In the season 2 finale of Fargo, we finally get to see who makes it out of the whole fiasco alive. Ed and Peggy make a run for it and Hanzee follows in hot pursuit, but do they have another showdown? And does Lou catch up to them after his close encounter of the UFO kind?
Just as a reminder to us all, the first few seconds of this season finale of Fargo feature close-ups of several characters who didn’t make it to the end alive and in good health — Otto, Rye, Dodd, Simone, Floyd and Bear.
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But one very important character is still around, though not in particularly good health, and that’s Betsy, who apparently just had a bad reaction to the pills she’s been taking to fight cancer. So, thankfully, Lou Solverson isn’t coming home to a dead wife after dealing with the Fargo situation.
After she hears that there’s been no word from Lou or Hank, Betsy falls back asleep with Molly at her side. She dreams of a “magical future” in which there are wondrous new devices, big box stores and her family, happy and whole, though without her in the lovely picture she paints. She sees Molly graduating and Lou sitting down with children and grandchildren.
But she also sees that this could be threatened by chaos — specifically in the form of Hanzee, though I’m unsure if she actually sees him or if his image flashing is just for our benefit. She knows that the happy future she sees may not come to pass after all.
Speaking of chaos, elsewhere, Ed and Peggy run from Hanzee, with Lou closely following the betrayer of the Gerhardt clan. In the pursuit, a civilian is killed and Ed is shot by Hanzee, though he and Peggy still manage to escape him and make their way to a convenience store. Peggy tells the cashier to run, before she and Ed hide in the meat locker in the back of the store.
Unfortunately, that bullet wound Ed suffered means he’s leaving a trail of blood behind, which both Hanzee and Lou are able to follow. Eventually, Ben meets up with Lou, and they continue the search together. But who makes it to the Blumquists first?
“I Don’t Think We’re Gonna Make It”
In the freezer, Peggy and Ed lock themselves in by sticking a knife or something in the door lock or handle so no one can get in from the outside. Peggy then checks her husband’s wound, and it looks bad. Though she tries to reassure him, Ed isn’t hearing it. And, in fact, when he tells her he’s not sure if they’re going to make it, he doesn’t just mean he doesn’t think they’ll make it out of this alive — he doesn’t think the two of them, as a couple, are going to make it in the end.
Peggy tries to argue that this will all make them stronger, but Ed is resigned. “I’ve been nothing but trouble to you,” Peggy admits to her husband, and right on cue, someone starts trying to open the door. And before long, the fan connecting the room to the building outside is suddenly filtering through smoke, and Peggy is convinced someone is trying to smoke them out.
Peggy starts rambling about how all of this is just like that movie she had watched that morning, with the French couple and the Nazi villain. And as she talks about how they were rescued and the two of them will be too, Ed slowly slips away. When Peggy realizes this, she leaves his body to grab the knife out of the door and face whoever is on the other side.
But it’s not Hanzee on the other side, like Peggy is so sure it was. It’s actually Lou and Ben, and when Peggy explains to Lou that they were being smoked out by Hanzee, Ben goes to check on Ed and confirms that he’s dead. Lou holds onto Peggy and explains that Hanzee was never there, that there was never any smoke, despite Peggy’s repeated cries that the whole thing was “just like in the movie.” If Peggy hadn’t lost it completely before, it appears she has now.
Back at the Gerhardt home, Mike shows up with the remaining Kitchen brother to find only the cook still in residence. He spares her life, but when Ricky shows up and starts rummaging through the valuables, knowing the others are dead, Mike isn’t so merciful towards him.
Mike explains that he’s Ricky’s “king” now, and when the other man says that in America we “don’t do kings,” Milligan replies, “Oh, we do, we just call them something else.” He then proceeds to share his philosophy on the first day of a king’s reign — that the new sovereign should start his rule with one act of kindness and one of cruelty, to show that he’s capable of either. Guess who’s the recipient of the act of cruelty?
Since Wilma got the act of kindness — namely, her life, a car and some money — Ricky gets the act of cruelty, in the form of a bullet, and his final moments are spent drowning in his own blood. If nothing else, Mike sticks to his philosophies.
