Fargo, “Loplop” (2.08) - TV Review


Fargo Dunst

Like last week’s episode, this week’s episode title is a break from the normal convention of references to literary titles based off of famous works of philosophy, existentialism or absurdism. “Loplop” is in fact a reference to a character created by artist Max Ernst as an alter ego for him that functioned as a familiar animal who also acted as narrator and commentator in two of his collage novels. Extrapolating from that, one can surmise that this episode would focus on alternate personas and commentary, which would be an apt descriptor of an episode mean to fill us in on the blanks left by last week’s episode and get us caught up with where Peggy, Ed, Dodd and Ohanzee have been and what’s going on with them. So without further ado, let’s pick up where “Rhinoceros” left off.

Fargo pile

We begin in the Blomquist’s basement as a low tracking shot weaves amidst the labyrinth of junk, toilet paper and magazines as we have a split screen montage of Ed getting home, Lou driving, one of Dodd’s men on the floor and Dodd himself knocked out and tied up. The shot tracks to Peggy, sitting on the steps with her head in her hands. A disembodied voice calls out for her. She looks over to Dodd, but in his place is a man in a suit sitting in a leather char who asks “Have you actualized fully?” Peggy then gets into a conversation with the man over thinking vs. being. From the tone of his voice, the extreme close-ups of his mouth and eyes and the pseudo-philosophical bullshit he’s espousing, it’s clear that this man is supposed to be John Hanley Sr, one of the founders of Lifespring. Which if one does even cursory research on it, is a poor man’s Scientology. As Peggy has her epiphany/psychotic break, she realizes that rather than talk about the person she wants to be, she should just be it. She’s then interrupted by Ed, who in turn is interrupted by an awake Dodd who first tries to play innocent but then calls Ed shit on his shoe when Ed isn’t fooled. Ed then punches out Dodd and decides to take him with them in the trunk of Dodd’s car as Dodd and Peggy hit the road. As they leave, Lou and Hank pull up. After investigating the basement and discovering the two bodies, Lou decides to call an ambulance for Hank who clearly has a concussion. As he’s wheeled away, Hank asks Lou not to tell Betsy about this. Since Lou is more scared of his wife than his father-in-law, he will. After they leave, Ohanzee emerges from the dark. He goes into the basement and discovers Dodd’s left behind jacket. When he looks around upstairs, he discovers on the fridge a confirmation letter from the Southnik Hotel in Sioux Falls with Constance’s name on it. On the road, Peggy babbles on about the epiphany she’s had (“You don’t ask. You just go.”) while Ed talks aloud about what they can do with Dodd to get themselves free of the gang war they’re in the middle of. He then hits upon a cabin that’s owned by his uncle that’s empty now that they can hide for a few days. Even though they’re together in this, from the split screen it’s clear that they’re both excited for separate reasons.


At the cabin, Dodd tries to bolt when they open the trunk. But thankfully, Peggy has his cattle prod ready to zap him out. After tying Dodd to a support beam, Ed heads out to the nearby convenience store to use the pay phone and call the Gerhardt’s to negotiate Dodd’s return for their freedom. As Ed calls and doesn’t get through to anyone in charge, Peggy makes beans as Dodd struggles, plays the “I got 4 daughters” card and then insults Peggy and threatens her. Peggy does not take this lying down and decides to teach Dodd some manners by sticking him with a knife twice in the chest. After he finally starts to behave, Peggy force feeds him beans as she apologizes for hitting Rye with her car and explains what happened between her and Ed as all this went down. Ed returns and Dodd is genuinely scared of Peggy at this point. Ed then wonders aloud why the Gerhardt’s aren’t taking his call and tells Peggy “Hun, you gotta stop stabbing him.”


Back in Sioux Falls, Ohanzee pulls up behind a bar and parks in a No Parking zone. As he heads in, he notices a plaque on the side of the building that says “Here were hanged 22 Sioux Indians. May 25th, 1882” and some blood and vomit underneath it. He goes into the bar and asks for a glass of water. He gets one which the bartender has clearly spat in it. Ohanzee puts it aside and asks for a shot of tequila and that it be poured in front of him. When he then asks the bartender if he had seen a couple matching Ed and Peggy’s description, the bartender brings up Wounded Knee and becomes overly hostile to him, even when Ohanzee mentions his 3 tours in Vietnam and the Purple Heart and Bronze Star he received. As Ohanzee leaves, three of the bar flys follow him out and taunt him about his Native American heritage. It’s at this point that Ohanzee has finally had enough. He turns around, takes his gun out and shoots two of them in the knee (get it?) before heading back into the bar and shooting the bartender, who has already called the cops. As Ohanzee gets back to his truck, a squad car pulls up and two state troopers pull their guns. Ohanzee however has an automatic rifle and shoots both of them before taking off. Back at the cabin, Dodd informs Peggy and Ed that he has to use the bathroom. After some awkwardness, Ed uses a kettle for Dodd to pee in as Peggy looks away. After that, Ed decides to head back out to the convenience store as Peggy sits on the recently made-up fold-out bed with a knife at the ready. And at the Southnik Hotel, Constance lights some candles for the romantic evening she has planned for Peggy, who she assumes is knocking. But when she opens, Ohanzee is the one who knocks.

