I’m actually rather relieved that Laura is such an unmitigated asshole on the show. I know that they kind of took that post-mortem detachment from the book which was attributed to her being a zombie and applied it to her life before death, which is perhaps a departure, but it certainly makes a lot of sense.
Prior to the show airing I only saw the preview clips of her that were from the scenes where she is seen through Shadow’s memories or dreams of her (particularly the “who told you I was dead puppy” line) and I was worried they were going to soften her, make her more… ethereal… and I thought Emily Browning didn’t look like I would have imagined Laura to be (more hard edged).
But in actuality those soft moments are just Shadow’s rose tinted memories/imagings, and the show is mostly “look at this fucking asshole omg” and Browning’s portrayal is one of a person who looks cute and is used to being able to use that to distract and disarm people and avoid consequences in truly outlandish asshole fashion. (In the book her most redeeming quality was her willingness and ability to literally rip people to shreds if they were after Shadow, and in the show it’s amusing to watch her realize that she can literally cleave a man in two with a crotch kick, which is why I like her, because don’t we all want to eviscerate people for Shadow?)
Anyway, think it truly shakes her that Shadow doesn’t just melt for her. And it’s a mix of him seeing her in a more true light for the first time after knowing about her betrayal, but also, as Mr Wednesday says, she smells like cat piss and oven cleaner. Not so easy to charm your way out of trouble when you’re held together by paint and formaldehyde.
When she asks him if she feels alive and he’s like “yeah” it’s the least convincing yes in the history of the world but she’s pleased, like she actually believes it, and it was quite awkward. Though maybe I’m biased because I remember in the book how when she kissed him it said that’s when he knew she was well and truly dead.