Fargo Season 2 Episode 3 Review: The Myth of Sisyphus

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The tension continues to mount and the universe continues to expand as the season chugs along.

Fargo Season 2 Episode 3 brought Lou face to face with several other factions of the cast of characters, further cementing his role as the center of the story and the de facto protagonist. And boy, did he have a heck of a time over in North Dakota.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the show is how fully developed each of the many characters feels in such a short time. "The Myth of Sisyphus" is only the third installment of Fargo Season 2 and I'm already totally immersed in the universe and in the increasingly complex interplay among the characters.

There are so many layers of intrigue, and levels of tension. We have intra-family tension thanks to the power struggle between Dodd and his mother Floyd, running parallel alongside the tension between the Gerhardts and Mike Milligan/Joe Bulo on behalf of the Kansas City mafia.

Elsewhere, we have Lou and Hank, representing justice, facing off against enemies from all angles – the Kansas City folks and the Gerhardts alike.

Meanwhile, Ed and Peggy are floating about in the middle of this nebulous web. If the Gerhardts find out that Ed killed Rye, the Blomquists are screwed; ditto if law enforcement finds out about the defense killing.

Though if I were them, I'd be far more concerned about the Gerhardts tracking Rye's demise back to the Blomquists than Lou figuring it out.

If Fargo Season 2 Episode 2 was the Mike Milligan hour, this was the Lou Solverson hour. We were given a ton (seriously, a ton) of character-developing moments for Lou Solverson during his trip over to Fargo.

The show wasn't content to just present one Lou confrontation and have his whole "unflappable badass" thing laid out for the world to see there. Nope, both the confrontation at the Gerhardt home and the face-off with Milligan at the typewriter store displayed Lou's fierceness.

Actually, it was a little weird that he wasn't remotely frightened (or didn't really appear to be, on a surface level) during the face-off with Milligan. Yes, Mike is a charismatic gangster, but all the charisma in the world couldn't get me to forget that two creepily silent, hat-wearing twin brothers were pointing shotguns at me.

Is this perhaps a combat experience side effect? Lou seems generally rather emotionless, so perhaps this inability to feel fear stems from his PTSD as well.

Am I the only one here who's clear on the concept of law enforcement?

Lou

Ben Schmidt, little pansy that he is, served as an excellent foil to Lou's stalwart heroism. Ben was perfectly content to let Skip go (even though the dude was squirrely as all get out) and he practically pulled Lou by the sleeve to get away from the Gerhardts once Dodd showed up.

"Not too late to go to the movies," Ben said as he and Lou pulled up to the Gerhardts. Ugh. So lame.

Ben Schmidt appeared in Fargo Season 1 as well, as Gus Grimly's commanding officer. To my recollection, he didn't appear overly whimpy at any point then.

It's super ironic in retrospect that Schmidt reprimanded Grimly for failing to apprehend Lorne Malvo when that totally seems like something young Schmidt would do.

Is Schmidt in the Gerhardts' pocket? If he isn't yet, it certainly seems like he might be soon enough. He seemed positively nonplussed when reporting to Lou that the Gerhardts basically own the whole town (making the idea of getting a warrant to force them to give up Rye totally moot).

Lou: Got the prints back on the gun, just before. Rye Gerhardt. [off Ben's look] That bad, huh?
Ben: I'm not saying your life would be easier if it was your own prints on the gun, but that's the lines along which you should be thinkin'.

The confrontation between Lou and Milligan was a highlight. Bokeem Woodbine continues to absolutely own the role of Mike Milligan, and he plays well off of basically everyone he's shared a scene with so far.

It's become really clear that it was 100% the right decision to have the Kitchen brothers be silent, emotionless, gun-toting golems. Their complete non-personalities really allow Milligan to shine.

Mike: So, where'd you say you saw old Skip?
Lou: At your mother's house. I think going in the back door.
Mike: [to the Kitchen brothers] I like him. [to Lou] I like you.

The attention turned a bit more to the younger Gerhardts in this installment. Both Charlie, Bear's son, and Simone, Dodd's daughter, desperately want to be involved in family matters.

It was surprising, and kind of heart-warming, to find out that Bear refused to allow Charlie to become involved due to a promise he made Charlie's mother about keeping Charlie out of the Gerhardt family business.

