Fargo recap: The first shots of war
Fargo’s gangland warfare has, to date, escalated at a surprisingly unhurried pace. Nonetheless, “Raddoppiarlo” finds the show’s various factions all making plays to seize power — many of them violent in nature.
In a prologue that prefaces Deafy’s end-of-episode-2 raid on the Smutny home, we witness the U.S. Marshal track Zelmare and Swanee from Our Lady of Regret Women’s Prison to the bar bathroom where they stole clothes. He next makes a surprise visit to a police captain’s office, where he explains that he neither drinks caffeinated beverages (hot or cold) nor appreciates profanity or blasphemy. Deafy is a Mormon, and the captain informs him that there’s a kill order on the books for all Mormons in the state of Missouri. Deafy isn’t concerned about that — all he wants is a “yes man” who’ll help him track down his suspects. The captain lends him Weff, who’s unhappy about being pulled from the socialite-murder case (and concerned that his boss knows he’s been visiting the Faddas). Weff learns that Deafy’s nickname comes from the fact that he only hears what he wants to hear.
Weff has the address of Zelmare’s sister Dibrell. Staking out the house in their car, Deafy — once again munching on carrots – hears a bit about the socialite’s death and the Faddas, and he remarks on Weff’s many ticks, which indicate to him that Weff either has Satan in his heart or is afflicted with a nervous condition. Weff bristles at this, as well as at Deafy’s racist comments about Italians. They then storm the house. A table set for five indicates that Zelmare and Swanee are there, but the officers discover nothing; Zelmare and Swanee successfully hide in the one morgue corpse drawer that Weff fails to search. Dibrell claims that she doesn’t know where her sister is, and by invoking God in this deceitful speech, she convinces Deafy she’s telling the truth.
The next morning, Doctor meets with Ebal at Spud’s All Time diner to discuss the slaughterhouse stand-off. Doctor says the Faddas must respect the deal struck by Donatello, and recounts an experience he had while serving in the army’s legal corps during WWII. After the cease-fire, he was sent to Nuremberg and assigned to interview Hermann Göring for six weeks. After much canny effort, he got the Nazi to talk. Doctor’s subsequent 400-page report, however, was thrown in the trash by his superior, who gave Doctor this task only because he knew Göring would hate being questioned by a Black man. To Doctor, this is evidence that the “Double V” sold to African Americans to get them to enlist in the campaign — namely, that they’d win a victory for America and for themselves since lynchings and blackjacks at the polls would be eradicated — was a lie.
“Our word is exactly as good as yours. Slaughterhouses, they belong to us. Deal or no deal. You can call it the cost of transition,” Doctor declares as he leaves.
Fixing the radiator in Josto’s office, Rabbi tells Satchel that everything breaks, but there’s a right way to fix it. Satchel asks Rabbi if he’s Jewish. Rabbi explains that just like in poker, you play the hand you’re dealt and that as a kid, he too was traded just like Satchel (twice). The difference is that Satchel will return to his original team, whereas “my team is shite.”
Gaetano comes in, asking about their conversation. He menacingly talks about his own childhood (living in the trees after fascists knocked down his house), and about Rabbi killing his own father. Josto appears, commands Gaetano to get out of his chair, and they have a contentious back-and-forth about who’s in charge. Josto chides Rabbi for letting Satchel (the enemy) into his office, and throws everyone out, albeit not before he tells Gaetano, “You follow orders, you hear me? Or you go home.” At this, Gaetano takes the picture of his Italian home off the wall and departs.
Oraetta interviews for a job with Dr. Harvard, and gets it. On her way out, she makes him admit that his favorite sweet is a macaroon. In the parking lot, she bursts into the car of Josto, who’s spying on Harvard. Josto again acts as if he doesn’t remember Oraetta, but she wins him over with a snort of drugs and a handjob, the latter performed while she sings “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” She playfully demands that he call her on the phone the next time he wants to see her and bolts.
