‘Fargo’: A Guide to All the Sioux Falls References in Season One

Aw jeez.  Season Two of ‘Fargo’ will concentrate on the Sioux Falls case that was so cryptically and frequently mentioned throughout Season One.  You betcha we compiled everything we know about Sioux Falls so far.

“It’s goddam Sioux Falls all over again.”

Fans of Season One of Fargo may have noticed an ominous sprinkling of references to a cryptic “Sioux Falls” case.  Several characters, most notably Molly’s father Lou Solverson speak about the case as old police lore – a tale of the endless fight of dark battling light. Ahead of the Season Two premiere of the anthology series, it was reported that Sioux Falls would be the focus of the next season of the twisty FX drama.

So what do we know about Sioux Falls?  Let’s flip open those police notepads and investigate.

Episode Two – “The Rooster Prince”

While we don’t hear a direct reference to the Sioux Falls case until Episode Three, young cop Molly Solverson (Allison Tollman) sits down and chats with her dad, Lou (Keith Carradine) at his small diner early on in Season One.  Lou comments on the case that Molly is currently working, saying, “then there’s the kind of deal you’re looking at now. Savagery, pure and simple.  Slaughter, hatred, devils eyes with dead eyes and charged smiles.”

Lou’s comment to Molly indicates that he’s certainly seen some shizz.  He’s cautioning his daughter as to what she’s up against, but isn’t trying to protect her against what’s certainly to come.  This is her battle to fight – it’s not Sioux Falls.

Episode Three – “A Muddy Road”

In Episode Three, there a super awkward Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) moment.  He walks in to the bathroom to admit to his Lieutenant about a mistake he’s made.  He comes clear about stopping a suspicious guy (Billy Bob Thornton, aka: Lorne Malvo), but then letting him go on his way before checking in to the situation.  After he let the guy go, he ran the plates, and they belonged to Lester Nygaard, a man who’s wife had been killed that very night.

Colin Hanks as Gus Grimly in Fargo. Photo: FX

Lieutenant Ben Schmidt stumbles out of the bathroom stall, and shouts, “It’s goddam Sioux Falls all over again!”  Um, whatever that’s supposed to mean, dude.  Is that supposed to be helpful?  It’s totally not.  Gus looks as perplexed as we feel as viewers.

Later in the episode, Gus meets Lou.  Lou sheds a bit more light on the situation by revealing that he ran a joint task force with Ben Schmidt back in the day.  He says, “we had a deal together once in Sioux Falls – joint task force.”

Ok.  Now we know two things.  One – Sioux Falls was a giant deal.  Two – We know that young Lou Solverson is played by Patrick Wilson in Season Two of Fargo, but it won’t be long before we’re meet a lil Ben Schmidt too.  According to Lou, Ben Schmidt isn’t too bright. We can’t wait to see their interactions from the past come to life in future episodes of Season Two.

Episode Nine – “A Fox, A Rabbit, and A Cabbage”

We don’t hear about Sioux Falls much again until an epic scene in Episode Nine.  Lou comes face-to-face with baddie Lorne Malvo and encounters the exact savagery that he discussed with Molly in the first few episodes.  In fact, this scene is so captivating that you should probably go back and watch it just because.  32 minutes in.  You’re welcome.

Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in Fargo. Photo: FX

Lou is wary about the stranger sitting at his diner counter, but he’s also a bit intrigued.  They engage one another in conversation, both fully seeing through one another.  Malvo wants information from Lou that he’s not willing to give.  In return, Lou spouts off a story about an old case of his from, “back in ’79.”

He goes on to say, “I’d tell you the details, but it would sound like I made ’em up.  Madness, really….If you stacked the [bodies] high you coulda climbed to the second floor.  I saw something that year I ain’t never seen, before or since.  I’d call it animal, except animals only kill for food.  This was…Sioux Falls.  Ever been?”

Lorne hasn’t been to Sioux Falls, but his devilish nature embodies the feral darkness of what Lou saw back in 1979.  This is a promise of things to come in Season Two.  Another grand showdown between darkness and light.

Episode Ten – “Morton’s Fork”

The last we hear of Sioux Falls in Fargo Season One is yet another cryptic reference from Lou.  He’s watching guard over his granddaughter, Greta (Joey King) in the finale.  As they stand guard on the porch, the duo has a revealing conversation about Lou’s past:

Greta: “You were a police once, Molly says.  You ever do this before? Stand guard?
Lou: “One other time, winter of 1979.  Minus 4 degrees. Sat on a dark porch from dusk till dawn.  Your stepmom was inside sleeping.  4 years old.”
Greta: “Who’d you think was coming.”
Lou: “It wasn’t a question of who.  More like what.”
Greta: “Did it come?”
Lou: “Not that night.  But soon after.”

Just like his daughter, Lou survived the onslaught of evil that came his way and lived to tell the tale.

Now, thanks to the wonder of television, we can only hope that we’ll get to see those moments play out in Season Two of this fascinating, frequently funny drama.  We know that both Lou Solverson and Ben Schmidt survive the incident at Sioux Falls, but what other casualties and conundrums will befall the characters of Fargo as they navigate the Sioux Falls problem in Season Two?

We can’t wait to find out.

‘Fargo’ airs on Mondays at 10/9c on FX.

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