Nobody wants to admit to themselves that they’re “settling”–choosing an easier life in favor of one that has more potential for happiness and satisfaction. But sometimes, you’re brought to ask yourself these questions: Do you take the safe route and hope it will lead to joy one day? Do you compromise in certain areas of life because you don’t want to take risks? Are you fulfilled, and if not, do you know what you can/need to change to head in the right direction?
American Gods‘ Laura Moon settled, at least when it came to her career. When she met Shadow, she was going through the motions. She was lost. Even after he came into her life, she was lost—and also selfish. She’s made some unequivocally terrible decisions, what with the heist and the affair with Robbie. Now she’s been given the gift of another chance at life, and she’s realized how utterly and truly she fucked things up. So she’s playing a more active role in determining her fate. Laura‘s decided her place in her afterlife of sorts is by Shadow’s side.
But are her actions to be a better wife too late? Should she be redeemed?
I’m not a fan of living Laura. She had some issues that need resolving. She stumbled through life, barely awake or aware of what was happening around her. She thought marrying Shadow would bring her some sort of fulfillment. When it didn’t magically change her life, she didn’t treat him well. She tried to infuse her life with excitement by planning a robbery of her place of work. Then, of course, Shadow got busted and sent to prison. And not only that, but she broke her word and her vows during his sentence.
There’s not much to like. And it’s okay. We don’t like every person we encounter in the world, so it stands to reason we won’t like all the characters on television—even a character who’s not a villain or necessarily even evil.
One reason you might not warm up to Laura is because you can relate to her. I’ve had points in my life where I’ve gone through the motions. I’ve worked a job I loathed because, you know, bills. Some days were simply about getting to the next one. I’ve been in those ruts. They’re not easy to pull out of; sometimes it’s not possible to do so without seeking professional help. So, viewing traits we don’t like in ourselves on full display with Laura make her unappealing. And Laura’s lack of initiative (except for the whole planning a crime bit) is another reflection we don’t like seeing.
With her fresh, kinda dead lease on life, Laura’s set on making amends. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat her mistakes or paint them with any sort of rose colors. She sees Shadow as her life and heart, and it’s like she’s seeing him for the first time. Laura is taking it upon herself to serve as Shadow’s protector in the bananas situation he’s fallen into. She wants to be by his side and make up for her past actions. Dying leads to some revelations, yo.
If I were Shadow, I don’t know if I’d let Laura back into my life. I don’t have the same history with her and I’ve never loved her, so I can’t put myself in his shoes entirely. I can only see how her actions (or inaction) and selfishness have caused him problems and heartache.
On the other hand, there’s the “everyone deserves a second chance” thing. Laura could have had her epiphany in life if she would have opened her damn eyes. At this point, I’m insanely frustrated with her but also proud of her for facing her new state of being in a relatively calm fashion. She needs to be sewn back together, so she goes to Robby’s wife for her craft supplies… which is incredibly goddamn insensitive.
That’s how it is with Laura. One kind step forward, a few shockingly tone deaf steps back. She’s trying though, and it’s never too late for that.
What’s your read on Laura? Do you think it matters for her to change her ways?