It appears the only one who wants a war between the Kansas City Mafia and the Gerhardt Crime Family is the only one who doesn’t seem to have been through one: Dodd. As Floyd sits with the Gerhardt Crime Family’s Lieutenants, she is cautioning against an all out war, and the lieutenants at the meeting will only go to war if they are hit first (they will retaliate and “cut the nose off their goddamn face” if Kansas City attacks them). This does not sit with Dodd, who keeps proving just how unfit for leadership he is. Floyd even has to remind him that they have been “a peacetime family since Kennedy.”
Which alludes that they have not been to war since about 1960-63 —about 16 years at the very least, and Floyd wants to keep it that way. But she seems to be fighting an uphill battle — much like Sysiphus forever pushing the boulder uphill (and what the episode is named after) — with Dodd. It seems like a losing battle. And one that will have to be solved (which will not be pretty).
And that’s not all for the Gerhardts, since Hank informs Lou that the prints on the gun used in the Waffle Hut Massacre belong to Rye Gerhardt. Lou finds this out as he is in Fargo. But when Lou discusses all this with Fargo law enforcement officer Ben Schmidt (who is Gus Grimly’s commanding officer in season one), Ben keep getting more and more nervous. He knows the Gerhardt family, he knows of the Kansas City Mafia and he knows all this will lead to a lot of trouble if Lou keeps digging around. He warns Lou about this multiple times, even stating if he were in Lou’s shoes, he’d rather just confess to the murders himself and not get involved with the horror show that will come down now that a judge’s murder is linked to the Gerhardts.
And the two of them head to the Gerhardt compound. Lou is not afraid, while Ben is playing nice — showing just how different things are in Fargo compared to Luverne. The Gerhardts own Fargo and they own Ben, and is never challenged by the law, until Lou shows up. Lou doesn’t play nice, he isn’t scared of the threat of this crime family. Which made for an excellent, and intense, scene. Floyd will not speak to Lou, and Dodd shows up only to make a bad situation worse (again, this is not a leader). He says right in front of two cops “we own all the judges in town, why would we have to kill one?”
You could cut the tension with a knife in this scene.
Peggy finds herself becoming more and more paranoid. She listens in at the beauty shop as Hank discusses what happened at the Waffle Hut with his daughter (Betsey is getting her hair cut). Betsey once again hits the nail on the head (she did find the murder weapon) when she offers an explanation of how Rye’s shoe got in the tree and why his car was still there: A hit and run! Peggy, in a fit of fear, says that’s ridiculous as Hank agrees, saying what kind of person would “drive home with a Gerhardt in your windshield and fix dinner?”
There is definitely a pattern with the Solverson women being 100 percent right in crime cases, only to be rebuffed by the people who actually committed the crimes and other law enforcement. And it’s frustrating the second time around too! But it seems Hank does not want to think that someone would be so psychotic as to hit someone and keep going like it wasn’t a big deal.
So Peggy launches a terrible idea for explaining that Gerhardt-sized hole in her windshield by doing more damage to the car. And she convinces poor Ed to do it for her. So they smash the car against a tree, but somehow it doesn’t look like it would explain what the hell happened to the windshield.
Then there was Skip in this episode. Poor, goofy, in over his head Skip — who probably has regretted getting into business with Rye since episode two. He runs into Lou and Ben, Kansas City is looking for him and he gets caught by Dodd’s daughter Simone and his trusty henchman Ohanzee Dent. Before he meets his maker by being buried alive, he informs Dodd that Kansas City was looking for Rye — which does not sit well with Dodd and Ohanzee.
The plot is getting thicker, and the intensity is becoming even more than what we saw in season one. They keep alluding to the UFO, and it seems like hell is about to rain down on Luverne and Sioux Falls — and fairly soon.
- Luverne sure got a beating in this episode, referred to as both a “small hick town” and a “s***hole Minnesota town.”
- Dead judge plus the Gerhardts plus heavy hitters from Kansas City is making for a lethal combination.
- Dodd abusing his daughter was horrible to watch.
- Poor Skip was also referred to as a “Squirrelly Fella.” Which felt like a callback to how the women described Steve Buscemi’s character in the film, when they called him “funny looking.”
- Peggy’s uncle’s advice to getting out of wrecking his car when he was drunk: Sober up the next day and do more damage. Then report it to the authorities.
- The meeting between Lou and Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers was great. Again, Mike Milligan is coming off as a Malvo-type character this season. He is more menacing than anyone we have seen so far, and he hasn’t killed anyone (yet).
- Hank refers the Kitchen Brothers as “the Bathroom Brothers.”
- The scene at the beginning with Ohanzee Dent and the rabbit was great.
- “We know how to butter the bread,” a lieutenant screams at Otto. Floyd says “he’s not deaf.”
- Joe Bulo carries his own shampoo, one that works in hard and soft water.
- Mike saying “it’s the way you’re unfriendly, like you are doing me a favor” to Lou was great. Really cuts through that Minnesota Nice — or even that North Dakota Nice.