Fargo’s second season has been fantastic up to this point but I felt as though the second episode, titled Before The Law, was lacking something. Obviously it was going to be difficult to live up to the premiere episode which was amazeballs in every way but something seemed off to me. While there was still a lot of the dark humor and awesome music that has become a trademark of this series, the story is getting a bit complicated and we all know what can happen with a complicated story (see True Detective’s second season). Luckily though, the writer’s have been able to make this as simple as possible with pretty much everyone looking for Rye.
We got to meet some new characters. Bokeem Woodbine as Mike Milligan and his two thugs, the Kitchen twins, were fun to watch and had some great lines. It was also great to see another homage to the original Fargo movie with the use of a meat grinder. And I am loving Ted Danson in his role as the bumbling cop. There is always one in Fargo after all.
That said, this episode was a bit slow in terms of moving the story along. We know the KC Goons and the Gerhardt’s are going to be looking for Rye but they didn’t get very far in this episode. Our detectives haven’t made much headway either when it comes to the Sioux Falls Massacre but I suppose that’s small town life for ya.
Be sure to head over to your local butcher and grab a Rye sandwich and enjoy the review!
The one awesome thing about this season so far are these amazing intros at the beginning of each episode where they show clips of each of our characters and this episode was no exception. The song at the beginning was absolutely perfect and it really pumped me up for the episode. The track playing at the beginning, Reunion by Bobbie Gentry, was soulful and appropriate in every way and you should definitely hit play below.
We catch up with the Gerhardt family who are meeting about their family business after they’re visited by some Kansas City goons and they’re are trying to determine who should take over for Otto after he had his stroke. Before the meeting, Dodd’s busy in the barn cutting some guys ears off and, as it turns out, he’s dead.
This would have been a lot funnier if it wasn’t in the trailer. We also catch up with Bear who is sharpening his axe. I guess there is not much to do around town these days.
Why do I get the feeling that Bear or someone is going to be using that axe at some point.
Jean Smart as Floyd Gerhardt is pretty bad ass so far and we find out that the KC folks are trying to buy out the Gerhardt’s. We also meet Dodd’s daughter who shouldn’t be in the meeting according to Dodd but Floyd responds with a great quote, “Girls grow up to be women, and change boys diapers.” Love it and I love her! She wants her sons to find Rye but no one knows where he is because of what happened at the Waffle Hut and it becomes clear later that no one may ever know what happened to him.
KC is offering to buy the entire Gerhardt operation and Floyd is considering this but she needs to consult with the rest of her family first. With Otto no longer capable of running the business, the question of who takes over becomes of utmost importance. Bear, the middle son, thinks Floyd should be the new boss because of her ties to Winnipeg and because she is trusted by their suppliers. Dodd, however, has other plans and thinks he should be the boss…end of story, right? Well no. It looks like we’re going to have an interesting family dynamic going forward with Dodd and Floyd fighting it out for Gerhardt supremacy. Personally, I love Floyd and hope she ends up being a complete bad ass mofo the entire season. She knows that no son of hers is bigger than the empire her grandfather built and explains to Dodd that she’s the head Gerhardt in charge for the time being.
The plot thickens when Floyd asks Dodd and his Indian friend to find Rye but as we know this is going to be extremely difficult given the fact that he’s in a freezer in the Blomquist garage.
We also meet up with Joe Bulo and Mike Milligan (the KC goons) and their twin thugs who looked fabulous wearing opposite colors. Joe wants to make a deal with one of the sons, specifically Rye which again is going to create problems because Rye is dead. Regardless, the goal is to have one of the Gerhardt boys switch sides and so the KC goons immediately head over to the local typewriter store to have a chat with the guy that Rye was last seen with.
After putting his tie in a typewriter and writing a letter to Sears about a shitty coffee maker, the owner finally lets them know he had told Rye to talk to a certain judge and it looks like our KC goons already know what happened to said judge at the Waffle Hut. And that was there next stop. It’s probably going to take some time before anyone figures out what happened to Rye but knowing that he was asked to have a chat with the judge should give Mike Milligan and his thugs a head start. But first, waffles!
On A Lonely Road In Winter
The shoe is obviously a big clue as to what happened at the Waffle Hut and it appears that Hank is losing sleep over this mystery. Hank and Lou find out that one of the victims was a judge out of Fargo, North Dakota and they briefly discuss this over breakfast. Hank questions whether the judge was in the wrong place at the wrong time or whether the whole mess was about her. We know it was definitely about her but it’s been fun watching these small town cops try to figure it all out.
Lou, on his way back from picking up his wife, makes a quick stop at the Waffle Hut for a quick looky loo. Meanwhile, his wife and little Molly decide to build a snowman while they wait. Unfortunately this scene was included in the trailer so we pretty much already knew what was going to happen. Lou makes a note of the can of bug killer on the table and, after sending Molly to get some sticks for their snowman, Betsy ends up finding the murder weapon.
It was also clever to include the popped balloon with the “Get Well Soon” message on it given the fact that Betsy is trying to recover from cancer. I still don’t think she’s going to survive the entire season but I’ve been wrong a million times in my life so don’t trust me with anything.
We catch back up with Hank who pulls over the KC goons after Lou calls in their vehicle and this was easily one of the best scenes of the episode. Ted Danson is doing a remarkable job as Hank and he totally reminds me of Bob Odenkirk’s character from last season, who you’ll remember was the dumbest cop ever. Bokeem Woodbine also did an excellent job throughout this episode and he had a ton of good lines like when he was singing The Flinstone’s theme song after getting pulled over. Hank is still obsessed with that shoe and after hearing the goons were going for waffles, he wants to know their shoe sizes. The Kitchen twins respond in the best possible way.