Fargo phone

Back at the convenience store, Ed calls the Gerhardt’s again. But this time, no one’s even home to pick up. Ed then goes into the store and gets some food. The cashier starts up a conversation with him and Ed lets slip that they’re out at a cabin by the lake. At said cabin, after failing to get the TV to work, Peggy takes the phone and makes a call to Southnik Hotel to talk to Constance. While Ohanzee is the one who picks up, Constance talks to Peggy as Ohanzee listens. Peggy tells Constance that she had an epiphany and that she doesn’t really need the seminar anymore. Constance meanwhile keeps Peggy on the phone and tries to get information out of her on where they are, using the books from the seminar as a pretense. Peggy ultimately admits that they’re at a lake by Vermillion and that she shouldn’t come. After Peggy hangs up and Constance pleads to Ohanzee, Ohanzee just strokes her hair.

Fargo table

Later that night in bed, Peggy stares at Dodd whose staring back. After Ed tells Dodd to look away or go to sleep, Dodd says he’s not tired. Ed solves this by putting a pillowcase over Dodd’s head, like a birdcage. The next morning, Ed heads out to make one last call to the Gerhardt’s as Peggy sits in front of the TV as “Operation: Eagle’s Nest” starring Ronald Reagan is playing. As she sits enthralled, we actually go into the TV and see the scene in the film where Pierre, a member of the French resistance and his wife are trapped in a bunker as an SS man tries to smoke them out. Pierre gallantly proposes that he be a human shield and that she makes a run for it to the border. As they head out and the SS man readies to shoot them, he’s shot in the back by a young Reagan who helps the couple escape. Peggy is so into the film that she doesn’t notice that Dodd has freed himself. She hears a squeak and turns around.

front page

Back at the convenience store, Ed tries once again with the Gerhardt’s with no luck. He then comes across a newspaper in the booth with a story about the gang war in Fargo and that Mike Milligan of the Kansas City syndicate is at the Pearl Hotel. Ed calls over there and we see more of their conversation that ended the previous episode. Ed plays up his Butcher of Luverne reputation and makes a deal and meeting place for him and Mike. As he leaves, he drops the paper, which has Ohanzee’s face on the front page. This is when Ohanzee pulls up and questions the cashier about Ed and Peggy in a scene straight out of No Country for Old Men. After Ohanzee leaves, the cashier sees the front page of the newspapers and makes a phone call.


And in the final act of the episode, Ed returns to the cabin and sees a supposedly empty place. It’s at that moment that Dodd drops a noose made out of the ropes that were used to tie Dodd up around Ed’s neck and he pulls Ed up and ties off the rope. As Ed is strangled and his face goes purple, Dodd goes on one last misogynist rant about the superiority of men and how women get in the way. He even tells Ed his own personal belief that Satan is a woman. As he goes on about this, Peggy wakes up and grabs the knife that’s under the bed. As she crawls towards Dodd, Dodd makes the gross mistake of underestimating her. She then stabs Dodd in the foot and then breaks off the handle. When Dodd goes to pull the blade out, he slices his hand open in the process. He grimaces and screams as he pulls his foot out of the blade, just in time for Peggy to hit him with a fire poker on the back of his neck. She then grabs a hatchet and cuts Ed down in time. After reviving him (and Ohanzee driving around until he finds Dodd’s car), Ed and Peggy decide to hogtie him as Dodd says that there’s something wrong with his next. It’s then that Ohanzee bursts in at gunpoint. But rather than attend to Dodd, who calls him a half-breed and that he can’t feel his legs, Ohanzee says that he’d like a haircut. And after Dodd calls him a mongrel, Ohanzee puts a bullet in Dodd’s head and asks Peggy to cut his hair professionally. “Tired of this life.” But just s Peggy is about to make the first cut, Ed sees Lou and Hank out the back door. Ohanzee sees Ed and jumps up shooting. They fire back and Peggy stabs Ohanzee in the shoulder with the scissors. Ohanzee tries to shoot Ed, but he’s out of bullets. And as Ohanzee flees out the front door, Lou and Ed burst in through the back and Ed and Peggy have their hands up.Hands up

