Following Fargo S2 E10 Palindrome

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(From left to right) Lou, Betsy, and Hank in Fargo

James Mason, Staff writer/editor/critic

Warning: This review contains spoilers from this episode, as well as from previous ones.

 

For those who didn’t see it:

 

The aftermath of the Sioux Falls Massacre is seen, and the story resolves.

 

For those who saw it:

 

Fargo’s been doing an amazing job at picking really offbeat songs for each episode. This one opened up to the aftermath of the massacre set to “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. It’s awesome.

Aside from music choices, the rest of Palindrome was an interesting episode with how they decided to end things. The first season ending like the original movie Fargo, with justice being served and all the loose ends tied up nicely. This one ended more like No Country for Old Men, with only one or two main plot lines getting resolution while the others are left ambiguous.

Peg and Ed are on the run right after the massacre that ended last week’s episode. The hide in the freezer at a convenience store, but Ed dies from a bullet wound (Hanzee shot him in the shoulder as they ran). Peg begins to lose her mind because of this and starts thinking the freezer is burning down. She charges out to find Lou and the police waiting for her, and that Hanzee is nowhere to be found.

Now Peg’s always been a polarizing character for me. One minute I’ll hate her for being self-centered, narcissistic, and being the reason most people are in this mess. But on the other hand, she did do everything she could to make sure Ed and her got away. And after seeing her break down as the police drag her away from Ed’s dead body served as a reminder that despite everything that happened, she really did love him.

Lou’s the one who drives Peg back to the station, and their conversation in the car ride back was incredible. Both had been so close to death the whole series, and they open up about that to each other, explaining the burdian they each have. Peg even begins to try to justify what she’s done because of her burden, before Lou perfectly cuts her off with one line: “Peg, people are dead”.

Also, now that all the Gerhardts are dead (not counting Charlie, who I believe is still in jail), Milligan can take credit for overthrowing them. There’s a great scene where he walks around the Gerhardt house, which is empty except for a house maid. Back in Kansas, he’s promoted for his great work, which ends up being a mundane desk job (true Coen irony).

Betsy recovers from the last episode. Grandite, she still has cancer, but she’s no longer as weak. Plus it’s nice to know she’s not going to die sleeping next to her daughter. Fargo can be a dark show, but it’s not that dark. And for those who like to look for easter eggs to other Coen Brothers movies, Betsy’s dream about the future (which was a great way of tying the gap between the two seasons and filling us in) was a clever nod to Raising Arizona.

Actually, not killing off Betsy was an unexpected move, and a very good one at that. I was dreading the moment where we’d have to say goodbye to her, but after seeing so much chaos go down for the last couple episodes, it came as a relief to see her make it to the end. Hank also makes it out alive too, so there’s a mostly happy ending. Like the movie and first season, it ends on a quiet note, with Betsy, Lou, and Hank all sitting around the living room catching up with each other. I love quiet scenes like this, especially after all the action. It also lets us know what all those symbols and drawings in Hank’s house where. “I was trying to create a new language, based off pictures”’ he says. He hated seeing miscommunication, so he was trying to come with a clearer way for people to communicate with each other. Fitting, since most of the problems in this season where caused by miscommunication.

As for the other loose ends, Hanzee gets away, but with severe facial burning (Peg and Ed splashed him with boiling water last episode). He gets a new name and social security card, with the name Moses Tripoli, the same as the mob boss from the first season. So are they implying that the Native American Hanzee got facial reconstruction surgery to look like an Italian Moses Tripoli so he could run his own mob? Maybe? After all, he does run to the aid of two little boys, one of whom is deaf, clearly implying that they could be Tripoli’s hitmen Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench. I don’t know. It seems a bit too far fetched to me, but they leave it ambiguous enough for me not to call bushlips on it.

That’s about Palindrome’s only flaw. I would’ve liked to see one last scene with Karl, but other than that they stick the landing. It was a great ending to an amazing season, one that certainly earns every award it gets (which hopefully is a lot). FX has renewed it for a third season, which Noah Hawley announced would be released in 2017. I can’t imagine him topping this one, I also said that about the first season. Either way, I no longer have any doubts about his storytelling abilities. If only 2017 didn’t seem so far away.

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