‘Fear and Trembling’
It’s war! After a steadily paced first few episodes that have at times teetered on the edge of plain boredom, Fargo is finally upping its game, with ‘Fear and Trembling’ serving as this season’s potentially major turning point. With Floyd Gerhardt refusing to back down from a confrontation that has already seen a number of casualties, it looks as if the show is entering a new stage as it does away with the fake civility, this charade of cordiality, between the Gerhardts of Fargo and Joe Bulo’s men from Kansas City and embraces open conflict.
In fact the whole episode seemed intent on finally lifting this veil that has characterised the season so far. In a brilliant cut from the world of the mobsters to a scene depicting Betsy Solverson receiving some bad news regarding her battle with cancer, her doctor declared “It’s a war”; “The war against cancer”. And just as Floyd decided in the episode’s conclusion that the time for negotiation was over, it would appear that Lou was also tired of avoiding the elephant in the room. His frustration was clear as Betsy insisted on not being treated differently despite her declining health. This is another war that nobody wants to talk about, and it’s becoming too big to ignore.Solverson did however find a way to channel this desire to engage in open conflict nearer to the end of the episode, when he paid a visit to the home of Ed and Peggy Blumquist. Having pretty much sussed out the events of episode one, he wasted no time in confronting the couple, who seemed to have until this point convinced themselves that they could finally move on from Peggy’s Rye Gerhardt-killing hit and run.
They didn’t ever really stand a chance, them two, did they? Their pathetic attempts to cover the incident up came so easily undone, and Lou’s strong, assertive character in this scene was a starkly symbolic contrast with theirs. Peggy and Ed have entered this other world, crossed over from the domestic to the deadly, and Lou Solverson, he who mans the borders between these disparate environments, can only do so much to help them if they refuse to let go of their previous life.Lou dealt the final blow in this battle in the living room by telling them they had “the look”, which those that are already doomed possess when they have not yet realised it. He stated that only people like him that had seen real conflict can recognise this look, proving to them that they are completely out of their depth here. The police officer has served as a vital bridge between the Blumquists and the Gerhardts, between these distant worlds, and being the only voice of reason in this whole series is proving to be almost as engaging a protagonist as his daughter in season one.
Sparks are set to fly as conflicts both physical and emotional enter their most deadly stages yet in this second season of Fargo which looks to be slowly but surely getting its mojo back.