Fargo: The Myth of Sysiphus
October 27, 2015 1:25 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

The Gerhardts' search for Rye intensifies; Lou takes a trip to Fargo; Peggy overhears a new theory about the Waffle Hut shooter.

"Strange happenings, huh. I wondered what was causing that."

I really like Mike's wonky energy. Lou got to show some real mettle. More UFO fun. Feels like the season's settling into what, for me, is a very nice groove. Looks like next week could get quite messy though given the conversation this episode ends on.
posted by sparkletone (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's going to get very, very messy. So many people are going to die horribly before this show is over. I can't wait.

Didn't Lou have a limp in season 1 or am I making that up?

I loved the two standoffs Lou was involved in. So much tension in those scenes and I loved the way he stood his ground both times, though he also knew when to get out while he still could.

Every now and then there's a line taken right from the movie. Last night it was Hank saying "...and for what? A little bit of money?" I think Molly might have said the same line in season 1.

I think I zoned out because I missed the UFO stuff. I'm really curious how that's going to play out. It's a lot of fun the way they're teasing it but if the penultimate episode ends with a giant mother ship landing I don't know if I'm gonna buy that.

Shortly before the season started I rewatched both the movie and season 1. I loved them both the second (ok, third for the movie) time around but so far I'm enjoying season two even more.
posted by bondcliff at 6:29 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Didn't Lou have a limp in season 1 or am I making that up?

Yes. I think he said he took a bullet in the leg. Either way, I'm sure he'll come out of S2 with it!
posted by 2ht at 6:38 AM on October 27, 2015


Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. I expect we'll see how he got his limp.

I wonder if season 3 will feature a younger Hank.
posted by bondcliff at 6:39 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


The standoffs were great. Lou earned that second slice of cake. I'm not 100% sure what to make of Ted Danson's understated reaction. That felt to me like a great deal of consternation covered up by the cake line.

Of the two, I enjoyed the one with Mike and the brothers more. He's just so... cheerful and at ease. I'm sure he is an awful, dangerous person who will have ample opportunity to show that openly but for now he seems like a less malevolent Malvo from season one. I'm going to be a little sad when he dies in whatever unexpected manner is coming his way.

I also remember Lou having a limp last season but not any details beyond that and references to the events we're seeing now. It couldn't be clearer we're going to see how he picked that ailment up.
posted by sparkletone at 6:40 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was kind of surprised Lou took such an aggressive stance at the Gerhardt's place, being that he was out of his jurisdiction and all, and obviously didn't have a reliable back-up with him.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:33 AM on October 27, 2015


At this point I'm kinda worried Dodd is gonna straight up anger himself to death before the big showdown
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:26 AM on October 27, 2015


I was kind of surprised Lou took such an aggressive stance at the Gerhardt's place, being that he was out of his jurisdiction and all, and obviously didn't have a reliable back-up with him.

He has clearly watched season 1 and knows that he lives to be an old man!
posted by 2ht at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


And I guess where not gonna see those new Selectrics anytime soon. The're not just for women anymore!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:29 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree that Mike seems like a less malevolent Malvo, and in fact, there appears to be a reference to that resemblance in S1: when Lou meets Malvo in the diner that one time, he says something like, "You know, you remind me of someone I met in Sioux City back in '79" or something like that. (I'm kind of hoping that in the quasi-supernatural world that Fargo often seems to occupy, it turns out that Mike actually is Malvo.)
posted by holborne at 10:40 AM on October 27, 2015


I tell you what I'm waiting for, and this episode is as good a place as any to discuss it, and that is: the money.

Because, you know, the briefcase full of cash is what tied the movie to S01, and I loved it. It could have felt hokey but for me it totally worked. I loved that that young(er) Stavros Milos found the cash that had been buried in the snowbank by Jerry Lundegaard. Stavros used that cash to build a successful grocery store business. The cash itself wasn't Jerry's, though - he was just a temporary vehicle for it, the courier chosen by the cosmos. The money really came from his father-in-law Wade Gustafson, himself a successful businessman.

So what I'm sayin' here is I look forward to seeing a young Wade Gustafson somewhere at the end of this season, and I'm sure however he comes by the cash will be entertaining as hell.

I just really like this idea, that a father and daughter are working two cases separated by time and perpetrators but tied together by the same money. At some point in the middle it was Marge Gunderson's problem, but now it's back in the Solverson family.
posted by komara at 10:59 AM on October 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


But it was Carl Showalter who buried the money, not Jerry Lundegaard.
posted by holborne at 11:22 AM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, you're absolutely right, and I apologize for my mistake. I couldn't remember how to spell Wade's last name and spent too much time looking at character names on IMDb, ended up thinking about the wrong one as I was typing.
posted by komara at 11:50 AM on October 27, 2015


I was kind of surprised Lou took such an aggressive stance at the Gerhardt's place, being that he was out of his jurisdiction and all, and obviously didn't have a reliable back-up with him.

