been like and I'm rooting for her more now than I was when I was reading the book. Which, again, says a lot when you know where things are going to go.

As for the second part, we get a sense of two completely different people with two completely different definitions of "love", who are coming at their relationship from two completely different directions. Laura loves Shadow for the very reasons that Shadow wants to change to make himself a better man for her and establish a life together, which is exactly the kind of static existence Laura doesn't want. To say that there's trouble ahead for this relationship would be an understatement; but let me get started with my takeaways and I'll go into more detail on those thoughts and some other random observations:

American Gods Season 1 2017

Big fan of how the opening scene fools us into thinking we're starting in Egypt when it turns out we're actually in the 26th Dynasty Casino, where Laura works as a dealer. Symbolism of old gods being "religiously appropriated" by new gods not lost on me…

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The chemistry between Laura and Shadow is crystal clear from the moment they're on screen together. Laura sees Shadow as the kind of "chaos factor" she needs in her life — a life that's become too much an established fact of work, an empty house, Woody Woodpecker cartoons in the background, and hot tub whippet hits of Git Gone (a household insect/rodent repellant) in a desperate need to feel something different, feel something new. Or feel nothing at all.

On the other hand, Shadow sees Laura as a muse, and someone he should be bettering himself for if they're to have any future together. But what Shadow wants for them isn't what Laura's looking for: She doesn't want him better…she wants him badass. She wants the rush and thrill that comes with a life filled with robbing casinos, not one of white picket fences and two-point-five kids. Laura's been through things in her past, and witnessing a lot of beliefs ripped to shreds has left her numb, forsaken, and wanting. So she's going to show Shadow "the light" and bring him over to her side — not through trickery or scheming, but by simply asking. As Shadow himself puts it, "Like you get anything you want just by asking for it."

Interestingly enough, I found the dialogue between Laura and Shadow to be a lot sexier than the actual sex scenes between them. In fact, I found their sex scenes to be the least sexiest so far in the series. Again, though, I'm not seeing this as a bad thing. Yes, their sex can be rough and intense and all over the place, but the one thing they're missing in their sex is the one essential thing missing from their relationship: a connection.

"There's nothing to believe. Trust me. I've looked," and "Life is just not that interesting," speak volumes about who Laura Moon is at this point in her life…and would be the two frontrunners for quotes to use on Laura's tombstone or urn.

Laura's "perfect plan" turns out to be less than so, but Shadow takes the hit for the crime instead allowing them to split it. Shadow believes that with the strength of their love, they can make it through the three-year minimum he'll have to serve. "I can make it if you can," he tells her, and in that moment, she agrees. But I never get the sense that it was done out of love as much as out of an obligation to "do him a solid" for taking the hit for the both them. To "make it," Laura would have to go back to going through the motions of a planned-out life again…and that's not going to work for her. She promised to be there for him for when he got out of prison, but in her mind what happens before then is just "in the now" and has no meaning beyond what it is: A fuck is just a fuck…nothing more, nothing less.

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Dane Cook was born to play the role of the juiced-up, d-bag "best buddy" you could never trust alone with your wife, girlfriend, daughter, grandmother, etc.; so his Robbie was exactly what I was expecting. Robbie's friendship with Shadow is only as deep as how much they each can bench-press this week. Even Laura called him out on it after Shadow went to prison: "You didn't even like him." So their affair was pretty much inevitable.

As their time together went along, I never doubted for a second where things would go: Robbie would end up catching major feels for Laura and try to talk her into leaving Shadow days before Shadow's release. Not surprisingly, Laura found herself having to speak truth-to-power to the realities of how things are going to be: "You just have to think about this as a sweet memory. Listen, Robbie, this has to end. And it has to end tonight."

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, "no" was all he said.

Another excellent use of music for direct symbolism…this time, it's The Weight by The Band.

