‘Fargo’ Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: “The Pretend War”

Fargo Season 4 Episode 4
Chris Rock as Loy Cannon in ‘Fargo’ season 4 episode 4 (Photo by Elizabeth Morris/FX)

FX’s Fargo season four episode four opens with Ethelrida (E’myri Crutchfield) up late, writing. The house is dark and she’s alone when a creaking noise attracts her attention. She opens the door and finds the Crypt Keeper – or something/someone who resembles him – standing in the hallway. Justifiably scared, she slams the door to shut out this intruder.

Zelmare Roulette (Karen Aldridge) and a still noticeably ill Swanee Capps (Kelsey Asbille) examine the vomit-coated stash of cash they grabbed from Loy’s warehouse. The other key players are shown in various states of unrest as snow falls in the dark of night.

Constant Calamita (Gaetano Bruno) and an associate are driving a truck down an otherwise empty road when they’re suddenly forced to stop. A fire blazes in the road immediately in front of the truck, quickly spreading to enclose them in a circle of flames.

Loy’s men appear out of the darkness, lit by the towering flames as they aim their guns at the trapped truck. The driver’s an idiot and exits the vehicle, punches one of the men, and immediately pays for his bad judgment by being pushed into the fire. He screams as he burns.

Calamita, wisely, had already tossed his gun outside the truck before his partner was set on fire. Forced from the truck, he issues a warning in Italian that he’ll get revenge for this assault. The barrel of Omie’s rifle is heated by the flames and then placed against Calamita’s cheek. He endures this torture without uttering a word.

Loy’s men leave him standing there alone as they drive off in the truck with its load of guns.

The following day Doctor Senator (Glynn Turman) meets with Fadda consigliere Ebal Violante (Francesco Acquaroli) at Spud’s All Time restaurant. The mood is obviously tense as Ebal provides a little of his backstory, recalling his arrival in America and discovering the importance of pretending to be something you’re not.

Ebal finally asks the key question, “Are we at war?” Doctor Senator replies, “Not yet but we’re trying real hard.”

Ebal places the blame solely on Loy, believing he’s responsible for the escalation because his men just stole a shipment of guns. Doctor Senator reminds him this began when Constant shot at Loy’s son, Lemuel. Ebal has absolutely no idea what Doctor’s referring to and Doctor explains Calamita and Rabbi Milligan tried to kill Lemuel.

Ebal glances back at the men who’ve accompanied him to the meeting while Doctor declares Constant Calamita is lucky he’s still alive. Doctor realizes Ebal wasn’t aware of the hit but he isn’t convinced the Faddas weren’t behind the robbery perpetrated by two women at the warehouse. If Ebal didn’t know about the attempt on Lemuel’s life, maybe he’s also out of the loop on the warehouse robbery.

Ebal promises to return with answers.

Meanwhile, the stolen Fadda truck arrives at Loy’s warehouse. The men unload a few crates of oranges before getting to the real cargo – semi-automatic weapons. 300 of them, to be exact.

Doctor Senator isn’t sure if the Faddas are going into the gun business or if they were preparing for war with the Cannon crew. Loy (Chris Rock) gives Doctor orders to sell them to Mort Kellerman in Fargo at cost. If he takes the deal, Mort needs to know he’ll owe them devotion.

As for the warehouse robbery, Doctor and Loy decide it was a random crime and had nothing to do with the Faddas. They put out feelers to see if they can find the women. But, more importantly, they need to determine whether Gaetano or Josto are in charge.

Speaking of the Faddas, Josto (Jason Schwartzman) and Oraetta (Jessie Buckley) apparently are into rough sex. Oraetta’s on top choking Josto as we catch up with the disturbing twosome in bed. (They’re nearly fully clothed as they have sex.) The sexual interlude ends and the conversation turns to – of all things – Istanbul and Casablanca. She loves the idea of going to Istanbul but he explains he needs to stay in town and watch over his family. He’s in charge, after all.

He confesses he wants to kill Dr. Harvard. Oraetta claims she’s an enemy to no man.

