Things got extra weird in “The Gift of the Magi” (s2, ep5)
Jim Mitchell

13 Nov 2015 - 12:01 PM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2015 - 11:42 AM

The writers of Fargo have always had ‘quaint’ down pat but halfway through this second series, they’ve well and truly ramped things up to ‘bonkers.’ Expect the unexpected.

The deer hunter

A misdirected murder theory involving Ed (Jesse Plemons) a.k.a The Butcher of Luverne leads to a deer hunt that quickly escalates into a table-turning bloody showdown. Unexpected characters are felled swifter than you can say The Walking Dead. For a show not usually in a hurry, it’s enough to give you whiplash.

The ol’ head in a box trick

Things get very Seven-y with one decapitated head lovingly gift-boxed on Mike Milligan’s (Bokeem Woodbine) hotel dresser. Adding to the creepiness is the threat-meets-foreplay sandwich between Mike, Simone Gerhardt (Rachel Keller) and a Kitchen twin.

A presidential leak

Prurient Hollywood references turn up in this episode. Did Joan Crawford have crabs? Sadly no answer on that but a farcical urinal chat between Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell) and trooper Lou (Patrick Wilson) reveals the future Prez’s hatred of pee-shrouding potpourri and his confusing actual combat in Vietnam with acting in a war movie.

Weirdest meet-cute ever

Nervous young Gerhardt assassin in training Charlie (Allan Dobrescu) enters Bud’s Meats to kill Ed but instead encounters morose shop girl Noreen (Emily Haine). Their short, oddly sweet conversation covers meats, depressing literature, resurrection and Rocky, before Noreen’s “We’re all going to die so why bother” philosophy is really put to the test.

A hungry, angry Bear

This must be the first episode that Bear Gerhardt (Angus Sampson) doesn’t appear to be chowing down somberly. Instead, his mouth spouting fighting words in the direction of brother Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan). “In the end we all get what we deserve.”

Again with the aliens

The alien references are getting more literal and liberal - see young Molly’s drawing of her family with a flying saucer hovering above. With every alien reference linking back to her dad Lou, it brings new meaning to the “what” older Lou (Keith Carradine) alludes to guarding against in season one. Now, that would be bonkers.


Watch episode 5 here.

Fargo Season 2 continues Wednesdays 9.30pm on SBS.