Bear, gross and ravenous as he is (seriously, he is eating in every damn scene he appears in!), is clearly the far better father between the two surviving Gerhardt siblings.

He legitimately seems to care about his son's livelihood, and actively attempted to convince him to go back to school. Fat chance of that, but at least he tried.

Dodd, meanwhile, is a misogynist, abusive pig. The show's really gone hard on underscoring, highlighting, and bold-fonting that idea. His offhand early season comments about "Ma" not being able to lead because she's "a girl" (yes, the older woman who birthed and raised him is "a girl") were, on their own, pretty annoying.

But then he went and roughed up his daughter, Simone, who was desperately trying to contribute and prove her worth by helping Hanzee ensnare Skip. And to her credit, Simone was actually an integral part of that; she basically seduced Skip through the door and was the one to actually lead Hanzee to Rye's apartment.

As if the comments about her outfit and slapping her weren't bad enough, Simone let fly an extremely disturbing line: she wondered aloud whether Dodd (her father) hitting her was making him (again, her father) hard.

Yes, Dodd is the flat-out worst. No contest. Jeffrey Donovan is doing a bang-up job portraying this hideous character who has no redeeming qualities.

Dodd then proceeded to execute Skip by burying him alive (in manure? Or was that just dirt?) But not before Skip let loose with the fact that Milligan was actively searching for Rye. Dodd, in the closing scene, ordered Hanzee to find Rye in Luverne at all costs. It's definite Hanzee will bring chaos and bloodshed with him to Luverne.

Back in Luverne, Betsy continued to be clever as all heck (again, this is clearly where Molly got her detective mojo from). She arrived at the entirely accurate conclusion that Rye had wandered out into the street and gotten hit by a car, and suggested to her father that he ought to be looking for a car instead of a man.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess, depending on whose side you're on), Peggy overheard this conversation in the beauty parlor. Her frantic interjection was more than a little suspect, but Hank fully bought it, apparently.

Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with Peggy. It's not like you're gonna just drive home with a Gerhardt in your windshield and, y'know, start supper.

Hank

Kirsten Dunst's performance as Peggy reacted to Hank's above line was priceless, by the way.

Peggy convinced poor sap Ed to crash the car to cover up the damage from her hit-and-run of Rye. He got whiplash as a result. Really starting to dislike Peggy, and the way Connie keeps calling her a naughty girl (and the way Peggy is playing into it) is making it even worse. Ugh, Peggy.

Finally, more alien mumbo-jumbo. Still wondering what the larger purpose of this extraterrestrial subplot is within the context of the show, but it's too prevalent to ignore, so I'm just gonna leave this gem here:

Lou: Visitors?
Stranger: From above. Some say they take you to their ship and probe you in places you don't want to mention. I believe their purposes are more benevolent. As the caretaker to the zoo. When strange happenings occur, they are near.
Lou: Strange happenings, huh? I wondered what was causing that.

What a very Lou Solverson response.

Stray Observations:

  • Did anyone else catch a bit of sexual tension between Simone and Hanzee?
  • Who was expecting Lou to bust out the 1979 equivalent of a "yo mamma" joke on Mike? Not me! It was wonderful, though.
  • You can't help but root for Charlie. I'm anticipating that when nearly every Gerhardt dies in the crossfire this season, Charlie will rise from the ashes and take over as leader.
  • Lou and Betsy are so adorable. It pains me that she's clearly not long for this world.
  • Albert Camus's philosophical essay "The Myth of Sisyphus" introduces the philosophy of the absurd, and the futile search for meaning in a meaningless world. He likens Sisyphus pushing his rock endlessly up a mountain to the toil of the everyman. Is Lou Sisyphus in this metaphor? That's my best guess. He is insistently trying to do the right thing, but why? And at what cost?

What did you think of "The Myth of Sisyphus"? Who are you rooting for? Do you despise Dodd and Peggy as much as I do? Remember to watch Fargo online to catch up on what you've missed and chime in with your thoughts by commenting below.

The Myth of Sisyphus Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (9 Votes)

Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Fargo Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

Bear: Know thyself?
Dodd: What are you on about?
Bear: It's in the Bible.

[about Otto] He's still the same lion inside.

Floyd