Fargo Season 4 Episode 2 Review: The Land of Taking and Killing

After a classic Fargo mishap, the Fadda Family black sheep appears to ready to launch the season into chaos.

Jessie Buckley as Oraetta Mayflower
Photo: FX

This Fargo review contains spoilers.

Fargo Season 4 Episode 2

They say chaos is a ladder, but too many people may be trying to climb the rungs in “The Land of Taking and Killing.” Donatello Fadda’s death is a tragedy for Josto and his family, but it’s also an opening, not only for Loy Cannon and his men, but for family black sheep Gaetano, Josto’s brother. Like a tiger plucked from the wild and dropped into Kansas City, Gaetano is sniffing out weakness, looking to strike and stake his claim. His arrival could cause the distraction that Loy needs, or escalate tensions into an all-out war.

With his bulging eyes and visibly simmering rage, Salvatore Esposito is a magnetic presence whenever he’s on screen and exactly the right kind of wild card to shake things up. Gaetano claims that he killed on behalf of Benito Mussolini until the war turned, then helped take the dictator down. His initial introduction paints him as a scary, intimidating figure, and that’s only confirmed when he decides to take matters at the slaughterhouse into his own hands. Gaetano doesn’t do anything particularly violent, except for a cheap shot on Cannon Limited suck-up Leon, but he causes everyone barring Doctor Senator to be extremely on-edge. Typically, these sort of face-offs on Fargo would have a cheeky quality to them, but here only tension can be found, and it’s all thanks to Gaetano.

The slaughterhouse is a point of contention because Loy decides to claim it as his own during all of the “rumpus,” as Josto and the rest of the Fadda Family try to get their house in order. Cleverly, they claim at his last meeting with Donatello, the old man granted Loy the property, despite that he did the opposite when Loy asked. Josto should be dealing with this ordeal himself, but he’s too concerned with trying to get revenge on Dr. Harvard, the physician that turned his father and his men away at the hospital. Juoto orders a hit on Dr. Harvard, but the attack is botched, and a wealthy socialite is killed instead. This puts Detective Odis Weff (Jack Huston) on the case, but lucky for Josto, Weff is already under the Fadda Family’s thumb. Huston is playing Weff with some very obvious OCD ticks, something that feels a little too self-consciously Coen-esque.

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We also see that Josto’s power goes beyond the police. It appears that Josto is in an arranged marriage situation with the daughter of a city alderman. The exchange is that Josto is able to “pump out some babies” and have an in with local politicians, while the alderman gets Italian-American votes in the upcoming mayor race. It’s a smart play, but Josto needs to keep his eye on his brother and the Cannon gang to avoid getting lost in the chaos.

Speaking of chaos, some chaos comes right to the Smutny door when Dibrell’s sister Zelmare Roulette (Karen Aldridge) and her lover Swanee Capp (Kelsey Asbille) breakout out of prison and drop in on the family. Zelmae and Swanee feel like the most classic Fargo characters, with their outlaw energy, deceitfully cheerful demeanors, and witticisms. Zelmare claims that she escaped from prison after hearing about the debt that Dibrell owes Cannon Limited, but they may have another agenda.

Somehow, they’re not the most deranged figures to end up on the Smutny porch. Oraetta Mayflower drops in on an unsuspecting Ethelrida right after a bad day at work. Attempting to kill another man in the same fashion that she offed Donatello, Mayflower is caught in the act. She is promptly fired, but like a true sociopath, she goes on the defensive and is able to smooth talk her way into getting two months’ severance and glowing letter of recommendation. She shows up on the Smutny porch offering Ethelrida a cleaning job and saying that she plans to make the girl her “special project,” which is an ominous thing to hear coming from this wolf in sheep’s clothing. Mayflower goes home and bakes Ethelrida a pie, which would be a nice gesture if not for the Ipecac she dumps into the mix. It’s unclear why she’s trying to get Ethelrida sick; perhaps she just feels threatened by another “plucky” Sagittarius.

The episode ends with Mayflower leaving the pie on the Smutny porch. Shortly after she departs, a group of police officers arrive, ready to kick down their door. It’s likely that they’re looking for Zelame and Swanee, but perhaps it has something to do with Cannon, or potentially even Mayflower herself. There’s a lot of chaos stirring on this new season Fargo, and things are only bound to get worse.


3.5 out of 5