This week’s Fargo, “Loplop”, was probably the first episode that felt like it dragged a bit. Each scene was great on its own, and this might have been the funniest episode of the season, but with such a focus on Peggy and Ed, America’s worst kidnappers, I found myself longing to see the rest of the cast. Although I enjoyed the non-linear storytelling, with most of this episode’s events running concurrently to last week’s episode, I was hoping we could get to the suspense a little faster. Fortunately, the slow burn ultimately paid off, with the last 10 minutes being as tense as most episodes this season.
It feels like every actor on this show eventually gets a chance to truly shine, and this week it was Zahn McClarnon’s turn, with his Hanzee somehow managing to make us feel sympathy for a cold-blooded murderer. If this show takes place in a country in crisis, he is a man without a country, literally–unloved and unwanted by a nation he defended. By the time he put a bullet through Dodd’s head (I’m bummed we won’t get two more episodes of Jeffrey Donovan’s great performance), we knew Hanzee’s life had been spent fighting and living for others, and he had decided to “actualize” and become the person he wanted to be. It was a good 30 seconds.
Yet again the show returned to the idea of Ronald Reagan as the great American savior, when Peggy was watching the (not real) film Operation Eagle’s Nest, which saw Reagan come to the last-second rescue of a pair of lovers a mere moment before the man could sacrifice himself to save his beloved. Just like the show has demonstrated in previous episodes though, the movie showed that Reagan the hero is not the answer to anyone’s problems. Especially with the murderous Nazi still alive, rising, and moving forward, a menace still not truly dealt with.
Contained in that little cinematic metaphor though was another idea from earlier in the season, the notion that self-sacrifice is the only way to protect those you love. With Peggy and Ed presumably about to be taken into custody, what are the chances one can make it without the other giving him or herself up entirely? With their bargaining chip dead, they couldn’t make a deal with Mike now anyway, unless Ed can try to throw in with law enforcement and give them Mike. Ed does know where he will be tomorrow morning…
With only two episodes left there is still a lot to settle, and it’s unlikely we’ll see another episode with such a lengthy development as this one. On top of the fact that all of the characters that still need to have their stories resolved, what will the ultimate payoff be to the aliens that have hovered (intentional!) over the entire season? Hank’s room of strange symbols from last week was one further piece of that puzzle, and it was disappointing not to have it expanded on this week.
This season has been like a great novel: complex, intricate, nuanced, suspenseful, funny, and insightful. While I can’t wait to see how it ends, I am already feeling the inherent sadness that comes with reaching its conclusion.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments below.