“Rapid fire, some round, some oval. Circular patterns, unnatural, bright, hovering in the sky. They come only in the odd months, the visitors. Always in sets of three.”
So says the man waiting in line for gas ahead of Minnesota State Police Officer Lou Solverson, and since we’re talking conspiracy theories, I can’t help but project my own meaning onto the chaos. “Always in sets of three.” Since this week’s episode, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” marks the third time in as many weeks that Fargo‘s mentioned of UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors, it’s time we take a step further into the unknown and examine the delightfully bizarre recurrence a little closer.
But before we wonder about what lies beyond the stars, we have some trivial earthly business to which to attend.
“The Myth of Sisyphus” brought viewers further into the workings of the Gerhardt family, mostly through the lens of Hanzee Dent, Dodd’s stalwart ally, magic enthusiast, and raw-rabbit connoisseur. Although clearly the most capable member of the outfit, Hanzee is left on the fringes of the family, left to perform the grunt work that allows Dodd to be the feared figure he is. As the rest of the Gerhardts mourn the death — both literal and figurative — of previous generations and the old ways of doing things, a desperate search is on to find the family’s youngest and most useless male, Rye, who’s currently ground up somewhere. All the while, Hanzee and his value remain invisible to the family and — much to his misfortune — Skip Spring.
The Gerhardt’s, particularly Dodd’s, obsession with parentage and legacies began to take up more of the foreground this week, so much so that I’m afraid of having a paranoid, True Detective season 2-related flashback. (It’s over, Kevin. The bad TV can’t hurt you anymore.) My night terrors set in Vinci aside, it’s interesting — and possibly therapeutic — that Fargo season 2 is treading some of the same ground, albeit in much more subtle ways.
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Bear Gerhardt’s conversation with his son, though extrinsically tied to the family’s main story line, does play a key role in weaving its larger tapestry. The middle Gerhardt boy insists that his son, Charlie, return to school and leave behind any idea of an active role in the family. It was a promise that Bear had made to Charlie’s mother, no doubt an attempt to keep the boy out of harm’s way so that he can “make something” of himself. Charlie claims that the family name alone makes him something, but Bear knows better and claims ownership and dominion over the boy. Facing each other in the kitchen, both with the control of their hands somehow limited — Bear because of his cast and Charlie because of his cerebral palsy — father and son are already mirrors of each other. The match suggests that perhaps what Bear fears passing down has already been transferred. The sins of the father manifesting in his son.
Dodd is also struggling with his role as a father, namely that he doesn’t really see himself as one. As a dad to two daughters, he hasn’t fulfilled the one requirement that comes with the job: producing a son. To that end, Simone occupies a strange, undefined space in his life. She seems perfectly capable of playing the heir, being cunning enough to lure Skip Spring into Rye’s apartment and toward his doom under a pile of scalding hot asphalt, but her father wants her out of the way because that’s where girls are supposed to be. It’s a deference that Dodd expects from his daughter as well as his mother.
NEXT: Introducing Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers!