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Recap / Fargo S 02 E 05 The Gift Of The Magi

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Hope they asked for that well done.

Lou is temporarily taken off the Waffle Hut murder case while working a security detail for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell). Dodd and Hanzee concoct a story—in which Ed is a hitman called "The Butcher" hired by Kansas City to kill Rye—in an attempt to rile Floyd into bloodshed. She has Hanzee and accomplices ambush a group of KC men. Hanzee kills Bulo and a Kitchen brother, and sends the former's head to Milligan. Milligan threatens Simone during their next dalliance, demanding she spy on her family for him.

Meanwhile, Dodd orders his henchman Virgil to kill Ed, accompanied by Bear's son Charlie (Allan Dobrescu). Peggy heeds Lou's warning and plans to leave for California, but Ed insists on staying. Peggy nearly leaves without him, but through a change of heart, sells her car to mechanic Sonny Greer (Daniel Beirne) to get the down payment to purchase the butcher shop.


Virgil and Charlie arrive in Luverne and botch their attempt to kill Ed—Virgil is killed, Charlie is hospitalized, and the butcher shop goes up in flames. Ed returns home to Peggy, now wanting to leave town with her, but the police arrive shortly thereafter.


  • Action Survivor: Maureen survives the butcher shop fire with Ed and Charlie, though her role is more impressive due to how little experience she's had with the surrounding action up until this point.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: Dodd entrusts Charlie with taking care of Ed, giving the audience a glimpse at his struggle.
  • The American Dream: Discussed by Ed and Maureen when the latter asks the former why he wants to buy the butcher shop.
  • Archer Archetype: Richard Armbruster believes that "the longbow is an art."
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Richard Armbruster goes.
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  • The Cameo: Constance is seen sitting with Molly and Betsy during Reagan's opening speech, but she doesn't say anything and doesn't appear in the rest of the episode.
  • Character Death: Joe Bulo, Wayne Kitchen, Virgil Bauer, Richard Armbruster, and half the Kansas City mob all kick the dust.
  • The Charmer: Reagan is seen here building support on easy charm.
  • Corrupt Politician: Armbruster, the Fargo Zoning Commissioner, is shown here to be in the pocket of the Kansas City mob.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Bulo's head is delivered to Mike after the Gerhardts' slaughter of the Kansas City men.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Unfortunately for the Gerhardts, Mike wasn't present on the Kansas City hunting trip, so he's still around to kick some ass—now with a personal edge.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Armbruster goes all-out for his hunting trip. Too bad the hunter becomes the hunted.
  • Fanboy: Karl is one of these of Ronald Reagan, as much as he tries to deny it. He tears up at his speech, shakes his hand and proclaims himself to love a rather obscure movie he'd done.
  • Foreshadowing: Molly's crayon drawing includes her family underneath a UFO in the sky.
  • Good Is Dumb:
    • Reagan means well, but he's utterly out-of-touch and his grip on reality is a little tenuous. When speaking privately with Lou, he unintentionally reveals just how delusional and insensitive he can be. In a sincere but misguided attempt to bond with Lou, he compares Lou's wartime experience to his fictional portrayal of a soldier. He talks about it as if it were a real event and was actually there, but then he can't quite remember how it ended. The point is lost, and when Lou appeals to this well-loved authority figure for some advice, his response exposes that he doesn't have the answers. He may not have even thought about the answers. See the quote at the top of the page.
    • Sonny is extremely polite to Peggy when she picks up her car despite the obvious fact that she's going to cancel the check she pays with before he can cash it.
  • Historical Domain Character: Ronald Reagan. He isn't the president yet, but he's showing some real promise.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Charlie really wants to and tries to prove himself as capable of such responsibility. Killing people, however, might be out of his range.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Maureen jumps to help Ed by attacking Virgil with a hunk of frozen meat.
  • It's Personal: With Joe Bulo dead, Mike will now stop at nothing to wipe out every last Gerhardt.
  • Killed Offscreen: Bulo's death is not actually seen. He escapes the slaughter in the woods, only to find Hanzee Dent waiting for him at his car. Next time we see him, it's only his head.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Bear sheds some silent tears after Hanzee informs them that Rye has been killed.
    • Karl is seen trying to hold himself back from crying at Ronald Reagan's speech.
  • Not So Stoic: Joe Bulo completely loses his cool when the Gerhardts begin gunning down his men in the woods.
  • Off with His Head!: The ultimate fate of Joe Bulo.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Mike loses most of his wit and charm when Joe's head is delivered to him. As such, he also becomes more demanding and aggressive towards Simone, demanding she tells him everything she knows about future attacks from the Gerhardts.
  • Previously On: The first episode of the season to include an "erstwhile on" opening, likely due to its the Wham Episode nature.
  • Rousing Speech: Just as in reality, Reagan has a talent for swaying crowds with his charismatic speeches. Even the cynical, fight-the-establishment Karl is moved to tears.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Bulo's death marks the first major casualty in the Gerhardt/Kansas City war. It's far from the last.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Downplayed with Joe. When the Gerhardt soldiers ambush him and his men during a hunting trip, he ends up taking cover and firing back at them, only running when it looks like the Kitchen Brothers are regaining control of the situation.
  • Single Tear: Bear at first only sheds a silent one of these after hearing that Rye has been killed. It's Subverted though, as a minute later he's got streaks on both of his cheeks.
  • Slashed Throat: How Hanzee takes care of Wayne Kitchen.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted. Virgil takes a shot at Ed, but it misses and ends up hitting Charlie, knocking him out.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Amrbruster's death comes out of nowhere and kicks off the ensuing massacre in the woods.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Richard Armbruster and Virgil Bauer.
  • Wham Episode: The Gerhardts make a move against Kansas City, killing a bunch of their men—including Joe Bulo and one of the Kitchen brothers. Charlie tries to kill Ed in the butcher shop and accidentally burns the building down, and now it looks like the authorities have finally come for the Blumquists.


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