Fargo: The Useless Hand
January 10, 2024 10:53 PM - Season 5, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The tide turns.
posted by stopgap (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, this show.
posted by h00py at 3:16 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


The journey from outside with a gun, to voluntarily inside a hole without a gun, to back outside and back with a gun, seemed sort of weird and pointless.

Seeing the FBI commando guy match the sheriff's macho energy back at him was nice. A reminder that the baddest dude in Stark county isn't the baddest dude in the world. Also, the sheriff's little speech sounded nice but was a completely incoherent biblical mishmash -- intentionally by the writers, I'm sure.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:01 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I laughed at the use of YMCA on the soundtrack. Also, Whipping Post is a banger!
posted by emd3737 at 8:07 AM on January 11 [11 favorites]


Yea, the ending bothered me, too. Very unclear what has changed so that Dot can now run off with gun in hand, instead of hiding. Are we supposed to assume Ole killed all of those guys running around the ranch, so now it's safe for Dot to run away?

But other than that, wow, what an episode. Tense, funny, emotional, moving. Hit all the notes well!
posted by Frayed Knot at 8:22 AM on January 11


so now it's safe for Dot to run away?

I see it more as the tiger is heading out to kick some ass.

Interesting season.
posted by jeporter99 at 9:40 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


The journey from outside with a gun, to voluntarily inside a hole without a gun, to back outside and back with a gun, seemed sort of weird and pointless.

This season has been filled with metaphorical exploration of death — Dot killing her old identity, whatever Munch actually is, Dot's dream sequence last episode, etc. Dot's went into the grave and was lead back out by a sin-eater. It's another form of rebirth and a switch from victim to vengeance. The tiger is free to hunt.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:21 AM on January 11 [15 favorites]


• I can understand why Dot hid in the in pit, but I don't understand why she didn't take the rifle with her, and why Roy was sure it was one of the two places she could be hiding.
• That fog was quite convenient, and not particularly realistic looking.
• How does Dot know Danish is dead? Maybe I'm not remembering the previous episode fully, but am I forgetting she saw him or was told that he was at the ranch? She did see the body thrown in the pit, but given it was wrapped, how did she know it was Danish?
• With all the talk from Trooper Witt Farr to make sure the SWAT team didn't accidentally shoot Dot, wouldn't they have been shown a photo of her?
• Would a SWAT team add Trooper Farr, who has no training with them, and not even given a bulletproof vest?
posted by ShooBoo at 10:50 AM on January 11


What a deeply confusing day for Dot. Ignorant of everything the audience has seen, how weird must it be that the mother in law who hated her guts the last time she spoke to her is sending in the troops and the kidnapper she'd last seen trying to kill her is removing the obstacles from her path?

This show is easily the most I've ever liked Juno Temple and I wish she'd spent more time on Ted Lasso Home Alone-ing the Manchester football team into grievous bodily injury.

I knew early on that this season was in conversation with the movie but I hadn't watched the movie in probably fifteen years and there were a lot of things I didn't remember. I just rewatched the movie this week and if you haven't seen it recently I recommend giving it a rewatch because it makes an amazing companion piece to this season.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:16 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


In that shot looking down on Dot in the pit, I thought she would hide under Danish's body, I can't imagine someone climbing down into a mass grave to check.

I REALLY didn't understand Dot not taking the gun into the pit with her.

That fog really popped up out of nowhere, and went away just as fast. Hand of God?

"I return your idiot son to you."
"Yes, he really is an idiot."
posted by Marky at 1:57 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


For a moment there I really thought Roy was going to shoot Gator.
posted by Frayed Knot at 2:58 PM on January 11


> That fog was quite convenient, and not particularly realistic looking.

the fog was sent by the gods, with our welsh nihilist a kind of demon, or maybe an avenging angel, but certainly a figure from a mythical realm, possessed of magic powers. this episode was absolutely incredible, some of the best television i’ve ever seen
posted by dis_integration at 3:17 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


> How does Dot know Danish is dead?

she saw them dump him in that hole in the previous episode
posted by dis_integration at 3:18 PM on January 11


The tiger talk reminded me of:
"The Tiger" by Nael, Age 6

The tiger
He destroyed his cage
Yes
YES
The tiger is out
posted by Pronoiac at 6:00 PM on January 11 [11 favorites]


the fog was sent by the gods, with our welsh nihilist a kind of demon, or maybe an avenging angel, but certainly a figure from a mythical realm, possessed of magic powers. this episode was absolutely incredible, some of the best television i’ve ever seen

Earlier in the season it seemed a little out of place, or pulled me out of the Fargoverse for a bit, to see them dipping more literally into the supernatural with this character, but yeah, it worked more now in this episode, partly because we're already used to his magical weirdness, but it also reads more easily as a narrative tool here than literal dark magic.

As a total aside, I finally noticed last week that Gator is from Stranger Things! Sad ending for him, but spared from death which is better than most Fargo characters get. Looked like Ray almost thought about killing him for a second there.
posted by p3t3 at 6:38 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


"Also, the sheriff's little speech sounded nice but was a completely incoherent biblical mishmash"

That's exactly the kind of stuff that Patriot SovCits like the Bundys spout, so it was a really well-written piece of dialogue.

