FARGO, Season 5, Episode 8: ‘Blanket’

Dave Foley as Danish Graves on “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: Jan. 2, 2024)

We open on a ledger labeled “Debtors of North Dakota.” The Lyon family attorney, Danish Graves, acts like he’s shopping. In a way, he is. “You can get more at the poor people’s store,” go the song lyrics playing under the scene. Graves finds what he’s looking for. Soon, Graves is at the county clerk’s office petitioning for a name change for three clients. All want the same name. This is shaping up like a classic election dirty trick, like how JFK’s won his first race for Congress by having his dad run an Italian with the same name as his opponent. Let’s see if my theory is right.

Meantime, abusive sheriff Roy TIllman is trying to discharge his ex-wife Nadine, who we know as Dot, from the hospital. She signs “Help Me” instead of her name. Roy tears up the form before threatening the nurse with something he’s got on her brother. Roy knows everyone in his county. Too bad he’s evil. 

Suddenly, trooper Witt Farr comes in to drop off a drunk. He realizes what’s happening pretty quickly and offers help. Dot is terrified, but is in survival mode. 

Gator puts his hands on Witt, but he isn’t having it. Tense situation, guns almost drawn. Dot tells Roy she will go willingly if his goons won’t hurt Witt. They leave.

Olmstead is still a cop, evicting old people for unpaid bills. Farr calls her about the situation with Roy and Dot. She’s on the case. 

At the Tillman ranch, Roy chains Dot to the shed floor. Dot’s not afraid to speak her mind. She’s talks about Scottie, what her absence means to her. She’s making a lot of sense, but Roy is fixed on punishing her for breaking her vow. 

Dot promises to kill Roy.

Right then, Roy’s current wife Karen comes in with some drinking water for Dot. She slams it down in a particular way, as if to signal her displeasure nonverbally. Dot says that if Roy adds one more wife he gets a set of steak knives. Karen slaps her. A funny joke that reveals where everyone sits on this. Only Roy’s threats and power hold this coalition together. Roy’s has to go to his sheriff’s debate. Remember, Roy’s in a tough re-election fight. 

Olmstead pulls up to her house. Finds her husband in bed and his girlfriend in the closet. Indira is mad, but also relieved to speak her mind in what proves to be a satisfying monologue. She continues to change her clothes, undeterred, because that’s why she came home early to begin with. 

“You can leave the toilet seat up on someone else’s life from now on,” she tells Lars. 

She exits in bittersweet triumph, but then sees her car repoed from the garage. Not a great day for Indira. 

Back at the debate, we learn there are three new candidates for sheriff. All named Roy Tillman. (Called that one). 

First question at the debate is a pointed one — aimed at Roy Tillman’s costly purchase of weapons that we know ended up with his father-in-law’s militia. The other Roys mimic his reactions. The real Roy storms off stage, pushing a woman down in front of the cameras. A scuffle ensues. We don’t need to see more to know Roy’s re-election chances just plummeted. 

A smug Danish Graves leaves the scene having accomplished his mission. Again, the sound of snare drums. A recurring sound when the Queen of Debt extracts her due.

Back at the shed, Dot frees herself from some of her shackles, but has to run back to bed when Gator comes to check on her. He wants to know what she told the FBI. She didn’t talk. And that’s actually true.

Dot tells Gator that she saw his mom. But we know that’s not true. She had a vision. Gator certainly doesn’t seem to believe her. She tries to get him to go with her. But he won’t. Dot tells him there’s a reason Gator wasn’t named Roy. He looked like a little lizard in the hospital. Roy wouldn’t give him his name. This hurts Gator. He peels away in his prowler. But at the gates, Witt Farr is waiting. 

Gator threatens to kill Witt. Fires a warning shot. Tells him to get out. 

“I know you don’t think they’re coming,” says Witt. “The consequences, they’re almost here.”

Witt drives off. So does Gator, who puffs on a vape while tweaking his badass dialogue. What he doesn’t see is Ole Munch sitting in the back seat of the deputy’s patrol car. Those consequences might be imminent. 

Danish Graves is fueling up at a service station, calling home to report on the plot’s success. “He couldn’t get elected to lick the road clean,” he tells Lorraine. Witt Farr sees him as he drives back. He stops to report to Danish that Dot is being held captive at the Tillman Ranch. He can’t do anything, but maybe Graves can.

Rather than call Lorraine, Danish Graves decides to take matters into his own hands. This certainly seems like a bad idea. 

Back from the debate, Roy sits dejected in the SUV. His father-in-law is driving. Karen and the girls sit in the back, equal in lower status. Even her dad dismisses her. Karen tells Roy that Nadine/Dot is a curse.  Roy walks with purpose toward the shed. A sultry remake of “Toxic” by Brittney Spears plays as he focuses on his vengeance. 

Roy storms into the shed and assaults Dot. Dot says he has one more shot to let her go. She jumps on him with the chain and straggles him, Jabba the Hutt style. Roy breaks free and starts spouting Bible verses while trying to beat her with the chain. She is able to grab the saw from under the bed. Roy’s man interrupts to tell him that Danish Graves is at the gate. Dot says she’ll get away same as Linda. Roy tells her she’ll end up same as Linda. “I’ll bury you next to her.” So now we know what really happened to Linda.

Olmstead shows up at Lorraine’s. Tells her that Dot is at the Tillman Ranch. So now Lorraine and Danish both know, separately.

Danish gets out of his car at the Tillman Ranch, ignoring Lorraine’s call. Feels like a mistake. Danish’s efforts to endear himself to his boss will hurt him in the end.

In a fit of escapism, Dot suddenly realizes that her experience with Linda was a delusion. She’s at a nadir. “Nadir” is almost, but not quite, an anagram for “Linda.” 

Danish tells Roy that his election is lost. But now he’s dealing. Says he can make the other Roy Tillmans disappear. Roy takes out a large pistol. Danish offers the election for his client’s daughter-in-law. Roy counters by shooting Danish in the stomach. “Here’s a question,” says Roy. “If you’re so smart, why are you so dead?” He finishes off Danish with another shot. 

Dot is now handcuffed to her bed frame, trying to figure out a new plan. A truck pulls up outside and dumps Danish’s body. Two men dump his body into a hole. They pour in some powder, probably lime. That’s where the bodies go. Dot realizes her best hope of getting rescued is gone. It’s just her again. 

Consequences are coming, though. Lorraine is a woman of action. And Ole Munch is still riding around in the back of Gator’s car, seething over what Gator did to the old woman he called mother.


Oh ya! Tense and taut, this was a tough but good episode. The stakes keep rising. Last week’s reset proved valuable in terms of both plot and theme. 

Minnesota Details:

Check out the big Sorel boots on Witt Farr. Those are serious winter boots. Oh ya!

A lot of hutches in the Olmstead house. Oh ya!

Lars’ mistress apologies. Oh ya!

Another Observation: 

RIP Danish Graves. Dave Foley’s performance was a lot of fun. The character became much more interesting towards the end of his run. Still feels like there was another gear to him, though. Noah Hawley created a caricature and then just set Dave Foley to making him into something. Pretty good

Read more at the Fargo Review page.

Previous Episode: “Linda

Next Episode: “The Useless Hand

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