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So what did Mike get as a reward for his service? Well, certainly not the privilege of hand-picking men to handle the new Fargo operation, unfortunately. Instead, his — boss? supervisor? — Hamish leads him to his brand new, tiny office, a nondescript room in a nondescript building in the city. Is this his new kingdom?
Hamish tells him he’ll be working closely with accounting, which is not exactly what Mike thought he’d be doing at the end of all that hard work. The other man tells him to change his clothes, cut his hair and put in extra hours to impress management, which basically sounds like the typical corporate environment and also a nightmare.
But Mike seems to accept his new lot in life because the last we see of him, he’s sitting at his new desk in his new chair in his new office. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
“You Wouldn’t Understand”
Back up North, Ben and Lou commiserate about not even knowing how to report on everything they’ve been through, before Lou lets the other officer know he’s taking Peggy back to Minnesota. It seems that Hanzee is on the run and Hank is in the ICU, so there’s no use sitting around doing anything else.
In the car, Peggy and Lou talk, and Peggy wonders whether she can serve her time in California. Lou is clearly unimpressed with her and shares a store with her about a man who he witnessed saving his whole family and finally himself, against all odds, at the end of the war. Peggy asks what he’s getting at, and Lou explains that it’s a man’s privilege to protect his family, no matter what, and that’s exactly what Ed did.
Peggy starts going on about wanting to “be someone,” to make her own choices, and why did that guy ever have to walk out into the road in the first place? When Lou snarls that the man was a victim, Peggy claims she was too — of a society that tells women they can have it all then calls them faulty when they can’t manage it. “People are dead, Peggy,” Lou replies, ending the conversation.
So what happened to Hanzee, anyway? The last time we see him, he’s watching two deaf children play ball in a park, and he’s approached by a man who offers him a new social security card and a few other essentials in a wallet to start a new life. Hanzee will be no more, and Moses Tripoli, at least after he gets in touch with a “face man,” will take his place.
The man asks Hanzee whether he’ll join a new empire, and Hanzee states that he might start one of his own. The other man then asks if he’s looking to get revenge on Kansas City, and Hanzee says it’s all about either killing or getting killed, so I think it’s safe to say he’s not going to totally let that whole situation go.
Hanzee’s last act in this season of Fargo is to go after some bullies who are trying to take the bat from and mess with the deaf children he was watching. We witness him walk onto the field and the kids’ eyes widen, and that’s it. Best to leave a little mystery, eh?
“And All the Ships at Sea”
Before Lou makes it back to Minnesota, Betsy and Noreen have a conversation about the meaning of life or something. Essentially, Betsy believes we are all put on this Earth to do a job, and we all get the time that we get to do it. Betsy seems comfortable with the idea that she might just have less time than other people.
Lou manages to get in touch with Noreen on a pay phone and hears about Betsy’s scare, and is relieved to hear that she’s relatively okay. And before long, he and Hank both are back at the Solverson home, safe and sound.
In a later conversation, Lou, Betsy and Hank all discuss that perhaps it’s best to leave the whole “spacecraft interruption” out of the retelling of the Fargo reports. But Betsy does have a question about something else that’s still unexplained — those strange symbols in her dad’s office that she spotted when she was over feeding his cats.
Hank explains that after his wife died, he got very “low” and took some time off. During that time, he came to the conclusion that all forms of strife, such as war and other conflict, is a result of miscommunication. The symbols were his attempt to create a universal language, made up of pictures that would be recognizable to all people. Since he’s only a little crazy and not totally insane or harmful with this idea, Betsy tells Hank that he’s a good man. Aw.
Finally, we say goodbye to the Solversons, as Lou tucks Molly into bed before he and Betsy settle in themselves. With everything as resolved as they can be, they cuddle close and prepare to sleep. “Goodnight, Mr. Solverson,” Betsy says. “Goodnight, Mrs. Solverson,” Lou replies, “and all the ships at sea.”
(Image courtesy of FX)