I hope everyone took the week to consider how they are like Sisyphus, struggling to push that boulder up the mountain, only to realize that no matter how you struggle you still have to wait a week in between episodes of Fargo.
That last part might not be right.
But that’s okay, because the latest hour of Fargo, “Rhinoceros,” ditched some of the heavier Camus for some classic Carpenter, as Lou, Ed, Bear, Hanzee, Charlie, and Karl Weathers (with a K) reenact a politer version of Assault on Precinct 13.
For there to be a siege on the police station, however, there need to be some prisoners to bust out. With Charlie Gerhardt already in custody, the authorities inevitably came for Ed to ask him some questions about just what happened in the back room of the butcher shop. Namely, how did that meat cleaver end up in Virgil’s head. As Ed is taken away in cuffs, he is already beginning his reaction to Noreen’s quandaries from the previous episode. What is he doing with his life? What does it all mean if he’s going to die? Ed saw his previous answer going up in flames with the butcher shop, so he knows that’s no longer it. And to be honest, it probably never was that. Suffice it to say that he has some things to consider as he waits for Lou to come in to question him.
In the other cell, there’s Charlie, who appears to be in better health than when we last saw him, so at least he has his health. That doesn’t much matter in his case though, because he was supposed to be the Gerhardt that escaped, the one who didn’t have to live in the world of violent men and outdated rule. Charlie’s dad, Bear, is unique because while he is an active participant in that system, he’s also self-aware enough to take a step back and see that nothing good can come of this life. His son was supposed to break away. Now he’s in a jail cell. That’s as good as dead to Bear, who still mourns the death of his eldest brother, Elron, the true heir to the Gerhardt family name.
The remembrance of Elron more or less made a confrontation between Bear and Dodd, the false heir, inevitable. The already-lain fuel is lit when Bear receives Charlie’s call from jail. Dodd was busy managing a parental problem of his own with Simone, whose failure is a product of her father’s own shortcomings, and unlike Bear, he’s only continuing to make matters worse, talking about the “life of a whore.” Before his lesson can advance too far, Bear comes storming out of the house, ready to take his brother down for the ultimate betrayal, the destruction of his life’s work. Unfortunately for Bear though, he doesn’t have a faithful right-hand man like Hanzee to pull out a shotgun on his enemies, like Dodd does. The reversal puts Dodd in a position to deliver the most patriarchal of punishments: the belt. This is the one rule of order that Dodd understands, and it’s the one that everyone around him — from Floyd and Bear to Simone and Charlie — is fighting against.
Floyd is able to break up the bro-fest before things go too far, however, and she has a simple order. Bring Charlie home, and kill the Butcher of Luverne. The directive sends most of the Gerhardt men away from the farm, leaving the women at home — where Dodd would argue they belong, no doubt. The men may be gone, but they’ve left their mark. Simone is feeling particularly put off after being called a “whore” by her father, so who does she call? Mike Milligan, of course.
“He called me a whore,” she tells her lover.
“Technically…” he replies, trailing off.
She tells him that Dodd and the boys went to Luverne to take care of the Butcher, giving Mike the opportunity to take out her dad once and for all. Her final words to her father — or at least the ones she plans for him — are perfectly pop culture-informed for 1979. “Kiss my grits,” Simone tells Mike, quoting Flo from Alice, a waitress, appropriately enough for the season.
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