Five minutes into the Fargo finale, we had a sudden desire for the episode to be over.
That's not because we weren't enjoying it, but after those five minutes, we just didn't want anything to ruin our warm fuzzy feelings. Bad things were bound to happen, and we were just so content.
After the strangely peaceful shots of all the casualties of last week's massacre, we discovered that Betsy (Cristin Milioti) was not only still alive but having marvelous dreams of classrooms, superstores, graduations, and a fifth birthday party for a little boy, hosted by his mother, father, grandfather, and older sister…
It felt just slightly unfair to hit us with a quick glimpse at the happy future of Molly (Allison Tolman), Gus (Colin Hanks), their two kids, and Lou (Keith Carradine) so early in the night, when we were all prepared to watch people die and learn about aliens before the tears set in.
While we did watch a couple people die, we did not learn about aliens. Unfortunately, that UFO is going unexplained for now, which is probably just as well, because there probably is no explanation that would be satisfying on a show that is normally pretty solidly set in reality (or at least something close to it). It made sense that Hank (Ted Danson) advised Lou (Patrick Wilson) to leave the spacecraft as "subtext" in his report. After all, it was just a flying saucer.
So what did end up happening in the episode, after Tolman stole our hearts again without saying a word?
Ed (Jesse Plemons) and Peggy (Kirsten Dunst) did their best to get away, but Ed got shot while they ran. They made it into the meat locker at a grocery store, but there wasn't much Peggy could do for him other than be totally and completely sure that they would be fine and that things would soon go back to normal.
Ed, however, saw the truth, and told Peggy that if they got out of this alive, they probably wouldn't work as a couple anymore because she can't stop trying to fix things even when they're not broken. Unfortunately for everyone, they didn't even get the chance to find out if they would work, because Ed died on the floor of the walk-in. That's when Peggy's delusion really took hold, as she refused to accept Ed's death while she believed that Hanzee had tracked them there and was now trying to smoke them out, which is exactly what had happened in the movie she had just been watching in the cabin.
Only it wasn't Hanzee trying desperately to get into the freezer, and there was no smoke. It was actually Lou, there to rescue/arrest them, and Peggy had just imagined the smoke.
Lou drove Peggy back to Minnesota, and she told him all about how she hoped she could serve her time at a place she heard about, right outside San Francisco. Maybe she would see a pelican, and maybe Kirsten Dunst has never been so perfect. The way her face fell along with her delusion when Lou reminded her that people have died because of what she had done was just devastating.
Elsewhere, Mike encountered Ricky G as he tried to loot the Gerhardt house. Since Mike believes in an act of kindness and an act of cruelty, but he already gave the maid a new car and some money, Ricky got a shotgun to the chest. He was left to bubble disgustingly on the floor while Mike crowned himself the king.
Or at least that's what he thought he was going to get to do. All his conquering ended up getting him was a typewriter in a tiny office in a big office building and instructions to cut his hair and get a real tie from his boss. Mike's just a corporate shill, apparently, and it turns out he did all that for nothing. Or everything, depending on your opinion on working with the accounting department
As for Hanzee, he got away free and clear save for a messed up face, which would soon be fixed thanks to facial reconstructive surgery. He's got a new identity and a new lease on life, so that's good for him.
As all the Gerhardts lay dead, Peggy headed off to prison, Mike settled into his office (at a company that…conquers people?), and Hanzee went off to get a new face, Lou and Betsy said good night, and so did Fargo season two.
While this season felt a little quieter and only slightly less absurd than season one did, it also felt slightly more significant. All Peggy wanted was to be her very best self, and she ended up causing the deaths of multiple people—including her husband—and got herself arrested. Sure, she might get to see a pelican, but what else has she achieved? Sure, eliminating carbs, dairy, and sugar from our diet may make our skin glow and help us lose five pounds, but is it worth the miserable longing or the time spent explaining to people how great we feel?
OK, it's not the same thing, but maybe it kind of is. Maybe we're all working towards some form of perfection that doesn't actually exist, fixing things that aren't broken just to say we're doing something. Maybe we can't actually rule the world, or maybe we can, but now the world is ruled by men sitting in offices. Maybe season two of Fargo has caused us to have an existential crisis and we need to go lay down for a while.
Before we do that, however, we need to ask: Did Hank invent emojis?!
Fargo season 3 will premiere on FX in 2016.
What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!