While “Loplop” might have had a more intimate scope and only a handful of characters to deal with, there is a lot that went down in tonight’s episode. Let’s start off with the main appeal of the episode, the humor. While the show is able to weave dark humor amidst its crime drama and Mid-West philosophical musings with at least one laugh out loud moment per episode, “Loplop” is probably the most overly comedic episode of the season with Jeffery Donovan’s Dodd alternating between frustrated truculence and child-like fear of Peggy, who has maybe not gone off the deep end, but is at least swimming around in her newfound enlightenment/psychosis. It’s just so fun to see this embodiment of toxic masculinity become this tied up big baby whose awfulness with how he treats others becomes his undoing. As for Peggy, her full actualization brings her season long arc maybe not necessarily to a conclusion but to a head, which we see both the positive (she’s now fully with Ed, even if they’re on parallel tracks of thought and is no longer afraid of who she is and can take care of herself) as well as the negative (she’s so wrapped up in the narrative of her own story that when she sees it reflected back to her in the WW2 film, she can’t see the danger that’s just off to the side of her) to this. As for the biggest character change, that definitely goes to Ohanzee who after being the silent badass that we’ve seen for the whole season so far, his stoicism finally cracks as he’s had enough of the racism that he’s been dealing with his whole life as well as his role in a family organization and a man that can’t even give him common courtesy when being rescued. And finally, we get to the end of Dodd. While Peggy was earmarked as this season’s Lester Nygaard, it’s clear that the position of “character that we love to hate” belonged to Dodd. And while it was fun seeing his bullshit be thrown back at him, I’m sure that all fans of the show were glad to see him finally be put down and not be given the dignity of an awesome death.

  • Stray Observations:
  • Coen Bros References: Lots of nods to the original film with the cabin where our criminal couple hides out with their hostage, right down to the TV with poor reception and the line “We’re goin’ crazy down by the lake.” We got two winks to Blood Simple as Peggy stabs Dodd in the foot (instead of the hand) and in the bar, there’s a bar patron asleep at said bar who actually sleeps through the bartender getting shot. And the aforementioned scene of Ohanzee with the cashier is also straight out of No Country for Old Men.li>
  • Music of the Week: We open the episode with “Bashi Mwana” by Musi-O-Tunya, which breaks up the deep cut 70’s soundtrack and Coen Bros cover songs. “I Got A Line On You” by Spirit, which is what Peggy and Ed are listening to in Dodd’s car as they head down the road on their impromptu road trip. “Payday Give Away” by Bill Wilson is what’s playing in the bar as Ohanzee comes in for some water. And “Miss Your Kiss” by Heinz Jahr for when Constance lights the candles with Chablis on ice for Peggy.
  • As for symbolism in the episode, the big one is the series of concentric circles that are on the pamphlet for Lifespring that remind us of crop circles, thus fitting in our UFO reference of the week, as well as maybe some alien hieroglyphics above the bar. They could also be Native American symbols, which adds an extra level of dark irony to the bar that has Native racism both out front and inside the bar. We also have a recurring hanging motif as not only do we have the game of Hang Man on the glass of the phone booth that spells out Sioux Falls, but also in the cabin where the cord for the kitchen curtains look like a noose that we see right before an actual noose is dropped onto Ed. Also, when Peggy is banging the TV, we see footage of an insect that recalls Judge Mundt’s can of bug spray and “squash you like a bug” comment to Rye. And in the basement, we see a board game appropriately called Labrynth.
  • Continuing on the use of 70’s filmmaking techniques, when Peggy goes into the bathroom to call Constance, they use a split focus diopter so that both Peggy in the foreground and Dodd in the background are in focus.
  • If there are three minor complaints that I have about the episode, it’s that the newspaper that informs Ed of where Mike Milligan is located feels a bit too much like a deus ex machina. Now while we’ve seen them before on the show, it didn’t feel as contrived as it did here since it’s to keep the plot going. And the cashier recognizing Ohanzee’s face on the newspaper right as he leaves is one cliche I’m surprised hasn’t been put to rest. And as for “Operation: Eagle’s Nest”, while I liked that they went into the film, I do wish they kept the period detail of the 4×3 aspect ratio and not have it in widescreen like the rest of the show is.
  • “If I kissed you on the mouth when we met, would that be inappropriate?” Mike expressing relief when Ed calls about Dodd.
  • I always found beans in a can disgusting, so I’d be sharing Dodd’s revulsion at being force-fed beans.
  • 9.0 AMAZING

    "Loplop" is the most comedic episode of S2 of Fargo so far with Peggy's full actualization, Dodd's fearful squirming and just end and Ohanzee tired of everything.

    • AMAZING 9.0

    About Author

    Film geek, podcaster and newly minted IATSE member from Regina, Saskatchewan. I met Don McKellar once, and he told me that Quentin Tarantino is exactly like me.