FARGO, Season 5, Episode 4: ‘Insolubilia’

North Dakota Deputy Witt Farr (Lamorne Morris) is chasing the truth in “Fargo” (PHOTO: FX)

Northern Minnesota author Aaron J. Brown reviews each episode of “Fargo” with an eye for unique details from the place where the show is set. The ratings range from INTERESTING  (bad), to COULD BE WORSE (not so good) to PRETTY GOOD (not so bad), and OH, YA! (real good then).

Beware the spoilers.


(Original air date: December 5, 2023)

We open in Scandia back in the Lyons’ neighborhood. Here come the masked bandits. Gator and his gang roll into the Lyon home like the Purge. 

Sounds of knife sharpening punctuate the scene. There’s the high concept sound design again. Someone’s gunning for a very specific Emmy.

Dot hides while a ukulele version of “I Got You Babe” plays on the stereo. Is that Tiny Tim? At first the bandits are on to the traps. Home Alone scenarios being avoided. 

These guys are really committed to the masks. Skulking around in the dark with those little eye holes can’t be easy.

Bam. Dot kicks one down the stairs. Pings one with the hammer while escaping. Dot’s on the run. But Gator catches her and tells her she’s going back to North Dakota. Gabriel is his real name. Dot flees to basement. Escapes up air vent.

Lots of close combat between Dot and the criminals. She’s some kind of pro, alright.

“Go mom,” says Scotty as her mother pounds the skull of a home invader with a toilet basin lid.

Wayne is electrocuted by Dot’s trap trying to escape. The house starts on fire. Dot’s plan is unraveling, even as she holds the kidnappers at bay. Gator and his gang must flee as the fire trucks come. Dot drags Wayne’s body away, alive or dead? She takes one last look at the house as it burns. Her new life is just another old life.

As an aside, this whole sequence is a good exploration of the movie “Home Alone,” just in time for the holidays. Even stupid characters only fall for some of those homemade traps, and the damage is probably not worth the trouble. 

Meanwhile, in North Dakota, Roy talks to Jesus on the wall of a chapel. Tells a story about a man who hung his wife. Beelzebub himself was whispering in the man’s ear. Just then, we see the flashback of bloody, muddy Ole entering the Tillman house. Then we see Roy discovering the scene.

Ole went into Tillman’s twins’ bedroom to leave a strange symbol on the wall, just to let Roy know he could. What does the symbol mean? 

Dot and Scotty wait at the hospital. Dot tells her not to talk about the bad men or they’ll come back. She coaches a lie to explain what happened to Wayne.

Farr and Olmstead watch the video from the gas station. They’re off to the fire. Olmstead gets a debt collection call. She hangs up.

Voiceover with Lorraine. She’s explaining debt to a reporter. We learn she’s actually a debt collector. This is the root of her fortune. But she’s selling something different. A chance for Americans to solve their problems themselves (presumably in a way that involves giving her money). She learns her son’s house is on fire and cuts short the reporter’s interview.

Lorraine enters the hospital demanding answers. Wayne’s not dead, but he’s in some kind of shock. Lorraine demands that Danish call the Mayo. She wants the “Saudi package.” 

Witt recognizes Dot from the North Dakota gas station. She maintains she’s never met him, but the jig is up. He recognizes her. There’s video. “That’s just reality,” says Farr.

“With all due respect, we’ve got our own reality,” says Graves.

“That’s not a thing,” says Farr.

Wayne wakes up. He’s a little dazed. Doesn’t recognize her. 

Another angry patient wants some cancer cut out of his butt or something like that. Not sure what that’s about.

So, Wayne’s kinda spaced out. Remembers the fire. Dot promises to fix everything. Fix the house. Build a new house. Wayne just seems happy that she’s his wife. 

The FBI agents are seeking a warrant for Tillman. They suspect he’s funneling weapons to the militia. Judge tells them to be a step ahead of Tillman. Dismisses them. Just then, they learn that Tillman’s second wife showed up in the fingerprint database. They’re headed to her. Ironically, they are a full step behind Tillman. 

Ole Munch is taking a bath. He seems to be speaking of himself in the third person, but a sort of admonishment to Roy. “The cost of freedom is always death. Life for life. Me or you.”

Ole is actually talking to the old woman who owns the house. What he really wants is pancakes.

Back at the Tillman ranch we see deer hanging. Gator is back, empty handed.

Roy is talking to the young couple from the weird marriage counseling session in Episode 2. He sees evidence that the man is still abusing his wife. Roy explains that the man is a waste of skin.  Joshua draws a gun on Roy. Roy is nonplussed. Josh shoots but Roy shoots first. Roy asks for a glass of water from the man’s wife while her husband bleeds out. Roy promises her money and support if she lies to peg Joshua as the man who shot the trooper. Then, Roy rides off on his horse. The constitutional sheriff thinks he has the power to define reality. But, as we learned earlier, “that’s not a thing.” 

EPISODE GRADE: Pretty good. I’m trying to decide what’s holding me back. There is just a bit too much statement-making and not quite enough genuine motivation for the characters. Why is Roy so obsessed with Nadeen/Dot? Either we see more development on this idea, or it just dangles out, all loose and akimbo-like. Compelling action sequences, though. 


OK, so readers have been harping on something I haven’t mentioned, mostly because it’s a systemic problem in the larger Fargo universe. Scandia is some 12-14 hours from western North Dakota, meaning that these little crime jaunts between Roy Tillman’s compound and the Lyons’ home would take a whole day. This was a beef in Season 1 and has been a consistent problem. I choose to ignore it at this point because, for those struggling with inaccuracies, this is a folk version of Minnesota, populated by folk characters. They have the power of apparition. Could be worse

Snow on Halloween. Always an Oh ya!

Read more at the Fargo Review page.

Previous Episode: “The Paradox of Intermediate Transactions

Next Episode: “The Tiger

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