American Gods – Episode 4: Git Gone – Reviewed

As with episodes two and three of American Gods, the fourth installment, Git Gone, expands the scope of the show's world outward, rather than following a conventional television arc of pushing the main narrative directly forward. This storytelling method continues to be a fascinating one: an emphasis on world-building within which the plot can grow organically, rather than a plot-driven approach that gradually builds a world along the way. Particularly fascinating is how each of these three episodes has focused on a particular important facet of the show, and dove into it. As episode two focused on expanding the show's pantheon of old gods, and episode three focused on developing the show's philosophy, part four elaborates on the history and present role of a character who hasn't exactly been present in the series so far, but whose importance has hung over almost everything. Told largely in flashback, and in events that run parallel to some that we have already seen so far, this is the story of the late Laura Moon (Emily Browning).

Laura has been an important emotional presence throughout all of Shadow's journey so far, but she has mostly been encountered through the perspective of Shadow's grief, and his struggle to reconcile his love for her with his feelings about her affair. Now, we see it all from her perspective, and fill in the gaps in Shadow's experiences. Laura is a wonderfully complex character, and the way that this episode dedicates a full hour to exploring who she is is an excellent move. Given the nature of her introduction in the first episode, there is a lot that we need to know to understand how she got to that point, and the truth of how she felt about it, and about Shadow. Both Fuller and Green's script and Browning's excellent performance rise to the occasion, and also give the show its first really major chance to expand beyond the source material. In a significantly expanded personal history we see her genuine love for Shadow and her longing for an unknown better future juxtaposed with her depression and dissatisfaction with her present. Browning plays both sides of this duality very well, with the emphasis thoroughly on her depression and emotional distance. Her characterization is sometimes quite painful to experience, and sometimes frustrating, but while you can't always agree with or like her decisions, it certainly makes it easy to understand and sympathize with her. Browning carries the episode completely, and it showcases her as a very strong actress.

She may look frightening, but don't worry, she's unarmed.

The ways in which the episode expands beyond the source material also showcase the strength of Fuller and Green's writing on its own merits separate from Gaiman's novel. Quite a bit more is added to Laura's journey, including some really strong sequences and subplots, and not only are they just as strong as the sequences drawn directly from the book, they are actually some of the episode's best scenes. Some of the interactions between Laura and the other supporting characters are especially excellent. I am so glad not only that the series is fleshing out the world of Gaiman's story even further using the possibilities of this new medium, but that it is doing it so well.

As the pieces continue to fall into place, I am quite looking forward to seeing how the show tackles the novel's main narrative, but I certainly have not felt any hurry to get there, as its world-building is so excellent. Browning is great as Laura, and this complex female lead makes a very welcome addition to the show's ever-growing ensemble. I look forward to seeing how her further elaborated arc plays out as the season goes on. And knowing how well Fuller and Green seem to be running with the material in their new additions, I am very excited to see what other surprises they have in store.


- Christopher S. Jordan

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