Fargo S5E7 Recap: What Happened to Linda?


Gator sits in the drivers seat and stares out of the window.
CR: Michelle Faye/FX

The following recap contains spoilers for Fargo S5E7, “Linda” (written by Noah Hawley & April Shih and directed by Sylvain White)

Dorothy (Juno Temple) finally shares her backstory in her own words and admittedly I felt sad for her and even more disgusted with Tillman (Jon Hamm), as now we know he isn’t just an abusive, power hungry dick. He is also a pedophile.

Before I get into Dorothy’s story, I will start with poor Wayne (David Rysdahl) and Scotty. Even after everything that has happened, he is still Dorothy’s number one fan. He and Scotty spend some time together at his company, but he has no real interest in his job. His focus is on Scotty and Dorothy.

Later in the evening, Scotty asks for a bedtime story. Wayne crawls into bed with her and tells her a story of a hero named Dot. Dot is the Sun’s favorite and rainbows appear everywhere she goes. The dark comes because he doesn’t like the light and tries to destroy Dot.

Wayne goes on, but it’s endearing to see that he understands what Dorothy is up against and that he still sees her as this pure, empowering person. As he tells the story of the light and dark, both Dorothy and Tillman appear split screen as they relate to the story Wayne tells.

Then there is Gator (Joe Keery) and his vendetta against Munch (Sam Spruell). In the morning, a young man comes into Munch’s mama’s house and apparently he, too, is her son. He’s looking for money and is mad that she hasn’t stretched her disability check. Munch comes downstairs, much to the man’s confusion. The man informs Munch that if he’s going to be staying there, he will need to pay for room and board. Munch hands him a wad of cash but then follows the man outside and puts an ax into his chest.

Later that night, Gator tracks Munch’s location with the GPS device he had installed on Munch’s car. He grabs his sniper rifle and snipes who he believes is Munch through the window, but nope, it’s actually his little bro who is already dead.

Gator grabs the GPS device from the car and notices the bag of cash in there. While breaking a window to get it, Munch’s mama confronts him, calling him a thief. Gator pushes her back which causes her to fall and crack her head on the pavement. Gator doesn’t seem too fazed and he takes off with the cash.

Munch speaks to his brother.
Michelle Faye/FX

Munch comes outside to see his dead mother. I’m certain Gator has it coming now.

Now, onto Dorothy. Dorothy is driving down a long stretch of road, but is consistently dozing off. She pulls into a truck stop diner and has a seat inside. The waitress asks if Dorothy is running to or away from something. Dorothy changes the subject, but I suppose either scenario can apply to her in her current situation.

She leaves the diner and drives to a remote area where she finds a postcard from Linda (Kari Matchett), Tillman’s first wife, saying she was sorry. The front of the postcard is from Camp Utopia. Later, Dorothy finds Camp Utopia which is a camp for abused woman starting over.

Dorothy wants Linda to go with her to testify against Tillman so that he can go to jail. She says Linda owes her for pushing her to Tillman. Linda says she will need to make a puppet and speak her truth before Linda can agree to it. Dorothy is reluctant, but eventually she makes the puppet.

She puts on her puppet show and speaks her truth. The truth is that she ran away from home at a young age and while she was on the street, she was caught shoplifting, but Linda was there and took her in and back to her home.

At first she saw Tillman as a strong father type, but it didn’t last long. She and a young Gator witnessed Tillman abusing Linda daily. Eventually Tillman began sexually abusing Dorothy and after Linda picked up and left one night, Tillman married Dorothy and told her it was true love. That’s when the physical abuse began and never stopped.

After she was done speaking, the woman embraced her and Linda agreed to go and testify. In the car she apologized to Dorothy, but the moment doesn’t last as Dorothy snaps out of what was a dream all this time. She awakes in that truck stop diner as the waitress places a plate in front of her.

When she leaves, a large truck slides off of the snowy road and into her car. The collision causes another car to slide into Dorothy, landing her in the hospital. When she wakes, the nurse informs her that her husband has been by her side all night and that she will go grab him. Dorothy naively smiles at the thought of Wayne when,. not surprisingly, Tillman comes strutting in. “Gotcha,” he says, as the episode ends.

I think this was such a great episode. I don’t know if all will agree as it may have lacked some real movement, but I loved the way we were shown Dorothy’s backstory. It was provided without being extremely graphic or doing a flashback. The use of puppetry seemed childlike. It was so sad to see how Linda planned to use Dorothy as a distraction in hopes of lessening her own abuse. Dorothy being Tillman’s new obsession is what gave Linda the time to run. It’s sad but it’s also like Dorothy says to Linda at one point about being in fight or flight. When you’re scared, you run.

Seeing how young Gator turned to Dorothy for comfort when his mom was being abused was endearing as well. Now look at him. It just goes to show you how the absence of a parent can change who you grow into as an adult. Who would he have been if his mom would have taken him with her?

Maybe she didn’t run at all. Maybe Tillman killed her so that he could be with Dorothy. That could be what is being implied when Dorothy asks Linda why she didn’t take her and Gator when she ran.

I’m still unclear about Munch and his whole story. Was that really his mom? Was that man really his brother? A lot of questions with no clear answers, but honestly he’s my least favorite character and I’m not too invested in his life and what happens to him. However, it is clear that he and Gator will be seeing each other again.

I also wonder at this point: Will Dorothy be able to get away from Tillman, or will she be saved by (pick one) Olmstead (Richa Moorjani), Wayne, or Lorraine (Jennifer Jason Leigh)?

If we’ve learned anything about Dorothy, though, she won’t be giving in without a fight.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.

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