I dunno. I sort of agree, but at the same time, I really love an aw-shucks badass.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:08 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was kind of surprised Lou took such an aggressive stance at the Gerhardt's place

I think that's just his way. He's a cop and he believes in the law and he's not going to back down to criminals. Of course, the events of this season change all that, as we saw in season 1.
posted by bondcliff at 12:38 PM on October 27, 2015


I wonder if season 3 will feature a younger Hank.

Back during the Kennedy era, the last time the Gerhardts weren't a peacetime family. I'm going to get a kick out of successive seasons stepping further and further back, as long as they keep up this level of quality.
posted by Drastic at 4:00 PM on October 27, 2015


Didn't Lou have a limp in season 1 or am I making that up?

Yes. I think he said he took a bullet in the leg. Either way, I'm sure he'll come out of S2 with it!


IIRC, Lou said in season one that he had been on the force for 18 years when he caught a bullet at a traffic stop, and retired shortly afterward.
posted by bakerina at 4:10 PM on October 27, 2015


Found the quote, from the last episode of season 1 on the porch:
Greta Grimly: You were police once, Molly says.
Lou Solverson: State cop, Took a bullet in the hip on a traffic stop. Retired, full pension.
Greta Grimly: You ever do this before? Stand guard?
Lou Solverson: One other time, winter of 1979. Minus 4 degrees. Sat on a dark porch from dusk till dawn. Your stepmom was inside sleeping. Four years old.
Greta Grimly: Who did you think was coming?
Lou Solverson: It wasn't a question of who, more like what.
Greta Grimly: Did it come?
Lou Solverson: Not that night. But soon after.
posted by Gary at 4:31 PM on October 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Huh, I didn't see any Reagan this episode, outside of the general consternation over Carter and gas rationing. Overall this is another fantastic episode.

The aliens seem to coincide with the coming eighties (high tech, futuristic, inhuman) and that coming epoch of American life is sort of what's "making stuff weird". Overall the eighties seem incipient. Crime bosses talk in alienated (hah) market logic when discussing blood feuds. Dodd is almost a throwback amidst the clinical businesslike approach of both his mother, and on the other side, the KC mob.

Ohanzee seems like a call back to the still inexplicable opening scene on the Reagan movie set. The native imagery is repeated - when Peggy runs over to the butcher shop to get Ed there's a dimestore native statue in soft focus in the background... that may be foreshadowing once the truth begins to come clear about what happened to Rye. Instead of Reagan directly we get his forebearer - Nixon, channeled through the delightful and frightening Mike Milligan.

Skip's tie comes back again too. It's what was fed into the typewriter last episode, and its flag bespeckled pattern is all that's left of him through the hot asphalt. And, also, what a fucking terrible way to go.

This show is a treat to watch.
posted by codacorolla at 8:15 PM on October 27, 2015


"He's a squirrelly fella."

And gah: our DVR cut this off at 1 hour, and the FXOD on our cable disables fast-forward. Gonna have to watch the entire episode again to catch the ending.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:18 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Absolutely loved the cold open where we get some backstory on a less attention-grabbing character; from the AV Club's recap (now written by Zack Handlen):
"There’s more going on here—like how about that cold open, with Ohanzee out in the woods, remembering seeing a magician pull a rabbit out of his hat. Not sure what to make of that (the fact that the young Ohanzee doesn’t applaud the magician, while the older version kills the rabbit and guts it later in the episode certainly suggests something), and as with the first season of the show, there’s a sense sometimes of Hawley just throwing a bunch of ideas at the screen and seeing what might stick. Some of them will probably pay off, some of them won’t, but at least things are lively in the interval. In a way, the title of the episode almost feels like a meta joke: With TV, sometimes you just have to spend an hour pushing the boulder, and hope it might hit someone when it rolls back down."
In particular, it was a very sensuous scene: the snow, the white rabbit's soft fur, the crude schoolhouse wooden desks (humble background), the different faces of the young boys, and the shabby (but I'm sure entertaining!) magician. Who's playing tricks on the audience here? Could it be --- THE WRITERS? Da da da....
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:32 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also I admired how we didn't need to see the rabbit's neck being snapped; we just hear this awful sound as we cut away.

(And Ohanzee ate raw rabbit organ.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:33 PM on October 27, 2015


So Ben Schmidt, the detective who accompanies Lou to the Gerhardts, is in season 1

I really want to re-watch season 1 now, but will probably wait until this season is finished
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:01 AM on October 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


It wasn't a question of who, more like what.

