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 10 — “Happy” (or “Good Night, Large Ornery Prince”)
5a. A great week for Ethelrida Pearl Smutny is often a great week for Fargo. I’m not sure if this is a 1:1 correlation or a coincidence, although I’m starting to lean toward the former after this week’s episode. Maybe it’s because she’s someone we can root for on a show filled with scoundrels and murderers. Maybe it’s because the actress who plays her, E’myri Crutchfield, is doing such a good job surrounded by a crew of heavy hitters. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Whatever it is, it sure was nice to watch her tell off Oraetta and tick off all the evidence she has right there on the porch with Jazz Cannon — yes, I know his name is Lemuel, but if you like jazz and your last name is Cannon, you are Jazz Cannon to me — standing between them trying to look tough, in the same episode Mama Smutny warned him that she keeps a shotgun next to her bed and is “a light sleeper.” Fun family, the Smutnys. And then Ethelrida showed up at Loy Cannon’s office with an invoice for mob war funerals and Donatello Fadda’s ring and turned the whole situation right on its head. She’s the best, and increasingly the only competent person on the show, which should work out well for her as the various warring factions around her tear themselves apart. She should be the President. Maybe one day.
5b. We also learned the nature of the ghost business, the creepy wet one that haunts members of the Roulette/Smutny family. Turns out it’s the captain of a slave ship that one of their ancestors choked out while half-drowning as the ship was tilting about in a storm. That is… kind of awesome. I mean, it’s a tragedy, and I do not particularly like the idea of a ghost haunting generations of a family, and I especially do not want to be haunted myself, but if you think you’re about to go out, taking the cackling captain of a slave ship with you with your bare hands is a decent way to do it. Fun family, the Roulettes.
4. Not such a great week for Oraetta, though, which is a good thing, because very few people had a comeuppance coming quite like the Minnesota-nice serial killer nurse. And hoo boy, did she get it. Her plan to murder Ethelrida was foiled by Captain Slaveship, who now haunts her too (I guess), and then she returned home to find a house full of cops waiting to arrest her for the attempted murder of Doctor Harvard, who is now awake, and is still somehow the least of her problems because Loy Cannon has Papa Faddas ring and seems like a guy who would be very happy to inform Josto that his freaky mistress actually murdered his father. And, again, the ghost. I really can’t stress that enough. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I truly believe I would react this exact way if a scary moist ghost snuck up behind me. I don’t have much in common with Oraetta (I’m not good at baking, to list one of the less important ways), but we are very much simpatico on this. Ghosts are bad. Get them outta there.
3. Not a super great week for Loy Cannon either, now that I think about it, at least not until the ring handoff at the end. He’s losing soldiers left and right and he’s going to a gangster named Happy for help and Happy proved, well, happy (sorry) to doublecross him as revenge for whupping the hell out of Leon, Happy’s nephew, without clearing it with Happy first. Now Happy and Leon are meeting with the Faddas as part of the Faddas’ plan to back a new Black crime leader and run the Cannons out of town once and for all, which is something that will happen when family members start getting killed (like Mama Fadda) or “killed” (like Satchel Cannon). Honestly, if I were Happy, I’d be more scared of Mrs. Cannon than Loy, in part because she straight-up used his full government name like she was his mom and he was a little boy making a scene in the grocery store, and in part because of the thing from the other week where she pulled a shotgun on Calamita and called herself a mama lion. She and Dibrell Smutny should just take over Kansas City. And Zelmare, too. The women of this season are strong as hell. Let them run the chumps out of there.
3b. Happy may be an opportunist and a duplicitous weasel but I do have to give the man credit for the phrase “podunk thuggery,” which is another one of those things like “strychnine macaroons” that is both a blast to say out loud and a potential character name for a future season of the show. Podunk Thuggery and Strychnine Macaroon, midwestern bandits. It could work.
2. A big and heartfelt shoutout to Satchell Cannon, my tiny badass Dorothy from Oz, all by his lonesome on the streets with his little doggie and his handgun, taking no crap from yokels in pickup trucks, ready to take on the world and everyone in it, just filled with sadness and rage and independence and ready spill it all out of his prepubescent body at a moment’s notice.
I keep forgetting he’s a part of the show while the other stuff is happening — the ghosts and skullduggery and gunplay and such — and then I never want to leave him once I’m reminded he’s out there a-wanderin’. I’m still fully convinced he grows up to be Mike Milligan, as everyone else is at this point, but I’m increasingly less excited about it. We know how things end for him if he becomes Mike. I think I might enjoy it more if his future was a big question mark. I could dream, then. I could pretend he keeps walking straight to Los Angeles and becomes a player in Hollywood, kind of like Chili Palmer in Get Shorty. I might just pretend that happens anyway. I need something to brighten me up, especially considering…
1. Fine. Let’s do it. Let’s talk about it.
Good night to my beautiful large ornery boy, Gaetano Fadda, a self-described lion and ox and bull, a big strong rhinoceros who knew only violence and extremely exaggerated movements of his limbs and face, whose eyes were always *thisclose* to bulging straight out of his head and onto the floor. I loved him. I knew he was not going to make it through the season, both because you cannot live like that and expect to survive and because most people — even the innocent ones — don’t survive a season of Fargo anyway. And then he and Josto had that sweet moment in the car, with Gaetano explaining why he was sent to Italy (stabbing a man in the eye with a jagged piece of glass at age 11), and what his life was like there (not great!), and then sharing a tender sibling embrace. I knew he was not long for the world when I saw that. I did not expect him to go out by stumbling after assassinating Odis Weff and blowing half his head off via accidental bullet, but that’s more of a failure of imagination on my part than anything else. Fargo loves to zig when you think it will zag, and vice versa, and there’s not much more of a zig/zag than “one of the big bads explodes his own head after falling on the trigger of his gun.” I will miss him very much. As will Josto, who has now lost his father, mother, and brother, and does not generally seem like the type of guy who thrives in the world without a protector of some kind. But this isn’t about Josto. This is about me and my loss. I’m grieving. I’m legitimately sad. If I had more time and was a stronger man I might have put together a bunch of clips of him doing everything the most and ran them in slow-motion and set them to the saddest song I can find. Pretend I did. That’s close enough.
Rest In Peace, my ill-tempered mustachioed prince.