The ‘Fargo’ Frozen Five: Just Boys Making A Mess

The Fargo Frozen Five is Uproxx’s weekly collection of thoughts, observations, and goofball screencaps from each new episode the FX limited series’ fourth season. We do not guarantee that there will be five items every week. There could be four, or six, or a dozen. Who knows? This show doesn’t follow the rules. We shouldn’t have to either.

EPISODE 5 — “The Birthplace of Civilization” (or, “Ice Cream Sundaes And Questionable Theology”)

5b. Really just a terrible time for Loy Cannon and anyone associated with him. His oldest son, Lemuel, got busted at a jazz bar and got busted in his head by the cops and found himself blabbering nonsense in a jail cell with the rest of the Cannon gang, who all got busted and tossed in the clink, too, this time by Odis Weff, although both turned out to be the doing of Josto Fadda, in his attempts to acquire power without all-out war. Added to this, Loy Cannon got into an ugly argument with his wife over their children and their lifestyle and whether you can get off of a roller coaster before it stops. And on top of it all, his youngest son was being forced to learn long division (under the tutelage of Rabbi Milligan), which might honestly be worse than getting walloped in the head by a nightstick. The only real bright spot for the man was tracking down Zelmare and Swanee and putting them to work for him, which was quickly undercut by the worst news of all…


5a. Rest In Peace to Dr. Doctor Senator, Esquire, the number two in the Cannon organization and the brains of the operation and a man who could give a hell of a speech, on a show filled with characters who can give some good speeches. This bummed me out spectacularly, in part because I really liked the character (I’m a sucker for the calm brilliant criminals) and in part because there are not enough characters on television named Doctor Senator these days (I have always said this). One imagines the events of this episode will be the thing that tips the Cannon/Fadda war from simmering to boiling, between the stuff with the children and the assassination, even if it may not be clear yet that the Cannons will be fighting an organization that’s at war with itself. This brings us to my large furious prince.

4. Gaetano was at it again, in a number of ways, starting with, well, this…


… which was delightful. The biggest surprise in all of it wasn’t that he killed the kid who laughed at him when he wiped out while dancing/sauntering across the street, it’s that he waited as long as he did to kill the kid. And then he and Calamita took out Doctor Senator without Josto’s knowledge, which a) will not go over well with just about anyone, and b) lends credence to what Milligan was saying at the beginning about Gaetano planning to stay and maybe bringing some goons from the old country to build an army. Josto is a doofus, an insecure baby who wants nothing more than to be seen as powerful, but at least he thinks things through. Gaetano just smashes stuff, often with his eyes bulging out of his head and his mustache trying to twirl itself into little points at the end. It’s gonna be a whole thing.

4b. Most of my knowledge of the Roman Catholic Church comes from watching The Young/New Pope, so I could be wrong on the theology of all of this, but I’m fairly certain that Gaetano’s interpretation of Italian Jesus as a murderous John Wick who would have killed everyone in Jerusalem had they not nailed him to the cross is… questionable. I’ll have to flip through the New Testament again. Maybe I missed something.

4a. Perhaps all of this can sort itself out for Josto without violence, though. A couple more ice cream sundaes like this and diabetes might take Gaetano before a bullet gets to him.


3. Happy 17th birthday to Ethelrida Pearl Smutny, student of anthropology and the world, the good kind of troublemaker, and, as she asserted, correctly, one of a kind. Things could have worked out better for her on her big day, as her party was interrupted by an angry Loy Cannon who was there to take her family’s business, and her beloved Aunt and her outlaw partner were taken away, and a U.S. Marshal showed up at her high school to question her, which is rarely a good thing. On the other hand:

  • She appears to be writing a letter to Doctor Harvard, in character as a former coworker of Oraetta Mayflower, to spill the dirt on the things she found in the murder closet, including the laudanum, all of which toes a very fun line between devious and righteous
  • When Deafy started to question her, he reached into his jacket and pulled out his carrot sticks and offered her one, which was both nice and very weird because, like, you don’t often get offered a carrot stick, you know?
  • She got to deliver the line, “Well, I’m here. What’s the rumpus?” which a) is how I’m going to start every conversation I have from now on, and b) marks the second use of the word “rumpus” this season, and yes, I am officially on #RumpusWatch now

Not the best birthday, all things considered, but a few small silver linings. To quote one of our greatest philosophers…


2. A very good week for those of us with conspiracy walls covered with pictures and charts connected by strings of red yarn, especially as it relates to the possibility that the youngest Cannon, the one being raised by the Rabbi in the Fadda household, grows up to be certified badass Mike Milligan from Season 2 of Fargo. The evidence is all circumstantial, of course, but when has anyone on the internet ever needed more than that to fly off the handle? All I have from this episode are: Rabbi Milligan promising to keep the boy safe with a sincerity that stretches into an almost familial level of care; Rabbi Milligan saying of the impending war, “When the shooting starts, we vanish”; and Rabbi Milligan’s last name being Milligan. My working theory is that the Faddas and Cannons wipe each other out and Rabbi Milligan — the twice-traded son who murdered his own father in a double-cross as an act of revenge — becomes the crime king of Kansas City, with the young Cannon changing his name out of respect for the only person who truly cared for him. Or not! Who knows?! Anything can happen on this show. There was an alien attack one time. I’m just throwing stuff against the wall over here.

1. Yes, sure, Josto is getting outflanked and undermined by his large and ill-tempered brother, but say this for the man: He knows how to make an entrance.