How the ‘Fargo’ finale revealed a hidden secret from season 1

“Fargo” just concluded its second season with a finale (click here for my review) that made several overt references to characters and events from season 1, but also drew an obscure but ultimately unmistakable line from one character this year to someone from last year. If you don’t want to know, don’t click through, but if you want to find out how it’s all connected, I’ll tell you just as soon as I talk to Dale from HR…

So as Hanzee is preparing for his new life as Moses Tripoli, and a new face to go with it, he tells his contact that he will have his revenge on Kansas City, no matter how heavily-guarded the leadership there may be, or how his own would-be empire might end up one day.

“Not apprehend, dead. Don’t care heavily-guarded. Don’t care into the sea. Kill and be killed. Head in a bag,” he pronounces, before switching from English to his native tongue to add, “There’s the message.”

As it turns out, Hanzee isn’t the first “Fargo” character to use that particular phrasing. Season 1, episode 6, “Buridan’s Ass,” introduces the head of the Fargo mob circa 2006, who’s discussing what to do about Sam Hess’s killer, with one of his men suggesting Hess was killed because of an extra-marital affair, rather than something tied to their business, and that Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers will apprehend the killer soon.

“Not apprehend,” the boss declares. “Dead. Don’t care extra-marital, don’t care not related. Kill and be killed. Head in a bag. There’s the message.”

Not only does he use identical language, but I checked the guest credits from that episode, and it turns out the boss, played by Mark Acheson, is named…


So, sometime between 1979 and 2006, Hanzee not only has extensive plastic surgery, so he’ll eventually look like this…

… but he either kills enough Kansas City representatives to take back control of the Gerhardt family’s old territory, or else he simply joins up with KC, since Tripoli in 2006 is dealing with accountants and other irritations that smack of what Mike Milligan was being told to deal with when he got his own Kansas City promotion.

What does everybody think? Does knowing that Hanzee eventually becomes a boss – even if he has to completely submerge his own identity – please you? Or are you upset that he’ll wind up murdered by Lorne Malvo? And were the two kids Hanzee rescued from the bullies meant to be Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers?