Great Caesar's ghost! Another phenomenal installment of Fargo is behind us, and to borrow another probable word from Karl Weathers' endless word bank, I am positively verklempt that we only have a measly four episodes remaining of this spectacular season.
Fargo Season 2 Episode 6 dealt with the immediate fallout of the butcher shop kerfuffle that took place during Fargo Season 2 Episode 5 – Ed was arrested for meat-cleavering Virgil in the skull and the Gerhardts went on the direct offensive as word spread that Charlie had been arrested for attempted murder.
"Rhinoceros" opened on Lou carting a passive Ed down to the precinct, as Peggy flipped out about it. Simultaneously (I think – timeline is unclear), Bear got the call from Charlie, telling him what had gone down in Luverne and that he was in jail.
From there, the episode split into two "Luverne sections," for lack of a better term – one focusing on Peggy/Hank/Dodd, the other on Ed/Lou/the precinct/Bear.
Hank remained behind with Peggy after Ed's arrest, to watch over her (and, in all likelihood, to prevent her from doing anything idiotic). This led to one of the most fantastic, unexpected scene partner pairings of the series so far.
You're a little touched, aren't ya?Hank [to Peggy]
Ted Danson's soft-spoken Hank Larsson is really wonderful. He's so unflappably calm, cool, and collected, which made it a real delight to watch him play off of Kirsten Dunst's skittish, air-headed Peggy Blomquist. There is definitely something off about Peggy, and it was quite validating to hear Hank voice that opinion.
It occurred to me that she was acting extremely Lester Nygaard-ish throughout "Rhinoceros." Specifically her mannerisms, and the way that she was speaking to Hank. Lester did this very distinctive thing during Fargo Season 1 where he would go off on a spiel, ranting/raving, and start to sound like he was reciting something from memory – insistent, but vacuous.
Peggy did exactly this, when she spoke about having "plans," and not seeing the world in quite the same way that everyone else did. And cue the empty Life Spring platitudes about life being a journey. It was all very, very Lester.
God bless Hank for breaking through her ditzy haze, laying out the facts for her. Said facts being: she isn't going anywhere, and they are about to get a "fistful" of evidence so she ought to just come clean about the Rye thing.
And come clean she did! Unfortunately, that was just seconds before the Gerhardts showed up, led by Dodd and Hanzee, guns a-blazin'.
This has been a season of amazing, tense, beyond nerve-wracking stand-offs. The Dodd/Hank stand-off was a prime example. It was equal parts humorous (Hank poking fun at Dodd's intelligence) and genuinely terrifying (I'm sure I'm not the only viewer who thought Hank was a goner). No one could possibly have been more surprised than I when Hank came to on the porch, still alive.
Dodd: Or maybe he's in the house and you think I'm stupid.
Hank: Son, I could fill out a steamer trunk with the amount of stupid I think you are but no, that's where he went.
Peggy was undeniably clever down in that basement. Thanks to her library of old hoarded magazines, she managed to knock one of Dodd's men unconscious. As luck would have it, Dodd was startled and, made trigger-happy, accidentally shot one of his own men.
This culminated in Peggy cattle-prodding Dodd into unconsciousness, which was perhaps the most cathartic scene of the season so far. Dodd really got what was coming to him, twice – once from Peggy, and earlier, when Bear beat the snot out of him. Two fantastic scenes.
Of course, we have no idea what happened to Peggy after knocking Dodd out. Hank got up and immediately drove towards the precinct rather than checking on her. Odds are, Peggy probably took off. I doubt she stayed behind in that house, and it wouldn't shock me that she left Hank behind. What is strange is that we didn't see Hank check on her. Who knows whether that was an "OK, so much for this chick" thing or a "Hank is disoriented and forgot" thing.
Meanwhile, back at the precinct, Lou tried to get the truth out of Ed as Charlie sat alone in a cell. Ed is trying my last nerve as much as he is Lou's. At first he was sympathetic, but now he is behaving like as much of a dolt as Peggy.
It's unclear, now, what he thinks he stands to gain from withholding the full truth from Lou and demanding a lawyer. Does he seriously still think law enforcement is the bigger threat when he was just forced to take a meat cleaver to a man's head in self-defense!?
Regardless, Ed was the least important part of the precinct section of "Rhinoceros." As much as Hank was the star and MVP of the Blomquist house scenes, Karl Weathers was far and away the MVP of the precinct scenes.
