A Look at Fargo- Season 2, Episode 8: “Loplop”

Time to see what Ed and Peggy were up to while Karl showed Betsy why he’s known as the Breakfast King of Loyola.

Loplop- Peggy talks with Albert, played by Mackenzie Gray

The episode begins back in the Blomquist basement.  Ed rushes in and calls out to Peggy, who is sitting in the basement and visualizing a man, Albert, played by Mackenzie Gray, who she talks to about understanding the difference between thinking and being.  Peggy doesn’t understand.  To be is simply to exist, Albert, before telling her to try simply being.  Peggy wonders how sitting is gonna help her be the best person she can be.

Ah, so she wants an explanation.  The human mind seeks and finds nothing but contradiction and nonsense, Albert says.  Peggy knows that she’s not living up to her full potential.  Albert tells her to either think or be, but she can’t do both.  So she should just be that person, not think about it.

Loplop- Ed punches Dodd

Ed soon joins Peggy, who reveals that she was talking to her friend, who turns out to be Dodd.  Ed recognizes the man as a Gerhardt and punches him across the face.  Ed tells Peggy that the cops are coming, so they need to pack up and get out.  Peggy figures Dodd for the leader, so he’ll be coming with them.  Ed fits Dodd in the trunk of the car as he and Peggy get in and drive off.

Loplop- Hank and Lou arrive later at the Blomquist household

Not too long after the two leave, Lou and Hank arrive and enter the household.  They search the premises and find some bodies downstairs in the basement.  No sign of Ed or Peggy, though.  Lou decides to call a medic.  He’ll put out an APB for the Gerhardts.  Hank asks Ed to not tell Betsy that he’s indisposed.  However, as Lou leaves, Hanzee emerges from the darkness.

Loplop- Hanzee investigates the Blomquist household

He also checks the Blomquist basement but with a bit more meticulous searching.  He finds a note next to the phone, followed by a letter about a booking at the Southnik Hotel.

Loplop- Ed and Peggy on the road

On the road, Peggy tells Ed that they’ve been going about things all wrong.  It’s like waiting for a teacher to call on you to go to the washroom- you just go.  Ed is more concerned with avoiding detection.  Peggy is just glad that they’re not trapped anymore, but they still left their family home.  Plus, they still have to figure out how to deal with the cops.  As for now, Ed and Peggy are actualized.  Actualized, I tell ya!

Loplop- Peggy tases Dodd again

So Ed and Peggy soon arrive at Uncle Grady’s cabin, which they’ve never been to since Uncle Grady apparently smells like Athlete’s Foot.  Ed ops the trunk, just as Dodd kicks him away, but Peggy strikes back with the cattle prod.

Loplop- Ed and Peggy talk about what to do with Dodd

Inside, Ed ties Dodd down and goes through his wallet.  Dodd, despite his situation, makes threats to tear Peggy apart, but Ed is not concerned right now.  Ed spotted a convenience store near the road to make a call instead of using the one in the cabin so it can’t be traced.  He wants the two of them to be left alone if they turn over Dodd.

Loplop- Ed makes his first call

While Hanzee heads towards Sioux Falls, we then cut to the very gas station we previously saw as Ed makes a call.  He explains that he has Dodd, but then closes the phone booth when a police cruiser pulls up.  Not understanding what’s meant by a message, Ed hangs up.  He exits the phone booth, gets in the cruiser, and drives off.

Loplop- Peggy stabs Dodd

Peggy cooks while Dodd remains plain rude and tries to wriggle free.  He tries the sympathy card with his four daughters, but then promises to show Peggy the back of his hand.  Sure, that’s how it should go, Dodd.  Peggy would prefer that Dodd remain civil, but when that doesn’t work, she goddamn stabs him once!  And then again!  She then offers Dodd some beans, but when he just responds with no, Peggy shows him the knife, forcing him to correct it to ‘No, thank you.’

Peggy’s trying to stay positive through this whole mess.  Positive Peggy is what they call her, but this thing has been hard on Ed since he’s more delicate.  And Peggy figures that this is all her fault.  After all, she’s the one who hit Rye, and she’s very sorry about that, but the guy was stepping out into the road and didn’t look where he was going.  All Ed did was clean up the mess.  Now they’re both hoping that they can smooth this all over and their lives can go back to normal.

