Laura Moon is not your “iconic badass female character” at all, and I’d appreciate it if white women stopped pretending otherwise.
I do think it’s important and necessary to portray female characters who are complex, flawed, selfish, dangerous, and even a bit villainous. I also think it’s crucial to represent female characters with mental illnesses properly. So yes, in that sense, Laura is written quite well. Her depression is not aestheticized or glorified in the slightest, nor is it fetishized for a male viewing audience. She’s not a typical wife to a male protagonist because she is dangerous, she is apathetic, she is both a liar and casually blunt, she is self-aware, and she is cynical. These are not typical traits for the love interests of male characters. I get that.
But Laura is also meant to be a character you dislike, or, at the very least, one that you should have quite a difficult time empathizing with. Not only did she cheat on her husband - she cheated on him with his best friend, a man who also happened to be her best friend’s husband. Her selfish desires caused Shadow to get imprisoned, and she committed adultery while he was in prison because she lied to both Shadow and to herself when she said she could wait for him. She chose temporary relief over honesty. She treated Shadow apathetically, selfishly, and patronizingly, and in fact even after her death she continues to condescend to Shadow and expects him to be at her beck and call. She was callous and flippant with a god (Mr. Jacquel, AKA Anubis) and expected him to listen to her whims. Mr. Jacquel is a serious but compassionate person - if even someone like him is irritated by her actions, then you know that Laura is not a nice or good person at all.
You don’t need to justify her behavior. You need to accept that she’s a selfish and bad person. If you truly want complicated and different female characters, you cannot spend time trying to prettify or justify their awful behavior.
Audrey, who justifiably hates Laura, still cares for her because Laura, albeit her actions, was her best friend. It’s difficult to fully hate someone when you found out about their death and their adultery at the same time. But she has no qualms about letting Laura know what she truly thinks about her. And she’s right - Laura did not love Shadow. Laura did not treat him properly. Laura was selfish. Laura is still selfish. Laura thinks of nothing but herself, and it doesn’t matter that she’s depressed; depression does not excuse treating your loved ones like toys to play with or manipulate.
The only reason any of you are justifying Laura’s behavior is because Shadow is black. The protagonist of the show is a black man, and that’s exactly why you think the show is only good now that Laura is on it. I’ve seen people say “well the show passes the Bechdel test because of Laura now”. Setting aside the sad reality that the Bechdel Test was created by a lesbian to measure lesbian representation (so the show doesn’t actually pass the test since there are currently no lesbian characters on it), there are actually interesting and unique female characters already. These same fans who are touting Laura Moon as the height of “revolutionary” female representation ignore Bilquis.
If Shadow was a white man, he’d definitely get more sympathy from white fans. Conversely, if Laura was a black woman, she’d get villainized by the same people who are currently defending her. Or alternatively, if Shadow had cheated on Laura, he would be deemed persona non grata by these “Laura defense squad” type fans. Hell, if Shadow was a white man, white fans would not be saying that the show was “boring” until Laura came along - they’d hype it up from the get go.
This show is incredibly important because the main character is a black man who isn’t reduced to stereotypes at all, and it’s important because it has many characters of color who are written well and aren’t typecast into boring roles. Laura Moon is not what makes this show great. Sure, she’s one example of the great writing behind the show precisely because she’s such a challenging character to figure out and analyze. But even her actress, Emily Browning, acknowledges that she is supposed to be a character you have a hard time liking or empathizing with. Do not excuse her actions or lessen the degree of hurt she caused.
it’s not the first time kara’s said it, but lena feels her cheeks flush anyways. she focuses on the road in front of her, the feel of the steering wheel underneath suddenly sweaty palms.
“alright, dear.” lena takes a chance side-glance at her girlfriend and finds kara all soft smiles, something secret and intimate brewing between the two of them.
“alright,” kara repeats. she turns, palm under her head and elbow on the door as the open breeze whips her golden curls around. the moment feels new, feels real. lena turns up the radio and smiles, wishes for time to come to a standstill.
“i’m gonna marry you.”
kara’s breath is hot against her ear and lena can feel their heartbeats syncing as one. she breathes deep through her nose, runs her fingers through damp hair. kara lounges on her chest and seems content to just lie there forever - and lena doesn’t really mind. kara is made from the stars and lena holds the universe on her chest.
“and i’m gonna marry you.” lena whispers this into the night air, the room still sticky with heat. there’s a hitch in kara’s breath, slight, subtle, but a hitch nonetheless.
“i look forward to it.” a wet kiss is placed below lena’s jaw then, followed by a trail of more hungry ones, and lena holds onto broad shoulders, wonders what salt tastes like on a hungry tongue.
“i’m gonna marry you.” kara says it like she’s going to make a stop at the grocery and is asking lena what kind of milk she wants.
this time, there’s no surprise, only the warmth of familiarity that seeps through lena’s veins at those words of endearment.
“i know,” lena jokes. she doesn’t look up from the email that she’s typing up. “tmz is doing a countdown for the big proposal.”
across the living room, kara sticks her tongue out at her and rolls her eyes. lena continues to type and for a while, the only sounds of the apartment are the click clack of a keyboard and the shuffling of kara’s papers.
“you’d still say yes, right?”
lena looks up momentarily. “what?” she asks.
there’s a hesitancy to the slope of kara’s shoulders. “you would still say yes, right? if i asked to marry you?”
lena lets out a soft laugh - nothing intimidating or loud, just soft - and sits back in her chair, catches her girlfriend’s honest gaze with her own, “my dear, i’d follow you to the ends of the universe and back, you know that.”
this seems to soothe kara, who returns back to her books at hand. “alright,” she says as she pushes up her glasses. “just checking.”
“i’m gonna marry you.”
kara is crying, big, uncontrollable silent sobs down her cheeks. lena feels her own eyes well up in return; seeing kara in all her sadness never made for a dry eye between the both of them.
kara lies on the deo bed under sunlamps. and lena luthor is a child prodigy, a genius billionaire, a nobel peace prize winner and a forbes 30 under 30, but she will never understand the deepness of kara’s sorrow, the cuts and the space that kara’s mind occupies where no sunlight can reach. she tries. lena tries hard, and it’s times like these where she can only do so much but hold kara’s hand a pray for the sunrise to come quick.
lena’s mouth is dry when she speaks. “you’re gonna marry me,” she whispers, urges, promises, “you’re gonna marry me, and i’m gonna marry you, and you’re gonna have something steady to call your own.”
kara cries harder at this, tears streaming and silent heaves, but it’s enough. it’s enough for now, and it’s a promise of forever.
“i’m gonna marry you.”
and kara does. kara and lena exchange vows under a setting sun with matching bracelets on their arms and a song in their hearts and kara and lena marry each other when the world is turning into a new day and their beginning is just reaching the first page. lena marries kara and they sit on a rooftop at the end of the night, look into the constellations of stars and eons and legends and they find a home among the infinite, a peace among the unknown.