As soon as we saw the deputy retrieve an obviously-hammered Karl from the veterans' association, intending to take him back to the station so he could commence his representation of Ed, it became clear that this would be a Nick Offerman showcase episode. And my oh my, it certainly did not disappoint in that regard.
Karl: I am sound in mind and body and ready to run circles around the inferior minds of the Rock County Sheriff's department.
Sonny: Lou's a state cop, Karl.
Karl: Shut up, Sonny. I will need you to drive, however.
I could hardly even bring myself to pick just one quote to highlight here, so you'll have to check out our Fargo Quotes, where I had to actively restrain myself from transcribing every single line of Karl's dialogue.
Offerman's performance was fantastic and banished every single fear I had about his casting being a gimmick. He ran the gamut from fearful to drunken to cocky to voice of reason and back again. And he injected much-needed humor and levity into an episode that was extremely tense and violent.
Thanks to a combination of Lou's quick-thinking and Karl's ability to talk his way out of any mess, there was zero bloodshed at the precinct. A stark contrast particularly against the messy chaos that went down at Casa Blomquist.
This just served to highlight that Bear is the smarter and more admirable of the two brothers, I think. At the very least, Bear cares deeply for his son Charlie. As soon as Karl started insisting that Bear and his men retreating was what was best for Charlie, I knew that Bear would turn tail and head home. The conversation between Karl and Bear is one of my favorite scenes of the season so far.
Karl's distraction allowed Lou time to escape and get Ed out of there. They conveniently ran into Hank, who was en route to the precinct from Peggy's following Dodd's attack. Ed, showing more initiative than I would have expected, took the opportunity to take off running. Both Hank/Lou and master tracker Hanzee were separately on his tail.
Finally, back in Fargo, Mike Milligan took advantage of Simone's idiocy to storm the unprotected Gerhardt farm. I'll admit I didn't see that siege coming. Even as we saw Milligan and his men prepare for battle (set to the phenomenal Bokeem Woodbine's voiceover recitation of Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem "Jabberwocky," and intercut with split-screen scenes of the Gerhardt faction also heading into battle) I was fully expecting them to turn up in Luverne.
Of course, once it happened, Milligan's attack on the vacated Gerhardt farm made all the sense in the world. It's been increasingly clear that Milligan does not care for Simone in any kind of significant way. He has attention to spare her only when she's useful to him.
I can sympathize with and understand why Simone's reaction to her father berating her and calling her a whore was to attempt to sic Milligan on Dodd. That said, it was pretty damn foolish to think that she could control Milligan like that.
Floyd revealed that she knows Simone has been duplicitous, to some degree. Immediately before Kansas City shot up the place, she lectured Simone about the need to be a leader and the need to definitively choose a side. Too little, too late. That's what Floyd gets for trying to play the understanding grandma in the middle of a mob war, I guess.
We all got a role to play. You need to take my example. Be a leader. This is our time. No such thing as men's work, women's work anymore. We got just as much right to--Floyd
I wish there was a Gerhardt younger female worthy of Floyd's advice and her leader speech. Simone is certainly not that person.
- The episode title "Rhinoceros" isn't as thematically clear as past episode titles. If I had to take an (admittedly outlandish) educated guess, I'd say that Ed is (figuratively) the rhino. A tremendous beast, but largely passive in nature. By all means, though, please share your better interpretations!
- Oh, Ed, bless your heart for utterly misinterpreting the meaning of the myth of Sisyphus and what Noreen was trying to explain about Camus' whole point.
- Speaking of which: love how Lou just rapidly ran out of patience with Ed's bufoonery. He really did try to get through to the younger man, to his credit.
- I really enjoyed Bear talking to mute/non-responsive Otto about his dead older brother Elron. It was a sweet, poignant moment, particularly as Bear wondered how things would be if Elron, the oldest and proper heir to the Gerhardt business, were alive and running things instead of Dodd. The character of Bear continues to be a pleasant surprise among the scores of despicable Gerhardts.
- I was iffy about the split screen device in the early episodes of the season, but they are wonderful. This season is on par with season 1 in most respects, but I think it surpasses season 1 in terms of how visually interesting it is. Specifically referencing the way the screen was split during Lou and Karl's discussion about the plan in the precinct. So damn cool.
What did you think of "Rhinoceros"? Were you as impressed with Karl Weathers as I was? Who will find Ed first – Hanzee, or Lou and Hank? Remember to watch Fargo online here at TV Fanatic and chime in with your thoughts by commenting below!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.