- Awesome Music: The pilot features several renditions of Juan Tizol's "Caravan", each done in a style contemporary to the period of history being presented.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The very same night that "East/West" and its tornado out of nowhere aired, New York City was experiencing a freak confluence of weather conditions that would make a tornado possible, though luckily one didn't actually form.
- Jerkass Woobie: Odis Weff is a corrupt cop on the payroll of the Faddas and eventual murderer in his own right, but the poor guy is always being eaten alive by compulsive anxiety and nervous tics, came home from war to see his wife had been raped and murdered, and is stepped on by absolutely everyone he meets—the Faddas, the Cannons, even his own partner on the force. He's not a criminal out of malice or greed but desperation and a lack of better options, which ultimately pushes him to murder. His victims are hardly worthy of sympathy; one was his jerkass partner whose incompetence provokes a massacre, and the other is one of the two women who actually committed said massacre.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- Josto may have been trying to avoid starting a war at the beginning, and seems A Lighter Shade of Black compared to his treacherous, bloodthirsty brother, Gaetano. However, when he orders Antoon Dumini to drive Loy Cannon's youngest son Satchel out to the middle of nowhere and execute him in the hopes that Loy will execute Gaetano (who has been taken hostage) in retaliation, thereby removing the biggest threat to Josto's control over his outfit, he crosses the line swiftly and remorselessly. For added bastardry, the next episode reveals that Antoon was his brother-in-law. He got a member of his own family killed, made a widow of his own sister, and was prepared to risk the life of his innocent little brother Zero, just to bait Loy into killing Gaetano.
- Rabbi's wicked father Owney Milligan is the first to cross it in the season when he makes his own son Rabbi murder the youngest child of the criminal Moskowitz family, an establishing shot that firmly sets the Darker and Edgier tone of this season from the first episode on. Josto wasn't kidding when he claimed "the Devil was an Irishman" (in reference to Oweny having molested him for three straight years as the Milligan's hostage).
- Nausea Fuel: Swanee ends up being the one to eat a bunch of an ipecac-filled pie that Mayflower sent to the Smutneys, and we're teased that it'll kick in while she and Zelmare are crammed into a coffin together. That very luckily doesn't happen, but she still ends up horribly puking and farting in the middle of their robbery, including into the bag of money they just stole.
- The Woobie:
- Satchel Cannon is an innocent young boy who has the misfortune of being the youngest son of rising gangster Loy Cannon. In keeping with the local customs, he has been offered up as a foster child-slash-hostage to the Fadda Family, who neglect him badly, only keeping him alive because Loy is fostering one of their children, Zero. For added angst, Satchell is well-aware that Zero is being treated well by Loy.
- Patrick "Rabbi" Milligan was traded to the Moskowitz family when he was a child, and while he was treated well enough, he was forced by his biological family to betray his foster father and kill the Moskowitz heir himself. And then, when the Fadda Family came along, he was traded again, with the expectation that he would betray the Faddas when the time came around. Instead, he sided with the Faddas and helped wipe out his family... and was rewarded with the job caring for Satchel Cannon as part of the latest foster exchange, which is likely a thankless task because with Donatello dead and Josto and Gaetano competing for control of the family, the likelihood of a gang war has gone way up.
YMMV / Fargo (Season Four)