This article has some content you might find disturbing!Reason A graphic attempted murder; an also graphic actual murder.
Who's Taking Care Of Business Best On Fargo?
Counting down the big movers of 'Loplop' from least effective to most.
After the very eventful "Did You Do This? No, You Did It!," Fargo follows up with the...equally eventful (and even a tiny bit longer) "Loplop," which covers more or less the same span of time as the last episode, but shows us how Dodd came to end up in the custody of a pair of novice crooks like the Blumquists. (Basically? Peggy's brand of crazy is so confusing and alarming to Dodd that he kind of freezes in the face of it. And her having gotten her hands on the cattle prod certainly helps.)
Once Ed makes his way home after giving Lou and Hank the slip in "Rhinoceros," he makes a pretty solid case for Peggy having been right back in the season premiere when she suggested that they should have run, because he's pretty good at it. The question is whether he's better than Hanzee, who tracks the couple to their eventual hideout, but not without a couple of setbacks along the way -- setbacks that, once reported, lead Hank and Lou to him for the episode's dramatic yet ultimately non-fatal shootout.
It's ninety minutes that test everyone's talents for scheming and strategizing...and some definitely come out ahead of others. Let's count everyone down from who sucks worst at handling his business to who's ready to teach a class at business school.
Dodd made the mistake back in "Rhinoceros" of underestimating Peggy, and the effects of that miscalculation continue to reverberate through "Loplop." When we rejoin Dodd in the cold open, he's not only no longer in control of the situation, tied to a chair in the Blumquist basement and having lost all the henchmen who entered the house with him; he's coming to the realization that the person holding him is maybe really deranged, in that she appears to Dodd to be carrying on a conversation with someone who isn't there. Before long, Ed and Peggy have repaired to Ed's uncle's cabin and tied Dodd to a new chair; when, once again, he defaults to aggression and threats toward Peggy, she very calmly and deliberately stabs him twice in the chest, and then sits down across from him to tell him the story of Rye's death, and feed him beans, as you do. When Ed returns to see bloodstains blooming on Dodd's shirt that can only have come from wounds Peggy inflicted, Ed gets nervous that Peggy doesn't understand that Dodd won't be useful as a bargaining chip if he's seriously hurt, but Dodd's already been nervous that an unsupervised Peggy is going to do him even worse harm while babbling about actualizing -- fully, ya know.
Being forced to remain immobile seems to be good for Dodd in the short term: it gives him uncharacteristic patience. He waits for the right moment to wriggle away from his captress and nearly gets the jump on Ed when he returns from his last attempted ransom call -- and when Hanzee successfully finds Dodd's car and the Blumquists, Dodd must be pretty certain "his" man is going to help him finish off his kidnappers and get him back to the gang war he started. What he can't know at that moment (and wouldn't have the empathy to understand even if he did) is that Hanzee's really had A Day, or two; when Dodd angrily calls him a "mongrel," Hanzee terminates their professional relationship.
Bye, Dodd. You died as you lived: sucking.
I know he tries to tell Bear about the several calls he'd been getting from Ed trying to negotiate Dodd's return, and that with the family in crisis and Floyd at the cop shop, there isn't really anyone else to whom to relay the message and bring this matter to a conclusion favourable to the Gerhardts. Still, this seems like the kind of thing that's going to get Ricky sent back to Buffalo, never to return.
When Hanzee finds her at her hotel in Sioux Falls and parks it next to her to wait for Peggy to call and say she's not going to make it to the LifeSpring seminar, she draws upon all her wiles to get Peggy to tell her where she is, and though she does end up winkling out enough details to get Hanzee to the general area, she doesn't quite fulfill the mission he's tasked her with.
Constance did try, but while we don't see her ultimate fate, we may reasonably assume she won't be leaving her hotel room alive.
And when she had such big plans for herself and Peggy, too.
Peggy definitely proves in this episode how accurate was Hank's assessment of her as "a little touched" a couple of episodes ago: she causes her hostage bodily harm, calls Constance as though she isn't currently a fugitive from justice, and hallucinates her Lifespring guru sitting in the middle of her hoard. But she's still of sound enough mind to recognize that the chance she's been dreaming of has finally come: she and Ed have blown up their lives, and she couldn't be giddier about it. She does rather lose sight of her objective when she gets so engrossed by an old Ronald Reagan movie on the cabin's shitty TV that Dodd escapes his restraints, but haven't we all been there at some point or another? She also gets extra points for being one of the only three white people in the episode to treat Hanzee like a person, taking seriously his request for a haircut and really seeming prepared to give it to him before the shit goes down. Now that is a styling professional.
