“This is a true story.”
The question lying wait in the background of “Did You Do This? No, You Did It!” — an on-point “Fargo” name if I’ve ever heard one — was also its most pressing quandary: Where’s Dodd? It’s not that it didn’t matter where Dodd was, it’s that his absence was more productive than his presence for this extended episode of Noah Hawley’s ever-more-engaging crime thriller. The payoff at the end was expected, with the Blomquists keeping the Gerhardt family’s least forgiving member locked up in their trunk. But had Dodd been around, odds are that Bear wouldn’t have killed his brother’s daughter.
If, in fact, he did kill her. In today’s day-and-age, unless we see a bullet fly through the head of its victim, that person could still be alive. The dramatic overhead shot followed by a distanced angle and the sound of a gunshot certainly implied Simone got got, but we can’t officially put her in the ground just yet. Bear’s motivations, though, were clear if not entirely pure. She was caught red-handed giving the go ahead to Kansas City, meaning she needed to be punished, but Bear is also still fuming over his own son’s fate, very much brought about by Dodd ordering him to kill “The Butcher” (Ed). Bear doesn’t seem like the type to be killing kids, kin or both, but he may have been pushed past his limit by his brother.
The complex emotions at play, as well as some truly heart-warming moments (like when “The Breakfast King of Loyola” surprised Betsey) helped make “Did You Do This? No, You Did It!” a welcome return to form for “Fargo,” which had dipped a bit in excitement and emotional attachment over the past two weeks. Still impressively made with gripping performances, it’s hard to criticize “Fargo” outright, and the last few weeks were far from television any fan would want to miss. They just felt a little slower, a little more methodical and a little less surprising than we’d grown accustomed to. That being said, with only three episodes left, there’s no doubt in my mind we’re in for one helluva stirring conclusion, giving us good reason to look forward to Season 3.
The Lorne Malvo Award for MVC (Most Valuable Character)
I think we all suspected that Bear — the strong, quiet type from the get-go — would be forced to confront some sides of himself he wasn’t comfortable assessing before. This war has now left its mark on him for good. He either killed or exiled his niece, all while her dad was held captive by two people his son was in charge of killing; though his son was only put in that position because of his uncle’s decision. That’s some messed up family drama right there — that only viewers will be able to keep straight — and it’s bound to make everyone else’s Thanksgiving get together’s look downright serene.
As refreshing as it is to see Bear come into his own as a character, it serves as yet another reminder that Ohanzee really has not. Hopefully, he’s got some personal backstory coming as well; something to elevate him above the ghost-like killer stereotype he’s been saddled with so far.
The Allison Tolman Award for MVP (Most Valuable Performer)
As the saying goes, playing stupid takes a lot of smarts. While Simone was far from a dunce, she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer either, and Rachel Keller found her motivation in every scene, big or small. That’s usually the key to playing dumb — honestly exploring why someone would say what they say or do what they do when it goes against common logic. Simone should’ve known better than to get mixed up between two families, just as she should’ve known better than to think she could convince Mike Milligan to kill anybody. Yet she didn’t, and the reason we still felt for her as Bear walked her out into the woods was because Keller discovered human motivations again and again. Will we see Simone again? I’m not sure, but I know we’ll be seeing more of Ms. Keller.
(This section highlights the unexpected trouble “Fargo” regularly showcases, usually to tragic or comedic ends.)
So let’s spend a second theorizing, shall we? With Dodd wedged in the trunk of Peggy and Ed’s getaway car, there are a number of ways that could have happened and as many opportunities as to what’s next. I’m guessing he’s there because Ed refused to kill someone else, further incriminating him in the eyes of the law and giving him more sleepless nights to wrestle with his conscience. As much as Peggy enjoyed zapping him, going any further may have been too much for her…but I really think she hatched the master plan to sell him to the other side. They obviously need seed money to go on the run, and he may be their only asset at this point. Ed may have resisted at first, but eventually again started pushing the rock up the hill. Is this all speculation? Of course. Is it a possibility? I think so, but share your own predictions in the comments below.
(This section highlights the unexpected glee “Fargo” regularly showcases, teased by tragedy or humorous beginnings.)
I don’t think anyone suspected Betsey to be in any trouble when she opened her front door to a pair of unknown boots on her mat, but if viewers were keen to identify that footwear with Karl Weathers, more props to ’em. The scene’s purpose seemed to be highlighting Betsey’s skill with a shotgun as well as its presence in their home, more than building real suspense for her safety, but Karl’s claim as “Breakfast King” made the whole situation wonderful — a habit of Nick Offerman’s character since he first appeared on screen. More Karl and Betsey, please.
Quote of the Night
Speaking of more, the duo’s follow-up scene was almost the exact opposite of their aforementioned meeting. Touching, heartfelt and utterly devastating, Betsey’s instructions to Karl on how to take care of her family when she passes defined both characters so well. It established a friendly connection between the pair, too, but the biggest takeaway was how much everyone loved each other in that room, in that house and in that town. The good people look out for each other, even if Karl didn’t want to discuss as much considering how defeatist (to him, realist to her) it seemed. But Betsey persisted. “John McCain was a fighter pilot,” she said. “I live in a starter house in Minnesota and dream of having chickens one day.” Her point wasn’t who’s tougher — she would win that in a landslide and even Senator McCain would agree — but that she understands the cards that have been dealt. Now, how she deals with the discovery of her dad’s bizarre signs translating alien symbols — that I don’t know. Nor do I know how it could connect to the larger UFO theme of the season. But that’s why there are three episodes left.