Television

Published on November 10th, 2015 | by Michael

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Fargo Season Two Episode Four – Fear and Trembling

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‘Fear and Trembling’, episode four of Fargo’s sophomore season, marks the point of no return in several of the show’s storylines. The poor Blomquists are given a chance by Trooper Lou to come clean about the incident in episode one. With uncanny accuracy, Lou has deduced what happened and who they hit. He tells a story about Vietnam, about how gravely wounded people get a look in their eyes before the pain hits, and their buddies all lie and tell them they’ll be OK. He says that Ed and Peggy have that look now, that fear and trembling. But Lou doesn’t lie and tell them it will be fine, he tells that that the Gerhardt clan, who cause pain for money, will be coming for them.

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He’s right too. Despite their best efforts to cover up the hit and run and subsequent stabbing of Rye Gerhardt, the Blomquists have been uncovered not just by Lou but also by Gerhardt goon Hanzee who has laconically trailed them using just the power of observation and the trick of not speaking. He wanders the Waffle Hut crime scene, apparently effortlessly putting the carnage together from the blood splatters and debris. One piece in particular leads him to the Blomquist car, and from there he’s able to deduce exactly what happened. At the Mechanics, he threatens a young man until Nick Offerman’s Karl stands him down. Though positioned as the good guy in this situation, Karl’s description of Hanzee as a ‘buck’ made my skin crawl. Obviously this is a product of the era but it’s interesting that there has been no reference to Miki Milligan’s race, yet Hanzee has been called buck and red man in consecutive weeks. Hanzee is able to track Ed down, and is actually INSIDE THE HOUSE when Lou arrives to put the scare on them.

Things are coming to a head on the domestic front for the Blomquists, too. Peggy has decided to go on that self-actualisation course and has given the money to her boss, Constance. But this meant that Ed’s cheque for the down payment on the butcher’s has bounced. The two seem moving in separate directions, helped along by Constance who wants to see them split up for obvious reasons. Peggy bristles at the suggestion that she go on a cheaper course instead. ‘A cheaper course? So I can be a less good me?’. That’s not the only source of conflict either – Ed is desperate for kids, Peggy is still taking her birth control on the sly.

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Another family approaching the event horizon are the Gerhardts themselves. Jean Smart’s hardnosed matriarch Floyd has a counteroffer for the Kansas City boys, but their representative Joe Bulo is not receptive – no surprise since Dodd and his nephew had put the beating on a couple of Kansas boys earlier. In retaliation, Joe has three of Otto’s helpers killed and leaves the helpless old man out in the freezing carpark surrounded by corpses. ‘It’s war’, declares Floyd, surely to the delight of Dodd. Dodd’s relationship with his now stricken father is illuminated by the opening scene this week, set in 1951. At a cinema sit down, Otto has a child Dodd shiv a man in the back before Otto guns down the man’s bodyguards and any witnesses in the theatre. No wonder Dodd is always spoiling for a fight. A special note for the tremendous make-up job on Michael Hogan so he can play a much younger Otto. The wild card in the Gerhardt pack is Dodd’s daughter Simone, who is sleeping with Mike Milligan. Whether either of them is under instruction is unclear.

Mike as ever gets some of the best lines and demonstrates once again that he has a perception that his colleagues, and enemies lack. After cutting to the quick of ‘Minnesota Nice’ two weeks ago, Mike this week has some wise words on the hippie dream. ‘The 70s were always coming, like a hangover’ he tells Simone who was hankering for the 1960s. ‘Flower Rain Blossom’ he tells her in relation to her idealised hippie girl, is now ‘turning tricks for breakfast meat’.

In the world of law enforcement, the Solversons are suffering as much as anyone, although at least they are putting on a united front at the moment. They learn from a Doctor with the world’s worst bedside manner that Betsy is getting worse, not better. ‘It’s not a war on you’ he tells her. ‘Just a war on your body’. ‘If you mean by getting worse that it’s spread to other parts of your body, then yes’. He does sign Betsy up for a clinical trial, but makes it clear that she’s just as likely to receive a placebo as a potential life saving drug.

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In ongoing trends news, when Hanzee is at the Waffle Hut he looks up at the sky and the lens flare almost coalesces into a UFO. I know Hanzee is a gifted tracked but the suggestion seems to be that he worked out that Rye saw a spaceship, which seems a stretch even for him. People more eagle-eyed than me have spotted a two hour discrepancy between the clock Hanzee glances at in the diner and the time on his watch. Lost time is of course one of the effects associated with alien abduction. In 1951, the cinema is which little Dodd commits what is presumably his first murder is showing Moonbase Freedom, another made up film starring The Gipper himself, Ronald Reagan. When is Bruce Campbell going to show up already? No obvious Coen references revealed themselves to me this week, but the title ‘Fear and Trembling’ is a reference to a book of the same name by philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, about Abraham’s decision to kill Isaac. With that in mind the official Coen reference is A Serious Man which is a modern update of the story of Job, another figure from the Old Testament who is also tormented directly by God. If you have a better one, let me know in the comments.

Michael

Michael comes from the middle ground between light and shadow, between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. He will write on comics, TV and film, plus anything else that might occur to him.

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