Are you happy?
The episode begins with Josto, Gaetano, and the Fadda clan going to war with the Cannon Limited as the gang war escalates. Bodies pile up on both sides, while the corpses themselves are housed in Thurman and Dibrell’s funeral home. Oraetta makes sure to catch a glimpse of Ethelrida, who is sitting outside her home one day, seemingly unaware of what the nurse knows.
However, as the Italians celebrate, their party is broken up by the arrival of the police, Odis included.
As Buel works on Loy’s hair- pointing out that she’s never cut him before- Loy points out that Leon will try to take over to gain power.
Soon enough, the two meet with Leon’s uncle, Lionel ‘Happy’ Halloway, played by Edwin Lee Gibson, and his associates. Loy considers himself the underdog in this war, but Lionel points out that you honor your forefathers and honor their wisdom. Fathers and grandfathers think that Loy is getting a bit full of himself. The only thing worse than living in darkness is stepping into the light.
They’re all in this together, and the cops will bust any Coloreds they can. Lionel doesn’t consider Loy family, but his kids are still part of his line. Loy just needs short term leverage to help puff him up and show that he’s here to stay. He doesn’t need the Italians gone- just that they stay in their place. Lionel has the slaughterhouse boys on his side, though he doesn’t consider himself a big deal.
Buel cuts the shit and tells Lionel to stop fucking around. As far as she’s concerned, Satchel is dead. Now the Italians want to snuff out the rest. After Buel and Loy are presumably killed, they’ll no doubt becoming for Lionel. Soon enough, Lionel promises muscle for two weeks, but Loy has to make things right with Lionel’s cousin. Oh, and Lionel misses the greens that Loy’s mother makes.
As Lionel leaves, Buel and Loy realize they have to end this quickly. If Josto and Gaetano are killed, New York will send more to take their place. Buel just wants justice for her boy, and only then will they make a deal.
Over at the police station, Odis is congratulated on his work, but the captain reminds him to watch his back. He soon gets a phone call from Josto, who wants to deliver a bullet with his name on it. Odis isn’t intimidated. He’s home now. He hangs up when Josto threatens to take his information on Odis to City Hall.
Josto tells Ebal that they need the police on their side, but Ebal informs him that New York wants this wrapped up right now. It’s too noisy. Josto doesn’t see the problem in fighting for his life, but Gaetano reminds him that they’ve killed a lot of people and lost many of their own. This war isn’t good for business. Neither is making things personal. Josto concludes that they need someone weak who thinks they’re strong.
Whether that works itself out, they’ll have to wait and see. That’s the new guy’s problem. As for Odis? Nobody turns their backs on the Fadda and gets away with it.
After briefly catching up with Satchel and Rabbit on the road, we rejoin Ethelrida looking into the mysterious murders all linked back to Nurse Mayflower.
She later talks with her mother about Aunt Zelmare, though Dibrell figures her sister will get out of any mess she gets into. Ethelrida asks her mother if they’re cursed, so Dibrell talks about her grandmother’s time as a slave. A slave ship captain, Theodore Roach, one day had to deal with a storm. Down below, the slaves were on the verge of drowning, but Captain just laughed and laughed.
The captain got close enough for Ethelrida’s great-great grandfather to choke him. Dibrell smells them more than seen them. Ethelrida wants to know if this demon can be cast away. As for what he’s like? Sunshine.
Lemuel pops out and informs the two that he’s here to hold guard for a few days. Dibrell, luckily, knows her way around a shotgun. As Dibrell heads inside, Ethelrida tells Lemuel that she wants to talk with his father. She knows how to get the house back.
Nurse Mayflower strolls up to ask for Ethelrida’s assistance in her apartment, but Ethelrida has nothing to say. Okay, so Mayflower demands her ring back and threatens to call the police. That’s fine, but Ethelrida can inform the police of the evidence that she’s seen. However, Oraetta points out that the devil has a special place in Hell for people who take advantage of charitable actions of others.
