Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Short Sad Life Of Laura Moon: "Git Gone"

The Good: Good performances, Good direction
The Bad: Dull characters, Dull plot, Erratic pacing (last 15 minutes is better than the first 45!)
The Basics: "Git Gone" fleshes out Laura Moon about as well as one can expect for a boring, bored, character who died in the series premiere.

Someone watched Lost. The climactic opening of the hatch in the first season finale of Lost left the writers and producers at a very difficult position; the mystery of the hatch had driven fan theories and made interest in the show rise at a time when usually a popular show starts to see fall-off in viewers. With the hatch being blown open, the mystery was now gone and the writers and executive producers had to pay off all that emotional investment, lest the second season go down in flames very quickly. To keep the level of intrigue high and delay a full, comprehensible revelation as long as possible, the second season of Lost (reviewed here!) took the primary characters to a point, then replayed with a different character to that point, and then replayed with another character to that point. When American Gods capped "Head Full Of Snow" (reviewed here!) with Shadow walking into his motel room and seeing his dead wife sitting on his bed, but begins "Git Gone" at the (apparent) beginning of Laura Moon's story, it's clear to genre fans that the Starz series is playing the same narrative game.

"Git Gone" is an attempt to make Laura Moon, a character dead almost immediately in the American Gods narrative, into a vital character. Unfortunately, it does not take long into "Git Gone" before it is apparent that Laura is neither a vital character, nor a particularly good or interesting one.

Laura is dealing blackjack at a little casino in Indiana, where she resists the automatic shuffling machine (preferring to deal by hand). She leads a simple life, after work eating meagerly and getting high on insecticide spray. One day, after four years of working at the casino, Shadow walks in and attempts to steal at her table by swapping chips subtly. Laura waves him off the attempt and after her shift, she finds Shadow waiting for her. Laura takes Shadow back to her house and the two begin a relationship. Soon, they are married and Laura slips into a numb pattern of work, passionless sex with Shadow and waiting for her life to pop.

Four years into their relationship, Laura sits Shadow down and tells him she wants to rob the casino. Laura's "perfect plan," though, fails and Shadow takes the fall for her, going to prison. While Shadow is in prison, Laura dutifully waits for him taking his calls and doing more inhalants until her cat dies. Laura's friend Audrey has a husband, Robbie, who is handy for Laura while Shadow is in prison and he buries her cat, which starts the two having an affair. As Shadow moves toward his release, Laura and Robbie's affair reaches a peak and the two go out driving when they get into a car accident. Laura finds herself with Anubis and when he challenges her, she is abruptly and shockingly resurrected. Back on Earth, Laura begins to follow a mysterious light, which leads her to Shadow.

Emily Browning is fine as Laura in "Git Gone" - she plays Laura as a bored, dull young woman who is thoroughly unlikable. To her credit, Browning is able to display range and she emotes using more than one facial expression, which is a distinct step up from her performance in Sucker Punch (reviewed here!). Laura Moon is a boring, unlikable character, but Browning plays the bored character well.

The real acting winner in "Git Gone," though, is Dane Cook. Cook plays Robbie and it is one of the more subtle, less manic, characters that he has played. In fact, Robbie is one of the first characters I can recall where Dane Cook fully invests in a character; watching "Git Gone," one does not see "Dane Cook as . . ." Dane Cook plays Robbie without any hint of Dane Cook.

Craig Zobel's direction for "Git Gone" is notable for finding the right balance of what is shown and what is obscured. Zobel illustrates the repetitive quality of Laura's life quite effectively. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Zobel's directing in "Git Gone" is in the inevitable car crash. Zobel does not sensationalize or show excessive detail in the car crash and he makes that work. The lack of gore for the car crash contrasts nicely with the colorful netherworld Laura finds herself in following the crash.

Ultimately, "Git Gone" does about all it can to make Laura interesting, but her character is a bored, lousy schemer. While there are ample hints within the episode that someone else is involved in much of what goes wrong in her life, it is hard to care because just as Laura lopes dully through life, the episode never gets much momentum as it plods from boring new scenes through events viewers already know about.

For other works with Betty Gilpin, please check out my reviews of:
Glow - Season 1
"The Bone Orchard"- American Gods
Fringe - Season 1

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into American Gods - The Complete First Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the debut season of the surreal series here!


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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