I normally don’t use this term, but I think it fits this episode: WTF?
Let me start by saying this was an episode that tells the stories we didn’t see in episode seven by filling us in on what happened to Ed, Peggy, Dodd and Ohanzee as we were caught up in the trouble in Fargo last week.
At first, I thought this episode was heading toward the unnecessary by explaining what happened to these folks. But my pessimism quickly evaporated with the interactions between Peggy and a tied-up, pissed off Dodd Gerhardt. My God, this was the performance I have been waiting for from Kirsten Dunst as Peggy, and it bumped up her insanity to a new level. Kudos to Dunst, because she made this episode all the more better. And Dodd playing against that made for what I think was the funniest episode of the season.
At the start, we see Peggy is having a bizarre hallucination as she is talking to an imaginary psychiatrist (it is actually Dodd listening to her insane ramblings. “This lady has lost her mind, brother,” Dodd tells Ed when Ed finds them in the basement, which made me laugh out loud), which set up the interesting character development throughout the episode as she seems to have found her true potential.
Ed and Peggy basically head off to a cabin in South Dakota with Dodd in their trunk. Peggy is high on her new revelation of self-discovery (a lot of New Age mumbo jumbo that seems to have been popular at that time) as Ed is basically on his “fight or flight” survival instincts. This is apparent when the show goes to split screens of the two in the same car — they are on totally different levels as Peggy seems happy as hell that they are getting out of Southwest Minnesota and Ed is concerned about surviving the wrath of the Gerhardt family, which is obviously looking for them. This has been a constant theme with these two since the first episode.
Again, it is the interaction between Peggy and Dodd that makes this episode great. There is not a whole lot of plot going on during this hour-and-a-half episode, but the quirky interactions and the further showing of Peggy’s madness kept it interesting. As Ed is constantly going to the gas station to try and get in touch with the Gerhardt family (he is so polite when he calls their house), Peggy is waxing her new philosophy at an agitated Dodd (whom we know doesn’t seem to like women in the first place).
Then we have Ohanzee on their trail. He sees that Peggy has a hotel reservation in Sioux Falls for the LifeSpring seminar, and heads in that direction. He does make an interesting pit stop along the way.
Ohanzee stops at a bar in South Dakota during his search, where he sees a plaque that states 22 Sioux were hanged there. He enters the bar and is met with overtones of hatred. He orders a water, sees it has been tampered with, and asks the bartender if he spit in it. He then orders a tequila and has him pour it in front of him. The bartender brings up the incident at Wounded Knee, giving hell to Ohanzee about it. Ohanzee steps out of the bar, and is followed by a trio of hillbilly racists. After listening to their bigoted diatribe at him, Ohanzee shoots them in the knee (which, I know I shouldn’t cheer at, but did anyway). When the cops arrive, he simply takes them out with a M16AR15 (he also went back and killed the bartender. This is not a guy you want to mess around with). So, we get the answer as to what happened to those two South Dakota cops mentioned last week.
Back at the cabin, Peggy is not only getting more and more nuts, but she is also not taking any crap from Dodd (tied up in a cabin, it was a nice nod to the film). Dodd looks like a rabid animal here, as he keeps flapping his gums at Peggy. She, in response to not taking his crap, stabs him twice in the chest as a punishment for his words toward her (“you called me a whore, I heard,” she tells him). She also starts force feeding him beans (which he said he didn’t want) as she is spouting her new age nonsense, which shows more of how far gone she is. But Dodd seems to come around to the beans and is spoon-fed like a child (again, I’ve thought he has acted like a spoiled kid this whole season, especially when he wanted to spank Bear). She even has Ed hold a pot so Dodd can piss into it. That was, um, unusual.
Also, he tells Ed “she’s crazy, keep her away from me,” which again had me laughing out loud. Ed even has to tell Peggy to stop stabbing the guy.
Ohanzee finds the hotel and finds Peggy’s co-worker Constance Heck (I don’t know why, but I love that name for some reason) who it seemed was planning on seducing Peggy at this seminar (there was some hints to this in earlier episodes). Peggy uses the phone at the cabin to talk to Constance (she has had her awakening, you know) and Ohanzee is listening in to the conversation, with Constance trying to get Peggy to give away her location so she won’t presumably get killed. Peggy is in a different world, not fully grasping the danger around her and is just talking away like nothing is wrong.
Ed finally gets through to someone (the folks in Fargo sure don’t seem much interested in getting Dodd back, but we know why from last week) so he finds someone who is interested, Mike Milligan (he knew how to locate him from a news clipping? I was busy jotting notes down that I missed that). He sets up a time and place to meet with Mike in Sioux Falls.
Peggy, in her madness, begins zoning into a movie she is watching with too much attention. It is another fake film, a WWII film featuring Ronald Reagan. This gives Dodd the upper hand, as he manages to get out of the ropes as she is in la la land.
Ed returns to the cabin, only to find Peggy on the floor and Dodd missing. Dodd is behind him with a noose, and strings Ed up — strangling him as he sways around from the noose. Peggy is trying to save Ed, crawling on the floor as Ed is fighting to breathe. Dodd, who has never taken a cue from a long-winded Bond villain, goes on a tangent on how much he despises women. In his crazed ramblings, Peggy manages to stab him in the foot and save her husband.
Enter Ohanzee. This is the moment that made me go WTF. Ohanzee stands in the cabin as Dodd is yelling “just shoot them ya half-breed, I’m hurtin’ here!” Maybe it was the incident at the bar on top of a lifetime of racism toward him, maybe something else, but Ohanzee turns on Dodd and shoots him in the head. Then, in what even furthered the strangeness, Ohanzee wants Peggy to cut his hair short. “Tired of this life,” he mutters to Peggy. Enter Lou and Hank, who have found the cabin. Peggy stabs Ohanzee in the back with her scissors during a shootout, but he manages to escape out the back way before Hank and Lou enter the cabin.
- Ohanzee served three tours in Vietnam, and has a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Those hillbillies shouldn’t have questioned his loyalty to the United States.
- I enjoyed the guy at the gas station. “The hippies want you to think the world is heating up because of my wife’s hairspray.” Also, his interaction with Ohanzee vaguely reminded me of the scene with the store owner and Anton Chigurh in “No Country For Old Men.”
- Ed putting the pillowcase over Dodd’s head. “Goddamnit,” Dodd says.
- “Brother, I like your style,” Mike Milligan to Ed over the phone.
- Ed sure has a hard time getting through to the Gerhardts. But he remains polite on the phone each time. Because that’s the kind of guy Ed is.
- “Excuse me your lordship, I need to use the john.”
- “You gotta stop stabbing him.”
- “Things are fun. Trapped no more,” Peggy tells Ed in the car.
- Peggy seems to enjoy taking the cattle prod to Dodd.
- “Positive Peggy is what they call me,” she tells Dodd. Again, Dunst knocked it out of the park this episode.
- I’m glad we did see Lou and Hank go back to the Blumquists’ home after the stand-off at the police station in episode six.