FARGO, Season 5, Episode 10: ‘Bisquik’

Dorothy Lyon (Juno Temple) returns home to her husband Wayne (David Rysdahl) and daughter Scotty (Sienna King) in the season finale of “Fargo.” But not everyone is satisfied with her escape. (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: Jan. 16, 2024)

It was always going to come down to Bisquik (legally distinct, for our purposes, from the popular baking mix Bisquick). A little bit of powder, water, eggs and oil. For Dorothy Lyons, baking symbolizes something pure: Food made with love, for family. Dot didn’t have a family growing up. The family she found nearly destroyed her. But she made one that was hers, one that loved her. And she just wants them back.

Like many “Fargo” seasons, this one sets a scene of carnage and rampant evil in the tranquility of the American Midwest. It’s not about crime. It’s about morality. And this episode, this season, takes the theme a step farther.

We open on the strange winter fog of last episode. Gator (Joe Keery), blinded by Ole Munch earlier that day, wanders alone on the plains of the Tillman Ranch. He trips and falls, feeling for anything he might recognize. His fate is biblical. 

He reaches the dugout, the same one where Ole performed his blood ritual and where Roy will hide in the event of trouble in the pending firefight. 

The militiamen form a firing line against the state and federal officers surrounding the ranch. They draw guns, aim, but no one fires. Roy (Jon Hamm) prays in the chapel, or so it would seem. This will only start on his order. It seems that the final showdown between patriotic despots and the deep state would deploy better defenses than nervous looking men shielding themselves behind their trucks, but that’s what we’re dealing with here. That’s what it would look like. (That’s what it is).

Gator feels his way into the dugout. The dugout is a tunnel, and it reaches an escape hatch in the middle of an even wider plain. Now we know why Roy wants to hide there. It’s an escape hatch out of the ranch. Roy plans to bail. 

Roy stands on the porch with his father-in-law, Odin Little (Michael Copeman), the militia man. This guy has been waiting for something like this his whole life, but he’s more talk than action. He lectures Roy on violence, subtly and overtly insulting him along the way. Roy challenges him to a fist fight, but surprises him with a knife. He’s done with this old man, and cuts his throat. His wife Karen (Rebecca Liddiard) sees him do it and flees. As she does, our tiger Dot (Juno Temple) surprises both of them with the rifle. She shoots Roy in the belly, a wound. She’s about to finish him off when Trooper Witt Farr (Lamorne Morris) and his strike squad interrupts her. Roy escapes just as the fight starts.

Roy flees to the hut, preparing to escape. Witt Farr follows him. Roy tries to sneak up on Witt, but it doesn’t work. Farr has a gun, Roy a knife. Witt hesitates to shoot. A powerful image here, as a Black police officer holds a white criminal at gunpoint and withholds a shot that many of us watching would call justified. And he pays for it. Roy surprises him with another knife, stabbing Witt in the heart. We watch the life drain from Witt’s face in a scene that reminds me of one of the most haunting from “Saving Private Ryan,” when a fight for life ends with a gruesome hand-to-hand murder. Witt is dead. Roy lives to run, a very dangerous wounded animal.

Back on the porch, FBI officers move Dot to safety. They arrest Karen, who looks unhinged after watching her father die and her husband shot.

Roy climbs out of the escape tunnel toward freedom. But he doesn’t see the entire FBI behind him. The agents arrest Roy. Turns out, Gator gave him up.

At the ambulance, Gator apologizes to Dot. He asks about his mother. Dot now understands the vision she had about St. Linda. She was an angel in a dream, she explains. Gator asks her to visit her in jail. She agrees, and even remembers what kind of cookies he likes: oatmeal raisin. 

The FBI agent tells her they’ve reached Wayne and Scotty. They know she’s OK. Dot asks about Witt Farr. She wants to thank him. She is devastated to learn that he was killed. We see Dot in the back of a squad, driving home. Bittersweet victory is hers.

In Scandia, Dot returns to her family. Wayne (David Rysdahl) and Scotty (Sienna King) run to get her. Lorraine (Jennifer Jason Leigh) waits at the front door. She seems to appreciate that Dorothy shot Roy in the stomach. “That’s my girl.” Dot hugs her, longer than Lorraine would like. “There, there,” says Lorraine. 

We skip forward one year. Indira Olmstead (Richa Moorjani), Dot and Scotty visit Witt Farr’s grave. We learn that Indira now cares for Witt’s cat, Lucky. Dot is more involved in Wayne’s business. They’re expanding to St. Paul. “We’re moguls now,” says Dot, half kidding. They’re doing well. 

When it’s time to leave the cemetery, Dot remembers sour cream. Scotty wants M&Ms. She’s driving now. Dot and her family have returned to the comfortable contours of her routine.

I am struck with a question. Has the debt been paid? Is the old account settled?

At a federal penitentiary in Illinois, a shackled Roy toddles into the visiting area. Lorraine is here to see him. “I love that color on you,” she says. He threatens her. Indira snaps back. Roy goes into a monologue about the perfect order of prison. It goes on a while.”

“Yes, well, I just came to see if you were settled in, because now your real punishment will begin.”

Lorraine informs him that she’s found many prisoners who have debts. She’s wiped those debts in exchange for the pain that they’re about to inflict on him for the rest of his life. Lorraine tells him that he’s going to feel everything he’s ever done to his wives.

As she leaves, the signature, almost smug, snare drums rattles the soundtrack. The Queen of Debt again extracted what is hers. Roy stops snarling long enough to look genuinely afraid. 

