Fargo: ‘Palindrome’ Review

Fargo 'Burden or Privilege?'

“It’s the rock we all push…men. We call it our burden but it’s really our privilege.”  -Lou Solverson

Fargo just dropped the mic on all of television with its epic finale and I still cannot get over that crazy connection to season one. You really had to pay attention to some very minor details in both seasons to put it all together but it was absolutely stunning how the writers were able to connect the events of this season with the first one. This was absolutely brilliant writing on par with the likes of Breaking Bad. Further, the acting was phenomenal and pretty much every single person involved with this show deserves an Emmy for their performance. It is actually impossible to pick just one person but if I had to, Kirsten Dunst completely slayed everything with her performance as Peggy Blumquist. It was that damn good.

Everyone’s stories were wrapped up nicely in Palindrome and every single character got the fate that they deserved. Milligan, on his quest for power, ended up in a nine to five job. Peggy lost her hubby in her quest for self actualization. Hanzee obtained a new life, and face, and built an empire. And the Solversons got the happy ending they deserved with Betsy spending her final days with the people she loved the most.

I have no idea what to do with myself now that this epic season is over. It was hands down one of the best stories I have had the pleasure of witnessing and I think a lot of you will agree that Fargo is one of the best, if not THE best, series on TV. Enjoy the review, fellow Fargoites!

War Pigs

The finale begins with Betsy who finally awakes after her collapse in the previous episode. I think it’s safe to say that most of us didn’t think she would survive the season because of her illness but when we compare what happened to the Gerhardts and the Solversons, it was fitting that she survived and was able to spend her final moments with the people she loved the most.

The opening scene was one of the most amazing sequences this show has ever produced and that is saying a heck of a lot, don’t ya know. First, Betsy fills us is on a dream she had, Raising Arizona style, and it was great to see Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks and Keith Carradine return for a bit of nostalgia.

Molly and Lou in the future

Hell, this wasn’t even close to the biggest surprise connection to season one but it was the perfect way to start the finale off. I’ve reproduced Betsy’s monologue below since my own words couldn’t possibly sum up how fitting this opening was:

“That night, I had a dream. It felt so real even though I knew it couldn’t be. Or wasn’t yet. I dreamt of a magical future filled with wondrous devices. Where everything you could ever want would be available in one amazing place. And there was happiness there. But then I saw farther still. Years, decades into the future. I saw a handsome older man, his back still straight, visited by his children and grandchildren. People of accomplishment, of contentment. But then, I saw chaos. A fracture of peace and enlightenment and I worried that the future I seen, magical and filled with light, might never come to pass.”

Then, Black Sabbath’s War Pigs started to play and that was when all hell broke loose. And really, was there a better song selection for this? The answer is a definite no because this was beyond epic.

If this didn’t reel you right in, then I don’t even know what to say because as soon as that song started to play and we caught up with all of our characters who managed to survive the Sioux City Massacre, I could simply not look away. It was one of the best opening scenes I have ever seen. Ed and Peggy are running from Hanzee while Lou is chasing Hanzee and, unfortunately, Ed takes a bullet to the chest as they attempt to get away.

The Blumquist’s end up finding safety in a local grocery store with Hanzee hot on their trail. Luckily, Lou was able to scare him off before he could get to the Blumquists. Peggy and Ed, meanwhile, hide in a meat locker in the back. Very appropriate considering Ed’s career choice. I think it’s safe to say that Ben Schmidt said it best when describing the entire scene:

"Fubar, ya?"

Yup, this was fucked up beyond all recognition. And once again, Fargo illustrated perfectly why it’s one of the best series on television. There was no possible way of predicting how this was going to turn out and it’s this unpredictability that always has me on the edge of my seat. No one was safe except Lou.

Peggy attends to her hubby’s gunshot wound and assures him he’s going to be okay, but instead Ed decides that this is the most appropriate time for a break-up. He says they’re not going to make it and he’s not talking about surviving the massacre, he’s talking about his marriage. This might not have been the best time to have this conversation but maybe Ed’s right as he says to Peggy, “You’re always trying to fix everything but sometimes nothing’s broken.”

