Well, it finally happened. After a whole season spent building up to the infamous Sioux Falls Massacre first referenced by an elderly Lou Solverson last year, Fargo Season 2 finally arrived at the event itself in its penultimate episode, "The Castle," and it contained just as much bloodshed as promised — as well as a few surprises to carry us over into next Monday's finale, "Palindrome." So who lived? Who died? And who is left hovering somewhere in between in the last bloody cliffhanger of the season?
"The Castle" picked up right where "Loplop" left off, with Peggy and Ed apprehended by Lou and Hank and Hanzee making a break for it after killing Dodd. Given the fact that Hanzee and Dodd were from North Dakota, Peggy and Ed were from Minnesota, and the murder happened in South Dakota, there was a bit of a question about who would be taking point on the ensuing investigation. After a bit of posturing, the blowhard South Dakota chief took over the three-ring circus. Over Lou's vehement protestations, he decided to proceed with Ed's and Mike's arranged hostage swap — despite the fact that said hostage now had a bullet in his skull — and exiled Lou from his state when the Minnesotan tried to talk Ed out of the foolishness.
Hank stayed with the Blumquists and the SD police force as they all holed up in Sioux Falls' Motor Motel waiting to apprehend Mike Milligan when he showed up to take possession of Dodd. However, Hanzee had different plans; his allegiance now firmly shifted against his former employers, he called the Gerhardts and told them about the swap, leading them to believe that Dodd was still alive... and leading them into a direct confrontation with the unsuspecting cops.
Tired of sending men out to do jobs for her only to have them botch their jobs horribly, Floyd decided to accompany Bear and the hordes of Gerhardt henchmen to the Motor Motel to make sure it got done right this time. It didn't take long after their arrival for the Gerhardt men to start taking out the poor cops, who were literally caught with their pants down. Once the Gerhardts realized that Dodd wasn't there and that their enemies weren't mob enforces but police officers, things went from bad to worse.
By the end of the bloodbath, all the cops and all the henchmen were killed. Peggy and Ed escaped with Hanzee in close pursuit. Hank took a bullet in the gut. Lou took out Bear (with a little help from a distracting flying saucer). And Hanzee put a bow on his betrayal of the Gerhardts by personally stabbing Floyd and leaving her to bleed out on the pavement of the Motor Motel parking lot.
When we started Season 2, I never guessed we would be heading into the finale with all the Gerhardts already dead. But Otto, Floyd, Dodd, Bear, Rye, and (presumably) Simone have now all shuffled off this mortal coil, leaving only poor Charlie, still rotting away in a jail cell somewhere. It seems as though the main conflict of "Palindrome" will be the Blumquists vs. Hanzee vs. Lou — with a couple more lives hanging in the balance, to boot. Not only is Hank in danger of expiring from that aforementioned bullet wound, but his own daughter (and Lou's wife) Betsy was last seen collapsing in her kitchen.
Will Hank succumb to his injury? Will Betsy succumb to her cancer? Will Hanzee complete his campaign of carnage? Will the Blumquists live to self-actualize another day? Or will poor widowed Lou Solverson be Season 2's sole survivor? That outcome has been looking more and more likely every week, and never more likely than at the end of the fateful Sioux Falls Massacre.
Images: Chris Large/FX (4)