Loplop- Peggy feeds Dodd some beans

As Peggy feeds Dodd beans, she realizes then that Dodd said he didn’t want any.  After everything that’s happened, Peggy is still trying to actualize, and that’s no easy feat.  She doesn’t want to keep repeating past mistakes.

Loplop- Ed advises Peggy to stop stabbing Dodd

Ed soon enters and notices that Dodd is looking a bit bloodier than before, but Peggy figures it’s water under the bridge.  Peggy says that she just had to teach this man some manners.  Dodd begs for Ed to keep Peggy away from him.  Ed tells Peggy they won’t want him back.  He ended up having to leave a message with a flunky he’ll call back later.  No worry.  Peggy assures Ed that they’ll be fine, but Ed does at least need Peggy to stop stabbing Dodd.  Sounds like a fair compromise.

Loplop- Hanzee disrespected in a bar while drinking Tequila

Elsewhere, Hanzee arrives at a less than friendly looking bar and gets a less than appealing glass of water that the bartender spit in, so he asks for tequila instead, and wants it poured in front of him.  The bartender does indeed do just that.  He asks about a white couple, but the bartender talks about Indians having guns in their country.  The bartender isn’t sure he want to serve to a man who doesn’t want to be an American, never mind that Hanzee did three tours in Vietnam, has a Purple Heart, and a Bronze Star.

Loplop- Hanzee shoots two men outside the bar

He finishes his drink, leaves his cash, and heads off, but men from the bar taunt him.  Hanzee turns and faces the men, pulls out his gun and shoots two of the men in their legs.  The third runs off.  He then reenters the bar to kill the bartender.

Loplop- Hanzee uses an assault rifle to kill two cops

As Hanzee calmly exits, a police cruiser pulls up, but Hanzee is ready with an assault rifle that he uses to blow away the two officers.

Loplop- Ed helps Dodd take a leak

That evening, back at the cabin, Dodd needs the john, but Ed doesn’t want to risk untying him.  For clarification’s sake, Ed asks if Dodd has to go number one or two.  It’s one, and Dodd won’t piss his pants like some kind of half-wit.  He has rights, according to the Geneva Convention.  Ed goes to undo Dodd’s pants and holds a tea kettle in front of Dodd, who doesn’t want Peggy to look at him.  Ed prepares to make the call.

Loplop- Constance receives an unexpected visit from Hanzee

We then cut to Constance, who gets an unexpected visit from Hanzee.

Loplop- Ed buys some items from the convenience store

Ed returns to the convenience store to make another phone call.  Again, the phone rings and rings, but no response.  He picks up a few things in the store and makes small talk with the owner.  He saw Ed earlier on the phone, and Ed says that he’s out on holiday, despite this being the wrong time for such a holiday.  It’s just Ed and the moose, apparently.  The owner throws in a deck of cards on the house for him and the missus.  Ed then learns that the store opens around seven in the morning.

Loplop- Peggy calls Constance

Peggy, meanwhile, hits the television over and over and messes with the ears in order to get it to turn on.  Those gosh-darned old televisions, you know.  Then, against her best judgment, she picks up the phone and actually makes a call to the Southnik Hotel in Sioux Falls to speak with a Constance Heck.

Loplop- Constance speaks to Peggy, but with Hanzee at her side

Constance does indeed answer, with Hanzee at her side.  Peggy explains that she’s in trouble, but doesn’t go into detail on her situation.  Constance tells Peggy to come while there’s still time.  Peggy had a breakthrough, though: she can see things a whole lot more clear now and maybe she doesn’t need it as much anymore.  So she just wanted to call and say thanks.

Then Constance asks for Peggy’s location so the two can meet for a drink and talk visions, but Peggy decides against that since they’re in some trouble in the woods.  It hasn’t been easy for the two, but they’re coming together.  Constance tells Peggy that she’s got some workbooks to send with some real eye opening stuff, but Peggy isn’t sure how long she’ll be in this cabin.  She tells Contance to hold onto the material, which should be easy since Peggy is close.  Constance can just hop in the car and pay a visit.

