'Fargo' recap: The undertaker is coming

A funeral on 'Fargo'
The Gerhardts lay Otto to rest on 'Fargo.'
Courtesy of FX

Every week on "Aw Jeez: A 'Fargo' podcast," hosts Tracy Mumford and Jay Gabler recap the latest episode, and interview experts about the mayhem, the mob and the Minnesota moments in season two of "Fargo." Listen to the audio for more analysis and speculation on last night's goings on.

Last night's 90 minute-episode flew by at breakneck speed, so make like Simone and buckle your seatbelt. (Not that it helped her much.)

The episode opens with three people being gunned down in an office by window washers-turned-assassins. (If you weren't creeped out enough by window washers already...)

If you were left thinking, "Who? What? Where?" you're not alone. Look close and you'll see that the "window washers" are Bear Gerhardt and his new mobbed-up friend from Buffalo, Ricky. The city outside the shattered window is Kansas City, and the three victims were in deep with KC's organized crime.

This skyscraper hit is the Gerhardts' retaliatory strike for the death of Otto, who went down in a hail of bullets last episode. Back in Fargo, the family is just putting their beloved patriarch in the ground, and they're also burying the only thing they have left of Rye: His belt buckle.

The law comes to the Gerdhardt compound on 'Fargo'
The law comes to the Gerhardt compound: Lou Solverson, played by Patrick Wilson, and Ben Schmidt, played by Keir O'Donnell, come to question the Fargo mob's matriarch, Floyd.
Courtesy of FX

As the funeral is wrapping up, Bear and Ricky show up late — to Floyd's disgust. They're not the only ones who didn't show for the funeral. Hanzee Dent and big brother Dodd are still AWOL, and Bear makes it clear he doesn't particularly care whether his brother is absent or not. ("Put him in a third hole, is my feeling.") Simone has also had it with Dodd, and she drives off in a huff despite sleazy Ricky's attempts to comfort her.

No sooner has Simone rolled out than intrepid trooper Lou Solverson and Fargo police officer Ben Schmidt roll in. After politely waiting for the funeral to end, they've come to bring Floyd in for questioning.

As the cops' convoy leaves, the first of many phone calls comes into the Gerhardt compound: An anonymous caller knows where Dodd is — but Bear refuses to answer. "Take a message," he grunts. The longer Dodd stays gone, the better.

At the Fargo police station, Minnesota and North Dakota's finest have their heads together. Lou and Hank Larsson are working with Schmidt and the Fargo chief to find a way to end the mob war. Their best hope: Floyd Gerhardt.

The interrogation room on 'Fargo'
The intimidating Floyd Gerhardt, played by Jean Smart in furs with a pipe, faces off against Hank Larrson, played by Ted Danson.
Courtesy of FX

Still clad in her funerary fur hat, Floyd coolly lights a pipe as Hank and the Fargo chief sit down to talk turkey. Floyd claims that the family's backs are to the wall — after all, her son was killed by "the Butcher of Luverne." They're just protecting themselves.

Stymied, Hank offers Floyd a deal: If she gives the cops "something actionable" regarding the Kansas City mob, maybe the authorities can "make this Northern Expansion unpalatable" for the heartland heavies.

Meanwhile, Simone's had it — and her temper isn't improved by the hit of cocaine she takes before storming into the Pearl Hotel to confront Mike Milligan and the remaining Kitchen Brother. Little does she know she's just offered herself up as bait: Milligan has designs to use her, the beloved oldest granddaughter, against Floyd.

Hotel room mayhem on 'Fargo'
It's hotel room mayhem when Lou Solverson and Ben Schmidt burst into Mike Milligan's hotel room, where Simone was being held by the remaining Kitchen brother.
Courtesy of FX

For once, the police arrive on time. Lou and Schmidt follow the trail to the Pearl and save Simone from the grasp of violent men — for a minute, anyway.

When Schmidt tries to escort Simone out of the hotel, she decides she doesn't need any more protection. She frees herself by kneeing Schmidt in the crotch, and utters a fateful pronouncement: "If I'm going to the noose, I'm going, but I'm done lying down for men."

Unfortunately for her, Uncle Bear's waiting in the parking lot to keep her "safe."

Back in the hotel room, Lou and Milligan are locked in a battle of wits and morals. Milligan is on team Manifest Destiny; Lou's a simple man, with no need for greed. It's an ideological showdown that ends with Lou's polite dismissal: "Okay, we've said our piece. Just don't be offended next time if I don't say hello before I shoot."

