Fargo Season 4: Episode 8: The Nadir (2020) - Reviewed


Photo Courtesy of FX


I think the moral of this season, at least for me, will be: don’t get attached to too many characters because they probably will not survive. First, I had to deal with Doctor Senator’s (Glynn Turman) horrific death, and now, the Olyphant in the room, Dick "Deafy" Wickware (Timothy Olyphant). 

Gunned down by none other than the man to whom he was giving a second chance, Odis (Jack Huston) turned on Deafy quicker than Capps (Kelsey Asbille) and Roulette (Karen Aldridge) massacred almost the entire train station during this episode’s climatic, bloody finale. 

Once again following the “moves and counter moves” on which this season is relying to heavily, Episode 8, entitled The Nadir, picks up where last week left off: Gaetano (Salvatore Esposito) has been freed and finally decides to do something intelligent by not falling into Loy’s (Chris Rock) manipulative trap.  Loy had hoped that by freeing Gaetano, instead of killing him as Josto (Jason Schwartzman) requested, Gaetano would end Josto and anyone who was still loyal to him. When Loy is informed that his plan has not succeeded, he simply says “Fargo” when asked what he plans to do. 

Throughout the episode, Oraetta (Jessie Buckley) begins to panic when she learns that Dr. Harvard (Stephen Spencer) survived his poisoning and has been transferred out of state. As Oraetta makes plans to leave town, she finds Ethelrida’s (E'myri Crutchfield) journal from several episodes back and matches the handwriting to the letter that Dr. Harvard received anonymously, which informed him of Oraetta’s possible murdering of past patients at other hospitals. As to what Oraetta will do to Ethelrida or her family is anyone’s guess, but it’s yet one more example of the cat and mouse formula in which this season relishes. 

I’m not necessarily complaining, rather, I’m starting to second guess myself as to whether this season will pay off in the ways I hope it will. In watching the episodes it’s always a thrill, especially with the twists and turns that this week offered, with multiple deaths that included Deafy and, sadly, Capps. It just all feels Fargo-adjacent, rather than Fargo

Maybe that’s the point. I referenced the Season 2 book, The History of True Crime in the Mid West, in an earlier review, which took an outside approach to the show itself and looked at Fargo as a novel with each season being a chapter, or series of chapters in one book. As Season 4 is one of those chapters, it could be a bridge that connects the past to the present in some meaningful way that we’ve yet to see. But even as a chapter in a book, it should work as its own compelling story. It still is, but I worry that in the end it’ll simply be remembered as a bridge, rather than a powerful standalone story that works on its own and as a part of the larger True Crime saga. 

To my Fargo-adjacent point, this season is also quite literally removed from Fargo the city, more so than past seasons. Much like the movie by which the show is inspired, every season takes place somewhat near Fargo but is never actually directly set there. This season, however, is set in Kansas City, and was shot in and around Chicago, as opposed to Calgary, where the past three seasons were filmed. Therefore, by design and overall locations, season 4 should be different than previous years. 

On that level, I should rest easy, but only these last few episodes will reveal that for sure. Please don’t let me down, Mr. Hawley.

--Matt Giles