But then Peggy doesn’t even know exactly where she is.  She’ll just call Constance as soon as this ordeal ends.  Hanzee hangs up the phone.  Well, gotta give Constance credit.  She did try.

Loplop- Dodd sleeps with a pillow case over his head

Later that night, Peggy can’t sleep due to Dodd looking at her and Ed.  Dodd isn’t tired enough to sleep, so Dodd sticks the pillowcase over his head.

Loplop- Peggy so into Desperate Journey that she doesn't notice Dodd slipped out of his ropes

The next morning, Ed is ready to make one more call and he won’t take no for an answer.  Peggy watches the film Desperate Journey and is so entranced by this film that she doesn’t even notice that Dodd has slipped out of his ropes.

Loplop- Ed makes one last call

Ed tries to tell the man on the other side of the phone that he has Dodd Gerhart. He reads an article about a Gang War and a certain Mike Milligan.  And wouldn’t you know it? The story actually matches the headline.  He makes another call to the Pearl Hotel to speak with Milligan, who is apparently with a party of fellas.  The cover story is that Milligan left his wallet in Ed’s store with $100 inside.

Loplop- Ed makes a deal with Mike Milligan

We then cut back to the ending of “Did You Do This? No, You Did It!” as Mike Milligan receives an unexpected phone call from Ed Blomquist.  Today is Mike’s lucky day, as Ed has Dodd in the trunk of his car.  It’s been a hell of a day for Mike.  In exchange, Ed needs the entire Gerhardt family to stop coming after him.  The two will meet in Sioux Falls tomorrow at 8 am at the Motor Motel.  And no funny business, because Ed has killed before and isn’t afraid to do it again.  Mike is familiar with the Butcher of Luverne, and brother, he likes your style.

Loplop- Hanzee asks the store owner about Ed and Peggy

As Ed leaves, he steps over a paper with a newspaper, which includes an article about the word out for a Native.  Not long after Ed leaves, Hanzee pulls up to the convenience store.  He tells the owner that he’s looking for a heavyset redhead.  The owner points him to a bar not too far from the road.  So Hanzee says that he’s looking for a heavyset man.

The owner tells Hanzee that this is a family store that gets tourists.  The man Hanzee wants is driving a blue Lincoln.  The owner tells Hanzee to leave if he’s not going to buy anything, which indicates that the man knows who Hanzee wants.  All he knows that a fella came in two or three times to use the phone.  He talked of going crazy at the lake, but he wasn’t agitated.  Satisfied, Hanzee leaves.

After Hanzee leaves, the man picks up the paper and, after recognizing Hanzee’s face, makes a call.

Loplop- Dodd hangs Ed

As Ed returns to the cabin, he’s stunned to find it in disarray.  As he heads in, Dodd slips a noose around his neck and hangs Ed high.  He tells Ed that he has women problems, what with their lack of rational thinking and mood swings.  He says that men have the potential for greatness.  Look at your kings of old- all men made of muscle and steel.  But women, especially in Bible movies, not so much.  Dodd’s honest belief is that Satan is a woman.

Loplop- Dodd notices Peggy coming for him

Not the dumbest doorknob, Dodd does notice Peggy crawl towards him, but he’s not fast enough to stop her from planting a knife so damn deep in his foot that the handle comes off.  When Dodd eventually pulls his foot off of the knife, Peggy knocks him out.  She then cuts Ed down.

Loplop- Hanzee corners Ed and Peggy

Hanzee, meanwhile, drives through the woods and passes cabin after cabin until he finds one with a blue Lincoln parked outside.  He enters just as Ed and Peggy are securing Dodd, who can’t feel his legs.  He tells Peggy that he’s thinking of getting a haircut, something professional-like.  Shorter, like on the sides and back.  Well, Peggy figures that Dodd has the bone structure.

Loplop- Hanzee shoots Dodd in the head

Dodd goads Hanzee on to shoot, calling a half-breed and a mongrel, so Hanzee does shoot…Dodd, in the goddamn head.  He then asks Peggy again for a haircut.  Peggy sits him down for his trim and is grateful to this man for saving their lives.  Ed asks if there’s anything the two can do to repay Hanzee.  He’s ready for his cut and tired of this life.