Dot and Scotty roll up to the old house, fixed up after the fire and chaos of last year. Wayne looks rather nervous in the living room. They’re not alone. It’s Ole Munch (Sam Spruell). The scene immediately evokes the image of Anton Chigurh from the Coen Brothers adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men.” That’s not good.

Ole Munch freed the tiger to finish her fight. “But that does not mean the man is finished with her,” says Munch.

Wayne asks his name. His name is Ole Munch. But, fun fact, it’s pronounced Oola Moonk. Wayne goes to get some pop.

“We will finish our engagement now,” says Munch. “The debt must be paid. A man’s flesh was taken. Now a pound is required in return.” 

Just then Wayne returns with orange pop. Ole holds it like a strange artifact. Wayne is pretty clueless about the vibes here.

Ole lays out another epic monologue about where he’s from. “Cannot remember the year of his birth. He is paid to soldier. But one night he wanders from his post, drawn by the songs of the river.”

Wayne jumps in with a fishing story. Wink took them to the Vermilion last year. Really clueless.

Dot asks why the debt must be paid. Circumstances. Conditions., etc. Ole stares. 

It’s time to make the biscuits. You need the biscuits to go with the chili. 

“Whatever you think you came here to do, we’re halfway to dinner and it’s a school night,” Dot tells Ole. “So either wash your hands and help or we’ll do this another time.”

Ole chooses to wash his hands and help. Reminds of the phrase “wash one’s hands.” Like Jesus, or Pontius Pilate?

The family carries on with their routine. Ole keeps trying to wind up his monologue but they just ignore him. He’s a ghost. A relic? Can this be what reorders “the code,” the harsh system of justice that once chewed up and spit out a young Ole Munch. They mix the Bisquik. 

Dot explains the situation from her perspective. He took a risk. It didn’t work out. But that doesn’t have to consume his life going forward. They finish the biscuits together and go to the table.

In conversation, we learn that Ole came across the sea on a long boat, a dozen men pulling at oars. The rains came and some drowned in their seats.

“Jeez,” says Wayne. 

Ole tells a harrowing tale of war and loneliness. He went a century without talking to anyone.

“Before the boat, the man (him) lived on the moors and ate fleas from the rats. And he was afraid. A rich man came to offer him two coins and a meal. But the food was not food. It was sin. The sins of the rich. Greed. Envy. Disgust. They were bitter, the sins. But he ate them all for he was starving.”

From then on, Ole did not age or die. He does not dream. “All that is left is sin,” he says.

Dot says that “it feels like that. What they do to us. What they make us feel, like it’s our fault.” But she has a cure.

“You gotta eat something made with love and joy and be forgiven.” 

Cue the “Fargo” strings. 

Ole takes the biscuit. He eats the biscuit. The body of Christ? He is forgiven. A wide smile stretches across his face.

EPISODE GRADE: I spent the first half of this episode wondering about the pacing. How did the fight end so soon? Why did Roy fall so predictably? Why was the denouement so long? 

Well, we got our answer. Life is what comes in between chaos and disorder. It is the reason we are here. Oh ya!

SEASON GRADE: Oh ya! Two things I loved about this season. One, the pacing. The character development, action and theme were all in sync and reached a satisfying conclusion. Second, this is among the more overtly philosophical, arguably spiritual conclusions we’ve ever seen on this show. It did not end in violence, but in redemption. It concluded with the end of violence itself.


This season returned us to Minnesota, but a significant majority of the action took place in North Dakota. I’ll defer to readers on the North Dakota accuracy. In a way, this resolves the title of the “Fargo” universe. At long last, Fargo is located in North Dakota. Again. For real. Pretty good

Wayne talks about the Minneapolis Zoo. Of course, Como Zoo would have hit much better here. And the zoo he’s probably referring to is the Minnesota Zoo. Anyway, all of these zoos do, in fact, have tigers, so Could Be Worse.

Wayne says he might have gone over the deep end on the spices. You just KNOW that he’s talking about church supper chili. Oh ya!

Wayne really puts on a clinic on Minnesota conversational tendencies in this episode. He punctuates the profoundly literary soliloquies by Ole Munch with a well-placed “Jeez” or “oh.” He awkwardly misreads cues, interpreting malice as benign conversation. Wayne even serves pop. David Rysdahl, the Minnesota native who plays Wayne, gets game ball on the Minnesota details this week. He sat the dialect coach right on down and said, “Watch me.” Oh ya!

Thanks for reading my reviews this season. Noah Hawley has not confirmed whether or not he will write and produce another season. Hawley is preparing to do a new series in the Ridley Scott “Alien” universe and that will have his attention for the foreseeable future. In reading his most recent interviews, it’s possible Hawley will return to the “Fargo” world if inspiration strikes. Still, if he ends “Fargo” on Season 5, he’ll have done so on a truly hopeful and resonate note.

Read more at the Fargo Review page.

Previous Episode: “The Useless Hand


  1. Joe musich says

    Orange soda no less. In a certain era possibly the biggest seller of all pops for the kids. It was anyway at the Little Grove Bar in Kitzville where the men had their names painted on the side of the bar by their seats. I hope Fargo ends here at this point another season would be almost without meaning compared to the tales told in this one. And the sounding of Munch was a surprise as you point out. It leans now more to the east coast definition. I have to say that with the giants of evil of Loraine and Roy I stick with how I thought the name was pronounced. And into the future I cope out favorite family is able to go forward in peace. Thanks for all the reviews.

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