If anyone was going to find a way to piss off Anubis (Chris Obi), it would be Laura. Between asking him "who the fuck" he was, screwing with the scale ceremony, and slapping his hand away, Laura didn't make a great first impression. But she remained true to herself even in the face of death and judgement, and I found that very admirable. The confusion on Anubis' face when Laura disappeared spoke volumes on what's still to come, by the way…

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Two effects highlights that deserve attention: I loved the homage to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead in the way Laura crawled out from her grave, and how they're visualizing the way Laura sees the world now that she's undead.

American Gods Season 1 2017

The fight scene/one-sided ass-kicking by an eventually one-armed woman scene was way more over-the-top than I imagined it would be…though it should be, since we're no longer in the land of "merely human" anymore.

Laura looked like she stepped out of a mashup of Kill Bill and A Clockwork Orange to go ballistic on Tech Boy's (Bruce Langley) lackeys. And let me clarify: Yes…she does, in fact, kick one of them in the balls so hard that their entire spinal column comes out through the top of their head. Wouldn't make up something like that…not sure I could, actually. Laura then goes "gymkata" on the rope that Shadow's hanging from, breaking him loose while symbolically standing in a "baptism" of blood. In this scene, I sensed either a newfound or renewed faith in Shadow on Laura's part…but sometimes faith comes with a price, as her arm can attest to firsthand.

Recapping American Gods Episode 4, Git Gone: "There's Nothing To Believe. Trust Me. I've Looked."

Laura does her best Carrie cosplay as she walks down the street…and I particularly liked the fact that she seemed more bothered and pissed-off by her shoe than the fact that she has to carry her own arm.

In this episode, we get a reunion between Laura and Audrey (Betty Giplin) as Laura seeks assistance with a very important sewing project. After what could best be described as an "awkward greeting," we see Laura forced into a situation outside of her normal comfort zone: Dependent on the care and compassion of someone who she royally fucked over. Audrey doesn't waste that opportunity, hitting Laura with lines that impacted her hard:

"So much easier grieving someone when you're glad they're dead."

 

But even with that, I'm still left feeling that their friendship dynamic really hasn't changed: Laura is still the "alpha" and Audrey will be the "beta" because Audrey will always care a little too much, no matter how much of a vulgar woman anger and grief have made her. Audrey may be speaking her mind, but a good chunk of that time she's speaking her mind to someone as she's cleaning them up and driving them where they need to go. And what's Laura doing? Getting pissed at her obituary while Audrey drives her to next stop, which ends up being:

"Welcome to the Anubis/Ibis Body Shop…where we come to you!"

A very nice and friendly way for Anubis and Mr. Ibis (Demore Barnes) to assist Laura, and in a not-so-subtle way remind her that they'll still be waiting for her when all of it ends. I liked how different their interaction was this time: It moved from confrontational and argumentative to a place of respect for and understanding of their respective roles. On a final note…Mr. Ibis's line is one that I went back and listened to several times because of just how meaningful it truly is:

"Yet many is the man who would take any version of his lost love rather than leave his love lost. He will say, 'thank you,' to whatever god sent you back to him."

Nice try, but it's going to take a helluva lot more than some stitching and a spray tan to fool the flies.

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Again, kudos to the effects team for the way they presented the aura/glow that Laura sees around Shadow as he enters his motel room, where she sits waiting. It's a beautiful scene that HD televisions were made for, and I think gives credence to my belief that Laura's resurrection has come with a renewed faith in Shadow…though I'm still torn on the question of whether or not it's actually love.

"Hi, puppy."

Trying to work on rebuilding your relationship with your dead/not dead wife is bad enough…now try doing it while kidnapped by some new gods!

Find out next week when we look at Lemon Scented You.

Ray Flook has been a contributing writer to Bleeding Cool since 2013 and "Ray-splaining" geek stuff his entire life. You can follow him on Twitter at @oldmangeek88; on Instagram at @oldmangeek; and soon through the Big Bad Geek podcast.

About Bill Watters

Games programmer by day, geek culture and fandom writer by night. You'll find me writing most often about tv and movies with a healthy side dose of the goings-on around the convention and fandom scene.

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