American Gods S01E04: “Git Gone”
Note: This review will not have explicit spoilers for either the book or this episode of American Gods other than what is in the summaries for both pieces of media. However, this review will have spoilers for the first three episodes of American Gods.
This Week on American Gods:
In this week’s episode of American Gods, we took a step back from Shadow’s (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday’s (Ian McShane) journey to focus in on the journey of Laura Moon (Emily Browning). The audience follows her from the first time she meets Shadow through her appearance in last week’s episode.
I had mixed feelings on this episode. On one hand, it’s impressive that the showrunners essentially decided to take a detour from the main plot and just had faith that the audience would follow. We get to follow Laura through her lonely life before, with, and after Shadow, gaining a lot of insight into how she got there, even more than we got in the book. Laura seems like she had clinical depression, or at least was in need of a great passion to distract her from her mundane day to day. Emily Browning really nails Laura’s isolation, which flourishes despite the fact that knows that she should be happier with Shadow in her life. It’s clear that Shadow couldn’t see everything that was going on with Laura, which gives the audience a certain privilege. Now that she’s dead, she has a guiding light to help her through her undead circumstances, though it isn’t clear if being undead has completely cleared her head of the issues that she had before (though I doubt that the casino would have her back since revenants have certain issues looking pretty).
On the other hand, there are certain issues that I had with the episode. There was a seemingly minor backstory change that I think says a lot about the showrunners and changes part of Shadow’s character (take a lesson from Game of Thrones: there are no minor changes for book readers). In addition, this episode demarcates the halfway point of this eight-episode season. Although this episode answered the “how” of the two cliffhangers left (at least somewhat), that’s not all the show needs to answer for the audience. This episode may have made more sense in a longer season, or if the tv show plot was designed in such a way to make this the second (where Laura resurfaces in the book) or third episode. At this point, I think that the major internal reveal upon which the show hinges, where Shadow discovers that gods are real and many take up residence in the United States, may end up being the revelation that ends the first season. That may end up working stunningly, but there’s no way to know that at this moment.
In conclusion, while I appreciate the concept for the episode, I think that it faltered a little bit in execution. It’s clear that the showrunners are trying to take their time, but at what point do viewers decide they’re just taking too long?
Points to Remember From This Episode:
- Jacquel, Ibis and their funeral parlor.
- Laura’s fighting ability.
American Gods airs Sundays at 9pm on Starz.