In addition, Mayflower rightly points out that few will take Ethelrida’s word over hers. The two don’t come to blows, but before departing, Mayflower promises to see Ethelrida in her dreams.
Josto has a sit down with Leon and Happy, who want to take over from Loy. Josto points out that he doesn’t make promises, just deals. Leon would take over the lower territory, including the slaughterhouse, and Josto will give him a bit of the trucking work, too.
Milvin bursts in to talk with Josto in private. Basically, because Josto is public enemy #1, the wedding is off. Josto prefers to renegotiate their terms, but Milvin is running away from how dangerous the Italians have become.
How does Gaetano respond? Punching Milvin twice in the face. Apparently you can punch a U.S. alderman in the face. As Milvin storms off, the brothers hug.
Loy, meanwhile, learn from Opal about the police raid on the Fadda family. Also, Loy learns that the Italians had some visitors: Leon among them. Also, Happy. Well, that’s unfortunate. Loy recalls the day when Satchel was born, and he couldn’t hear a sound from the Missus. That was a great day. Today, though, isn’t Loy’s best day.
Speaking of, Satchel and Rabbit continue on the road when they’re stopped by a pair in a truck. The pair ask why the boy’s out here all alone, but Satchel pays them no mind. When cornered, Satchel pulls out his gun, telling the men that he won’t be called boy or do what he’s told. He tells the two men what to do, and with that, he tells the two to fuck off.
Over at the police station, Odis relives the moment in which he killed Deafy. Meanwhile, Josto, Gaetano, and Joe Bulo wait at Odis’ home, but the officer is nowhere to be seen. Joe left a nice gift for him, though. Soon enough, Joe leaves while Josto and Gaetano stay and wait for Odis to return.
Gaetano tells Josto the story of how their father sent him away. He’d fallen for a beautiful woman, Adelina, with big knockers…when he was at the ripe age of 11. He followed her home every day and tried to get her to fall for him. They were on the fire escape outside her window one day and while Gaetano was in Heaven, the woman’s father grabbed and choked Gaetano.
Adelina tried to break up the fight, but Gaetano grabbed a piece of broken glass and stabbed the old man in the eye. Therefore, Gaetano was sent away. Soon enough, the war came and the black shirts destroyed everything. Gaetano and his had to hide. Giuseppe was killed and Gaetano was soon all alone. Three weeks, he only ate the bark from trees and wore a dead man’s shoes.
Despite all of this, Josto reminds his brother that they’re here now. The two hug in a very warm moment.
Odis, meanwhile, arrives at his destination and finds his apartment turned upside down and trashed from top to bottom, including his treasured figurine. As for the photo of his wife? He finds burned holes where her eyes would be.
Sensing that he’s being followed, he quickly goes on the run and rushes to his vehicle. However, once he turns on the car, the lights from the opposite vehicle hit him as Josto and Gaetano exit their vehicle.
Just when it seems that the worst has arrived, Odis remembers the song his wife sang to him. This is the last thing he will remember as Gaetano unloads several shots into him.
Okay, this sounds like a simple enough conclusion. Except then Gaetano slips and literally blows his own brains out. Shocked and horrified, Josto drives off.
Well, that was random.
We head back to the mortuary as everyone rests for the night. Oraetta, somehow, manages to sneak her way inside and heads to Ethelrida’s room. She then prepares a hypodermic needle, but is interrupted by the arrival of that haunted, deadly figure.
Ethelrida lets out a horrific scream and she returns to home, where the police area already waiting to present a warrant for her arrest. Why? Because Dr. Harvard woke up. Well, great news indeed, and he’s talked. The police put Oraetta in handcuffs before she can grab her purse.
As the nurse is put into the police cruiser, Ethelrida, Thurman, Lemuel, and Dibrell watch from across the street as Mayflower is taken into custody.
The next day, Ethelrida indeed gets her sit down meeting with Loy Cannon. Loy maintains that the mortuary is his for as long as he lives, which could be another half an hour. Ethelrida recognizes the painting in Loy’s office, though it’s not the original. He saw it in a magazine and had the piece, Summary Execution, copied to make him look like a bad motherfucker.
