TV

‘Fargo’ Finally Gave Us The Massacre It Promised, And Then Things Got Weird

Okay.

1) The entire second season of Fargo has been building to the event that took place at the end of last night’s episode. In fact, if we’re being honest, the build toward it started back in season one, before we knew we were going back in time, when an older Lou Solverson explained it to Lorne Malvo in the diner. The Sioux Falls Massacre was legendary before we even knew exactly what took place. So as it started unfolding last night, there was this almost giddy sense of “Ooo, this is it!” floating around. Finally, we would see the event we’ve heard so much about and have been patiently waiting for this season. And then we did. And then things got weird.

But before we get into all that, let’s quickly look at the steps from last night that got us there, including a few left turns we probably didn’t see coming. The first, and most important, of these lefts was Hanzee full-on double-crossing the Gerhardts and sending them into a murder trap from which none of them would escape. Not even Floyd, whom Hanzee gutted personally. We’re now down to zero Gerhardts, give or take an incarcerated Charlie. That is not a lot of Gerhardts.

The second left was the jurisdictional pissing contest that took place at the lake house. In hindsight, this makes sense, because with all the lone wolf John McClane-ing Lou was doing, it’s only right they would eventually introduce the country version of Dennis Franz’s character in Die Hard 2 to stand in his way. God, did I love that guy. Every idea he had worked out terribly. Have Ed keep his meeting and wear a wire? Check. Run Lou out of town? Check. Switch to plain clothes the night before so as to blend in and/or accidentally get mistaken for the KC mob and get massacred? Check. Turn off the radio? Check. And at one point he said he wanted to “squeeze the lemons we got and use the juice to catch the big fish,” which, and I’m admittedly no expert here, is not how you catch fish. Like I’m picturing him squeezing lemons straight into a lake and then standing there holding a net in his boat, just red-faced and shouting at the fish for refusing to be caught. It’s a shame he died before we really got to know him.

Anyway, the result of the two left turns was that the carnage we expected to see between the Gerhardts and the KC mob ended up being carnage between the Gerhardts and undercover law enforcement, with Lou, Ed, Peggy, and Hanzee representing the only definite survivors. So there was that.

2) Oh, also, a huge UFO came down from the cosmos and saved Lou’s life.

3) Somewhat lost amid the chaos of those first two things was… is Betsy dead now, too? It sure looked like it. And given her big dramatic speech to the King of Breakfast about who Lou may or may not shack up with when she’s gone, it’s not like we can’t say we didn’t see it coming. But still, even in an episode and a season stuffed with death, this one hurts, probably because it was the most normal. You were a cool lady, Betsy Solverson. R.I.P. Unless you’re still alive, in which case, continued health and my apologies for talking about you in the past tense just now.

4) So let’s go ahead and do the whole UFO thing now. The show’s been tipping us off the whole way through that, like, something UFO-related was coming, but I don’t think any of us saw that. Even the earlier sighting by Rye was somewhat open to interpretation, because it was more of a scooting blue light than full, legit, hovering silver mothership. The universe of Fargo officially contains aliens now. That happened. That happened.

I feel like a PRO-CON discussion might help us sort this out.

PRO: This was a big swing by a show that has a habit of taking big swings, which is something that has my full support, in general. I still don’t know how I feel about this particular swing, but if you’re looking for a show that will go to great lengths to shock and surprise you, here you go. And it also raises the possibility that season three of Fargo will be about the aliens returning and Molly Solverson basically taking on the role of Will Smith in Independence Day, which is also something that has my full support. (“Welcome to Earth. Okay, then.”)

CON: This very well could be a bridge too far for some viewers. It’s one thing to nod and wink to the possibility of aliens in your Minnesota murder show, but actually flying in a giant blinking spaceship during the biggest moment of the whole season kind of takes all that subtlety and nuance and grinds it into sausage in the back of a butcher shop. I think I liked it, but if you didn’t, I’m not going to fight you on it.

5) So here’s a question: What now for Mike and Kansas City? Did they just win? Because they were on the way to pick up Dodd (“pick up Dodd”) to use him in further negotiations, but now it appears that every last Gerhardt is a goner, without Mike and The Last Kitchen having to squeeze another trigger. That worked out well. Almost… too well. People on Fargo, to this point, have rarely gotten off that easy. And there’s still the matter of the dead Undertaker in Mike’s hotel suite. Maybe that will catch up to him in the finale. That would be a shame, really, because all the murdering aside, I kinda like Mike. Part of me wants him to take over the whole operation.

6) A quick personal note: Having access to advance screeners is a fun part of this job, both because it makes it easier and makes you feel all fancy and important. But sometimes — like, say, when you watch your screener on a Thursday and a freaking UFO interrupts the Sioux Falls Massacre and you can’t talk about it with anyone for three full days even though it’s building up inside you to the point you honestly might explode before the episode airs — it is somewhat less fun. Please don’t interpret this as a complaint. Television critics complaining about screeners is a top five insufferable thing. I just wanted to give you a little glimpse behind the scenes.

7) The really wild thing about this episode was that they went ahead and introduced a storybook narrator out of nowhere — voiced by season one star, Martin Freeman — who periodically interrupted the action to fill us in on Hanzee’s backstory and potential motivations like the whole thing was How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and that was not even close to the craziest thing that happened.

8) How far has Peggy Blumquist come, right? Back in episode one she was a frustrated Minnesota hairdresser who accidentally hit someone with her car, and now she’s running for her life in South Dakota after stabbing violent criminals and flirting with cops so she can murder them in their sleep later, if need be. And she is Loving. It. Turns out Lifespring wasn’t necessary at all. Sorry, Constance. (Also, R.I.P., Constance.) She’s realized, baby.

9) As we head into the finale, the big remaining thread to follow is the aforementioned hunt for the Blumquists, with Hanzee chasing the couple and Lou chasing all three. If I were a betting man, my money would be on only Lou surviving, for two reasons: One, because again, people who do bad things generally do not last very long on this show, and the Blumquists, for all their tripping over themselves backwards into a life of crime, have indeed done some bad things. And Hanzee has done a lifetime of them. I don’t see any of them making it.

Two, killing the three of them would leave Lou as the only witness — neighbors not included — of the UFO sighting, and Lou is the silent-enough type to take that story to his grave. You’ve got to assume he didn’t talk about it much, because otherwise season one would have been a steady stream of customers at his diner asking him if he got probed. Hell, if he told people, he might as well have just cashed in and named the diner “Lou’s UFO Cafe.” It would have been a gold mine.

That said, I do hope he tells Karl though, just because I think it will make Karl happy.

10) Guys. There was definitely a giant UFO on Fargo.

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