Fargo recap: Countdown to catastrophe
It’s only a matter of time before the Faddas and the Cannons engage in all-out conflict. And though that doesn’t commence in “Camp Elegance” — season 4’s shortest installment to date, by a considerable margin — tensions continue to incrementally escalate, putting everyone in harm’s way.
Ethelrida comes home to find her intensely worried parents waiting for her with a hug, a birthday song, and a cake full of candles that she blows out while surrounded by darkness, the gaunt white ghost looming over her right shoulder. Weff also returns to his abode to find things amiss; as he prepares to pee, a man hiding in his bathtub (Omie) wraps him up in the shower curtain. Loy punctures that shroud before Weff can die, and enlightens him about the racial dynamics at play in this drama, stating, “I’m not just fighting a few Italians. I’m fighting 400 years of history. I’m fighting a mindset.”
Loy believes he’s presently losing that fight. After asking Weff how he’d feel if his collection of figurines rose up and demanded equal rights — a situation akin to African Americans’ plight — he explains that Weff now belongs to him and that he’s going to help Loy destroy the Faddas if he wants to keep breathing. Weff gets the message. As Loy and his men leave the building, Defy — munching on more carrots, per usual — watches from down the street in his parked car.
Gaetano listens to records and prances about, stabbing a mannequin. He and underling Paolo (Nick Dibrizzi Jr.) witness two prostitutes arrive at the house. Gunshots and sounds of a commotion erupt downstairs, and Paolo goes to check it out. When a figure approaches the door to his room, Gaetano opens fire, accidentally killing Paolo. Swanee sneaks in through a window and, before Gaetano and Zelmare can have a face-off, she shoots the gangster in the back of the head. Gaetano isn’t dead, though, so the outlaw duo drags him away.
Gaetano awakens in a room above a boxing gym. Loy asks him if he’s ever heard of Sugar Ray Robinson, who had to borrow someone else’s union card to get his first shot in the ring, and who then had to fight off “all these do-right daddies that want to knock your head off” once he had the title. Omie is also there, taping up his hands; he’s a former flyweight who fought his way up to welterweight and is about to deliver some serious punishment to the captive gangster. To Gaetano, Loy says that Doctor Senator’s execution was “the one that got you killed.”
At the hospital, Oraetta is called into Harvard’s office. He’s received Ethelrida’s anonymous letter and confronts the nurse about its accusations. She admits that she attends her deceased patients’ funerals (“It’s the Christian thing to do”), but denies confiscating their personal items. She successfully begs him not to show the missive to HR. Instead, he agrees to keep the letter between them and stashes it in a desk drawer. Oraetta thanks him, and on her way out, is instructed, “No more funerals.”
Ebal returns from New York City with a henchman in tow. With a sluggishness that frustrates his boss, Ebal informs Josto that their mafia superiors will help, on two conditions. The first is that they only have two weeks to fix things with Loy, “one way or the other” (which Josto finds “cryptic”). The second is that Josto must patch things up with Gaetano. Josto finds this directive all the more unbearable given that — right before this news is delivered — Constant reports that Gaetano has been abducted by Loy, which would have otherwise been the ideal way for Josto to get rid of his aggravating sibling once and for all.
Loy remembers asking Doctor if he misses New York; Doctor replies that he mostly misses being young. Loy is desperate to get Satchel back, but Doctor warns him that reclaiming the kid will immediately trigger World War III. Weff is later brought into the gym to meet with Loy, where he sees a tied-up, beaten-and-bloodied Gaetano. He’s commanded by Loy to drive over to the Faddas’ house and take Satchel back (“Just walk in there and grab him”). His gloved fingers incessantly tapping, a muttering-to-himself Weff ventures to the house where Satchel is being kept. He musters the courage to enter, but before he can demand Satchel, Constant shows up and says that Josto wants to immediately see Jeff, and escorts him out. Watching this unfold, Rabbi looks concerned.
Ebal relays a new directive from New York to Josto: They have until 3 p.m. to trade something (territory, cash, whatever) for Gaetano. Josto doesn’t want to do this and instead instructs Weff to find out where Gaetano is being held by 2:30 p.m. Constant chimes in that Gaetano wouldn’t want to be part of a trade, which prompts Josto to wonder whose side Constant is on — his or Gaetano’s. Once those two have left, Josto meets with Antoon (Sean Fortunato), who’s ordered to fetch Rabbi, and then to take Satchel for “a drive” (i.e. kill him), because “playtime is over.” Antoon expresses fear that this course of action will lead to the assassination of Gaetano and possibly Zero as well, not to mention anger New York. Josto makes clear that he’s going to pin Satchel’s murder on Constant (and, by extension, Gaetano), thus absolving Josto of any responsibility. Antoon reluctantly accepts his assignment.
Antoon finds his wife asking Rabbi to put in a good word about him with Josto. Upon hearing he’s wanted by Josto, Rabbi leaves. Antoon demands that Satchel come with him, which prompts Antoon’s wife — who realizes the nightmare that’s about to transpire — to cross herself.
Rabbi locates Josto in the alley behind Joplin’s. He’s told that he’s back in the game, and that “the kid’s done.” Rather than seeing Ebal (as ordered), Rabbi races back to the house, only to discover that Satchel is gone. Antoon and Satchel drive to the Camp Elegance Relocation Center, which is closed and now in ruins. Walking through the dilapidated, snow-covered place, Antoon recounts how he arrived in America as a WWII prisoner of war, and how the bountiful food and sunshine resurrected his traumatized spirit. He instructs Satchel to check out a spot at the bottom of some stairs where, as a child, he carved his name into the stone.
Satchel obeys, and Antoon raises his pistol, ready to kill the kid. However, he reconsiders, and puts his gun back in his pocket – at which point he’s shot dead from behind by Rabbi, who explains to a shellshocked Satchel that “This is what men do,” and that “It’s war now, for real.”
Rabbi says that, while he never had the opportunity to choose his own fate, Satchel will. They’ll find a quiet place to hide out until the dust settles from the forthcoming war, and if Satchel then wants to go home, Rabbi will take him. They drive off.
Before the end credits roll, the camera creeps down the hallway of Harvard’s slumbering hospital. Oraetta’s ceaselessly moaning patient expels one final “argh” and goes silent. Oraetta emerges from his room’s dark doorway — her lethal business now complete — with a content smile on her lips.
- When Weff attempts to pick up Satchel, he finds the boy reading to Rabbi from The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s famous 1906 novel about the horrific conditions under which immigrants worked (and were exploited) in the industrialized meat industry.
- Defy once again has very little to do in this episode, which makes one suspect that he’s going to function as more of a plot device than a fully fleshed-out player in this saga.
- How Gaetano survived a point-blank shot to the back of the head is now the season’s biggest mystery.