After Hank lets the goons go, Mike Milligan says something very profound and was another favorite quote of mine from this episode: “Isn’t that a minor miracle in the state of the world today, the level of conflict and misunderstanding, that two men can stand on a lonely road in winter…and talk, calmly and rationally. While all around them, people were losing their mind.” Milligan is an interesting character even if he’s just one of the KC thugs but I love some of the things that he says and he’s certainly got my attention going forward. I don’t really know where he will fit in the bigger puzzle but it’s obvious that with him and the Gerhardt’s both looking for Rye, something’s gotta give. Of course, what they don’t know is that Rye is now sandwich meat.
Peggy and Ed are still trying to figure out what to do about their situation now that they have a dead body in the freezer. Ed wants to take the day off but Peggy suggests that they keep up appearances so they don’t raise any suspicion. Oh, these two. All Peggy had to do was report the incident and the entire case would be closed already. Instead, they decide to hide the body and cover-up the whole thing even though they really did nothing wrong in the first place. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to pull my hair out but I’ll admit the Blomquist’s are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. And is it just me or does Ed look like a fat version of Matt Damon?
Jesse Plemons either gained a lot of weight for this role or he is wearing a fat suit. Either way, he still looks like Matt Damon went on a McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast diet.
Meanwhile, Peggy heads into town and stops off at Bud’s Meats to inform the owner that Ed won’t be coming in for work today. She makes up a story about how Ed came down with food poisoning from eating oysters and the response to this was hilarious:
I don’t know who the girl is that’s always reading and she never says much but when she does, it’s always amazing. Peggy goes to work at the hair salon while Ed starts cleaning up the blood in the garage and he’s got a lot of work on his hands. It looks like Ed knows what he’s doing but you just know that eventually, with everyone looking for Rye, someone is going to figure out they were involved, especially after Peggy’s friend sees the car with the hole in the windshield in the Blomquist garage.
It also becomes evident that Peggy’s boss is a lesbian and is really into Peggy. She finds the missing TP in Peggy’s bathroom but doesn’t really care, possibly due to the fact that she is turned on by this. And gotta love the ’70s where it was totally cool to get smashed and drive into a tree, at least that was the story Peggy told her boss. Kirsten Dunst reminds me of Lester Nygaard from last season with her awkwardness and terrible lying ability. You just know all of this is going to come back and bite her in the buns at some point.
Meanwhile, Ed takes Rye’s body to the meat shop and, in an homage to the original Fargo movie, he disposes of the body in the meat grinder which, if you think about it, is totally gross.
I will no longer be purchasing my meat from Bud’s. I actually loved this entire scene though, especially because it reminded me of the wood chipper scene from the original movie. Great reference. Things get really interesting when Lou sees a light on at Bud’s and decides to stop in to pick up some bacon because how the fuck could you not love bacon, right? This distracts Ed as he attempts to chop up Rye’s limbs and in typical Fargo fashion, the fingers end up on the floor.
Ed notices one of the fingers on the floor and immediately panics and Murphy’s Law totally applied here because as this happens, Lou drops a coin on the floor and the phone rings all at once but somehow Ed survives this little late night visit without getting busted.
It’s only a matter of time before the Blomquist’s are busted for their involvement in the Sioux Falls Massacre even though it was all a coincidence. With Dodd and Milligan and the 5-0 all on the case, these two are about to be involved in something much bigger than their small town lives.
And that ending, what the fuck was up with that? All this talk about UFO’s and aliens has me slightly interested but I also feel like this stuff does not belong on a show like Fargo. I’ve reproduced the final quote below so you can see for yourself. It really was a bizarre thing to include and I’m not sure where in the hell the writer’s are going with this but I’m definitely curious.
“No one would have believed in the last years of the 19th century that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even consider the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regard this Earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely they drew their plans against us.”
The only thing I can think of here is that this is some kind of metaphor relating to the Blomquist’s, who are eventually going to be watched and scrutinized by minds superior to theirs. That’s all I could really come up with but I’m all ears to what others think this means! Aliens and UFOs on Fargo…who would have thought.
Episode Score: MIKEY DISLIKES IT (but only a little)
For whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling this one. It had its moments like the opening scene with Reunion pumping us up in the background and the intense scene with Lou and Ed in the meat shop, but I felt as though most of the revealing moments from this episode were already in the trailer for season 2. Don’t get me wrong, this show is still amazing and should be watched religiously by anyone who loves a good story, but this particular episode just didn’t have the pizzazz and charm that the premiere did.
So far, I’m loving Ted Danson and Bokeem Woodbine and their scene together on the lonely road in winter had me watching intently. In fact, all of the characters have something unique about them that really makes us feel like we’re in a small town. But what is with this alien stuff? I mean, I thought the UFO from the premiere was nothing more than a hallucination but it appears the writers are going to be exploring this a bit more. The ending was really bizarre and unnecessary if you ask me and I can honestly say I have no idea where they are going with this but it worries me. This is not science fiction, it’s a dark comedy and I’m not sure adding this sci-fi element is a good thing.
Ed and Peggy have been great up to this point but I see a lot of similarities between these two and Lester from last season. They are trying to cover-up a murder (only this time it wasn’t really their fault) and seem to be doing a terrible job with it. Ed got extremely lucky in the butcher’s shop and Peggy was extremely sloppy with her story. I think it’s only a matter of time before their lies start catching up with them. This episode slowly advanced the story, it was a little too slow for my liking.
So what did you think of Before The Law? Was it like talking on a lonely road in winter? Do you have a craving for a Rye sandwich with bacon? And what is everyone’s thoughts about this UFO stuff? Let us know in the comments and thanks for reading, fellow Fargoites!