The war in Fargo has finally spread down to Luverne, and for most of the principles of this ragged saga, they are beyond the point of no return. Bear’s son Charlie is in jail for trying to kill Ed and burning down the butcher shop. Ed is in jail for, you know, putting a meat cleaver into a man’s head. Hank is at the Blumquists’ home, trying like heck to get Peggy to confess it all. And, aw jeez, with Fargo’s soldiers down in southwest Minnesota, the Gerhardt Family Compound is left vulnerable.
I must say, this has been the first episode all season that has not been heavy handed with metaphors and philosophy. Not that I haven’t enjoyed that element (it’s one of the reasons this season has already surpassed the first, which also had a lot of this as well), but it was nice to allow the characters and story to breathe a little, and it sure made for an entertaining hour of television. There were also some scenes that were drenched in so much suspense, you felt you could cut it like Jell-O salad.
The episode starts with Ed’s arrest and Hank trying to get Peggy to talk. Hank and Lou both know the Blumquists have put themselves in quite the pickle. Unfortunately, the Blumquists still are “living in Tuesday” and are out of touch with the very real danger they are in. Peggy is intent on making her seminar in Sioux Falls in the morning. Hank, with an incredible look of befuddlement, explains to her that the war in Fargo is now in Luverne, and that on top of the five bodies there, another 15 are back in North Dakota. She is not going to get to the seminar early.
The interaction between these two was great. Peggy is intent on getting to the Life Spring seminar; she is intent on leaving Minnesota in general. “Life’s a journey” she tells Hank. In her mind, this whole mess has seemingly been a great excuse to get out of southwest Minnesota. A pretty screwed up way, but a way for Peggy.
Hank, from his discussion with her, figures it out. “You’re a bit touched, aren’t ya” he says, meaning she’s crazy. He even asks her why she didn’t call for help, or drive Rye to the hospital. She shrugs it off as being disconnected, that things don’t play out like in the movies. What we, the viewers know, is she certainly is disconnected, but mostly from reality.
Then we have the Gerhardt brothers, Dodd and Bear. Once Bear finds out Dodd sent his son to Luverne to kill the butcher, he is irate. This is not the life he wanted for his son, and Dodd crossed some boundaries. They fight, but Dodd being the eldest brother (and eventual head of the crime family), he has to punish Bear for questioning him and attacking him. Which made for a weird encounter as Dodd asks Bear if how he wants to be spanked. Again, it was a very strange encounter. Bear opts for the buckle.
Good thing Floyd stepped in to end this madness (also preventing herself from seeing her full-grown sons spank one another with belt buckles). But it shows again how childish Dodd is, and Bear knowing who will eventually be the head of the table has to take his punishment. But Floyd wants Charlie back (so they can weasel him up to Winnipeg) and for the boys to finally kill this “Butcher of Luverne.”
Bear isn’t Dodd’s biggest headache, that is going to his daughter Simone (he just doesn’t know it yet). When he sees how she is dressed, his doesn’t beat around the bush and calls his daughter a whore (Dodd is one of the most unlikable characters I have ever seen on television). “You want to know what a whore’s life is? Five good years. Five bad years. And then a half-dick sweatstick will grind you out like a cigarette,” is Dodd’s fatherly advice to his daughter. I mean, Dodd is just a horrible human being.
Simone, obviously, is not so happy about what her father told her. When she sees Dodd and Bear and an army of guys head down to Luverne, she immediately calls Mike Milligan, thinking he will drive down there to kill her father. “Tell him to kiss my grits,” she tells Mike to say to her father before Mike kills him. What she doesn’t realize is that now that the compound is left open, this is Kansas City’s chance to take out the family matriarch, Floyd. Which, toward the end of the episode, is exactly what he attempts. He and the surviving Kitchen Brother shoot up the house after Floyd has a talk with Simone.
Then we have Lou at the police station, trying to get Ed to spill the beans. Lou is not as nice this time around. Ed now has two bodies on his hands, one of which Lou can prove he did. Ed, in his infinite wisdom, asks for a lawyer. Well, he gets the best lawyer in town (the only lawyer in town) Karl Weathers. It was great to see Karl have such big moments in this episode. He is drunk, babbling on about conspiracies and full of himself — until he walks out the door of the police station and sees an army of Gerhardt soldiers with Bear, pointing shotguns at the place and demanding the release of Charlie.
The Gerhardts also arrive at the Blumquists’ humble abode in search of Ed. Hank, having been around, has Peggy hide as he tries to talk with these boys from Fargo. They don’t care he is law enforcement, they want blood. Ohanzee lurks behind the house as Hank is talking. This scene was intense, I thought this was the end for old Hank, and then — BAM! Ohanzee smacks Hank in the head, knocking him out and Dodd sends him to head to the police station as he is going to take care of the situation at the house.
The basement scene really shows that Peggy’s weird OCD with magazines and newspapers finally paid off when she is able to take out a henchman and Dodd by hiding in her labyrinth of pulp products. She even uses the cattle prod on Dodd, shocking him until smoke is rising from his body.
Lou is dealing with the lynch mob at the jail, turning off the lights and having people smash light bulbs by the back door so they can hear if someone has gotten in by the sound of broken glass. He sends Karl out to talk to Bear (basically buying some time as he sneaks Ed out of the jail and away from the certain death that would come upon him if he was found there).
Karl, in his drunken, soiled pants stupor, actually makes points that hit home to Bear. His son is a minor, and the situation would not put him in jail for life, only about five years. But, if they take him out of there, in the manner in which they are trying, Charlie would be on the lam the rest of his life, with a “shoot to kill” order from law enforcement searching for him. Bear doesn’t want this life for his kid, and sees Karl is correct, that Charlie can still have a life outside of crime if they keep him there. Bear, being the more pragmatic brother, leaves his son in the jail and heads back to Fargo. Charlie is not beyond the point of no return.
At the end, we have Ed escaping custody as Hank finds him and Lou on the road. Ed is heading back to the house for Peggy. Lou and Hank are heading back to the precinct. And Ohanzee heads toward where Ed ran off, because his job is not done until Ed is dead.
- Lou’s backup is in Marshall and in Nobles County (the closest we’ve had to a Worthington reference so far). And backup is about an hour away.
- Ohanzee was mainly lurking in the shadows this whole episode. Made him a lot more creepy.
- Nick Offerman killed it in this episode as Karl Weathers. The character is a nice combination of Ron Swanson and John Goodman’s Walter Sobchak in the “Big Lebowski.”
- I’m glad we got more of Hank in this episode. Ted Danson’s doing an incredible job with this role.
- The song at the end of the episode was a cover of “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow,” which was the big song in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”