"Fargo" Review: In “Myth of Sisyphus,” knowledge is power

“Fargo” revolves around what characters know and don’t know

TV Show: Fargo

Network: FX

Grade: A

In the Greek myth of Sisyphus, a cursed man is tasked to push a boulder up a hill only have it fall back down – for eternity. In “Fargo’s” “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) pushes both the Gerhardts and the Kansas City gang for answers only to have his attempts seem just as futile as the Greek legend.

While Sisyphus himself can never complete his task, Solverson seems to be getting closer with each push.

This episode sees Solverson finally get his deserved center stage.

Edgy standoffs with Dodd Gerhardt (Jeffery Donovan) and Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) push the tension of the show to new levels. The character of Solverson is fleshed out much more as we start to see a picture of what he’s like. He’s unflinching when surrounded by Gerhardt’s armed henchman and remains steadfast while staring down the barrel of the Kitchen brothers’ shotguns.

Beyond Solverson’s development, Monday’s episode – as much of the plot in “Fargo”tends to do – focused on knowledge.

The audience knows the facts: Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin) is dead, having killed three people in a shakedown gone wrong. Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) killed him after hitting him with his car and her husband Ed (Jesse Plemons) helped her cover up the crime.

The characters, however, know very little.

The police, the Gerhardts and the Kansas City gang are looking for murderer-turned-roadkill Rye Gerhardt, but none of them know he’s dead.

In fact, only the Blumquists know of Rye’s fate – but they know very little about the gang war that seems to be brewing. The Gerhardts think the Kansas City gang has them while the police think the Gerhardts are hiding Rye’s whereabouts. It’s all wonderfully interconnected without any party knowing too much.

This is particularly obvious in one scene where Betsy Solverson (Cristin Milioti) develops a theory that Rye was hit by a car in the road and that the person drove away – which is, of course, exactly what happened.

Blumquist, nervous that the police might catch on, dismisses it as crazy.

Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) comically says, “It’s not like you’ll drive home with a Gerhardt in your windshield and make supper.”

Again, this is exactly what Blumquist did but Larsson has no way of knowing that and dismisses the theory.

Furthering the pursuit of knowledge and by extension power, Dodd finds a typewriter salesman who had gotten mixed up with Rye. After asking him a few questions about where Rye is, he buries the man alive.

The brutality of Dodd is becoming more and more apparent.

He roughhouses his own daughter, brutally kills a man and nearly kills Solverson. He is plotting to undermine Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart) and his erratic violent behavior makes him a loose cannon in the Gerhardt gang.

Meanwhile, the Blumquists continue to cover up their hit-and-run-and-stab-in-a-garage crime by taking care of the car used.

Ed drives into a tree so they can get it fixed up without anyone questioning the human-sized hole in the windshield.

Smart thinking for a couple of simple Minnesota folk.

On a final note, a man at a gas station talks to Solverson about more reports of alien activity. It’s going to be interesting how, if at all, the alien subplot actually links at all with the main plot of “Fargo.”

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