Here, we witness the immediate aftermath of the failed assassination attempt of Ed Blomquist that left his butcher shop burned to the ground, a Gerhardt underling with a cleaver in his skull and Bear’s son Charlie in jail. At the Gerhardt house, upon learning that Charlie was taken into custody, Floyd, after having to keep the peace between Dodd and an enraged Bear, orders the crew to free Charlie from jail and slay the Butcher of Luverne. In the middle of all this, Dodd still finds ways to put down his daughter Simone’s choice of lifestyle. Simone finally has had enough of it. She informs Mike Milligan of Floyd’s plan, and oh, Mike, won't you kill my dad. Mike naturally asks Simone if she has any last words for her father. She wants the last thing her father hears to be a line from a story about a famous Alice. So, Mike Milligan recites lines from Jabberwocky as he and the K.C. crew make their way to take out the defenseless Floyd Gerhardt. Because Mike Milligan. Gunfire floods the Gerhardt house while Floyd and Simone’s fates are left to be found out some other time.
Ed Blomquist is taken into custody for questioning after the incident at the butcher shop, leaving Peggy behind at the Blomquist house to answer some questions from Sheriff Hank. Hank is dumbfounded by Peggy’s refusal to cooperate. But when he asks her, in so many words, why she didn’t behave like a rational person following the Rye Gerhardt accident, Peggy opens up a bit, allowing us to absorb her mindset and motivations. To her, life isn’t as simple as choosing A or B, because A and B both lead to outcomes bad for her (a nice callback to Morton’s Fork).
Meanwhile, at the police station, Ed is equally uncooperative with Lou Solverson. The destruction of the butcher shop he dreamed of owning, which was immediately preceded by a conversation with Noreen over The Myth of Sisyphus and the absurdity of human life, has created an existential crisis for Ed. He is resigned to confronting the threats to him and Peggy, but in his own way. He doesn’t have time for the Lou Solversons of the world and the “right way” of doing things. In the meantime, he wants a lawyer. And he gets one. The only one in town, in fact: the drunken conspiracy theorist Karl Weathers.
Peggy and Ed are very soon confronted with the looming threat of the Gerhardt family, sent out by Floyd at the top of the episode. Dodd leads the charge at the Blomquist house which, after a standoff with Hank, ultimately sees Peggy gain the upper hand on Dodd with his own cattle prod as he pursued her through the labyrinth of Peggy’s magazines in the basement. Is Dodd dead and what did Peggy do afterwards? That’s a question that won’t be answered yet. Meanwhile, Bear leads the charge at the police station, which sees another standoff, this time with Lou. Afterwards, Lou hatches a plan that will see him escape with Ed undetected while Karl Weathers, posing as Charlie’s attorney, talks down Bear Gerhardt.
This episode was the Nick Offerman showcase, who was masterful as Karl Weathers. Karl Weathers is modeled, in part, after the central character in the play “Rhinoceros.” He’s a drunkard, he’s paranoid and he fights against the oppressive danger of conformity and groupthink, which manifests themselves in the play as human beings metamorphosing into rhinoceroses. When he arrives at the police station to represent Ed Blomquist, he engages in a brilliant verbal tirade against the officers about the law and justice. It’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek, since he’s drinking buddies with these rhinos that call themselves cops. But when he’s tasked with the very sobering duty of confronting Bear Dodd outside the police station, it’s an entirely different animal. These rhinos are very real and have very real bad intentions. Karl doesn’t know that Bear would give anything to keep his son Charlie away from the life of crime. But Karl appeals to his fatherly instinct anyway, which he only assumes is there. Karl eventually breaks through by convincing Bear that by breaking Charlie out and maybe killing some cops along the way, he will only make things exponentially worse for his son, who is after all, only seventeen. Karl succeeds in transforming this bear rhino back into a human, and we can now resume breathing.
This episode was SO TENSE. You just KNEW that Milligan was going to the unprotected house instead of Luverne. And then we had to spend the rest of the episode waiting for that shoe to drop. (Same for Dodd losing the cattleprod, although it wasn't long before Peggy claimed it.) I did fully expect Hanzee to pop out at about eight different points and kill everyone but Lou and that didn't happen. I'm guess they are saving everyone now to up the bodycount in Sioux Falls, which PEGGY LEAVES FOR TOMORROW~!!!!!!!!!!!
Good catch on the "Kiss My Grits!"/Jabberwocky connection!
Nick Offerman was great on PnR, but if this doesn't win him a supporting emmy, nothing will. Karl Weathers was simply fantastic in this episode.
I was spoiled binge watching the first half of the season. What is this waiting for next week bs?