Basically still a badass for storming the Blumquist house with Lou even after having just gotten knocked out with a gun butt hours earlier...but the fact remains that he did get knocked out with a gun butt. (Sidebar: I know that, based on the timeline, we couldn't have gotten any forward motion on Hank's alien research lab, as discovered by Betsy last week, but if Hank gets killed before she confronts him about it, I will be furious.)
Maybe Floyd was right and he has been a sleeper agent all along!!! Just kidding, but he definitely does a lot of things right in this episode. He cleverly commandeers Dodd's car and gets on the road just ahead of the cops. He uses a public phone to make his ransom calls to the Gerhardt compound rather than the one at the cabin that's registered, if not in his name, at least in a name he probably shares. When his several calls about Dodd to the Gerhardts come to naught, he reaches out to Mike instead -- a clever pivot of the sort that denotes a person's managerial prowess. Leaving Peggy alone with Dodd is, let's say, a less-good managerial decision.
And he probably shouldn't have been so chatty with the clerk at the country store -- or, for that matter, kept going back to the same pay phone to make his calls. But Peggy does manage to cut Ed down before he expires, and he ends the episode essentially intact, which is more than can be said for almost everyone.
Waiting out the cops outside the Blumquist house, Hanzee gets a good start on his project of finding and killing The Butcher Of Luverne (and, secondarily, finding and retrieving Dodd): he enters unmolested and finds not only the confirmation of Peggy's hotel reservation in Sioux Falls but also Dodd's jacket, so that he knows for sure Dodd was there and can reasonably guess, not finding his body, that he's still alive and has been transported to another location. He's logical and measured in his approach, and might well have made it to the Blumquist cabin without ever attracting the notice of any law enforcement officials if not for the real villain of this season/all seasons/all time: systemic racism! The bartender who spits in Hanzee's water and then tries to impugn Hanzee's patriotism is followed closely by three bigots who trail Hanzee to his truck calling out jokes about his bow and arrow and teepee, and when Hanzee shoots two of them in the knee and fatally shoots the bartender who called the cops on him for...ordering a drink in his bar, it's not especially hard to take Hanzee's side. Even after Hanzee kills the cops who've come, with remarkable alacrity, to look into the bartender's report, this viewer was less concerned about the loss of (shitty) life than about the attention Hanzee is attracting with his reckless murder spree -- righteous, but still reckless.
By the time he makes it to the cabin, having had to suffer through a panoply of interactions with ignorant white people, he doesn't seem to have any more interest in killing Ed, as Floyd's directed him to do: instead, he asks Peggy for a haircut -- "something...professional. Shorter, like on the sides and back."
Dodd's rude interruption of this consultation gets him killed (see above), but once he's been dealt with, Hanzee calmly sits in front of Peggy and her scissors. "Professional, you said," she checks before she begins. "Yeah," he tells her. "I'm tired of this life." Maybe he means he's tired of the henchman's life and wants a makeover to reinvent himself. But maybe he means he's tired of life in general, and if she decides to use the scissors not to transform him but to kill him, he's made his peace with that possibility, too. It's not as though they're at Dazzle and there's a mirror with which he could watch what Peggy's doing to make sure she doesn't try anything murderous, but the way he serenely closes his eyes does suggest he's prepared for whatever may happen. And while Ed's look...
...certainly seems to be signaling Peggy to take advantage of the opportunity, she really does seem like she's going to give Hanzee the haircut he's requested...
...right up until the moment Hanzee's gaze follows Ed's out the window and at Hank and Lou creeping up on the house. In the melee that follows the resulting exchange of bullets, Peggy does end up stabbing Hanzee in the back of his neck -- but not so badly that he can't stagger away from the raid. Hanzee may not have many more days or even hours to live, but through his last moments in this episode, he's taking care of business every way -- even with his look. I personally feel deprived of the chance to see Peggy unveil Hanzee's new hairstyle for Hank and prove she was right to keep all those hundreds and hundreds of magazines for inspiration.
We don't really see Lou except in the beginning and at the end of this episode, since during the same time he's keeping Mike and Gale Kitchen from murdering Simone at the Pearl Hotel. But what we do see is more of his usual excellent police work: overruling Hank's request not to tell Betsy Hank's going to get his head injury checked out at the hospital; failing to heed the deal Schmidt think the Fargo police have struck with Floyd and pursuing the Blumquists and Hanzee. When Hanzee sees Lou and Hank and starts shooting, Hank and Lou shoot back, and while none of Lou's shots actually hits Hanzee, none of Hanzee's hit him either. On this show, that's a win.