Fargo Season 2, Episode 3 recap

No one told a story this week on Fargo, but there was a lot of reminiscing. Peggy recalls a cousin who had a melanoma, and Lou Solverson and Ben Schmidt don’t bond over common experiences from Vietnam, and throughout the episode echoes of past meetings color the present. I really like how each episode opens with a character montage. It’s not really a “previously on Fargo”, but it shows us the main players of the episode in action, creating a link between the before and the now. Time is malleable on Fargo, with events layering on top of one another and the split-screen motif kicking in every now and again, not to show us two different simultaneous actions, but to show different angles of the same action in one scene. The effect is oddly dislocating—despite the grounded setting in 1979, Fargo feels like it’s happening in an alternate universe where time doesn’t exist. Maybe that’s why everyone keeps seeing and talking about UFOs.

Lou is in Fargo looking for Rye Gerhardt since his fingerprint was found on the gun Betsy unearthed from the snow. Fargo has a lot in common with Justified, but one interesting contrast is Lou’s first meeting with Floyd Gerhardt and her sons, Dodd and Bear. I can’t help but think of Raylan Givens seeing Mags and Doyle Bennett for the first time in nearly twenty years, but that meeting was weighed down with generations of history. When Lou confronts the Gerhardts for the first time, it’s the unknown that weighs down the scene. Floyd is obviously not used to cops who don’t obey her, and Dodd can’t stand any threat to his masculinity, and Lou is both directly and indirectly a threat.

Lou goads Dodd, which is crazy because Dodd is obviously batsh*t insane, but he also threatens Dodd just by existing. Dodd’s built up some paradigm of tough-guy masculinity in his mind, but ultimately, he’s an untested boy. His father has called the shots his whole life, and now that Otto is out of the chain of command, Floyd is stepping in and trying to control things. Dodd, for all that’s dangerous and violent, is untried. But Lou has been to war. He’s had his mettle tested and though we don’t yet fully know Lou Solverson, what we see in this episode is a man who knows what he’s capable of. There’s a steeliness in Lou that visibly throws Floyd and Dodd.

It does not, however, phase Mike Milligan. Bokeem Woodbine is ridiculously charming as Milligan—an early scene between Milligan and Joe Bulo discussing shampoo is delightful—and when Lou and Milligan square off it’s electrifying. Milligan doesn’t seem particularly scared of Lou, but he also doesn’t want to tangle with him. They’re two predators hunting the same prey but agreeing to search in different parts of the jungle. Where Dodd seems like a toddler next to Lou, Milligan comes off as his equal.

Also in this episode, the Blomquists continue trying to cover up Rye’s death. Betsy Solverson actually puts together the link between Rye being MIA and the shoe her dad found in the tree—he must have been hit by a car. But Sheriff Larsson dismisses her theory because Peggy offers a reasonable counterpoint—if you hit someone, wouldn’t you stop? (YEAH PEGGY, WOULDN’T YOU STOP?) So, having bought a little time with that decent-person distraction, Peggy and Ed proceed to cover up their crimes by totaling their car to disguise the damage Rye did to the windshield. Except Ed doesn’t get it right the first time, so now the question is which detail will be the one that trips up the Blomquists. Stray blood at their house or the butcher shop? The botched car wreck? Or will one of them crack and confess?

Everyone knows that Rye was involved with three dead at the Luverne Waffle House, but for now, the bad guys are a step ahead of Lou. Thanks to the work of family retainer Hanzee, Dodd learns of the connection between the typewriter salesman—improbably named Skip Sprang—and Rye and the Judge, and based on their rummaging through Skip’s office, Milligan and the Kitchen brothers probably have at least some of that down, too. Lou is still working on that, but he’s starting to get a view on the coming conflict between Fargo and Kansas City. How all this ends with a massacre in Sioux Falls is the mystery we the audience are working on.

Attached - Kirsten Dunst leaving Bouchon Restaurant in Beverly Hills last week.