A plot anomaly for me; Wayne seems to have recovered quickly from his head injury. He seemed to have gone from being monosyllabic and barely aware of his surroundings to being back to full health in the space of a few days.

Ole Munch gives me the same sense of terror and dread as Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, and given that the whole Fargo TV series pays homage to the Coen Brothers, it's probably not a coincidence.
posted by essexjan at 8:14 AM on January 12 [3 favorites]


Interested in the dugout/barrow/escape tunnel.
posted by fleacircus at 1:15 PM on January 12


Ole Munch gives me the same sense of terror and dread as Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, and given that the whole Fargo TV series pays homage to the Coen Brothers, it's probably not a coincidence.

Yes, this thread got me to thinking about him, probably my 2nd fav character after Dot this season- I like the "sin-eater" nickname given upthread.

In lots of Coen Brothers things, and Fargo in particular, there's always this unpredictably chaotic force of karma that indiscriminately comes for the sins/greed/lies/hubris/etc of goodies and baddies alike. Seems Munch is the corporeal manifestation of this, and looking back on Chigurh, especially the famous coin-flip scene, he was a similar representation of that random karmic destruction.
posted by p3t3 at 1:29 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed the episode overall, but there were several moments that seemed imported from a far dumber show.

1) The "one blow and you're conveniently KOed" scene with Roy's current wife.

2) The whole rifle thing. Not only did it make no sense for Dot to abandon her weapon, but she left it in plain view right next to the pit she was hiding in. Gee, I wonder where she can be?

3) How did Danish's eyepatch detach itself from his wrapped face and hang itself neatly on the wall of the pit like that? Even if we assume it came away while they were moving his body and one of Roy's men threw it in after him, it seems unlikely that's where it would end up. Why not just have Dot notice it on the ground instead?
posted by Paul Slade at 9:40 AM on January 13


I agree that easy KOs aren't very Fargo, where the theme is often that it's way harder to do violence than you think. Maybe we'll get a reveal like that for Dot; they're hinting that there's things about Nadine we haven't seen.

Chigurh was not quite the same mystical violence ninja that Munch is, though NCFOM did create that feeling by ceding everything to him. In any case I didn't like him either lol. I suppose I don't like my realist crime stories mixed with fables. The biker guy in Raising Arizona? Fine, it's an absurdist comedy. Goodman's character in Barton Fink? Fine, it's an absurdist creepy noir. But Stormare's character in Fargo has no magic, he's just a murderous dingus.

I was pretty high on this season earlier but I'm settling into a feeling of disappointment. If they don't have a happy ending for Dot I will be surprised first of all, then outraged. You'll hear my scream.
posted by fleacircus at 3:12 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


My most fervent wish is that somehow, some way, the carnage will extend out to encompass Lars and he dies an unmerciful death. Or if not that, he comes face to face with Lorraine, now that she’s employing Indira, which will probably be just as fatal.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 2:17 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


"Whatever possible use there had been for you is gone now"

Ouch. That one cuts deep.

The journey from outside with a gun, to voluntarily inside a hole without a gun, to back outside and back with a gun, seemed sort of weird and pointless.

Very unclear what has changed so that Dot can now run off with gun in hand, instead of hiding. Are we supposed to assume Ole killed all of those guys running around the ranch, so now it's safe for Dot to run away?


She lost her tiger-ness while talking to the MIL and decided to hide. Now she's a tiger again and going on the hunt!
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:35 PM on January 15


Interested in the dugout/barrow/escape tunnel.
ITYM Checkov’s Bugout Dugout
posted by coriolisdave at 1:40 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


What jumped out at me in this episode, as a surprise pleasure, was the piece of shit big scary Sheriff impotently playing the coy little movie monster with his "marco..." "marcoo..." when we know his intended victim is nowhere nearby to even hear it, let alone be intimidated by it.

The scene only exists, really, as a transition back to the now-blinded son, but they figured out how to elevate it.

(Another thing was remarking on how similar the language and logic of the sin-eater is to that we've heard earlier from the sheriff (vows broken, etc.), but the sin-eater is like a placid pool of real, implacable justice, whereas the sheriff pretends at the same but really can't ever get past his own needy selfishness, the true root -- as Dot's mother in law earlier identified (not the President, it's a baby) -- of his twisted set of supposed ethics.)
posted by nobody at 10:30 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Maybe this was from an earlier Fargo thread, but FYI I learned that Sin-eater is a real historical thing-- they were part of an early Welsh ritual that reads as creepy as Fargo made it out to be.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:47 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


What jumped out at me in this episode, as a surprise pleasure, was the piece of shit big scary Sheriff impotently playing the coy little movie monster with his "marco..." "marcoo..."

It was Chekhov's "Marco Polo."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:15 PM on February 9


Wonderful guest appearances from "YMCA" and also from "Strategic fog"! By the way, if you are looking for an appropriately Celtic term for that particular type of cold, dense, righteous fog, I would suggest the Scots word "Harr".

The connection with Munch and the idea of sin eating might shed some light on how he came to be acting for Roy Tilman in the first place: sin eaters worked for money (and food). If you paid them all would be OK; opting to renege on a payment due would be potentially hazardous (see "Pied Piper of Hamelin")
posted by rongorongo at 11:20 PM on February 19


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