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 episode was what one of the Coen brothers' erudite narrators might call the penultimate installment of season two. In a blood-soaked battle, the fight was taken to the enemy, though what exactly that meant was a nasty surprise to some of the characters.
The episode opened with a narrator — a new surprise for this episode — reading from "The Waffle Hut Massacre" chapter of the book "The History of True Crime in the Mid West." (Put away your library cards; it's not a real book. But if that narrator sounded familiar, it's because it was Martin Freeman, who played Lester Nygaard in season one. This time, he lets his actual British accent run free.)
Of course The Waffle Hut slaughter was only the beginning, the narrator explains. And the key to understanding the complex crime spree that has now sprawled across three states is understanding The Butcher and his Beautician Bride: Ed and Peggy Blumquist, at the center of it all.
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The action picks up where we left off last week: Hanzee Dent, armed with his rifle, returns to the rest stop market and kills the poor shop owner. After pouring peroxide in the stab wound he received from Peggy's scissors — he doesn't even flinch, because that's what a cool customer he is — he literally glues it shut. Grabbing the shop owner's keys from underneath a "WE ARE NOT ALONE" UFO sticker, Dent drives off in his victim's sedan.
Meanwhile, Ed and Peggy are facing a tri-state assortment of law enforcement officers back at the cabin. (Dodd's body is tucked discretely under a bloody sheet.) Lou Solverson warns that Dent is still on the loose, and recommends that Ed and Peggy be taken immediately into custody — but the South Dakota cops confide that they can't vouch for the security of their own station, which is awash in Kansas City money and corruption. ("Used to be Gerhardt money.")
Sioux Falls' Chief Cheney cooks up a plan: They'll send Ed to his planned meeting with Mike Milligan, wearing a wire so as to get incriminating evidence. Lou thinks this is a terrible idea, but when he challenges Cheney he's sent packing, back to the Gopher State. His father-in-law Hank Larsson decides he'd better stick around, so at least one reliable officer remains on the case.
Stopping at the much-used phone booth outside the rest stop market, Lou tries to call home — but no one answers. He doesn't know what we know, which is that a very weak Betsy Solverson collapsed in her kitchen. Thankfully butcher's assistant Noreen was on hand to get her to the hospital.
Hanging up the phone, Lou spots a bullet hole in the shop's window. Inside, he finds the clerk's body and Dent's bloody mess, but when he calls it in, the South Dakota police couldn't care less. Lou tries to warn them that Dent is on the move in the clerk's Cadillac Eldorado, but the trooper says he has orders to escort Lou to the state line.
In a last ditch effort, Lou reaches Hank on the radio, recounting what he's witnessed and again warning that the South Dakota cops are in over their heads. One of the local cops, who collectively have a tendency to mix their metaphors, tells Lou, "We appreciate your giddy-up on this one, but we're not fresh off the boat here."
The South Dakota police convoy arrives at the Motor Motel — the site of the next morning's planned rendezvous with Milligan — and the chief is confident in his plan to "take the fight to the enemy." The enemy, though, is watching the whole operation through binoculars: It's Dent, who now makes the fateful phone call we first learned about two episodes ago.
He phones Fargo to tell the remaining Gerhardts that he knows where Dodd is — but he doesn't tell them he shot him in the cabin. Instead, he lures them down to Sioux Falls with a lie, saying that Dodd is still alive and being held hostage by Kansas City heavies. Floyd, over Hanzee's objections, decides to personally lead a raid on the Motor Motel.
The unsuspecting Sioux Falls cops are getting ready to go haplessly "undercover" in matching white shirts and jeans. Ben Schmidt, the cop from up in Fargo, is left in charge of Ed and Peggy, watching C.H.I.P.S. (or a show much like it) while eating chips. Hank tries to talk to Ed and Peggy — just, you know, to have a little chat about their rights — but Ben testily shoos him away.
Lou, brooding on his way back home, gets a call that yet another body has turned up. This time it's Constance Heck, Peggy's co-worker and seminar buddy, who has been found strangled in the Southnik Hotel. Determined to put an end to the madness, Lou pulls a U-turn back to Sioux Falls.
There's nothing new to be found in Constance's hotel room — we know what happened there with Hanzee in the last episode — but out in the parking lot, Lou sees some familiar faces cruise by. Floyd and Bear are leading the charge in their truck, with a string of enforcers behind them.
Knowing they're not just in town on a family trip, Lou tails them on their way to the Motor Motel. He tries to warn the South Dakota cops via radio — but they've gone radio-silent, at the command of the overconfident Cheney.
Acting on Dent's false information that the motel is full of Kansas City men — with Dodd, alive, under guard — the Gerhardts kick down the doors and massacre the South Dakota cops. Schmidt, in a moment of surprisingly effective police work, manages to take out two of the Gerhardts' heavies, only to be knocked out by Peggy, who's concocted her own plan.
When Bear discovers that Dodd isn't actually on the premises, and one of the Gerhardts spots Hank — who is in uniform, having distrusted Cheney's "plainclothes" plan — Floyd realizes that the family's been had. She's promptly stabbed to death by Dent, who charges the hotel in search of Ed and Peggy.
Here, our trusty narrator comes back, speculating on just why it is that Dent feels the need to kill the Blumquists. Was it because they saw his "true self" in a moment of vulnerability in the cabin?
All forces collide at this point, with a supernatural twist. Hank takes a bullet in the gut from Dent. Peggy douses Dent with boiling water from the motel room coffeemaker. Lou, arriving on the scene, is attacked by Bear who manages to get him in a choke hold even after taking several shots to the chest.
It's the bloodbath we've been promised since season one, the "Massacre at Sioux Falls," with enough bodies to be stacked to the second floor.
As Lou is on the ground, Bear's hands around his neck, his life slipping away, a glowing light descends. That's right. The aliens have arrived.
A massive flying saucer hovers over the motel parking lot, shining its circular lights down on the living and the dead. Bear gapes upward in amazement, giving Hank the chance to grope for his pistol and kill the last Gerhardt with a shot to the head.
"It's just a flying saucer, honey, we gotta go," Peggy says as she grabs Ed's hand. They flee, under fire from Dent, who scrambles across the roof after the seemingly invincible couple.
Lou runs to the second floor to Hank's cries of "Officer down!" He trades a few poignant words with the wounded Hank, who tells him he has to go after the Blumquists. Determined, Lou walks away just as what's left of the South Dakota police force pulls up to the crime scene.
Late to the party, Mike Milligan finally arrives with his lone Kitchen Brother. The two spot Floyd's body — and then many more — from across the street. They do the only logical thing, which is get right back in the car again. For once, the loquacious Kansas City enforcer is left almost speechless. Milligan's only comment on the carnage: "Okay, then."
This week, we have an interview on the podcast with Carol Case, the costumer for seasons one and two of "Fargo." Download the podcast or use the audio player above to get the scoop on the wardrobe for "Fargo."