Season Two, Episode Three — “The Myth of Sisyphus”

© Copyright 2015, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

By Jarrod Jones. Oh, Lou. Oh, sweet Lou. The Rye Gerhardt fiasco has brought our dutiful officer to Fargo, N.D., where he has hit the brick wall known far and wide as the Gerhardt Clan. Fargo‘s third episode takes care to subtly convey the mammoth structure the Gerhardt’s have erected in the Midwest, and it does as much ably. (At least now we have a better idea of why Kansas City is so keen on taking over their lease.) But as the fruitless search for our ground chuck Gerhardt continues, that means that the strings are pulling ever tighter.

Peggy and Ed are in the final stretch of their subterfuge, but their peculiarities in public might cause it to unravel before they hit home plate. (Doesn’t help matters that the show has Ted Danson putting up Wanted posters in Peggy’s salon.) So while The Blomquists take their weekend out on their poor, poor automobile, Lou heads to Fargo to find answers surrounding our dear, departed coke fiend. It’s that visit that widens the scope of Fargo in a wonderfully gallows manner: as each episode progresses, we come to recognize its world more fully while acknowledging that the nagging dread that comes with it won’t go away.

WHAT WORKED: A much bigger picture of the Gerhardts is finally coming into focus, but it seems that good ol’ Lou hasn’t gotten the message: “Am I the only one here who’s clear on the concept of law enforcement?” he asks, more than a little dumbfounded that a routine visit on a missing person’s case has found him fully entrenched in enemy territory. Schmidt, his Fargo PD contact, dutifully hands over his firearm to the Gerhardt stooge that demands it, but Lou keeps his holstered, hands gripping the rod. And again later on in the episode, when Lou finds himself in a Mexican Standoff with Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers (“… you make it sound like a prog rock band.” – Mike), we witness Lou’s steely resolve against crooks and murderers who are so far out of his jurisdiction, he doesn’t even know that he should be terrified. I’m loving Lou more than I thought I would, but I also fear for him; the Gerhardt’s reach is definitely longer than we were previously made aware. It’s like the unmarked crosses that litter the fields outside of the Gerhardt compound: there’s plenty to unearth if you were fool enough to go digging.

WHAT DIDN’T: I want to watch Peggy squirm just as much as anyone else, but having Hank and Betsy compare crime scene notes in the middle of her salon is a wee bit on the nose, even for this show. “I mean, you found glass in the road, right?” Betsy’s starts up with her Nancy Drew. “So, I’m thinkin’ what if…” And all of a sudden people completely unaware of what happened two episodes prior are privy to Peggy’s obvious guilt. Hell, with this level of obviousness, the cat purring in your lap is probably aware of it. Though it did give the episode one of its better chortles: “It’s not like you’re gonna just drive home with a Gerhardt in your windshield and start supper.” Oh, Peggy. *tsks*

Kvetching about topical politics will cause any fictional show on television to stumble all over the place. And whining about Jimmy Carter and the lack of gasoline in the U.S. doesn’t so much immerse us in the late-Seventies zeitgeist so much as it takes me right out of it. When Fargo wavers, normally it’s due to its intermittent bursts of overachievement; when the show goes out of its way to illustrate how smart it is, my mind checks out and a grimace begins to form at the corners of my mouth. (And the looming specter of Bruce Campbell’s Ronald Reagan probably won’t help matters.) No need to play to the back of the room, show.


Know thyself.” – Bear, continuing to be my favorite.

Over and out, I guess.” – Hank.

I just wanna be the best me I can be.” – Peggy.

When you put a dead judge, the Gerhardt family, and some hitters from Kansas City in a bag together, I’d go back to thinking it might be best to confess to the crime myself. Go live a long life in a cell somewhere, with hot and cold running water.” – Schmidt.

If you knew the day I’m havin’.” – Dodd.

BEST MOMENT: When Dodd met Lou. What got me squirming in my seat this week more than anything was the staredown between Officer Lou and the deadpan Gerhardt. Jaws were clenched, bon mots were dropped (“I think you’re dancin’ with the wrong girl…”), and I had nothing but a big, goofy grin plastered across my face. I have no doubt in my mind that Dodd is capable of great evil, enough to properly eclipse Lou’s down-home determination anyway. And watching these two fellas sizing each other up was Fargo‘s equivalent of two wolves circling each other. Riveting.

EPISODE’S MVP: Lou Solverson. Even when he’s standing at the Hot Gates of Hell, Lou’s steely resolve never once falters. Not even the subarctic gaze of Floyd Gerhard is enough to shake him, and as two hundred-plus pounds of Dodd is coming up behind him, his baby blue eyes meet hers as he lays down the law. (Not that it would have done much good, had push actually come to shove.) We know that Lou makes it home safe — the first season makes that a certainty — but there’s a damn good reason why he looks back on ’79 with a sense of ceaseless dread. Patrick Wilson’s “yes, ma’am” demeanor is about to be stolen from him, and Wilson is more than enough actor to drive that home.

© Copyright 2015, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.


– Recall for a moment that Lou has a few choice words about Gus Grimley’s superior in the first season of Fargo. Remember that man’s name, Schmidt, and then behold the shrinking violet Lou finds himself teamed with this week. Schmidt lives in the long shadow cast by the Gerhardts. And a bigger piece of the series’ jigsaw falls in our laps.

– Loved how Lou avoided sneaking a glimpse at a passing woman’s derriere.

– “To kill all those people, and for what, you know? A little money?” – Hank, channelling Frances McDormand.

– I’ve always wanted a fridge where I could reach in and pull out a turkey drumstick.