Fargo feels like a game of chess in “Lay Away,” but will Loy Cannon (Chris Rock) being the better player matter in his game against Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman)? The show has set him up to be cleverer and more farsighted than his rival, but it’s also established the constant effects of racism. Will racism be the checkmate played on Josto’s behalf, no matter how incompetent and petty he is?
First, let’s acknowledge Jessie Buckley. Give this woman an Emmy. Her Nurse Oraetta Mayflower is bonkers and calculating and effective, quietly achieving her aims in a no-nonsense way in the background while all of the men in the show growl and posture. In this episode, she returns to her poisonous kitchen, where she whips up a tainted batch of the macarons Dr. Harvard (Stephen Spencer) is so fond of. She tempts him into eating a vanilla one, then raids his desk for the anonymous letter maligning her character while he dies on the floor in front of her. As soon as he is sufficiently beyond saving, she rehearses over his writhing form the face she’ll make when she calls for “help,” settles on an expression and alerts his secretary to his collapse as she escapes with all the evidence.
Ethelrida (Emyri Crutchfield), who is on her way into the crosshairs of arguably the most dangerous person in Fargo, only makes a brief appearance this week. Her family’s funeral home is being taken over by Loy’s enterprise, apparently becoming auxiliary storage for their cigarette stock? She encounters his men as they stash goods in her foyer and the viewing room, then scurries away just before one of the men has a near miss with a phantom (probably not) hiding in a coffin.
The main action in “Lay Over” revolves around Josto attempting to be crafty by telling Loy that Constant Calamita (Gaetano Bruno) has killed young Satchel (Rodney L Jones III) and Rabbi (Ben Whishaw) and hidden their bodies, and that to make peace he will give Loy a 50% partnership in the Kansas City organized crime scene. He also offers Gaetano’s (Salvatore Esposito) life in exchange for Satchel’s, knowing that this move may result in collateral damage in the form of Zero (Jameson Braccioforte).
Loy falls for the bit about Satchel and Rabbi being dead, but after a dark night of the soul, he recognizes the rest of the gambit for what it is. He pulls in Odis (Jack Huston), puts Zelmare (Karen Aldridge) and Swanee (Kelsey Asbille) on a train to Pennsylvania (and out of the action), sends one of his men after Calamita and then sits down with Gaetano. He tells the wounded bear of a man what his brother has done, then asserts that the stockyards now belong to him and sets Gaetano free.
Meanwhile, Marshall Dick “Deafy” Wickware (Timothy Olyphant), continues his surveillance of all parties and confronts Odis briefly about his dirty slate. He rattles Odis enough that the already nervous detective packs his bags to leave town, but he’s scooped by Loy’s guys before he can get away.