This Fargo review contains spoilers.
Fargo Season 4 Episode 7
Loy Cannon refuses to be pulled down into the dirt, no matter how badly his enemies want to see him there. Though Rabbi Milligan saved Loy’s son last week, the act of compassion has been used as ammo against the Cannon leader. Already suffering from the loss of Doctor Senator, Loy is trying to remain composed, thoughtful, and strong — just like his late friend would advise — while Josto uses the abounding chaos on his side of the war as an opportunity to attempt some 3D chess. As the shortest episode of the season “Lay Away,” surprisingly accomplishes a lot with its runtime, especially on the war front.
However, other areas of the sprawling story are lacking. Ethelrida was introduced as a character that appeared to be in the same lineage as Molly Solverson, Lou Solverson, and Gloria Burgle — the morally sound, savvy center of our story — but the character has been relegated to background action for far too long. Our only glimpse of her this week is another nod at something supernatural happening in the Smutny household, but the intrigue there doesn’t help smooth over this character’s increasing distance from the main narrative. Likewise for Oraetta Mayflower; as fun as it is to watch Mayflower do her prim and proper psycho routine and off Dr. Harvard, it just feels so far removed from the rest of the show. Josto will likely be thrilled that the smug doctor is gone, but the war narrative has progressed along so far that I’ve lost interest in these loose threads from episode two.
Luckily the gang war is producing sparks. More disorder in the ranks causes Josto to make some bold, brash decisions on the fly. After finding Antoon’s body, Josto orders that Calamita find his latest disloyal soldier, Rabbi, and bring Zero home, killing anyone that he has to. Calamita first tries to show force at the Cannon home, but Buel channels a mother lion and protects her den. It’s a great little scene, but mostly highlights how wasted the character has been while treated like an afterthought. Calamita moves on to hunting down Rabbi and is able to locate a potential location on an old ad the Irishman kept in a bible.
However, Calamita’s tasks may just be mere busy work. Josto visits Loy on his turf and throws the seedy Calamita under the bus while doing some tasteless, but possibly ingenious, bluffing. Faking a contrite tone, Josto tells Loy that Stachel was killed by Calamita. Rabbi tried protecting the boy, but he was killed too. Then in an even more devious move, Josto suggests that Loy kill Gaetano as revenge, and offers to throw some territory in on top. Not only does this rid Josto of his power jockeying brother, but it almost certainly ensures Calamita’s death as well. Best case scenario for Josto is that Calamita finishes his search for Rabbi before Loy’s men catch up to him. It’s a potentially dangerous lie, but it does force Josto’s enemy to solve his problems for him.
Chris Rock’s acting throughout this scene, in its aftermath, and even earlier in the episode while grieving Doctor Senator, is perhaps the finest he’s delivered in his career. His anguish, turmoil, and confliction, especially when considering whether or not to take his pain out on Zero, is captivating stuff. At one point during his waking nightmare, he stumbles upon an ad for a credit card, the very idea that would have taken him away from this life of crime, and you can see the man’s soul leave his body. Still, the final straw isn’t quite enough to break Loy’s resolve. He orders his men to track down Odis, who is caught attempting to flee after being figured out by Deafy, and plots his revenge, not before first sending Zelmare and Swanee off to Philadelphia (as fun as some of their dialogue can be, these two have been the most grafted on and desperately Coen-esque characters of the season).
Loy delivers a poignant monologue about refusing to be dragged down into the dirt like the animal his enemies wish him to be, but it unfortunately devolves into another “In America…” speech. Regardless, he informs Odis that he’ll be helping him make the right move against the Faddas. He starts by letting Gaetano go free and orders his men to track down Calamita. What else does he have in store? We’ll have to wait a week to see.
While the surrounding elements are feeling noticeably adrift, the main crime story at the heart of this season of Fargo is delivering gangster-filled goodness. Josto’s bluff adds a lot of intrigue to the mix, and Chris Rock really cooks with the heavy material that he’s given. Even Odis, who started off as a weak collection of tics, looks like he’ll be playing an interesting part in this vicious chess match. If Fargo could figure out how to supply all of this season’s many characters with purpose like that, this thing could finally take off.