Loplop- Lou and Hank corner Ed and Peggy

However, as Peggy gets to work, Ed spots Lou and Hank approaching outside.  Hanzee, also spotting them, opens fire and misses.  He leaves just as Lou and Hank enter the cabin and corner our ever unlucky Blomquists.

You know how this season uses the occasional split-screen?  What if this episode employed that throughout so we could watch this one play out as the same time as the previous one?

Loplop- Phone call split screen

No, I’m not being serious, but it’s interesting to think about, given the timeframe here.  “Loplop” is another great episode.  It doesn’t completely advance the overall storyline, so much as fill in the blanks.  As an audience, we heard from the previous episode what happened with Ed and Peggy, Dodd, and Hanzee as the stage is slowly set for a confrontation in Sioux Falls.  However, as we didn’t see those events take place, “Loplop” serves to show us what occurred around the same time that the police are trying to get the Gerhardts to cooperate.

It doesn’t try to force the fact that this episode takes place at the same time as the previous one, which I like.  We don’t need to cut back to scenes like Hank saying he should have checked on Peggy.  The episode is allowed to stand on its own and build on what was revealed to us previously.  And we got a hell of a lot from just these four characters.  This may be the most light-hearted episode of the season far because of the absurdity of it all, but it didn’t feel unnecessary or out of character.

Loplop- Ed and Peggy cornered

Ed and Peggy are one unlucky couple.  By hitting Rye, they kicked off a chain of events that’s led them to go on the run.  As they’ve moved, they try to be more careful, but whether through fate, lack of solid planning, or a failure to communicate, their situations go from bad to worse.

Loplop- Ed meets up with Peggy at home

And it’s not like they want this to happen.  Ed and Peggy, but more so Peggy, want a serious change of pace in their lives.  They’re trying to actualize and do instead of think.  It’s like shooting first and asking questions later.  Rather than waiver on indecision, they act on impulse, as if shedding the skin of the mild-mannered, unassuming couple.

What I appreciate is that this doesn’t come out of nowhere, like them hitting Rye was a one-time thing and they kept trying to go back to normal.  With their lives now turned upside down and topsy-turvy, Ed and Peggy have more conversations about making a change.  Ed aspired to have a family and run the butcher shop, while Peggy just needed more in her life.

Loplop- Peggy tells Dodd to be civil

She needs to actualize and goddamn, did she do it.  Let’s just talk about Peggy right here for a moment.  Kirsten Dunst has been very great thus far, but from the start when Peggy cooked while leaving Rye in the garage, you got the sense that something was just off with this woman.  This was Dunst’s moment to shine and she delivered.  Through her facial expressions and flashes of anger, coupled with her calm, conversational tone, Dunst shows how warped Peggy is right now.

Loplop- Peggy about to stab Dodd again

I mean, she stabbed Dodd!  Twice!  With no kind of warning and she tried to still carry on this casual conversation while warning him to be civil.  Yes, Dodd is an ass and had it coming, but this woman is a psycho who just happens to make some presumably killer beans.  It’s the slightest change in Peggy’s facial expressions that show when a switch has been turned off in her mind.  She doesn’t even give stabbing Dodd so much as a thought- she just does it on impulse.

Loplop- Peggy needs a knife

She starts off by having an imaginary conversation, which is already enough of a sign to show that Peggy is acting and thinking like a sociopath.  The whole season has been about her gaining more confidence and being the best her that she can be.  It’s the whole reason Constance wants her to attend this Lifesprings seminar.  Well, Constance probably wanted a little something else from Peggy, but that’s neither here nor there.  But now, Peggy is at that point where she can be assertive and have some excitement in her life.

With each knife thrust into Dodd’s body, it’s like Peggy became more alive.  She’s actualizing, you know?  She’s thinking in the now, which means that she isn’t thinking long term right now.  Peggy is tired of her dull life and won’t have anyone disrespecting what she feels she deserves, but she doesn’t consider the consequences that would come with injuring Dodd, whether what that means for his life or her own and Ed’s.

