A storm rages as we slip into FX’s Fargo season four episode two, “The Land of Taking and Killing.” Sounds emerge from a shaft and two individuals emerge from what appears to be a large drainpipe or tunnel. They celebrate their escape from prison by screaming to the heavens.
It’s quickly revealed the escapees are Zelmare Roulette (Karen Aldridge) and her partner in crime, Swanee Capps (Kelsey Asbille). Both were charged with armed robbery, and Swanee was charged with being an accessory to murder. Zelmare, the leader of the duo, was charged with murder.
They clean themselves up in a restroom and rob a woman who was, unfortunately, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It turns out Zelmare’s the sister of Ethelrida’s mom, Dibrell Smutny (Anji White). Zelmare and Swanee show up in the middle of the night at the funeral home and Dibrell’s not overly excited to see her sister. Zelmare lies and claims they were released that morning from jail.
Thurman (Andrew Bird) welcomes them in and offers them coffee, while Dibrell protests they can’t stay.
Zelmare spots Ethelrida (E’myri Crutchfield) lurking at the top of the stairs and squeals in delight at the sight of her niece. Her mom told her to return to bed but Ethelrida didn’t listen. The group retire for a hastily put-together meal in the kitchen to catch up.
Swanee reveals they’re considering getting into the bank robbing business, and that’s enough to get Ethelrida sent back to bed. After she’s shooed off, Zelmare admits they know Dibrell is in debt to “leg breakers” and she and Swanee want to help out.
Thurman’s never been happy they took out a loan and, against Dibrell’s wishes, confesses they’re being charged 10% interest.
Elsewhere, the Fadda mob act on Josto’s orders and attempt to gun down the head of the hospital who turned down Donatello Fadda. As they speed away, it’s confirmed they’re not positive their spray of bullets hit the intended target.
Ethelrida pays a visit to the Kingdom of Mercy Funeral Home. She’s there to pick up formaldehyde for her dad and her friend warns her to stay out of sight. Donatello Fadda’s funeral is underway and his relatives and friends gathered are prejudiced against Blacks.
Ethelrida finds a safe spot to watch as relatives pay their respects to Donatello. The funeral’s a packed affair with a lot of smoking and wailing going on.
As Ethelrida’s peering in, Nurse Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley) arrives for the funeral. She warns Ethelrida she shouldn’t be there and is astounded to learn the teenager speaks French. Ethelrida hurries away as Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman) and a couple of his men emerge discussing the shooting at the hospital. They aren’t sure they killed the man they were sent to murder and as they’re talking, Josto notices Oraetta. He recognizes her and she reminds him she was his father’s nurse. She was at Donatello’s side as he passed away. (She doesn’t elaborate that she was the cause of Donatello’s death.)
The discussion of retribution is interrupted by the appearance of Josto’s younger brother, Gaetano (Salvatore Esposito). It’s quickly apparent there’s no love lost between the siblings. Gaetano, a large man who looms over his older brother, has just arrived from Sardinia, Italy, where he has quite the reputation as a ruthless killer.
Josto’s mom forces them to stop arguing and then accuses Josto of stealing his father’s ring from his deathbed. Josto’s confused. He didn’t take it and is unaware Nurse Mayflower slipped it off Donatello’s finger and placed it on her own.
Leaving the Faddas for a bit, the action switches over to the hospital. The entryway is littered with bullets and there are at least three dead bodies sprawled about. Detective Odis Weff (Jack Huston) carefully examines the crime scene. He’s fidgety as he interviews the intended target, Dr. Harvard (Stephen Spencer), who emerged unscathed. Dr. Harvard believes it’s retribution and blames the attack on hatchet men. He explains men of Italian origin were recently turned away and this attack must have been payback.
Detective Weff assures Dr. Harvard he’ll put out an all-points-bulletin for the getaway car. Unfortunately, Dr. Harvard only saw the gun and didn’t see who fired it. As he’s leaving Dr. Harvard’s office, Weff knocks repeatedly on the door for no reason. Detective Weff apparently suffers from OCD.
Loy Cannon (Chris Rock) arrives at the Fadda estate with his men and with Donatello’s son, Zero (Jameson Braccioforte). He’s brought the boy by so he can say goodbye to his dad and, at least temporarily, be with his family.
Loy asks for his own son to be sent out of the house before he’ll turn over Zero. As the exchange is going down, Gaetano approaches Zero. Loy warns him to back off, but Gaetano’s not impressed. He’s itching for a fight and Josto has to call off his brother before the situation escalates.
Rabbi Milligan (Ben Whishaw) accompanies Satchel (Rodney L. Jones III) across the yard for his reunion with Loy. Satchel reveals they’ve been feeding him mostly peanut butter, and Rabbi Milligan says Satchel’s been sleeping on the third floor near him. He assures Loy the boy is not being abused and that he’s watching over his care.
Rabbi Milligan isn’t Fadda by blood, but he is part of the family. When Loy asks if he likes being with the Italian mob, the soft-spoken Rabbi Milligan replies, “We live with the choices we make.”
Next, Loy meets with his right-hand man and closest confidante, Doctor Senator (Glynn Turman), at their Apex Vending Machines building. Doctor reveals he isn’t having any luck convincing banks to sign on to their credit card program. Loy is adamant they need to expand outside the neighborhood and involve “their” restaurants, stores, and banks.