Loy is accosted on the sidewalk outside his Apex Vending Machine Co. headquarters by a stranger begging for money. To make an example out of this individual, he flashes a wad of cash before the man’s eyes, saying that the sight of this money has inspired the guy to dream of the amazing new life he could have with such wealth. He then puts the money back in his pocket, which he states is akin to stealing the homeless man’s future. Despondent, the guy walks away, passing Zelmare and Swanee, who are casing the joint.
Inside, Leon makes his pitch to Loy for a bigger position in the organization. Since Leon likes jazz (particularly Dizzy Gillespie), Loy gives him a job as the driver/babysitter of his oldest son Lemuel, who’s threatening to drop out of community college to smoke reefer and “blow spit through metal.” Leon eagerly takes this gig. Doctor asks Loy if he still thinks the slaughterhouse strategy is wise, and Loy confirms that he does; though Doctor says that tornadoes are proof that no one is in control, Loy believes you can nonetheless raise the odds for a positive outcome.
Ebal reports his meeting with Doctor to Gaetano. Over the warnings of his henchmen, Gaetano decides to lethally act. He instructs dapper Constant Calamita (Gaetano Bruno) to take Rabbi and murder Lemuel, announcing to his underlings, “We are warriors. Most of all. Not like these Americans. We fight, or we die.”
Constant collects Rabbi and they follow Lemuel from the community college in their car. Rabbi accusatorily questions Constant about the source of this order, since killing Lemuel will lead to Zero’s murder and instigate war. At a stop sign, Constant pulls up alongside Leon and Lemuel’s vehicle, and Rabbi freezes. Constant fires a couple of shots but misses, and Leon and Lemuel escape. Furious over this fiasco, Rabbi abandons Constant and walks home.
In Dibrell’s kitchen, Swanee wolfs down Oraetta’s ipecac-laced pie. She asks Dibrell if it’s true that her family was chased from Mississippi to Kansas City by the Devil. She also reveals that her Chinese dad worked the railroads, lived in a cave with a coyote, heard voices on the breeze, and had two shadows — one for himself and one for the Devil. Her father’s habit of hugging her around the neck too hard late at night proves, to her, that it’s not just houses that become haunted.
Noticing that Zelmare has packed a bag with Thurman’s dad’s gun (now sawed off), Dibrell demands to know who her sister is going to rob. “If you like the setup, you’ll love the punchline,” Zelmare replies. Swanee takes a knife and, on the way out, confesses that they’re up to “being outlaws.” To get the fugitive duo away from the house in secret, Thurman hides them in a coffin in his hearse. In this cramped space, they share a kiss — even as Swanee’s stomach begins making horrible noises, and she lets out a giant fart.
The two bust into the Apex Vending Machine Co. Zelmare kills three men and grabs $20,000, despite the fact that Swanee is uncontrollably farting and puking.
Later, Loy hears about this hit, as well as the attempt on Lemuel’s life. Lemuel says he was targeted because he’s a proxy for his dad. Loy corrects him, stating that because they share a last name, “You are me.” Loy criticizes Lemuel as ignorant for fancying himself a music man rather than a member of this illicit enterprise. Lemuel counters by censuring his dad for thinking he can have more power and more safety, when in reality, he has to choose one or the other.
Doctor suggests these two incidents might be part of a coordinated action, and that “maybe this is the night of long knives.” Loy wants to know why Rabbi was involved in the strike against Lemuel, while Doctor wonders if it was Josto or Gaetano who gave the order in the first place — because it could be that the two brothers are fighting with each other.
Regardless, Doctor warns that once the shooting starts, it’s to the death, so they better be sure.
- This is already the season’s second episode to feature flatulence, which implies a thematic trend — or, at least, a consistently juvenile sense of humor.
- Rabbi’s instruction to Satchel as he departs with Constant — “Do your lessons” — further emphasizes the fatherly role he’s assumed with the boy.
- Loy’s sarcastic quip to the beggar about his red eyes — “Too much Sanka?” — is the first time Chris Rock’s wisecracking comedic voice has materialized this season. Let’s hope it’s not the last.
- Timothy Olyphant’s Deafy completes his trilogy of memorable TV lawmen, following Justified’s Raylan Givens (also a U.S. Marshal) and Deadwood’s Sheriff Seth Bullock.