After last week’s episode of Fargo, I’m looking forward to an uber-violent season, you betcha! This week was equally disturbing, so if you were watching between the slits of your fingers, let’s recap what happened.
Again, this episode, “Before The Law,” reminds us that this is “a true story,” but names have been changed “at the request of the survivors.” This information is being typed over the screen as we get a glimpse of this season’s all-star cast … as well as a dead pig. Yikes.
In the opening, we see Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond) and his men getting frisked outside of a home that belongs to the Gerhardt family. Inside, Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart, Designing Women) is counting and stacking large sums of money. Smart’s character here is no Southern belle, but instead, the head of Fargo’s Gerhardt crime family — at least while her husband Otto (Michael Hogan, 12 Monkeys) recuperates from a debilitating stroke.
Floyd hands the cash off and tells her grandson Charlie (Allan Dobrescu) to gather up his dad and uncles. First, he finds Bear Gerhardt (Angus Sampson, Insidious). However, Dodd Gerhardt (Jeffrey Donovan, Burn Notice) is a little busy inside the barn, telling a story to a man who is strapped to a chair. It’s hard for the guy to listen though since his ears are in a bucket on the floor. Oh, and also he’s dead.
As they walk back into the house, they pass by Joe, a very smiley Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine, Riddick), and the Kitchen brothers (Brad Mann and Todd Mann). Needless to say, Dodd doesn’t return the pleasantries.
Inside the house, Dodd finds out that Joe and his gang are part of a Kansas City crime syndicate, which is looking to buy out the Gerhardt family. It sounds like a good time to get out, what with Otto being sick and all. Dodd appoints himself the new leader and says he’s not having any of this. However, the rest of the family seems to think that Floyd should be taking the reins.
Floyd and Dodd have a private meeting where she gives him a little lesson in Gerhardt history and how an empire works. She says that his time will come, but that day is not today. She then asks to see her youngest son, Rye (Kieran Culkin, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Yeah, that could be a bit of a problem.
Meanwhile, Joe and Mike are wondering about Rye’s whereabouts, as well, because they want to see if he can be swayed to sell. “First Gerhardt to switch sides gets a shiny red apple,” Joe says.
At the police station, Sherrif Hank Larsson (Ted Danson, Cheers) is looking through paperwork. He picks up a white shoe that’s sitting on his desk. It belongs to Rye and was last seen hanging from a tree last week. The scene then jumps to Luverne, Minnesota, where Hank is having breakfast with his family, which includes Betsy (Cristin Milioti, How I Met Your Mother) and Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson, Angels in America). In case you’ve forgotten or are new to Fargo, Lou is a state trooper, Vietnam vet, and a younger version of the character Keith Carradine played last season.
Next, we see a gaping, bloody hole in the side of a car that’s parked inside the Blumquist garage. Right outside, just past a bloody handprint, sits Ed Blumquist (Jesse Plemons, Breaking Bad), leafing through a wallet. It belongs to Rye, and a few flashbacks seem to confirm that — including one that shows Ed and his wife Peggy (Kristin Dunst, Spider-Man) throwing the guy’s body into a cooler.
Back at the Gerhardt house, Dodd sits and thinks about his destiny. He then talks to his right-hand man Hanzee (Zahn McClarnon, Longmire) about finding Rye. Good luck with that.
Peggy wants to proceed as if it’s business as usual. She gets off the bus in Luverne and informs the butcher shop that her husband won’t be at work today. She then heads off to her job as a beautician.
Joe, Mike and the Kitchen brothers stop into Watson’s Typewriters, where the owner is on the phone yelling that how he “has the money.” Mike asks about the call and then proceeds to say that he’s interested in Rye Gerhardt. Mike — being the smiley, helpful guy that he is — wants to help jog the guy’s memory, so he grabs his tie, shoves it into a typewriter, and holds him that way while calmly explaining his needs. The story includes Mike typing away, choking the guy just a little with every key stroke. Apparently, this and pulling on his pinkie finger is pretty painful, because the guy screams out something about “the judge.” The crew leaves with the information.
Inside the Blumquist’s garage, Ed scrubs the car, bleaches blood off the floor, and peeks in on a very dead Rye inside the cooler. Thinking Kieran Culkin got the short end of the casting stick this season? Rest assured, he’s definitely a main character.
Next we see poor Betsy getting a blood transfusion. A second later, she’s in a car with Lou and their young daughter, Molly. The three pull into the Waffle Hut, which looks to be closed up. A killing spree will typically do that to a business. Lou goes in to investigate and finds the can of bug spray that the judge wielded as a weapon to Rye.
In the parking lot, Molly finds an old foil balloon, which is covering a gun that’s been buried in the snow. As the three stand there, Mike and the twins drive by and give them some serious stink eye.
Mike and the Kitchen brothers end up at a road block, where Hank takes down the car’s license plate number. Mike rolls down the back window, which doesn’t please Hank too much. He asks all of them to get out of the car and produce IDs. Mike assures Lou that they are just passing through town in search of waffles. Lou asks about their shoe sizes. Mike says he’s a 10. The Kitchen brothers each put up a middle finger, which Mike says actually means that they’re a pair of 11s. Why overwork a pointer finger?
I worry for Hank this season. Even more so, I worry for Ed. He seems nervous. It probably doesn’t help that Rye is no longer on ice at home, but now in the back of Ed’s truck. He’s taking poor Rye to the butcher shop — and not for a postmortem tour.
Peggy gets a ride home from her boss Constance (Elizabeth Marvel), so she’s pretty nervous, too. Not only does she not know that Rye is no longer on the premises, but her bathroom is packed with a lifetime supply of toilet paper that she swiped from work. Busted!
Peggy is even more worried about what’s going on with Ed, especially now that Constance has seen both the crashed car and the bruise on Peggy’s face. “You’re kind of a bad girl, aren’t cha?” says Constance. “Yeah, you are. I’m usually able to tell right away, but you had me fooled.”
Ed doesn’t have Lou fooled, though. He’s at the butcher shop after-hours, using the equipment to make Rye into tomorrow’s ground meat special. I’m definitely seeing some nods to the movie, oh yah. As Rye’s fingers go flying across the floor, Lou knocks on the door. Seems he needs some late-night bacon. Just as he’s about to find one of those fingers, the phone rings. Betsy saves the day and her husband, too — for now, anyway.
I’m so wrapped up in this season, I already feel like it’s going by too quick. The soundtrack, the fashions, the split screens; I’m loving all of it. So far, we’ve had four deaths (five, if you count the guy with the ears), but I just know there’s so many more to come. Lou doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to exaggerate. What I didn’t see coming was the whole aliens thing. Where was that this week — and do you think “they” will be back? Let’s talk Fargo in the comments section below!
New episodes of Fargo premiere Monday nights at 10/9CT on FX.