Loy and Doctor also discuss the arrival of Gaetano and what it means to the Faddas. Doctor suggests if there’s a power struggle within the family, Loy should make his move now. Loy and Doctor decide they’ll start with a small move; they’ll lie and say Donatello gave them permission to take over the slaughterhouse.
Meanwhile in a back room at the gathering for Donatello, Ebal Violante (Francesco Acquaroli) leads a discussion with Josto, Gaetano, and the men about what he expects Loy’s next move will be. (Violante was consigliere to Donatello.) Ebal believes Loy will test them and Gaetano suggests they just wipe out Loy and his mob. Josto squashes that idea, reminding his brother their father made a deal. They will respect that agreement.
Josto’s forced to leave the discussion by the arrival of his fiancée, Dessie Gillis (Katie Kershaw), and her father, Milvin (Eric Slater). His girlfriend comforts him and checks on his welfare before being sent off by her father. After she leaves, Milvin cuts straight to the chase. He’s only allowing this marriage because he has political aspirations and Josto has promised to help him become mayor. The men obviously detest each other, but Josto confirms he’s still on board to help win the election.
Detective Weff arrives to ask questions of Ebal and Josto about the blue Ford on the premises, connecting it with the fact a group of Italians were thrown out of the hospital recently. Josto demands to know if Dr. Harvard is dead and it’s revealed Weff is on the Faddas’ payroll. He reminds Josto they can’t go around killing civilians. Josto insists Dr. Harvard got what he deserved.
Weff confirms Dr. Harvard is alive and instead of killing him, they killed a wealthy socialite who’s friends with the mayor. The heat is on and Weff needs to find a patsy to frame. And, more importantly, Dr. Harvard needs to be left alone.
Ebal agrees. Dr. Harvard will be off-limits, for now. Next year, not so much…
Over at St. Barts, Nurse Oraetta Mayflower is making her rounds. She considers herself an angel of mercy and is about to euthanize another patient when a doctor barges in. She’s brought in to speak with an administrator, Allen Sneet (Ed Kross), and she claims it’s all a mistake. Nurse Mayflower blames dispensing the wrong amount of meds – and even the wrong medicines – to patients because doctors handwriting sucks.
Sneet confirms she’s been the subject of multiple incidents and this can’t continue. The pharmacist has noticed discrepancies and he’s concluded they need to let her go. Nurse Mayflower immediately goes on the offensive, claiming this is a coverup and “an incompetence of doctors.” She’s just a scapegoat. She suggests he call the police or the news and report what’s going on. Oraetta won’t go quietly and Sneet backs down.
Sneet offers a month’s severance and she counters with three. They settle on two and a recommendation letter to her future employer.
Ethelrida is sitting on the front porch swing when Oraetta steps off the bus. Her escaped convict aunt is inside, speaking to her through the window. Ethelrida tells her to stay hidden as Oraetta approaches.
They converse in French and Ethelrida reveals she’s taught herself the language. They discuss sun signs, having pluck, and Oraetta offers Ethelrida a little light housecleaning job. Ethelrida is understandably offended and Oraetta says she’s making her a “special project.”
Oraetta hustles away after telling Ethelrida she’s going to bake her a pie.
Loy’s men, with Doctor Senator in command, show up at the slaughterhouse. The men inside aren’t prepared for their arrival and aren’t armed. Doctor Senator explains this is a transition of power and the men scurry out of the building as Doctor takes a seat in the boss’ chair to wait for a response from the Faddas.
Oraetta sings along with a record as she happily bakes an apple pie for Ethelrida and her parents. She looks like Susie Homemaker as she slices apples and rolls out the pie crust. Well…if Susie Homemaker was a psycho who adds a large dose of Syrup of Ipecac to her pastries.
Gaetano and a large group of the Fadda men arrive to take back the slaughterhouse. They’re all well-armed as the confrontation begins. Doctor explains his father used to work in a slaughterhouse, but Gaetano’s not interested in this tidbit. Gaetano claims the slaughterhouse is theirs and calls Americans soft. “In the land of taking and killing, Gaetano is king,” he says.
Doctor claims a deal was made – a deal Gaetano is unaware of. That deal puts the slaughterhouse in the hands of Loy’s syndicate. Constant Calamita (Gaetano Bruno) calls BS but Doctor directs the attention back to Gaetano.
The loud bang of cows being executed occasionally punctuates the conversation.
Gaetano takes the boss’ chair Doctor vacated while the discussion was underway. He suggests Doctor and his men leave. Gaetano will speak with his brother and if a deal was in fact struck, they will turn over the slaughterhouse without a fight. If not, then it means war.
Doctor assures Gaetano they’ll be back. After all, they came to America before the Italians. Doctor considers the Italians to be newcomers to this land.
Loy sits with his family at the Thanksgiving dinner table and leads a prayer.
Gaetano is also pictured sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner with his family. However, he’s taken the seat at the head of the table which isn’t his. Josto forces him to move.
Oraetta walks the pie across the street, rings the bell, and leaves it on the funeral home’s doormat.
Thurman answers the door, spots the pie, seems to consider it for a moment, and then takes it inside.
Moments after he shuts the door, Dick ‘Deafy’ Wickware (Timothy Olyphant) leads other officers up the sidewalk to the funeral home’s door. The episode ends with Dick giving the door a swift kick.
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