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The ‘Fargo’ Frozen Five: The Long-Simmering Feud Finally Starts Boiling

The Fargo Frozen Five is Uproxx’s weekly collection of thoughts, observations, and goofball screencaps from each new episode of 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 8 — “Nadir” (or “Mama Fadda Become-a Nada”)

5, A bloodbath has been in the air for weeks. You could sense it. You could smell it through the television screen, somehow. You knew it was coming even if this is your first go-round with Fargo, a show that always builds toward a bloodbath or two. This time it took place in the train station as Zelmare Roulette and Swanee Capps prepared to board their escape rattler to Philly, the one Loy Cannon had spilled the beans about to U.S. Marshal Mormon Raylan at the end of a really fun scene where the two traded stares and one-liners about the criminal lifestyle. The result of it all was dozens of dead bodies scattered across the floor, two of which belonged to the aforementioned Marshal and one Swanee Capps, both at the hand of Odis Weff, who pumped himself up in the car for about 20 minutes before carrying out what appeared to be the order from Loy Cannon in a classic “settle all family business” move that did not go quite as planned. One part of the problem was a furious Zelmare looking at her deceased lover on the floor and that creepy zombieghost behind Weff and then barreling through him and out the door like a Midwestern college fullback before he could finish the job. We’ll get to the other part of the problem later. For now, we focus on two primary outcomes: One, after a slower, more talky stretch of the season, things appear ready to move from simmer to boil; two, I am a little sad that the first three major characters the show killed off this season — Doctor Senator, Marshal Dick “Deafy” Wickware, and Swanee Capps — represented three of my four favorites on the show. We must protect my large ornery son Gaetano. I’m not ready.

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5a. I will say this: If you’re about to kick off a firefight where you’re overmatched and prepared to die, smiling at your adversary, spitting out a lollipop, and smooching your partner in love and crime is a pretty cool way to do it.

4. Quite a week for the Fadda brothers, now reunited and on the same page after a brief sibling spat that involved Gaetano getting tortured by the Cannons with Josto’s blessing and Josto getting heaved through a table and socked in the peeper by Gaetano for that first thing. But that’s in the past. They’re back now, together, leading as two kings, as Gaetano was so impressed with Josto’s willingness to sell him out to acquire power that he started and could not stop making wildlife analogies. (Animals he compared to Josto: Various snakes, chameleon. Animals he compared to himself: Lion, bull.) It was nice. It’s good to see a family come together. Even if that bond is built upon a foundation of subterfuge and violence and telling your enemy you killed his youngest son even though the kid is actually on the run with his Irish mentor and your top hitman is hunting them down. I guess. Strange family, the Faddas.

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4a. Not all good news for them, though, as Mama Fadda took a stray bullet in an attempted ambush and joined the Flatulent Papa Fadda in the Great Beyond, much to the dismay of her two now-orphaned boys, especially Gaetano, who appeared on the verge of either screaming into the heavens with enough force to bring on loud claps of thunder or tearing apart the family home with his giant meaty paws. Possibly both. One imagines this will become an issue going forward.

3. Not a great week for Oraetta Mayflower either, on a couple of fronts. The first problem, the less pressing one given the development of the second one, is that Josto dropped both an “I think I love you” and a “by the by, I’m getting married” on her in the span of about 90 seconds, followed by a “slow your roll, toots” when she expressed frustration about it.

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None it was particularly ideal, but it was all moved down her list of problems very quickly when she found out that Doctor Harvard survived his dance with the Strychnine Macaroons — extremely plausible character name in a future season — and was moved to a distant hospital that specializes in poisons, which, if he continues to improve, will allow him to reveal both her role in his illness and the existence of the letter that outlined a pattern of similar behavior. The only silver lining in it all, for her, was that she finally put two and two together to realize Ethelrida was behind the letter, which put a brief pause in her plans to flee. It would be fun to look at a flow chart of everyone who wants to kill each other and why this season. Just arrows zigging and zagging in a zillion directions.

3a. I’m no psychology expert but Oraetta’s talk of being a sickly child and her mom doting on her and making her a “special juice” sure did sound like a Munchausen by Proxy situation, which would certainly explain a lot of things, if not everything.

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3b. Tricky week for Ethelrida too, as she now has a murderous nurse on her tail and a burgeoning forbidden romance with the horn-tooting son of her family’s tormentors. Real Romeo and Juliet situation cooking here. One assumes these will come up again, too.

2. Big sitdown between the Cannon and Smutny matriarchs this week. The chat was ostensibly centered upon the quote-unquote dead Cannon child and the family’s wishes that the Smutny family funeral home handle the service, which, yes, fine. Let’s do all that, especially if it provides a way for the Smutnys to settle some or all of their debt. But the main takeaway of their conversation, for me, was that the “we’re not so different, you and I” vibes were through the roof. Two women with husbands who appear to be the breadwinners, who are strong like iron behind the scenes, pulling literal and figurative shotguns on anyone who threatens their cubs. You get the feeling the two of them could run all of Kansas City if they so desired. It was a good scene. My only small complaint is that neither of them actually said “we’re not so different.” I would have hooted and hollered a little.

1. Luckily, this happened at another point in the episode.

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Once I got past the “HE SAID THE THING, THE TITLE OF THE… HE SAID THE THING” of it all (30-40 minutes, tops), I was able to put it all together again. It goes like this:

  • The guns he stole from the Faddas in the flaming truck heist got sold to Mort Zuckerman in Fargo in exchange for a favor and/or loyalty
  • That favor appears to have been “ambush the Faddas and kill them without it getting tied back to me”
  • The first part failed and the second part doesn’t look too great, as no one else had a super great reason to come in guns blazing on the family in that moment
  • Mort Zuckerman, as we know from Season 2, gets assassinated in a movie theater by the Gerhardt family in 1951, which is not long after the events we saw depicted here
  • It’s worth noting that the ties to the universe of Season Two are undeniable in a few ways now, which, given the ending of the events depicted there, leaves open the possibility that this all ends with an alien attack, too

I desperately want to see how Gaetano would react to aliens. I bet his eyes would bug right out of his face like a cartoon character would just saw a pretty lady.

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