• Floyd Gerhardt declares war (File)Source: File
Season 2, Episode 4: "Fear and Trembling"
Jim Mitchell

6 Nov 2015 - 4:36 PM  UPDATED 9 Nov 2015 - 5:32 PM

We knew it was coming but this episode sees the turf war between crime family The Gerhardts and the Kansas City mafia reach it’s violent beginning. And the truth to just what happened to Rye Gerhardt will come out. In true Fargo fashion, foreboding is everywhere and nothing is quite as it seems yet everything is what it seems.

Will there be casualties? You betcha yah!



Aliens? Huh? It may seem like an unlikely plot development but quirk is a fixture of the Fargo-verse. This episode has the third intimation of the season that extraterrestrials may have something to do with the peculiar happenings in this neck of the Dakotas.

The Gerhardts' Native American right hand man Hanzee (Zahn McClarnon) does some swift detective work giving the CSI franchise a run for its money. In a case of reverse soothsaying, he senses the supposed UFO that stunned Rye (Kieran Culkin) in the aftermath of the Waffle Hut massacre, after discovering a shard of convenient evidence that will ultimately connect Peggy and Ed to his disappearance.



At the body shop, Hanzee forensically examines Peggy and Ed’s ’65 Corvette, unsurprisingly ignoring the protestations of dimwitted Sonny the white mechanic who is a Vietnam vet. This becomes a signature Fargo sequence where the very real threat of violence collides with a poignant and/or peculiar conversation.

Holding a knife, Hanzee, with barely controlled anger, reveals that he too fought in ‘Nam but experienced a malevolent disregard during the war. “Did you work the tunnels?” he asks Sonny. “‘Send the Indian they’d say. Who cares about booby traps?’” It’s an unexpected backstory which gives credence to what we’ve come to expect from Fargo, that even a seemingly peripheral character will be richly drawn.



Meanwhile, in a hotel room behind closed doors it sounds as if something very, very bad is happening. The sound is not unlike that of the cattle gun of the Coen brothers' No Country For Old Men villain Anton Chigurh.

But Fargo’s makers like to tease with soundscape. Turns out, there’s a vigorous workout in progress which ends with a  posterior surprise for The Kansas Syndicate’s mercurial hard man Mike (the brilliant Bokeem Woodbine). What’s more surprising is the identity of his lover giving the thumbs up. Someone’s sleeping with the enemy.

Later, we see that this season’s hardened psychopath Dodd Gerhardt (Jeffrey Donovan) CAN be a softie, in a vulnerable moment leaning his head on mother Floyd’s (Jean Smart) shoulders and guiding her hand to his cheek. Earlier, he attacked a rival with what looked to be a cattle prod at a doughnut shop before asking for a chocolate glaze.



We haven’t seen just what she can do yet but make no mistake, cross matriarch Floyd Gerhardt at your peril - especially now that the crime family is more vulnerable than ever with don Otto (Michael Hogan) incapacitated.

In a meeting at the Pearl Hotel she tells Kansas top brass Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett clearly having shed any trace of Everyone Loves Raymond’s Robert Barone) with all the icy force of a Fargo winter that she’s seen her fair share of horrors and is more than able to mete out more to those who wrong her family. “Don’t assume just because I’m an old woman that my back is weak and my stomach’s not strong.”



Whether it’s by the hands of Floyd, her sons or their standover men, or someone else, Peggy and Ed Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons) are doomed. Okay, so we can’t back that up but their less-than-well-thought-through cover up of Peggy’s hit and run which resulted in Rye Gerhardt being put through butcher Ed’s mincer (yes, it’s that wood chipper) makes them as good as dead says no nonsense cop Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson).

He knows their shell-shocked faces all too well from seeing the mortally wounded in the Vietnam war. To paraphrase Lou, “their brains haven’t caught up with the reality which is they’re already dead”.

It’s the very grist of Fargo’s recurring theme – that characters who’ve done very bad things cover their tracks in the self denial that their transgressions (and the instruments used to carry them out) will never see the light of day. As Lou says of the Gerhardts, “They’re comin’. Maybe they’re here already.” He can’t know just how prescient he is.

Fargo Season 2 continues Wednesdays 9.30pm on SBS.