I'm not normally one to speculate, but almost from day one I haven't been able to help guessing who this is gonna be... I'm tempted to go for rabbit eating Ohanzee, because - you know - the quiet ones but there's plenty of candidates - though the main villains / hard guys seem a bit too obvious - Dodd, Mike, The Bathroom Brothers, the shampoo guy from KC. So I'm tempted to go for one of the less obvious characters... mother Gerheart, Bear - when he stops eating, the studious / wannabe kid Charlie or butcher Ed.

Or perhaps it's someone we've not met yet, someone different and unexpected... someone alien....
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 AM on October 28, 2015


Oh yeah, what was the Eagle's Next program that Solverson's daughter was watching? I did a cursory search afterwards online, but couldn't find anything.
posted by codacorolla at 11:08 AM on October 28, 2015


Aw Jeez at MPR
posted by maggieb at 11:46 AM on October 28, 2015


(the fact that the young Ohanzee doesn’t applaud the magician, while the older version kills the rabbit and guts it later in the episode certainly suggests something)

I think that flashback might be a bit of a dodge re: the "stoic Indian" stereotype. By establishing that it's just this particular guy who's like that, that he's always been like that, that it makes him different from his peers ... it all becomes a lot less egregious.

Still, it'd be nice to see some other Native characters (like, with lines and everything) to really make that stick.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought it undercut the "stoic Indian" stereotype. I interpreted the flashback as his flashback. There he is with a rabbit that he is tasked with killing, but he is not unmoved by it. Instead, he cannot help but hold the rabbit and be returned to a moment of wonder in his childhood. He's someone who can get the job done, but of course he has feelings--of course, once, he was a child.

I guess I also interpreted the flashback's contents in a different way. What I saw was a child so wondrously perplexed that, rather than simply cheering like his peers, he was momentarily transfixed. I'd have to watch the episode again, though, to determine if my interpretation of his facial expression holds.
posted by meese at 1:56 PM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that too. I don't think those are mutually exclusive at all.

Stoicism isn't absence of emotion; it's lack of outward emotion, and doing what needs to be done despite one's personal feelings. So, he has genuine affection for rabbits, but, you know, a guy's gotta eat.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:23 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh those standoffs. And the tension.

I was going to comment "Wow, a whole episode and the only injury was Ed's whiplash!" but then some things happened at the end.
posted by isthmus at 9:48 PM on October 28, 2015


It looks like The Eagle's Nest might be an episode (the first!) of The New Avengers that deals with Nazis who have kept Hilter in suspended animation since the war.
posted by codacorolla at 6:55 AM on October 29, 2015


Gonna have to watch the entire episode again to catch the ending.

Oh. OH. Right. Big event at the end.

There's some lovely characterization work on Lou vs. Ben Schmidt in this. We form our own opinion on Ben's over-familiar toadying to the Gerhardts, and we can clearly see how disgusted Lou is by it.

Their initial conversation in the courthouse hallway, when the woman walks past: Lou, talking, briefly looks up but remains fully engaged in the conversation. Ben, listening, turns his head to watch her go by: distracted, disengaged, leery.

Interesting also that during that conversation several more people walk past, and each time we see Lou take that very quick glance. A deliberate choice to show Lou's cop instinct for situational awareness; it would have been easier to stage that scene without the extras passing in front of the camera.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:28 PM on October 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought the point was that Schmidt was fully owned by the Gerhardts, but he can't show that in front of the out-of-town cop, so he has this excruciating act to play out.

When I saw Ohanzee with the rabbit, I turned to my wife and said "that rabbit's going to come to a bad end", and lo it came to pass. I spent the rest of the episode wondering who the next rabbit was going to be. I think that will be my word for Fargo's doomed: rabbits.
posted by Grangousier at 5:48 PM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought the point was that Schmidt was fully owned by the Gerhardts

"How's your mother?"
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:36 PM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Personally, each time someone delivers the "for what? A little bit of money?" I'm cheering inside. Sure, I'm a sucker for that sort of thing, but I just love it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:12 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yaaa, that's a good one.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:40 PM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Best mood lightener of the episode: taking a determined run at the tree only for the car's rear to smack into it.
posted by Monochrome at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


meese:
I thought it undercut the "stoic Indian" stereotype. I interpreted the flashback as his flashback. There he is with a rabbit that he is tasked with killing, but he is not unmoved by it. Instead, he cannot help but hold the rabbit and be returned to a moment of wonder in his childhood. He's someone who can get the job done, but of course he has feelings--of course, once, he was a child.


This was my impression too. He holds the rabbit for a few moments because he respects life (another Indian stereotype, I suppose) and remembers a happier time in his childhood, but then he does what needs to be done and brings home the food.

Surely a metaphor for the respect he will show whichever character in the future before he snaps their neck too...
posted by mmoncur at 8:39 PM on December 6, 2015


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