Fargo season two, episode seven: "Did You Do This? No You Did It!"
First things first: We haven't even made it outta the woods with this season, but we just got news that Fargo's coming back again for a third installment. No word yet on whether they'll go further back into the past (maybe the Gerhardt's beginnings as a crime family?), stay in the present, or if they'll go into the future. Maybe Gus' girl from season one finds herself in a pickle? It's anybody's guess, but we're game.
Now, back to the '70s.
The episode title harkens back to an anecdote about Pablo Picasso and a German officer in Paris during World War II. Supposedly, the officer had seen Guernica and asked the artist: "Did you do this?" Picasso replied, "No, you did."
The state of absolute war, chaos, and anguish in this episode make for a fitting parallel to Picasso's masterpiece. And the episode title also showcases a lack of responsibility some of the characters take when it comes to their actions. Namely, poor Simone.
She's literally a babe in the woods when Bear follows a hunch he has about her family loyalty (i.e. none). Bear finds her clip-clopping in her heels out of the Pearl Hotel after an almost-deadly run-in with Mike Milligan and the remaining Kitchen brother. She'd gone to berate Milligan for shooting up the family compound, but it's clear that Mike's only in it for the business. Thankfully for Simone, Lou and Ben were on their way up to investigate the room. (Too bad it just put off her demise by a couple hours.)
Bear has always put family first — holding his tongue or keeping the peace when Dodd goes off, trying to raise his boy Charlie the right way, standing steadfast by his mother's side as she assumes power. But this is the first episode in which he eschews his family-first values... in order to hold them up.
Simone is compelled to take a ride with Bear to the middle of nowhere while she pleads and tries to reason with him. He's having none of it — especially when Simone refers to Dodd by his first name instead of "dad." She makes the switch from "Dodd" to "Dad" too late, just as she made the switch back to family loyalty way too late.
As he trots her out to the middle of the forest, Bear tells Simone what happened to French girls who'd slept with the enemy during World War II: They were shaved bald and exiled (or worse). Unfortunately, Simone isn't awarded any mercy and Bear shoots her a la the Coen's Miller's Crossing.
Meanwhile, Dodd is still missing. Hanzee is nowhere to be found. And Floyd gets called in to the station for questioning. Things are not looking good for the Gerhardts, who've been backed into a corner by Kansas City, the cops, and their own kind.
Lucky for Floyd, she's a tough, pipe-smoking cookie who's able to talk her way into getting help and some immunity from the police.
Speaking of the police, Lou's trying to do his best in Fargo, having left Betsy and Molly at home. He's got his hands full with both the Gerhardts and the worst cop in the field: Gerhardt kowtower Ben Schmidt. Lou, Hank, and the police ultimately make a deal with Floyd, leaving Lou wondering if they'd just chosen sides, and if it was the wrong choice.
Lou's also left to deal with Mike Milligan (and that Kitchen brother) alongside Ben, telling them to get out of town before anything worse happens. Poor Lou is the messenger that flits around the Midwest, trying to tell people to do the right thing before things go to hell. But if anyone listened to his advice, would they actually be better off?
After Lou and Ben leave the Pearl, Mike gets a call from his boss who's none too happy about the state of affairs in Fargo. With Joe Bulo dead, the Gerhardts still running North Dakota (though they did lose SoDak to the KC syndicate), and no end in sight for the carnage, Mike's boss sends "the Undertaker" to take care of the problem.
This is the first time we see Mike in a place of subordination, after seven whole episodes of him stealing scenes and running the show with pithy one-liners, he's getting dressed down and given word of his looming execution. It's fascinating to see Mike in this situation, and it's even better to see him pull a gun out of his sleeve (under the guise of shaking the Undertaker's hand) and shoot his executioner in the skull. This (for lack of a better word) explosion of violence was sudden, bloody, and just the type of thing that'll ramp up to some crazy shit going down in Sioux Falls.
Right after the bloodshed, Mike gets a call — not from his boss to see if the Undertaker did his duty, but from ol' Ed Blumquist. Ed's been calling the Gerhardts all day, trying to tell them he's got Dodd in the trunk of his car, but Bear's been refusing to take the calls and Floyd's been at the precinct... so he goes to the next best option: Mike Milligan. How did he get that number or know that Milligan was the guy to go to? Who knows, but it was a damn fine way to bring the circle of characters even closer together.
Only two episodes left and we already know they're going to be a doozy.
Random notebook dump:
-Hank is some sort of alien/UFO truther, and it's weirding us out. (But at the same time, it kind of makes sense because now that he's a widower, Hank's only company are his cat and his dying daughter's family. Are we going to see Hank outright snap in the next episodes?)
-Also, Hank did address the fact that he didn't check up on Peggy, but it was sort of an expository throw-away.
-It was great to see Ben catch a knee in the groin from Simone. What a goon.
-Betsy's coming to terms with the fact that she won't be around much longer and tells Karl "the King of Breakfast" Weathers that Lou can remarry after she dies (except for the lady with the weird eyes).