Fargo: “Fear and Trembling”

(Episode 2.04)

TV Reviews Fargo
Fargo: “Fear and Trembling”

War, both physical and psychological, and the toll it takes permeated this episode of Fargo. The Gerhardts decide to go to war with the Kansas City mob. Betsy is fighting a war on cancer. And the lasting effects of the Vietnam War affect all the characters.

Last week we knew Ed and Peggy had hatched a very bad plan. This week all their ill-thought out decisions came home to roost. Still trying to find out what happened to Rye, Hanzee discovers a piece of a broken headlight by the Waffle Hut. This leads him immediately to Ed’s car. At first I found it a little dubious that Hanzee would figure out what was going on before the police didm but then I realized the Gerhardts have probably been successful, because they’re always one step ahead of the law.

Once Lou figures out that Ed and Peggy are the ones who hit Rye and covered it up, he goes to pay them a visit. He understands that they may have made a mistake, but now is the time to come clean. “I can help you but you’ve gotta be straight with me,” he tells them. Ed waivers slightly and is about to tell the truth, when Peggy cuts him off and asks Lou to leave. They just burrow themselves deeper and deeper into their horrendously bad plan.

Lou tells Ed that he has a certain look he often saw during the war, when the men who were dying didn’t realize they were dying. “You still think it’s Tuesday. You have no idea what’s coming,” he tells Ed. Before departing, Lou tells Ed and Peggy to lock their doors. But you know that’s not going to stop the Gerhardts.

Meanwhile Dodd’s daughter Simone is sleeping with Mike and doesn’t hesitate to give him all the inside information. She also tells Mike that the only way to deal with her father is to kill him and tips Mike off so he can stage an ambush on Otto and his entourage. A lovely family all around, those Gerhardts.

Dodd is a vicious person, but we learn that hatred and violence were ingrained in him at an early age. Otto had him commit murder as a child. But Dodd still needs his mother, and Floyd cradles her son’s face as they drive home from the unsuccessful meeting with Joe Bulo.

Betsy’s dealing with an insensitive doctor. “Your blood work and your x-rays—these are not, as they say, ‘good,’” the doctor tells her, before offering her a trial where she may or may not get a placebo. Betsy knows she is fighting a losing war, even when Lou optimistically tells her, “I think you got the real pill.”

Peggy has also taken the money Ed was using as a down payment to buy the butcher shop to pay for her Lifespring course. An upset Ed tells Peggy they had talked about this already, when Peggy reminds him they haven’t really talked. Ed talked and she listened. When Peggy asks Constance for the money back, Constance tells her, “We surrender our needs to the needs of men, to our great detriment.

The episode’s finest scene came when Joe and Floyd met face to face. Floyd offers a counter—they’ll retain control of their business, but become part of the Kansas City crime syndicate. “A partnership, not a sale. That’s our offer to you and we believe it’s more than fair.” But Joe declines. “Don’t assume that my back is weak, and my stomach’s not strong” she tells Joe. Joe give her the night to think about it and tells her, “anything other than unconditional surrender and we’ll wipe every last Gerhardt off the face of the earth.”

The fourth episode felt like the calm before a very, very violent storm.

Stray Observations:

The show is having a lot of fun making up fake Ronald Reagan movies.

I really don’t want Ed and Peggy to die, but it’s not looking good.

Part of me thinks maybe the Lifespring course doesn’t even exist and Constance is scamming Peggy.

“Karl was nearby stressing the plumbing.”

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. She wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child and now her parents have to live with this as her career. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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