Who'll Ultimately Be The One To Kill Dodd On Fargo?
Because someone's definitely going to, right? That's just one of the not-quite-burning questions sparked by the latest episode.
What's the deal with Noreen being an emancipated minor?
When Lou gets back to the sheriff's station after arresting Ed, Betsy's there waiting for him, and after a rather clichéd exchange to the effect that if wives and mothers were more involved there would be no war (tell that to Floyd, Betsy), Lou asks her to take Noreen home, saying, "Her place burned down with the shop, and we both know she's just a kid, emancipated or not." I guess until this point I had assumed that Budd, the current owner of the shop, was Noreen's dad, and that she was around the shop all the time because it was her part-time job, but was this detail about her age and situation inserted because it's so frequently mentioned that Charlie -- with whom she was flirting in the last episode -- is seventeen? Are Noreen and Charlie headed for a legit romance and the show needs to make sure we all know Noreen's not a pedo? Also, what is the likelihood that someone living in Luverne, a town so small it only has one lawyer, would even be an emancipated minor? What is this weird detail setting up?
Are we supposed to be on Peggy's side?
I realize that there are some perspectives from which that sounds like a ridiculous question. She's letting her husband take the sole blame for killing someone -- in self-defense -- who wouldn't have even been on their property if she hadn't already mostly killed the guy in a hit-and-run. While said husband is in custody, police chief Hank is basically babysitting her at her house, trying to winkle out of her an admission that she was the one who struck Rye with the car she's just sold to Sonny (and which Sonny has given the cops permission to examine), but she's more concerned about getting to Sioux Falls tomorrow for her Lifespring seminar. ("You're a little touched, aren't you?" - Hank.) But then, I feel like the episode is trying to manipulate us into empathizing with her. First, we get her telling Hank why it would -- hypothetically -- be easy for her to abandon Luverne: they're living in Ed's childhood home, a place that obviously has a lot of emotional importance for him, but none for her: "We're living in a museum of the past," she says. Later, when Dodd and his posse descend on the house and Hank sends her inside to hide, she lures Dodd into the labyrinth of her hoard and gets the jump on him, incapacitating him with his own electric cattle prod. This is dirty pool: it's impossible to root for Dodd over any person we've met this season, and I am absolutely including Mike Milligan in that estimation. Is this a heroic moment for Peggy only relative to her loathsome quarry, or is this supposed to be her first step on the road to becoming the office Tina Turner of Season 2? I really hope it isn't the latter.
What is Simone's deal, really?
We know she hates her father, and if we had forgotten why, he charmingly reminds us, telling her, "D'you know what a whore's life is?...I'm serious, this is me lookin' out for ya. Some career advice. A whore's life is five good years, five bad years, and then some half-dick sweat stain grinds you out like a cigarette. Like a goddamn spent cigarette." And by the way, all she does to prompt this lecture is appear within his line of vision while she's wearing a cropped halter top. "Whore" is a tough word and not a very feminist or sex-positive one -- when she reports the conversation to Mike and he's like, "Technically...," he's aligning himself with Dodd, and that's one place no sensible person should ever be on purpose. So I don't really blame her that much when she demands that Mike kill him (of which more in a moment). What I don't get is whether she really gets that being Mike's mole within the Gerhardt compound has harmful effects on more Gerhardts than just Dodd. The timing of Floyd's push for equal rights in the field of crime lording -- "This is our time, no such thing as 'men's work,' 'women's work' anymore" -- and her soulful appeal for Simone to step up and take a leadership role within the family is unfortunate, since it's interrupted by the house getting sprayed with bullets by Mike, the remaining extant Kitchen, and several of their henchmen. I think it's likely that Simone starts to get the consequences of her actions after that, as one does when the guy one's been fucking starts shooting up your house with you still in it. But I'm definitely curious to see whether she decides to take Floyd's advice and be more strategic now, or if she's going to stay focused on the project of ending Dodd's life.
Is Karl maybe a little too much?
He's a Vietnam vet. He's a lawyer. He's a drunk. He's got all kinds of conspiracy theories about the intrusion of the state. I GET IT. I appreciate that the episode brought his character back around and out of the realm of cartoon with the scene in which, as Charlie's appointed lawyer, he does the seemingly impossible by talking Bear down from storming the sheriff's station to extract his son. But the scene in which he tries to explain to Ed the nonverbal opposite code they're going to use to communicate without letting Big Brother's hidden cameras track their movements felt about four days long. Let's think of Karl as Fargo's wasabi: a dab may look small, but it's plenty.
Who'll ultimately be the one to kill Dodd?
As previously mentioned, Simone issues a kill order on Dodd, and pretty quickly finds out that if you want something like that done right, you do it yourself. Or, really, you wait for someone else in your family to. Floyd must be just about to find out how Dodd has misled her into war like a midwestern Judith Miller; his false information and reckless delegation of duties has already put her grandson's life in peril and gotten him pinched by the cops. For all the same reasons, Bear has ample reason to take out Dodd for sending Charlie into duty knowing full well that what Bear had wanted for him was a good education. Besides which, as Bear notes, "He's got a crippled arm." "Now, see, I don't see that," snits Dodd. "I see heart and will." I mean, we all know Dodd wanted sons, because he can't stop saying it, but if he hadn't long since alienated Simone, he might have recognized that she has the sociopathy to be groomed as his soldier. Now that Mike has turned on Simone, it doesn't seem like killing Dodd himself is a high priority for him; it would be more satisfying to the viewer if she were to do it herself. There's also the possibility that Peggy's cattle prod move is just a preview of the revenge she'll get on the Gerhardt family, via Dodd, for Rye's having...wandered out into the road in front of her car? No, that would not feel like justice of the sort the Fargo movie made us expect. Other than Peggy, I can see any of the above taking out Dodd for solid narrative reasons...but don't sleep on Hanzee. I realize that to this point he's been loyal to Dodd to a fault, but that speech at the body shop about getting ordered into holes his white superiors didn't want to dirty themselves in feels like a formative story that may inform his actions in the future.