So it’s another lackluster episode and it’s hard not to notice Dana Gonzales directed this one too. And Noah Hawley has three co-writers on it. Enzo Mileti, Scott Wilson, Francesca Sloane. Not sure any of them are at fault more than any of the others.
Though the one who had private hospital doctor Stephen Spencer (apparently he got the job for his Christopher Walken impression, which does not scale up to an actual performance and also isn’t a great impression anyway) talking about the Human Resources department in 1950 is at fault. That person is at fault.
The others are just along for the ride, which now includes a bunch of flashbacks. Bad flashbacks. Risible flashbacks.
The episode opens with E'myri Crutchfield’s birthday party. It’s a sad birthday party because both she and her parents have life changing secrets. Only they don’t talk about them because Crutchfield and the family aren’t at all important this episode.
We do find out Crutchfield sent an anonymous letter to Spencer about Jessie Buckley, who apparently is supposed to be so good in the show we want to see her doing bad things but no, she isn’t. At all. She’s better than Spencer but Spencer is just doing a Christopher Walken impression. Buckley’s fairly one note but at least it’s not an obvious note.
There’s some more with Jack Huston where we’re supposed to feel bad for him, which is weird. This season is very “love thy cop.” Including love overtly, devoutly racist Olyphant (unless in the “Fargo” universe Mormons are somehow different) and so on.
Chris Rock wages an offensive, leading to an effective scene with Salvatore Esposito, Karen Aldridge, and Kelsey Asbille, and a good monologue from Rock about equal rights.
There’s lots of plotting from Jason Schwartzman to get the action going, with a long sequence putting a child in danger because it’s effective no matter how cheap it comes off. Especially when they get to do a Miller’s Crossing thing with it. Seriously, they should’ve just called it “Fargo: Season Four: Miller’s Crossing: Season One.” Especially once they, you know, lift the some trailer action from Miller’s for this episode.
Sean Fortunato’s a standout performance here.
Ben Whishaw gets another big sequence here and he’s fine. He’s not a failure. So much of “Fargo” is a failure whenever something doesn’t go well, it seems like an achievement. But it’s just not bad.
The ending “teaser” involves Buckley and an abject eye-roll.
Oh. And the ghosts are back.