Ethelrida informs Loy that her parents earned the funeral home and breaks down the math. They stole from him, but all money was returned. As Loy chose not to kill them, perhaps he felt the punishment should be monetary.
Plus, they still have the deed and pay the taxes. Ethelrida maintains that she came on her own to right a wrong. Loy has lost 27 men in this war- 27 who required the service of a mortician. Ethelrida presents the services and fee, as well as a ring. But not just any ring.
This isn’t how it works, according to Loy, but there’s more to this tale. The nurse who lives across from Ethelrida stole the ring, as well as other items that she took from her patients, as well as medicine she gave them to kill her patients. She keeps the items, like a keepsake. Then, Ethelrida started doing some digging to find out who owned the ring, and she landed on Donatello Fadda.
Ethelrida wants all debts forgiven, and in exchange, she’ll help Loy win her way. Loy informs her that if Ethelrida can do that, she can have anything she wants. He even swears it. As Loy looks over the news article and looks close at Donatello’s photo, he recognizes that he is, indeed, holding Donatello’s ring. He looks back to Ethelrida and smiles as the episode comes to a close.
This season started off with the focus on Ethelrida, even having her narrate in the season premiere. One would or could infer that she’d be the central character or one that we would follow the most. Early on, you could get that vibe, even though she was never that integral to the larger conflict between the Cannons and Faddas. She’s been on the outside, looking in.
As the war escalated, Ethelrida began to fade into the background, as this story is much bigger than her. Yet, similar to how police officers get drawn into the larger narrative, so did Ethelrida due to her interactions with Mayflower. The nurse herself isn’t that big of a piece in the grand scheme of things. Hell, up until now, I think only the Faddas were aware of her or paid her any mind.
But because Nurse Mayflower killed Donatello, and Ethelrida soon caught wind of that, both characters who seemed the most unlikely to play a pivotal role in this conflict remained wild cards that could shift this war in either direction. We’ve followed Mayflower as she continued her murders, but that came to a halt with Dr. Harvard’s recovery. That right there should be a sign for the nurse to hit the road, Jack.
However, she’s still here. Not that I’d want her last appearance prior to this episode to be her final one. Between Dr. Harvard’s recovery and learning that Ethelrida had written the anonymous letter, Mayflower has no reason to stick around. Tying up loose ends with Ethelrida should be irrelevant because, as she points out, who would believe Ethelrida? Admittedly, that argument falls apart, given the evidence out in the open.
That’s a gripe I do have to address with Oraetta. They say that the killer always returns to the scene of the crime to revel in what they’ve done. I don’t think that’s what Mayflower is doing here, but keeping all of those newspaper clippings and items just draws unnecessary attention to yourself. More than that, it’s just in her closet which, as we saw, anyone can enter.
At least a character like Dexter Morgan would hide his blood slides out of plain sight. You’d have to tear apart his home to locate his trophies, which only happened after there was enough suspicion on Deb’s part.
So in this regard, Mayflower is pretty sloppy. She’s right that the police would more likely believe her over Ethelrida, but Mayflower has left a literal closet of evidence that would implicate her. It’s baffling that she’d hold onto those items as long as she has, if not to just admire them. Or at the very least, don’t keep Donatello’s ring, given that he was the head of a crime family.
That’s what ultimately sets Ethelrida on the path to meet with Loy. I still wonder why she didn’t notice she left her notebook, unless she did it on purpose so Mayflower would come after her. That might be giving her too much credit. Ethelrida is smart, but I maintain she wouldn’t make a mistake like leaving her notebook in Mayflower’s closet.
Nonetheless, the conversation between her and Loy was great. Loy has exhausted many options and now Happy has readily turned on him. He’s brought in the Fargo crime syndicate, but this didn’t deter Josto and Gaetano from escalating right back. Not that he’s at wit’s end, but he could use a Hail Mary, and now he has that in the form of Ethelrida and Donatello’s ring.
