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The ‘Fargo’ Frozen Five: Poisoned Pie And Botched Bloodshed

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 3 — “Raddoppiarlo” (or, “Chekhov’s Pie”)

5. Chekhov’s Gun is a famous storytelling principle that goes something like this: If you introduce a gun early in the proceedings, someone needs to fire it by the end. It works with almost anything, too, not just guns. Show the audience something consequential, be sure to pay it off. A weapon, a leaky gutter, a car with an engine that doesn’t always start, some creepy woods off in the distance. Or, if you prefer, a pie filled with all sorts of chemical agents intended to wreak havoc on the bowels, which brings us to poor Swanee Capps, who just wanted to be an outlaw.

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Unfortunately for her (and for anyone within, say, 8-10 feet of her, and especially anyone trapped in a coffin with her), she ate about half of the pie Oraetta made for Ethelrida, right out of the dish, plates be damned. The result was as predictable as it was funny: vicious stomach rumbles followed by gurgling gas followed by projectile vomit, a substantial amount of which ended up on the pile of money they were in the process of stealing from Loy Cannon’s newly acquired slaughterhouse. One imagines Chekhov’s Poisoned Pie will lead us to Chekhov’s Puke Covered Pilfered Cash. We have not seen the last of that gross loot sack.

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It will also lead to a whole heap of other issues. Cannon’s gang thinks the order may have come from the Faddas. The Faddas are still sore about the original slaughterhouse coup and have a wild animal with a teeny tiny mustache introducing anarchy everywhere he goes. A U.S. Marshal in tracking our outlaws and seems on the precipice of uncovering each individual part of this one piece at a time. Things are about to get very serious, very soon. And for the second week in a row, a lot of it can be traced back to serious gastrointestinal issues. What a fun show.

4b. Gaetano is trouble in about a million ways, many of them delightful. Watch him sit in his brother’s Boss Chair, caressing the armrests and rolling his head into the cushion, looking very much like a guy who wants to stay there permanently. Listen to him give a half-drunken speech about the warrior history of the Fadda family as he orders an unsanctioned hit on the elder, jazz-loving Cannon son. Look at his eyeballs as they struggle to remain in their sockets at each stage of the action. The man is a powder keg ready to blow at any moment. I love him so much. He’s been on screen maybe 16 minutes total in the first three episodes and I’m already fully prepared to sign on for a full-on Gaetano In Italy prequel experience.

4a. But seriously, go back and rewatch the scene where he orders the hit over drinks. Every motion he makes is exaggerated something like 200 percent. He’s like a stage actor from 150 years ago, before microphones, just doing everything as huge as possible so the people way in the back don’t feel cheated out of their money. It says a lot that this show is stacked full of big names who are spouting off the wittiest lines you’ve ever heard and my favorite part of the episode was some guy wordlessly taking a shot of alcohol with the energy of a bull who just saw a nice little china shop and thought “Maybe I’ll check it out.”

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3. It was a relatively quiet week for Oraetta Mayflower, or at least as quiet a week as one can have when one gets a new job at a fancy hospital, manually stimulates the groin of a crime boss with such efficiency that he finishes just as she’s wrapping up the first verse of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” (good luck hearing that with seeing Jason Schwartzman’s face from now on), and possibly kicks off a Kansas City gang war by accident with the help of laxative-filled baked goods.

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But yeah, other than that, pretty quiet. I suspect, should any of the parties involved survive long enough to get us there, that Doctor Harvard will not have a very fun birthday after eating those macaroons.

2b. Maybe I’m just a big fluffy pushover, maybe I’m just a simple man who likes simple things, maybe I’m just a rube for nostalgia (Rube Nostalgia = solid Fargo name), but I am really tickled to see Timothy Olyphant wearing a cowboy hat and delivering snappy one-liners again. It is a little different now that he’s a carrot-chomping Mormon from Utah instead of a trigger-happy heathen from Kentucky, and yes, this is where we bring up lines like “You blaspheme more than any man I’ve ever met, and I’ve been to Cleveland” and “makes more sense to me than clam chowder.” I’m not sure the last one even makes sense because, like, can you even get decent clam chowder in Utah? That doesn’t sound good. It sounds kind of like a threat, actually, like something someone would say to an underlying who was flouting the rules. “You start flying straight, buster, or so help me god you’ll be eating clam chowder in Utah for the rest of your career.” Something to think about, I guess.

2a. Big shouts to the lawman Dick “Deafy” Wickware was meeting with, in part for being a ridiculous person and in part for pointing out the “cockeyed names” of the fugitives they’re chasing.

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Between one character this week acknowledging all the strange names and the banker last week named Wink who spent an entire scene winking at the camera, this season is a very short walk from my beloved Gaetano leaning out through the television screen like a character in a horror movie to stare at you with his bulging eyeballs while you eat your cereal. I respect it.

1. Let’s just list a few things we know, for certain, right now, without making any assertions or assumptions:

  • There is a character in season four of Fargo named Rabbi Milligan
  • Rabbi Milligan is part of the Kansas City mafia, despite being Irish, because his Irish mobster father traded him twice — once to a Hebrew gang (hence, Rabbi) and once to the Italians, who he helped to double-cross his biological father
  • Rabbi Milligan is currently the guardian of the youngest Cannon son, a Black child who was also traded in an underworld negotiating tactic
  • This current season of Fargo is set in Kansas City in 1950
  • The second season of Fargo is set in 1979
  • In the second season of Fargo, a Black mafia hitman from Kansas City is sent to North Dakota to kill a member of the Gerhardt crime family
  • The Black Kansas City mafia hitman is named Mike Milligan

Again, let’s not run around making assumptions here. It’s too early for that and, frankly, I’m enjoying the ride too much to ruin it with overthinking things that may or may not happen. But let’s also say that, if you wanted to do something like that, the timeline doesn’t exactly not match-up in a way that implies the youngest Cannon son ends up betraying his father and becoming a member of the Kansas City mafia and changing his name to “Mike Milligan” to honor the man who actually ended up raising him.

But again, I’m not going to do that. Not yet.

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