"I don't think we're going to make it."

Of course, Ed’s wrong because something is broken, that being Peggy’s mind. She starts hallucinating once again and this time she thinks Hanzee has started a fire in the grocery store to smoke them out of the meat locker. For some reason, she starts thinking about that Ronald Reagan movie and thinks that her and Ed will be saved since movies are totally just like real life. In reality though, Ed ends up succumbing to his gunshot wound while Lou and Ben rescue Peggy. Poor guy ends up dying in the same place he spent most of his life and I can’t help but feel bad for Peggy. She truly loved Ed and, in typical Fargo fashion, it was her actions that ultimately led to Ed’s death.

That’s what I absolutely love about this series. One event that occurred on a lonely road in the middle of winter is what created the chain of events that caused the Sioux City Massacre. If Peggy had never hit Rye with her car, none of this would have ever happened and the Blumquist’s lives would have been completely different. Which really makes you think about that flying saucer. It’s almost as though this was fate and the flying saucer was there to ensure this is exactly how it would all go down. I knew we weren’t going to get any answers regarding last episode’s insane alien intervention but this series doesn’t need to explain these things. And by the way, this entire UFO idea came from a real-life sighting in 1979 so I personally loved the inclusion. Okay then!

Lou and Peggy’s scene on the drive back to Minnesota was one of the best scenes of the season. Lou tells Peggy a story about the Vietnam war and how a pilot did everything he could to save his family. Somehow the pilot was able to survive, even after flying the helicopter into the ocean with six thousand pounds of helicopter parts flying all around him and somehow he makes it out alive. Ed said he was going to protect his family no matter what just like the man in the Chinook. It’s the rock we all push. We call it our burden but it’s really our privilege. And this once again is a reference to the Myth of Sisyphus. We all have a rock to push up a mountain. Some of us might consider it a burden while others will see it as a privilege. Absolutely brilliant writing. Kirsten Dunst and Patrick Wilson completely owned this scene and it truly was a thing of beauty. Contrast this with what happened to Milligan and the Gerhardts and it becomes clear that this discussion about burden or privilege was the perfect theme for this season of Fargo.

For the Solverson’s, family is everything. Lou’s motivation in this ungodly world is to provide a better life for his family and so he considers it a privilege to push the rock up the hill. Milligan, Peggy and the Gerhardts, on the other hand, were looking for power, something they were never going to be able to achieve. It was a burden for them and look where they ended up.

Also, be sure to check out Bobby Womack’s cover of California Dreaming below. Loved this addition to an already amazing soundtrack:

Nine To Five

Meanwhile, Milligan and the remaining Kitchen brother return to the Gerhardt residence in the best way possible, giving us yet another reference to alien life. As if last week’s encounter with the flying saucer wasn’t enough.

"People of Earth. I'm home."

They find the Gerhardt’s housekeeper cooking dinner and her reaction was priceless. This was pretty much me during the entire finale:

The Gerhardt housekeeper cooking Schnitzel

And it looks like there is going to be no more schnitzel or strudel from here on out. Ricky G, one of the Gerhardt henchmen, also arrives back at the Gerhardt residence so he can do some looting but he’s immediately interrupted by Milligan and Kitchen. I loved this scene if only for Bokeem Woodbine’s speech about sovereignty. Milligan seems to think he’s a king now that he’s taken out the entire Gerhardt family. Ricky’s reaction to this was straight up hilarious:

“What am I? The Professor from Gilligan’s Island?”

This guy is definitely no professor. So Milligan informs Ricky that he should start his reign with an act of kindness and an act of cruelty. And unfortunately for Ricky, he’s already spared Wilma the housekeeper which means it’s going to be an act of cruelty for our friend from Buffalo.

Ricky G is shot by Milligan and Kitchen

Of course, Milligan never did get that parade. In fact, things couldn’t have turned out worse for Milligan who was promoted to the Accounting department in Kansas City. The rock Milligan was pushing was for the pursuit of power and, unfortunately, he would never end up getting there.

