“You had a shitty obituary because you lived a shitty life. You were shitty.”
The first three episodes of American Gods have left fans with a lot of questions. “Git Gone” obviously doesn’t answer all of them, but it does focus on one mystery: Laura. The episode gives us a look at both her past and present and has a bit more insight into the character. Most of that insight probably won’t sway negative opinions of her, but given the traits of the character, she probably wouldn’t care.
“Git Gone” paints a picture of a woman who is both clinically depressed and deeply lost. She hates her job, seems to have no friends (Robbie and Audrey come later, it seems), and believes in nothing. Her attempt at suicide doesn’t go the way that she’d planned, but make no mistake, the pre-Shadow Laura has no interest in living. Current-Shadow Laura doesn’t have much interest in living either, so don’t take that as them trying to tie her life value to Shadow. At least while she was alive.
The two meet at Laura’s casino. It’s the standard girl-meets-guy scenario, except for the part where he thinks he can rob the place with a little bit of sleight of hand. Minor details. Instead of turning him in, Laura warns him and tells him to leave after his hand. She thinks that will be the end of things, but Shadow has other ideas, meeting her in the parking lot after her shift to both hit on her and try to convince her to help him rob her place of employment. Thankfully, Laura tells him that it’s all a hard pass, but they go home together anyway.
Things are a bit of a blur from there. Literally. They’re portrayed through the episode the way Laura remembers them. Little snippets of happiness here and there with the underlying tone of depression. It’s during these snippets that they get married, and we meet Robbie and Audrey. Everything culminates in Laura telling Shadow that she wants to carry out the plan he presented to her when they first met. She wants to rob the casino.
It’s important to note that Shadow is completely happy in his love for her. So long as he has her, he can keep going. Laura, on the other hand, is still deeply depressed with no purpose in life. The idea of robbing the casino gives her that purpose. Shadow sees that it’s important to her and decides to go along with it despite his better judgment. And that, friends, is how you end up in prison!
Despite the length of his incarceration, Laura promises to wait for him. Experts concluded that this was a LIE! The death of her cat, affectionately named “Dummy”, hits Laura hard. She’s already depressed, her husband that she never really loved is in prison, and now her cat’s dead. Don’t worry, honey. Dane Cook’s Robbie to the rescue! He’s not happy with Audrey, Shadow’s in prison, Laura’s vulnerable, and it’s sexy time.
It continues to be sexy time throughout the rest of Shadow’s stint in jail. Laura, insisting that she’s happy with Shadow, tells Robbie that it’s to end, but gives him a farewell blowjob because I guess those are things? Then they die. What an unfortunate way to go out. Either way, Robbie’s death sticks, and Laura’s decidedly does not. She has a meeting with Anubis to get through before heading back topside, though.
The meeting with Anubis is bleak, just as Laura’s life was. She refuses to let the god weigh her heart against the feather, and thus they move straight to judgment. Since Laura believed in nothing in life, she will have nothing in death. She is tasked with sitting in darkness for the rest of eternity in her nothingness. That nothingness takes the form of the hot tub she’d tried to kill herself in prior, concluding the symmetry between her life and her death. Small problem: she has no intention of getting in that hot tub. Anubis could have undoubtedly ensured that she did as she was told, but Laura’s ripped from their meeting and back in the world to relive most folks’ worst nightmare—waking up in a coffin that’s already six feet under.
Laura automatically gets to work. Not intentionally, there’s just a lot that she stumbles upon after crawling out of her grave. Most importantly, she’s the mysterious figure that saves Shadow from Technology Boy’s lynch mob. She takes them all on with little trouble, but the fight does cost her an arm.
Good thing she’s got a bestie to sew that sucker back on! Sure, she slept with said bestie’s husband, but that’s all water under the bridge, right? Not quite. But Audrey does help Laura after she’s done freaking the hell out. She even tries to drive her to Shadow, but Anubis has other plans. Like actually reattaching Laura’s arm, for instance. And making her look like a human. Her new state means that her body will no longer maintain itself, so she’ll have to. It also means that whenever she’s done with Shadow, she will return to the afterworld, and the nothingness that she has earned.
Newly alive Laura sees things differently than she did in her first go of life. For example, she now actually loves the man that she’s claimed to all along. Or at least she believes that she does. She feels guilty for everything that’s happened, and wants to protect him and his light. After hiding from him after fighting off the mob, she meets him in the hotel room. As you may recall, this is exactly the way we left things at the end of “Head Full of Snow”.
The fact that “Git Gone” doesn’t progress the story at all makes it American Gods’ weakest episode yet, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t totally necessary. We’re used to most stories being told linearly, which will not be the case at all through this series. Hopefully future offerings will have their revelations spliced in with moments that progress their mission toward the war, but for now we at least know some of what’s going on with living dead girl. Despite the episode’s flaws, it also gives a pretty solid look at depression without going out of its way to call it out or make it seem out of the norm. Of all the ideas revolving around Laura, hopefully that will get acknowledged and addressed as her story unfolds. Like so many coping with depression, she doesn’t seem to know that’s what’s going on.
While the episode’s focus is on Laura, Audrey ends up being the star. She may be self-righteous and bitter, but she was married to a Krav Maga bro who cheated on her with her best friend. She’s earned some saltiness. In all of her bitterness, she still helps Laura. She’s also given some of the best dialogue in “Git Gone”. Since we end the episode exactly where we ended last week, there’s nothing to discuss in terms of progression, but as always your comments and theories are welcomed!
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. If you or someone that you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. You matter.