Since part of their exchange involved Lou humble-bragging about only owning two pairs of shoes, we're primed to be concerned when Betsy Solverson arrives home to find two extra pairs of boots in the foyer. (What kind of mobster takes their shoes off before breaking and entering?)

Betsy locks and loads, ready to defend herself — but it turns out that these polite invaders are just Karl Weathers and Sonny from the garage. They're there Lou's orders, to watch out for Betsy and Molly while he's away. They're also there to make breakfast, and we learn Karl's not only a lawyer, but "the Breakfast King of Loyola."

The Gerhardt compound on 'Fargo'
The Gerhardts call in some help from Buffalo: Bear Gerhardt, played by Angus Sampson, talks with Ricky from New York, played by Ryan O'Nan.
Courtesy of FX

Back on that road trip with Uncle Bear, Simone's panic is beginning to rise, with good reason. Bear's not buying any of her lies or explanations, and he pulls off onto a back country road. (Never a good sign in a show like "Fargo.")

The uncle and niece march through the woods while Bear recounts what happened to the French women who consorted with German troops after WWII. (Spoiler: Nothing good.) There, in the snow-covered forest, Simone begs for her life — after all, she's family.

"None of us are family anymore," Bear says, and raises the gun.

(Anyone hoping that Simone was given a last-minute reprieve and ran off to Canada, we're about to burst your bubble: The actress, Rachel Keller, confirmed her character's demise in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.)

Emerging from the woods alone, Bear angrily breaks off his own cast (ouch), and returns to the compound — where Ricky informs him that the mysterious caller has tried again, still saying he knows Dodd's location. Bear makes absolutely clear that he doesn't care where Dodd is. "Kinda cold, don'tcha think?" says the empathetic swinger from the Empire State. No, Bear doesn't think so.

Unaware of what her second son is up to, Floyd spills the beans on Kansas City after brokering a deal for immunity. It's the last straw for the leadership back in Missouri: Milligan gets a call letting him know that he's bungled his last attempt at the Gerhardt take-over. Now "The Undertaker" is coming.

At this point, so many questions are still swirling: Where is Dodd? Or Ed? Or Peggy? Or Hanzee, for that matter?

Information trickles in from — you guessed it — South Dakota. Lou, Hank and Schmidt get word that Hanzee has shot up a bar and two state troopers outside Sioux Falls. Apparently he's on the hunt for a certain couple with a certain red-headed husband.

Schmidt wants to chalk it up to South Dakota's problem, but the Lou just can't leave it at that. It's off to Sioux Falls for Hank and Lou, who leave the ineffectual Schmidt back at the station.

As the episode pinballs between Fargo and Luverne, we land back in the Solverson kitchen for an emotional moment with Karl and Betsy. Betsy's dying, she tells Karl, and she needs him to look after Lou and Molly for her. To do that, he'll need to stop drinking. (This is a big ask for the man who has beer at breakfast.)

Betsy also has Hank's cat to worry about. She's supposed to feed Snowball while her dad's away in North Dakota. At his house, she pulls open the doors of his study, only to find the room full of notes on strange symbols -- which may or may not mean anything to her, but that we think (because we Googled) that they're associated with communications from UFOs. (Hank wants to believe, apparently.)

Back at the compound, what's left of the Gerhardts have gathered. That would be just Floyd and Bear at this point — Bear lies through his teeth when Floyd asks where Simone has run off to. Mother and son are just in time for yet another phone call, but this time it's Hanzee: He knows where Dodd is.

Bokeem Woodbine as Mike Milligan on 'Fargo'
Never underestimate Mike Milligan: The Kansas City envoy continues to delight with his special mix of menace on 'Fargo.'
Courtesy of FX

We cut one more time to the Pearl Hotel, where Milligan's awaiting his fate — and The Undertaker. In three quick seconds, though, The Undertaker gets undertaken and Milligan proves once again that he should not be underestimated.

Hands dripping in blood, Milligan gets a call of a lifetime. The anonymous caller who tried and tried and ultimately failed to get through to the Gerhardts has reached Milligan instead.

"Today's your lucky day," says Ed Blumquist, at the other end of the line. "I've got Dodd Gerhardt in the trunk of my car. You want him?"

We'd guess the answer is "yes."

All signs now point to a shootout and a showdown in Sioux Falls — even the unfinished game of hangman lingering behind Ed's head in the phone booth.

South Dakota, here we come.

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