FML

This guy is totally going to go postal. I would hate to be working in the same office as Milligan. And really, what a terrible ending for Milligan. He had everything planned out to cement his status as the king of K.C. and instead he ends up in a nine to five job.

Meanwhile, Lou, Hank and the rest of the family got the happy ending they deserved. Betsy was able to spend the rest of her days with the people she loved the most, her family. It was such a fitting ending for the Solversons, especially given the fact that Lou sees all of this as a privilege.

We also get an explanation for Hank’s alien language in his office. And it had nothing to do with aliens, obviously. Hank explains that this was actually a coping mechanism for all of the violence and war he’s seen in his life. So he created a universal language of symbols and it was nothing more than that. Classic Fargo.

Connections

Easily the best part of the entire finale for me was the big reveal with Hanzee. This connection to season one literally blew my mind but it was absolutely perfect in every way. With the Gerhardts no longer around, it was time for Hanzee to finally get that new life he so badly wanted. And this is exactly what happens. Not only did he take a new name, Moses Tripoli, but he also got a new face, one that didn’t come with the burden of being a Native American.

Hanzee obtaining a new identity

Now you might be wondering why this is significant. Hanzee, with his new identity and his new face, did start up an empire of his own after the fall of the Gerhardts. Not only that, but Hanzee was actually one of the crime bosses in the first season and, in fact, was killed by Lorne Malvo. Yup, you definitely read this correctly and I’m still in shock over this revelation. Moses Tripoli was definitely in season one and he looked like this:

Hanzee's New Face

That can’t be Hanzee, right? Oh, but it is and there is proof. First, after Hanzee says he might start an empire of his own, the man he is with responds by saying, “So that it to can one day collapse and fall into the sea.” And this is exactly what happened many years later when Lorne Malvo arrives. But the biggest piece of evidence that absolutely seals the deal was when Hanzee says this: “Not apprehend. Dead. Don’t care heavily guarded. Don’t care into the sea. Kill and be killed. Head in a bag. There’s the message.” This sends shivers down my spine because here is what Moses Tripoli said in the first season regarding Lorne Malvo: “Dead. Not apprehend. Dead. Don’t care extra marital. Don’t care not related. Kill and be killed. Head in a bag. There’s the message.” Yup, he says pretty much the exact same thing as Hanzee. So ya, Hanzee Dent did build an empire of his own which also came to a bloody end in 2006.

And if that’s not proof enough for you, the kids playing baseball were also most definitely in season one. You’ll remember these two:

Well as it turns out, those kids playing baseball just so happen to be a young Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers who obviously join Hanzee after being bullied.

Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench playing baseball

Not sure what Hanzee ended up doing to those bullies but I’m willing to bet it was especially violent. This was absolutely brilliant in every way. I could have never imagined that Hanzee was the one running the Fargo crime syndicate in the first season with a new face but everything makes sense. I’m literally still in shock about this and so should you.

This was one of the best finales I have ever seen and, for me, the connection to season one was pure genius. I never could have expected Hanzee to start his own empire. And I never ever could have imagined that he was killed by Lorne Malvo in the first season. Don’t leave me hanging Fargoyou deserved this fist bump:

Ricky G Fist Bump

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LOVES IT

Mikey Likes ItFargo wrapped things up in the best possible way and the connection to season one literally blew my mind. I still cannot get over the fact that Hanzee turned out being the Fargo mob boss who was ultimately killed by Lorne Malvo. Not only that but how great was it to see a young Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers make an appearance.

This season of Fargo was one of the best things I have ever witnessed and every episode seemed to outdo the one that preceded it. The acting was phenomenal, the writing was brilliant and the dialogue was a treasure chest of amazing quotes. I have no idea how season three will be able to live up to the huge expectations this season has produced but I will definitely be there for the ride. And so should you.

Plus, aliens! Adding elements of extraterrestrial life was genius and, even though we didn’t get an explanation, I don’t think we needed one. It was a perfect season from start to finish. So what did everyone think of the season finale of Fargo? Did it make you want to get a new face and start an empire of your own? Or was it like working a nine to five job? Let us know in the comments and thanks for reading, fellow Fargoites! Okay then 🙂