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'Fargo' is getting colder and colder

'Did You Do This? No, You Did It!' is one of the harshest episodes to weather this season


/ Courtesy of FX The Spectrum

Network: FX

Show: Fargo

Rating: A-

Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) acts as a sort of a barometer for “Fargo.”His demeanor reflects the mood of the show. Earlier this season, he exuded a certain pep with his smooth, smack talk with Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and company – mirroring the series’ high energy.

But as winter sets in, Milligan is noticeably more somber. He’s quoting Louis XVI and Martin Luther King, staring at himself in the mirror with the faint shadow of what was once a menacing smirk and just when you think he’s about to give into his fate, he shoots his fate square in the face.

The introduction and then immediate death of the Undertaker is brilliant. His name inspires fear. His introduction of walking down the hall ominously builds the suspense. Then Milligan comes out of his room, walks briskly up to the man and kills him.

It is one of the top scenes of the season and one that darkly contrasts the apparent killing of Simone Gerhardt (Rachel Keller).

Simone’s walk in to the woods is probably the best bit of cinematography all season. The show has used overhead tracking shots through the forest before but not as effectively as they do here. They’re beautifully sad scenes as Simone walks to a then-uncertain but increasingly apparent fate.

If there’s one criticism of this season, it’s that “Fargo”will build up to a death scene only to have something intervene or someone change his or her mind. It’s a clever way to keep the audience interested without any real consequences – but after a while, the audience will catch on.

In Simone’s death scene – which is unconfirmed but would be a real disappointment if “Fargo”decided to bring her back from this – Bear Gerhardt (Angus Sampson) lowers his gun for a moment while Simone begs for her life. It’s a moment where you may think back to all the times the gun was metaphorically lowered and characters escaped death. But then Bear aims his gun right back at her.

It’s daring to take Simone out of the picture but it makes perfect sense from Bear’s perspective. He is fiercely loyal to his family, which makes killing Simone and ignoring his brother’s disappearance seem out of character.

But these are two members of the family that have brought grief and chaos to the Gerhardts. Dodd’s methodical recklessness brought on war with the Kansas City gang and Simone’s immature rebellions led to the death of the family patriarch.

For those who love seeing the Gerhardts undermined by their own, worry not. It appears Dodd Gerhardt (Jeffery Donovan) is coming back. It’ll be interesting to see how Mike Milligan, who is growing more and more violent with each episode, treats Dodd, his Gerhardt counterpart.

Meanwhile in the Solverson’s home, Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman) shares a touchingly sad moment with Betsy Solverson (Cristin Milioti). It’s strange to see Karl Weathers in an emotional scene – just as last week’s episode was strange to see Karl Weathers playing an important role at all. But that’s just the versatility of Nick Offerman as an actor. He manages to play the same hardy, gruff, man’s-man character while still fulfilling different roles.

As Betsy Solverson’s fate becomes increasingly clear to her and the audience, it’s sad to see the other characters, whether it Karl, Hank or Lou struggles to accept the fact.

Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) is obsessed with strange symbols. It’s a strange choice to include that in his character but “Fargo”has three episodes left to explain the strange aliens subplot and how exactly Hank got mixed up in this.

All the while, Noreen is still reading Albert Camus – and yet no one except Betsy seems to accept the inevitability of death.

Dan McKeon is a contributing writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com.


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