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'Fargo,' Season 2, Episode 7: Do you smell toast?

Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart), smoking a pipe(!), makes a deal with the cops. The war gets bigger now that the cops are part of the game.


Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart), smoking a pipe(!), makes a deal with the cops. The war gets bigger now that the cops are part of the game.



Only three episodes of Fargo left this season*, you guys. And I'm savoring every last bit, especially that splendid opening scene. Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath was pitch perfect amid the violence and its consequences. As the sugar swirls in the coffee, there is more bloodshed between the Kansas City mafia and the Gerhardts.

This episode, titled Did You Do This? No, You Did It! didn't give us answers to last week's cliffhangers — at least right away. Fargo turned its attention to tragedy. The characters still alive weighed their paths and fates.

Well, Floyd got her war. And there is no one cooler than Jean Smart, sitting in an interrogation room, wearing a fur hat and pearls, smoking a pipe. Back to that in a bit. We learn that Gerhardt patriarch Otto was killed in the gunfire at the Gerhardt ranch. Bear updates Floyd and "grown" Simone really needs to find a new hobby (and better pop culture references). (Maybe she should travel to that seminar in Sioux Falls with Peggy!) For sure, that apple didn't fall far from the tree. She's very much like her dad Dodd, but Simone's comeback line, "This family deserves the ground," stings Floyd.

As Simone storms off, Ben Schmidt (Keir O'Donnell) and Lou Solverson pull up to take Floyd into the station for some questions. Patrick Wilson's "No, you're good" line made me chuckle. Speaking of the funnies, Bear is full of them. He tells Lou that Dodd found Jesus and is at a monastery. When in fact, Bear couldn't care less where Dodd is.

The interrogation scene calls back to last-season Lou and his outlook on life. Things were always better than they are today. Hank Larrson (Ted Danson) pokes at Floyd to give up some information by reminding her that this war has cost her her husband, a son (or two) and a grandson in prison. But we all know Floyd is one step ahead of the game and has a plan.

Probably with nowhere else to turn, Simone heads to the Pearl Hotel to talk to Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine), who just shot up her house. This girl is desperate to start something. Anything. But Mike has other things on his mind. So he starts quoting Albert Camus, whose peppered all over this season, in episode titles and other characters' speeches. But it's all just thesaurus talk to Simone, who is saved by Lou and Ben. Simone knees Ben in the groin and storms off, again, to her car. But Bear and his new sidekick from Buffalo pull up in the parking lot and Bear forces Simone to get a ride with him. Ruh roh. The bear has been poked.

I'm very happy that Mike and Lou shared a scene together. With his hand on his leg, Lou's confidence and intelligence envelop the room. But Mike also has profound poise here, and the tension rises. Two sides are at war and Lou is researching both sides. And Ben is just an idiot.

Cut to strange shoes in Betsy Solverson's living room. Because the enemy always takes his or her shoes off. Actually, it's Fargo. They probably do. But it's just Karl and Sonny! Making breakfast. Because Noah Hawley (Fargo showrunner) continues to reference Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson.

This show's most tragic scene thus far was Simone's death march. Bear, in an effort to get back at Dodd for sending his son on a deadly mission, walks Simone out into the woods. And in a very Fargo-line, he says to her "It doesn't matter what you mean, it's what you do." Mistakes can't be undone. No matter what the intentions are. This entire scene is heartbreaking. The split screens show all Gerhardts, dead and alive, and is paired with a haunting version of Danny Boy by Lisa Hannigan, in reference to Miller's Crossing. I'm tearing up because a family of crime is torn apart. Oh, Fargo.

Meanwhile, Floyd is still being interrogated and is finishing up a deal with Hank and Co. She gives them lots of information on the KC operation; how and where the ship drugs and weapons. So much satisfaction washes over her face and in my head, maniacal laughter is playing.

Just a reminder, Ben is a s--- cop.

And because I haven't teared up enough this episode, Karl and Betsy have a moment in the kitchen. In a series wrapped in absolute violence, Betsy's grim storyline is beautiful. Speaking of Betsy, she goes to her father's house to check on his cat. In one of the oddest scenes this season, she wanders into his office, which is full off odd drawings. Just what the heck are all those hieroglyphics about? And where is Snowball?

The Undertaker comes for Mike, but we all knew who was going to wind up dead. Another cover of a O Brother, Where Art Thou song, O, Death, plays, this one performed by Shakey Graves. The phone rings. IT'S ED BLUMQUIST. He's got Dodd in the trunk of his car. Hopefully Dodd will get what's coming to him.

*FX renewed Fargo for a third season! Will we go back further in time?

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 9:23am]


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