Now, I don’t think Ethelrida is going to end up with everything she wants, clearing her family’s debts and such, because in the world of Fargo, it’s never that easy. Plus, the morally good characters never always get what they want. So while I applaud Ethelrida’s power move, I have a feeling in the back of my mind that this won’t be an outright win for her. It wouldn’t be Fargo without some sort of tragedy.
Still, liked seeing her make such a bold move, and she’s not doing it for herself. Neither Thurman nor Dibrell were able to stand up to Loy- though Thurman returning Loy’s own stolen money didn’t help- but Ethelrida has the advantage of having Donatello’s ring. More than that, we’ve seen how much people underestimate her intellect, and Loy is no exception.
Not that he demeans her in the way that Mayflower does, but it’s unexpected that a kid like Ethelrida would be as knowledgeable as she is.
Sticking with Loy, though, the man is aware that he’s on borrowed time after taking so many hits. He’s still putting up a fight, but he’s lost many men and is on the verge of having Leon and Happy try to take his power from him. His scene where he recounted Satchel’s birth was another moment for Chris Rock to shine and example of the gravitas he brings to Loy, and I hope we get another moment like this in the finale.
I do wonder what he’ll do with the knowledge of Donatello’s ring. It was established earlier in the season that the Faddas were looking for it. Now that Loy has the ring, and presumably Ethelrida will tell him that Mayflower killed Donatello, he has a bit of leverage in ending this war with the Italians.
By the way, I sort of wish that Happy had been introduced earlier in the season, or appeared after Doctor Senator’s death. Him showing up at the 11th hour presents a new dilemma for Loy now that he and Leon had a sit-down with Josto. Not sure what it will lead to, if not his death, but we shall see. Though Leon not being as strong as Loy may give the Faddas the sort of pushover that they want.
Of course, Josto will have to navigate that road without his brother at his side. Fargo is no stranger to random deaths like this. Gaetano slipping and blowing out his brains was shocking and did subvert my expectations, but at the same time…really? That’s how he went out?
True, you could say his time arrived when he and Josto got really closer than ever. Plus, he shared up upbringing. More often than not, when a character gets a lot of prominence, they might be marked for death. That’s usually for minor characters or ones who haven’t had much screen time, but Gaetano isn’t one of those characters. He’s been an integral part of this season.
So I’m not against Hawley killing off Gaetano, but just the execution of it all.
Perhaps it was just immediate karma for Gaetano killing off Odis, who also should’ve hit the road when he had the chance. Not only did he have the Italians on him, but he still had to live with the guilt of killing Deafy. He was a marked man no matter what, and to his credit, he had other officers escort him home…but that’s it. No security or extra men.
Then again, had he done that, he’d have to explain why the Italians were gunning for him, at which point he’d probably have to reveal that he’d been working for them all this time, not to mention also taking orders from Loy. Like Deafy, no way he’d walk out of this season alive. After what he’d done, he would have to face the consequences, even if that meant being killed by Gaetano.
He was on the right path with devoting himself back to the force, but his sins caught up with him.
Just as the ghost of Theodore Roach continues to catch up with the Smutnys. Whether this demon has it out for the entire family or just anyone who threatens them, I don’t know, but it appears that people beyond this family can sense its presence. After all, Mayflower could see it, so it can’t just be limited to family members. It was enough to spook Mayflower’s ass back to her home…and right into police custody.
Again, these strange occurrences in the world of the Fargo series aren’t new, and I do like that the seeds of this have been planted throughout. I sort of wish that Ethelrida had asked Dibrell about this earlier, rather than Dibrell discuss this in the penultimate episode, but it was a nice discussion nonetheless and gave viewers an opportunity to learn more about the Smutny family history.
The bodies are continuing to pile up as the war between the Cannons and Faddas escalates with seemingly no end in sight. However, Ethelrida has a plan not just to end the war, but get her family in the clear. Will this lead to a peaceful resolution? Probably not. Will Satchel ever make his way back to his family? A lot to look forward to as we look forward to the season finale next week.
See you then.