As Kansas City Makes It To Fargo, The Crime Rate Goes Up
Let's rank the criminal offenses of 'Before The Law'!
With an apparent vacuum of power in the Gerhardt crime family following Otto's stroke, the Kansas City operation has, as promised at the end of "Waiting For Dutch," swooped in and made an offer: it's willing to buy the Gerhardts' operation and let the family continue to run it. Floyd's not sure what she wants to do, and Dodd's not sure it should be up to her.
And while Kansas City's representatives scope out the greater Luverne area (not trying especially hard to keep a low profile while doing so), they may not be the worst criminals currently active in the county: people are criming it up all over the place. Let's rank the crimes of "Before The Law," counting down from minor infraction to squishy wetwork.
- Stealing Toilet Paper From Work
Peggy shows up for work the day after hitting Rye with her car, doing her best to keep up appearances: she covers the black eye Ed accidentally gave her with his elbow when he finished Rye off in self-defense; she chirps an excuse for her lateness to her client; she vaguely tries to get out of plans she'd made with Constance, her boss, about going to a Lifespring seminar together as they'd planned. When Constance asks whether Peggy knows what happened to a case of toilet paper Constance had put in the back, Peggy shrugs that she doesn't.
But, of course, she does, because she didn't just take it; she put all of it in what is apparently the bathroom guests use, right next to the front door. Constance isn't upset: in fact, she's titillated, calling Peggy a "bad girl" and suggesting that Peggy deliberately put the toilet paper where it would be found for the thrill of it. It seems pretty clear that Constance is interested in Peggy as something more than a friend -- earlier, at the salon, she'd told Peggy that she'd booked a hotel room (singular) for when they go to the seminar, and ran down Ed for holding Peggy back from achieving her potential; but is Peggy also interested in Constance? Is that why Peggy's been putting off Ed's attempts to get her pregnant...?
- Financial Fraud
We still don't know exactly what the typewriter salesman's relationship was to the judge Rye killed (or even what the typewriter salesman's name is, as far as I can tell).
We do know that he owes money to a lot of people and is apparently lying about his actual means, à la Jerry Lundegaard from the Fargo movie faking the serial numbers on cars that had mysteriously gone astray. This has, obviously, already led indirectly to the three murders at the Waffle Hut, but good old T.S. doesn't know that for a fact yet and therefore doesn't really have much reason to stop doing what he's doing -- other than morality and professional ethics, which I'm guessing do not motivate most of his decisions in life. Perhaps when he gets off the phone with his supplier, though, that will change.
- Unspecified Organized Crime...Like, Stuff?
We don't know exactly how the Gerhardts make their money, but we know they accept cash!
And that the "clients" who pay for their "protection" are either kind enough or scared enough to include get well messages for Otto with their remittances. Minnesota Nice: it's real!
Mike Milligan isn't going to return to Kansas City until he has some good intel on where Rye Gerhardt has gotten to, and that will involve talking to someone who bragged about "having a Gerhardt in his pocket" when he was enjoying a drink at a bar recently.
And if he has to put T.S.'s tie in a typewriter and type a complaint letter on it to get out of him his connection to both Rye and to the dead judge, that's what's happening.
- Unlawful Disposal Of A Corpse
Ed's methodical dismemberment and grinding of Rye's body is grim, to be sure.
And the macabre, hilarious tension that ensues when Lou, cruising by on his way home, sees the light on and pops in to see if he can grab some bacon for tomorrow morning's breakfast while Ed tries to maintain his chill and keep Lou from noticing the finger that's rolled out of the back room is extremely well done by both performers. But TECHNICALLY, Rye's death at Ed's hand came in the previous episode. Sure, this crime proceeds from Ed's having caused another person's death, but now he's just cleaning up, using his professional skills and the tools at hand. Which I really hope he plans to clean extremely well when he's done.
- Homicide By Torture
When Floyd calls Dodd in to talk about Kansas City's offer, he's in the middle of carving up an associate while telling him the story of his grandfather's exploits in the first world war -- but the guy may not be listening that well now that Dodd's cut off his ears.
"Wake him up," Dodd orders.
Well, the guy's dead. "WEAK," barks Dodd. So the new head of the Gerhardt family could either be calm, logical, bread-baking Floyd, or violent, careless, sexist Dodd, who can't even torture right. Good luck, Bear.