From the outset, The Sopranos set a precedent, subsequently embraced by numerous series it influenced, by frontloading the majority of a season’s climax into the penultimate episode. The approach entails treating the season finale as a reflective epilogue, unraveling each character’s journey. This strategy avoids the risk of relegating everything except the action to a rushed conclusion, ensuring each narrative thread is given its due attention. Fargo’s fifth-season finale, “Bisquik,” initially appears to deviate from this pattern, bursting forth with intense action in its initial moments.
However, the episode’s trajectory takes unexpected turns, challenging the conventional structure. While the opening scenes brim with action, “Bisquik” then evolves into more than a mere epilogue, expanding into an extended postscript. The final act, in particular, ventures into an unforeseen and likely divisive direction, injecting unpredictability into the narrative. The conclusion is a multifaceted tapestry, presenting elements that would have been challenging to anticipate at the close of the preceding episode.
Resuming from where the previous episode concluded, the finale follows the now-blind Gator aimlessly wandering through a mist-shrouded field, experiencing a poignant fall. Gator’s narrative is approaching its conclusion, and despite the reprehensible nature of his actions throughout the season, a trace of sympathy may emerge for him. As the shooting subsides, Gator, in a moment of remorse, reunites with Dot, seeking forgiveness and questioning her about the vision of his mother. Dot, in a revelation, admits she did not witness Gator’s mother but promises to bring him cookies in jail. Gator’s envisioned future will not materialize as anticipated, adding a layer of complexity to his fate, one shaped not by his own imagination but by the realities he faces.
From the onset of the episode, Roy becomes aware that his envisioned future is slipping away before he is fully ensnared. Even within the confines of his private chapel, he confronts his disappointment, symbolically expressing his discontent by spitting on the floor while gazing at the figure of Jesus. In Roy’s eyes, even the divine figure has transformed into just another adversary thwarting his aspirations. With little left to forfeit, Roy no longer feels compelled to maintain civility in the face of Odin’s provocations.
As the elderly authoritarian hurls insults, particularly raising the unresolved matter of Dot’s survival, Roy reaches a breaking point. Fueled by a sense of desperation and the realization that politeness toward Odin is no longer necessary, he reacts impulsively, swiftly slashing Odin’s throat. This impulsive act becomes a manifestation of Roy’s frustration, a stark response to the cascading disappointments in his pursuit of a favorable future.
Roy completes his unsettling task just as Karen stumbles upon the aftermath of the murder. A frantic pursuit ensues, leading Roy around a corner, only to face the ominous presence of Dot wielding a rifle. His prospects seem dire, and it’s only the unexpected arrival of Witt and the FBI that provides a fleeting window for his escape. A brief getaway takes him into the tunnels beneath the Tillman compound, where a tense confrontation with Witt unfolds. A fatal stab seals Witt’s fate, but Roy’s triumph proves short-lived as he emerges from the tunnels only to be apprehended by the FBI.
Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, Dot experiences a bittersweet reunion with her extended family. Tender moments are shared with Wayne and Scotty, and an unexpected connection surfaces with Lorraine. However, Dot sees through the facade, recognizing Lorraine’s approval of her violent act as a way to express newfound affection. A year later, Dot and Indira mourn Witt at his grave, reflecting on their lives. Dot and Wayne have ventured into the business world, running a dealership together, while Indira thrives in the private sector.
In the distant land of Illinois, Lorraine pays a visit to Roy in prison, accompanied by Indira, at least for a brief moment. Lorraine takes the opportunity to elucidate the depth of Roy’s predicament. She asserts her influence with judges, ensuring an extended prison stay for Roy. Despite Roy’s bravado about embracing the prison environment, Lorraine discloses her plan to make his life unbearable, fueled by her displeasure with how he treated Dot. As she leaves, she leaves Roy with a meager bargaining chip, a pack of cigarettes unlikely to buy him much mercy in the harsh prison reality.
And with that, our journey concludes! Every character’s destiny has been unveiled, and all the lingering threads neatly tied. The only remaining task is to witness Dot and Scotty savor Wayne’s chili. However, an unexpected twist unfolds as Ole, the self-proclaimed nihilist contract killer, resurfaces—a potential 500-year-old sin eater from Wales.
Dot and Scotty return to find Ole in the company of Wayne in the living room. Ole, true to form, remains terse, ominous, and darkly poetic as he engages Dot in a discussion about letting a metaphorical tiger go, alluding to an unrelenting pursuit out of obligation. This aligns with Ole’s character, a man who believes staunchly in the few principles he holds dear—chiefly, killing for money and adhering to the rules that govern such transactions. Dot becomes Ole’s unfinished business, a debt demanding settlement.
However, Dot refuses to be a mere unpaid debt. Instead, she endeavors to engage Ole in conversation, coaxing him to reveal his past as a sin eater for the wealthy, his time in America during the age of carrier pigeons and 600 tribes, his military service, and more. As Ole lays bare his life story, Dot challenges the foundational tenets of his philosophy, questioning the validity of holding onto debts. Maybe forgiveness is a more virtuous way to live.
In the ensuing moments, Dot persistently chips away at Ole’s reasons for being there, and with it, challenges Ole’s fundamental worldview. Despite his initial intent for violence, Dot encourages him to consider a different path, one that involves making biscuits, listening to Scotty’s tales of chimpanzees, and embracing a way of life he has never contemplated. Ole tries to justify his adherence to a code, but Dot introduces him to the joys of cooking secrets, beer-drinking, and an alternative way of living that he has never considered. Perhaps the code is an illusion, and maybe he can choose to live differently. While he once had to survive by eating fleas off rats, he now enjoys chili, and those biscuits turned out surprisingly well!
This scene intricately ties up the season’s narrative while maintaining a tension reminiscent of other intense moments throughout the season. The overarching theme has explored how the privileged exploit the underprivileged, with characters like Roy manipulating religion to justify their abuses. Yet, Dot and her family embody a different perspective—a version of Christianity focused on core principles of redemption and equality, challenging traditional gender roles. This season, born from a riot, has peeled back the layers of brutality beneath Fargo’s Minnesota Nice, revealing that in some places, the kindness isn’t merely surface-level. Perhaps it’s genuine enough to bring a smile to even Ole’s face. (Or maybe those drop biscuits really do shine with the addition of buttermilk.