And it’s that momentary distraction when she’s engrossed by the film that her guard drops after being so careful.  But even when Dodd gets the upper hand, Peggy still managed to regain the advantage when she stabbed him yet again.  Peggy is thinking outside the box, despite the fact that she and Ed are literally boxed in at this cabin.

They don’t have a lot of wiggle room because they’re not too careful about avoiding detection or drawing attention.  Both lack subtlety in their approach because, let’s face it, they’re not that clever.

Loplop- Ed returns to find that Peggy stabbed Dodd

Ed is trying to be a bit more careful.  With Dodd in possession, he’s taking steps to make sure he and Peggy are no longer targets, but his repeated appearances at the convenience store, Peggy making a phone call on the cabin phone, and even still using that vehicle draw attention to them.

Loplop- Ed realizes that Peggy stabbed Dodd

And by the way, I love the look that Ed gives Peggy when he returns and realizes that she stabbed Dodd.  As if Ed is slowly realizing that his wife is a loose cannon.

Side-note, I assume that when Ed fled from Hank and Lou, he went right back home to pick up Peggy.  If I had any confusion about the time frame, it’s how he managed to get home on foot both with Hanzee on his tail and still beat Hank and Lou in their cruiser.  He just seemed to get back there much faster than he probably should have, given the circumstances.

Loplop- Ed accepts the title of Butcher of Luverne

But back to the episode at hand, Ed may not be as into actualizing as Peggy, but he’s embracing the wilder side of things when he wear the title of the Butcher of Luverne with pride, as if he’d coined the term himself.  Ed has proven that, when in a desperate situation, he’ll fight to keep himself alive.

And while I think Peggy is a tad more assertive, Ed is willing to do dangerous things in a tight spot.  This, I feel, makes them both unpredictable because it feels like they come up with solutions on the fly.  Like an uncontrollable brushfire, you can’t predict what they’ll do next, so it makes me wonder whether this mentality will carry them through season’s end.

Loplop- Hanzee finds a coat in the basement

Hanzee is also a careful character and a damn good detective on top of that.  He doesn’t skip or miss key details that others would miss, such as the note on the refrigerator that led him to Constance.  He’s an outsider to the Gerhardt family and world around him, but he takes his job seriously despite never really having a sense of belonging.

Loplop- Hanzee pays for his drink, despite the insults

He endures insults and taunts not just against his own heritage, but also having his war service disgraced, as he’s only defined by his skin color.  Kind of like Malvo and even Anton Chigur, Hanzee can convey so much with little words.  Hell, his lack of words shows how much patience he has when men try to get under his skin and are met with bullets.  It just takes a push to move someone over the edge.  I wouldn’t go as far as calling Hanzee a psychopath because unlike Peggy, he remains in control of his situations and keeps himself in check.

Loplop- Hanzee is tired of this life

So when he finally kills Dodd and says that he’s tired of this life, he really meant it.  He’s tired of being a disrespected gun for hire.  Even though people like Bear respected him, Hanzee is now set to carve out his own path.

Loplop- Dodd believes that Satan is a woman

Dodd just never learned.  You’d think that after being tased, he would be more careful around people, especially someone like Peggy, but we’ve seen how he treats Simone, so not like his view of women would change.  Much of the dark humor came just from his interactions with Ed and Peggy.  It’s interesting that he chose to keep her alive after escaping, but perhaps he just wanted to screw with Ed.

Loplop- Dodd can't believe that Peggy just stabbed him

Jeffrey Donovan has been great in this role.  He plays up the asshole part very well.  Even when bound, Dodd still acts like he has the upper hand.  That said, I absolutely loved the look of shock on his face after Peggy stabbed him twice, as if his face just screamed ‘Did you just stab me?’

So “Loplop” was not a detour, but a way to fill in the gaps from “Did You Do This, No, You Did It!” and show us how Ed and Peggy ended up where they are with Dodd.  It put them right back in Hank and Lou’s crosshairs by episode’s end, but with Hanzee now back out there, the other Gerhardts still in play, and Mike Milligan headed to Sioux City to collect Dodd, not to mention just two episodes left, the pieces are slowly coming together as head towards the end of the season.

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