As Josto’s exiting, Ethelrida arrives to ask if Oraetta still has odd jobs she can do for a little money. Ethelrida admits her family can use some financial help right now, but Oraetta puts her off claiming she has to go to work. Ethelrida is very persuasive and finally Oraetta invites her in. Her place is a mess and she gives Ethelrida the task of cleaning up while she heads out to work.

Ethelrida negotiates a $1 payment for three hours of housework.

Rabbi Milligan (Ben Whishaw) lurks outside Oraetta’s apartment and surprises Josto on his way out. He confesses he botched the hit on Lemuel and that Constant is probably going to fink on him. Rabbi explains he didn’t think Josto ordered the hit or wanted to start a war; that’s why he didn’t pull the trigger.

Josto’s angry and confirms he never ordered a hit on Loy’s son. He can’t believe his brother went behind his back and gave orders to kill Lemuel. Josto assigns Rabbi Milligan to be his “bird on a wire,” tasking him with watching everyone and reporting back what he learns.

Josto promises Calamita will get what’s coming to him and suggests it’s time to do some spring cleaning.

Before taking off, Josto orders Rabbi Milligan to find Odis.

Over at the station, U.S. Marshal Dick “Deafy” Wickware (Timothy Olyphant) and Detective Odis Weff (Jack Huston) interview a man who saw Zelmare and Swanee after their escape. The man’s not really forthcoming with info and it’s apparent Odis has set this up and is feeding the guy answers. When he says he heard the women discussing taking off for Chicago, Odis declares they flew the coop.

Odis slips the man some cash and ushers him out the door.

Odis says a quick goodbye to Dick but Dick isn’t ready to leave. They have officers in Chicago who can check on the tip, and for now he’s staying in Kansas City to continue his work on tracking Zelmare and Swanee.

Odis spots Rabbi Milligan and lies that he needs to go see a snitch. Dick is sharper than his temporary partner and invites himself along for the ride.

Josto and Rabbi Milligan bust into the room where Gaetano (Salvatore Esposito) is looking over photos of the burned-out truck. Calamita and Ebal are with Gaetano and Josto fires his gun, deliberately missing his brother. Josto demands to know if Ebal was in on the hit and Ebal says he only learned about it from Doctor Senator.

Josto warns Calamita he’s only alive because Rabbi Milligan kept him from killing Lemuel. Gaetano tells Josto that Loy’s men stole 300 guns because they think the Faddas are weak. Josto returns the insult, calling Gaetano weak for basically turning over 300 guns to their enemies.

Josto points his gun at Gaetano’s penis as the men square off. Gaetano backs down; Josto wins this battle.

Dick drives Odis over to Joplin’s store and Odis has Dick stay in the car as he meets alone with this snitch, claiming he doesn’t want to spook him.

Dick watches Gaetano angrily pace in front of the store and decides to approach him. Dick’s aware there must be something illegal going on upstairs, but Gaetano only warns him to take off. Calamita joins Gaetano to threaten Dick, but Dick’s not easily intimidated. He asks about the circular wound on Calamita’s cheek and then extracts some carrots from his pocket. He begins munching on this healthy snack while explaining that years ago Italians came to Salt Lake City with their illegal drugs and plans to turn the women into prostitutes. The citizens of Salt Lake City strung them up and drug them through the streets until their heads popped off.

Fargo Season 4 Episode 4
Francesco Acquaroli as Ebal Violante and Jack Huston as Detective Odis Weff in ‘Fargo’ season 4 episode 4 (Photo by Elizabeth Morris/FX)

Inside, Odis is meeting with Ebal and Josto. They want Odis to warn Loy that starting a war with the Faddas also means they’ll be fighting the cops and City Hall. Josto suggests he advise them to know their place. Odis needs to bust some heads so that Loy will back down.

Josto, in command mode, orders Ebal to go to New York and assure them he has everything under control.

Ethelrida’s done an excellent job of cleaning up Oraetta’s place and it looks immaculate. Before she left for work Oraetta gave orders not to enter a particular room so, of course, Ethelrida can’t resist. It turns out the off-limits room is actually a closet with shelves full of drugs, including Laudanum, and multiple bottles of laxatives. There are also bottles of Oraetta’s secret pie ingredient – syrup of ipecac.

