Fargo – Season 5 Episode 2 “Trials and Tribulations” Recap & Review

Trials and Tribulations

Episode 2 of Fargo’s season 5 begins with the introduction to Jon Hamm’s character. Sherriff Roy Tillman was elected at the age of 25. Law enforcement runs in his blood. He is the third-generation sheriff of the town. The opening remarks lay down his views on gender roles and his moral fabric. Roy believes a woman’s place is always beneath her husband’s in a household. She must remain devoted to making him happy and taking care of the family as a homemaker. 

Roy is telling all of this to a young couple at a diner. It is a domestic abuse case – or would be, in the city. But in this part of Texas, Roy’s rules are above the law. He asks one of his officers to choke the life out of the husband as he holds the wife’s hands. He preaches that although a husband is allowed to strike his wife, the occasion is rare. After they leave and the husband gets a timely lesson, Gator, Roy’s son and Deputy Sherriff, informs him on another subject: the kidnapping.

It is Roy who ordered Dorothy’s kidnapping and now Ole Munch is at the ranch to collect. Ole is the kidnapper who made it out alive. But Ole is outraged that Roy didn’t tell him the whole truth about Dorothy. He was told she is an ordinary woman but in reality, Dorothy is a “tiger.” Roy explains that she is his wife and ran away ten years ago. She finally came into the system when her prints were taken after the school brawl. He wants her to come back and complete her “vows of marriage.”

Roy instructs Gator to pay Ole, despite his protests. However, he uses a code word – “fixing place” – which means executing Ole. Before it can be done, Ole tactfully manoeuvres his way out of the impossible situation and escapes. He also breaks Gator’s hand in the process. Indira questions Dorothy at the house. Wayne is also present. She once again claims that she ran off to “get her head clear” after being involved with the school incident. Indira finds it really hard to believe and Dorothy isn’t too convincing.

However, the officer is willing to drop the issue for now. Lorraine thinks that Dorothy is a con woman and wants to strong-hand her into paying a ransom. She also poses the possibility of Wayne being involved with the kidnappers. They all had a plan but got cold feet at the end. Lorraine instructs Danish to question Wayne, while she takes on Dot. Agents Meyer and Joaquin show up at Roy’s house as he is relaxing in a bathtub. Despite knowing they are federal agents, Roy isn’t intimated.

They are newly posted to the Fargo office and point out that Roy isn’t enforcing federal laws in the county. In fact, he is encouraging illegal activities. Roy makes a big speech about his ideals and interpretation of what’s right and wrong. He also points out – rightly – that he can only be removed by the Governor and the constituents. Despite the intimidation tricks by the feds, Roy remains unfazed and the feds leave.

Lorraine visits Dot’s house and intimidates her to leave. Her theory and accusations aren’t taken well by Dot, who suddenly changes her accent and threatens Lorraine instead. It is a chilling exchange that has established at least well thing: Dot isn’t someone to be messed with. Dot enlists Scotty’s help in a supposed “Craft project,” which is basically her preparing for a home invasion. She wants all access points to be weaponised against any intruders. It reminds one of the Home Alone movies but with more intensity. Danish visits Wayne at his Kia dealership and dials Lorraine in. She asks him to slap her son and make him realize that Dot isn’t who she says she is.

Wayne comes back to discuss the issue with Dot. His pleadings are even more desperate after he sees how she has set up traps in the house. He recognizes that something strange is afoot but wants to give Dot the benefit of the doubt. Wayne’s desperation also stems from his idea of living the perfect life with Dot and Scotty. She also recognizes that Wayne’s intentions are honest and reassures him that nothing is wrong. 

Indira pays Witt a visit at the hospital. She falls short of showing him a photo of Dot and confirming her identity, thanks to Gator, who has also arrived at the hospital. He and another cop from the county drive back to Little Texas. On the way, they stop at a gas station. As Gator goes in to take some stuff, the other cop is murdered by Ole. He sticks a placard to his body, which reads “You owe me.”

The Episode Review

Jon Ham didn’t speak a word in Episode 1 and took all the shine in Episode 2. What a stunning character introduction! Right out of the Coen playbook, Ray Tillman and his barren empire looked like an impenetrable fortress. The blocking was such that the setting reflected Tillman and his tribe’s intimidation. But Dorothy looks like a worthy match. 

A change in characterization is visible in Season 5. The narrative isn’t as expansive and the focus of the creators is streamlined to the Lyon family. It is only the second episode and that may well change going forward. Fargo has always boasted a formidable female protagonist without spilling over into cringe territory, as most modern shows do. And Dorothy Lyon is no different. 

The contrast between Wayne and her is evident and tastefully put into action. Lorraine is all set to play Brutus from the inside, ensuring that Dot finds herself between a rock and a hard place. But as we have seen, dialling down the “Minnesota nice” isn’t an issue for her at all.

Previous Episode

Next Episode

You can read our full review of Fargo Season 5 here!
  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment