Fargo S5E3 Recap: Nipples, Occult, and Bulletproof Vests

“The Paradox of Intermediate Transactions”

Ole Munch Close Up
CR: Frank W Ockenfels III/FX

The following recap contains spoilers for Fargo S5E3, “The Paradox of Intermediate Transactions” (written by Noah Hawley and directed by Donald Murphy)

After last week’s premiere, I was ready for some action this episode, but it didn’t quite deliver on that front. Most of Episode 3 focuses on the preparation (from all sides) for the upcoming fight(s). This can be broken down into two groups.

Ole Munch vs. Roy & Gator

The episode opens where last week’s left off. Tillman (Jon Hamm) meets Gator (Joe Keery) at the gas station where his dead partner lies in the trunk with a sign from Munch (Sam Spruell) that exclaims, “You owe me.”

Munch isn’t playing, y’all.

In Bismarck, North Dakota an older lady, who we later learn is Munch’s mama, returns home with some groceries and sits down to a beer and some TV. She hears a noise upstairs and upon investigating, finds Munch in a bedroom sitting in a rocking chair. He claims he lives there now. She accepts this quickly enough and returns to her beer and television.

We are treated to a flashback which takes place in 1522, Wales, Kingdom of England. Inside a church, a man nearly identical to Munch kneels besides a coffin while two men, maybe priests, ask him, “in forgiveness of your debts to man will you consume your lordships sins to god?” He agrees and begins eating from a bowl that was placed atop the corpse’s body. Before he can finish, one of the men pours wine down his throat (while the other chants), hands him a few golden coins, and sends him on his way. The parishioners watch from the window as he begins his tread in the snow.

Halloween, present day, arrives. Munch walks up to the older woman in the house and with his expansive vocabulary simply says, “Going out Mama.”

I assumed he was headed straight for Tillman or Gator but he makes a pit stop at some sort of tunnel or cave. Inside, he is in nothing but his knickers as he bathes in goat blood and speaks in tongues. Not sure what sort of magical sorcery is going on, but clearly this guy isn’t to be trifled with.

He decides to stay in his drawers as he enters the front door of Tillman’s house, ending his story for the current episode.

Everyone else vs. Dorothy

After helping Gator out at the gas station, Roy returns home to his new wife, Karen (Rebecca Liddiard), and father in law, Oden (Michael Copeman). Clearly, Roy wants nothing to do with the man and wants to wish his girls a good night. Oden stops him and asks about moving more ammunition into their grasp. Roy, still insistent on seeing his kids, tells Oden they need to take it slow. Oden reminds him that they can’t take back the country with just harsh language.

Tillman stops and stares a wall of family photos, focusing in on a picture of him and Dorothy (Juno Temple) on their wedding day. How awkward must that be for his current wife?

Later, while lying in bed smoking a joint, Karen comes in and opens the chest o’ sex toys and asks what “Daddy” is in the mood for. He’s not in the mood for her and begins trippin’ or maybe astral projecting himself into Dorothy’s home where he tells her he sees her.

Obsessed much?

Trooper Farr (Lamorne Morris) shows up at his station in hopes of taking a look at the evidence collected off of Kidnapper #1’s body. Gator beats him to it and steals everything from the box, leaving a Slim Jim wrapper.

Farr looks at the evidence box.
CR: Michelle Faye/FX

Farr does a little internet research and learns Tillman is currently re-running for county sheriff, as well as of Gator’s known history of tampering with evidence. An email comes in from Deputy Olmstead (Richa Moorjani) with Dorothy’s identification and photo.

Speaking of Olmstead, she and the police chief have a meeting with Lorraine (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Danish (Dave Foley), which ends up being pretty much a waste of time. Lorraine flexes her power and points out how useless Olmstead is when inside the walls of the rich and powerful. Lorraine will take care of her own family and doesn’t want them investigating Dorothy any further. The chief seems to give in and Olmstead is pissed.

Danish has a former CIA friend digging up dirt on Dorothy in the meantime.

On Halloween, Tillman tells Gator that it is the perfect night to attack. Everyone will be in masks and it will be a simple in and out.

So what is Dorothy doing to prepare for the evening? Well, she starts with her shopping list (see below) right before she and Wayne (David Rysdahl) go to the gun depot. The tactical shotgun she wants costs a whopping $5000, much to Wayne’s dismay, but Dorothy opts for pepper spray after learning it’ll take a whole week to have the gun ready due to background checks. Gotta make sure they aren’t psychopaths or socialists, according to the clerk.

She also manages to disassemble and rearrange the street name signs in her area in order to create confusion should someone come looking for her address.

Back at home she has Wayne dress as a zombie, while her and Scotty (Sienna King) are the zombie hunters—equipped head to toe with body armor and spiked bats. I have to wonder why she doesn’t have Wayne in armor. Is his safety not important as well?

Wayne and Scotty head outside and Dorothy sets the indoor traps. The phone rings and it’s Tillman, drunk and singing a little ditty. She hangs up and heads out to join her family.

Gator gathers a crew of bros inside a van where they throw on Nightmare Before Christmas masks. They drive around slowly while the neighborhood is out trick-or-treating, passing Dorothy and her family at one point. The street sign switch works as the crew drives around in circles, confused.

Back at home, Wayne and Scotty make their way inside. Dorothy stops when she sees the van up the street. It begins reversing towards her. She walks to the front door and looks back at the van which is now parked in front of her house. Jack Skellington leans forward and locks looks with Dorothy. She nonchalantly turns and goes inside, checking the front door trap once more for good measure.

What I Didn’t Like

As much as I love a good Fargo episode, this one left me feeling, dare I say, bored? I’m not sure what Munch’s occult history/reincarnation thing is. I don’t know how it will come into play, if at all. Since this is a “true” story, I suppose it has its relevance. Lorraine, Farr, and Olmstead were on screen for mere minutes and felt useless to the episode.

I’m not sure how many times we need to see Jon Hamm and his glorious pierced nipples, but I feel like I’ve had my fill. I suppose that’s one of the reasons he has so many kids.

While Dorothy and Wayne’s conversations are pretty humorous, I already know that she is good with a gun, and I suspect he is beginning to see that as well.

Every show has that filler episode, I just didn’t think we would get one so quickly. Next week should be full steam ahead though given where we left off in this episode.

Ole Munch is about to either kick ass or maybe eat it? Not sure anymore.

Gator and bros are about to walk into some crazy shit, and I’m most excited to see how Wayne reacts to watching his wife potentially murder most of them.

And while we all wait, you can find joy in Dorothy’s shopping list which may or may not be similar to my own.

  • Shot Gun
  • Pistol – Revolver or 9mm
  • AR 15?
  • Juice Box (Apple)
  • Cheese Puffs
  • 12 gauge ammo
  • Dish Soap
  • Pistol Shells
  • Mac & Cheese Shells
  • Lactaid (x2)
  • Orange juice
  • Eggs
  • Bullet Proof vests (x2)

See you next week.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.

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