9.4

Fargo Review: "The Myth of Sisyphus"

(Episode 2.03)

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<i>Fargo</i> Review: "The Myth of Sisyphus"

There are bad plans. Then there are BAD PLANS. And Peggy and Ed staging a car accident to cover up the fact that she hit Rye is a BAD PLAN. But that’s exactly what they do when Peggy overhears Hank talking at the beauty parlor about how Rye is wanted for the Waffle Hut murders and Betsy floats the theory that maybe Rye was the victim of a hit and run. Hank thinks it’s improbable that someone would “drive home with a Gerhardt on their car and start dinner.” Except for the fact that’s exactly what happened. Peggy’s coworker already knows she had an accident before the staged one she makes Ed participate in (not to mention that on his first try Ed hits the wrong end of the car). Poor Jesse Plemons hasn’t gotten any better on covering up crimes since his days on Friday Night Lights.

While Ed and Peggy make some extraordinarily bad choices, Lou heads to Fargo to see if he can find Rye. There he meets local detective Ben Schmidt (Keir O’Donnell), who is clearly afraid of the Gerhardt family. “I go back to thinking it might be best to confess to the crime myself,” he tells Lou when he learns that, not only the Gerhardts but the Kansas City mob might be involved in the Waffle Hut murders. Lou’s a good cop who doesn’t back down easily. When he and Ben go to the Gerhardt compound, the Gerhardt henchmen try to stop them. “Am I the only one here who’s clear on the concept of law enforcement?” he wonders out loud. If Lou is ever afraid, he doesn’t show it.

The Gerhardts have bigger problems than the missing Rye. The Kansas City mob still wants to acquire them by any means necessary. The Gerhardts won’t make the first move, but they are ready to fight. Joe is still up for killing the entire family—”whatever the pluses and minuses dictate,” he tells Mike.

The episode’s finest scene came with the showdown between Mike and the Kitchen brothers and Lou.They all run into each other at the typewriter shop and end up in a tense standoff with guns pointed at one another. Lou immediately recognizes them as Mike Mulligan and the Kitchen brothers. “You make us sound like a prog rock band,” Mike says in the best line of the night. Mike notes that he loves the way the people of Luverne are unfriendly. “You’re so polite about it,” he notes. This scene wasn’t as tense as last week’s between Mike and Hank, because we know Lou survives this season, but Bokeem Woodbine is completely stealing the show this season. I’m calling Emmy nomination right now.

We also got to see more of the lovely Dodd Gerhardt. A raging misogynist, Dodd is hateful to his daughter (who isn’t so lovely either) and disdainful of his mother. “I wanted a boy. What did God give me? Goddamn girls,” he screams. Like I said, charming.

When poor typewriter salesman Skip goes in search of Rye, he ends up being buried alive by Dodd. I don’t think there’s any great way to die, but having hot tar poured over you as you scream has got to be one of the worst ways to go.

Another incredible episode of Fargo as the series continues to have a stellar second season.

Other thoughts on “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Despite clearly being an extraordinarily bad cop, Ben Schmidt was still on the job in Fargo Season One where he was played by Peter Breitmayer.

In Greek mythology, the myth of Sisyphus is about a man who must roll a boulder up a mountain, only to watch it fall down again and again for eternity. Who is Sisyphus this season of Fargo?

I wonder how much Patrick Wilson studied Keith Carradine’s performance, because so many of his mannerisms and facial expressions evoke the Lou of last season.

A fan of Burn Notice, I’m finding Jeffrey Donovan’s performance particularly traumatizing.

I love the little details of the show. Like Molly’s toys all over the floor when Lou comes home. These are the nuances that give the show such depth and really make the characters come alive.


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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