Oraetta’s cat joins Ethelrida in the closet and knocks over a box, spilling its contents. Strangely, the box contains newspaper clippings of obituaries. Ethelrida spots another box hidden away and opens it to discover it’s full of jewelry. She places one of the rings – the one Oraetta stole from Donatello Fadda – on her finger as she examines other bits of jewelry. An engraved bracelet catches her eye and she matches the name on it to one of the obituaries.

Ethelrida glances around the closet and sees more items that might have been taken from the dead. Oraetta’s telephone rings and Ethelrida suddenly decides she’s seen enough for one day.

Elsewhere, Loy and his men confront Rabbi Milligan as he leaves a store. When Loy asks if he screwed up or if it was just a warning, Rabbi Milligan replies, “I protected your son.” Loy demands to know if Josto or Gaetano are calling the shots, and Rabbi Milligan avoids the question and instead warns Loy the cops will be around shortly and these cops are owned by the Faddas.

Loy reveals he knows all about what Rabbi Milligan did to his own family all those years ago. He asks what it’s like to kill his own family and then demands his boy back. He promises Rabbi Milligan $5,000 if he delivers Satchel, but Rabbi claims he can’t do it.

Loy reminds him, again, the Faddas aren’t his family. He threatens Rabbi Milligan that if anything happens to either of his sons, he’ll kill him and feed him to some pigs.

Night’s fallen and Ethelrida lies in bed. She’s got Donatello Fadda’s ring along with the obituary of the man who owned the engraved bracelet.

Zelmare and Swanee are holed up in a hotel and Zelmare’s busy washing the money in the bathtub. She sniffs a bill to see if she can still detect the vomit and then chuckles over their predicament.

Swanee’s still not feeling well and is curled up in bed. Zelmare tries to reassure her she’s there as she hangs the bills on a clothing line to dry.

A figure emerges from the bathtub and then we see the sheets being removed from Swanee’s shivering body in the bed by an invisible force. Zelmare closes her eyes as water appears to fall from the ceiling directly over Swanee. The figure, which appears to be the same one Ethelrida spotted in her hallway, moves closer to Swanee while Zelmare continues to keep her eyes shut tightly.

She finally opens them and sees Swanee lying on her stomach in bed. She checks for breath and then roughly shakes her partner. Swanee sits up, rolls over, and vomits.

The next day Zelmare confronts Thurman (Andrew Bird) about the pie. She demands to know who made it and he says he thinks it was a neighbor. Zelmare then hands him a bag of cash and suggests he not ask where she got it. He also shouldn’t ask why it smells funny.

Zelmare assures Thurman her sister won’t like it, but she’ll get over it. Before she leaves, she reveals they’re staying at the hotel for another day or two and then hitting the road. She asks him to tell Ethelrida she’s proud of her and not to let anyone cut in front of her in line. When he asks what line, she replies, “Any line.”

Loy sits at home, peeling oranges and considering his next move. His thoughts are interrupted by Thurman arriving at the door, delivering a bag of money. Thurman claims he inherited it. He’s obviously very nervous and admits he thought Loy was going to shoot him. Loy confesses he thought about it.

Thurman quickly makes his exit once Loy suggests he leave. After he’s gone, Loy notices the funny smell coming from the cash. He recognizes the smell and says, “Son of a bitch!”

Thurman whistles a happy tune as he returns home. He grabs his wife for a quick dance and then spins Ethelrida around. He’s in a fantastic mood and wants to celebrate. When Dibrell asks about the good news, Thurman says they’re out of danger now. He fixed things by paying off the debt.

Dibrell’s smile has been ever so slowly leaving her face while listening to her husband. She demands to know where her sister is and what he did. Dibrell asks if Thurman’s aware of what Zelmare did to get the money and he reminds her he didn’t want to borrow money in the first place.

Dibrell won’t let it go and asks again what he did. He doesn’t explain and simply says that it’s done.

Her mom walks out and Ethelrida comforts her dad. He’s sure this will all be all right. “It’ll all blow over soon enough,“ says Thurman, completely underestimating the amount of trouble they’re now in.