Plus, how Noah Hawley brought whimsy and terror to Dot and Gator's "Home Alone"-esque Halloween fight scene.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Fargo season 5, episode 4, "Insolubilia."
Fresh off last week’s cliffhanger, Keery’s character Gator and his cronies — donning their Nightmare Before Christmas masks — break into Dot’s (Juno Temple) home to kidnap her only to discover that it’s booby trapped from floor to ceiling with a secret sledgehammer, a smoking oven, and a creepy, cackling jack-o-lantern. After a brief tussle with the Mama Lyon herself, Gator grabs one of her discarded weapons to use as he prepares for round two: a nail bat.
The weapon choice is sure to catch the attention of Stranger Things fans, who have become very familiar with his character Steve Harrington using one to fight demogorgons since the beloved Netflix series’ first season. But, according to Fargo creator Noah Hawley, the parallel between both of Keery’s characters was completely unintentional.
“There was no nod to Stranger Things that was deliberate,” he tells EW. “The joke, of course, was that the 12-year-old girl is making a Zombie Killer, and their home defense system is a sledgehammer over the front door. And then, once you created and use that joke, now the Zombie Killer is in play and so of course he's gonna break into the house.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that the showrunner hasn’t recreated some of his favorite scenes from his cast’s filmography over the years.
“I did a shot in the fourth year of Fargo of Jason Schwartzman that, for me, you could have laid over the shot in Rushmore where he's put the bees in Bill Murray's room and he's walking out of the elevator in slow motion,” he says. “I was like, 'I want to do that shot after Jason has shot up this car and he's walking away from it and it's going to explode behind him.’”
While the nail bat wasn’t a direct nod, Hawley noted that even unintentional parallels can bring charm to a series. He adds, “Sometimes those echoes are interesting because people don't watch it in a vacuum, they watch as part of a whole cultural knowledge of other films and shows.”
Even with the weapon, Gator is still unsuccessful in catching Dot as she weaves through her home, systematically taking out each of his henchmen through a series of increasingly inventive methods that include climbing up laundry chutes, trapping them underneath ladders, and hitting them over the head with toilet lids. For Hawley, it was important that Dot and Gator’s high-stakes Halloween face-off felt both lively and deadly.
“This idea of stripping electrical cords and putting them on the window sills and plugging them in, and glass on the door handles — there is a MacGyver or Home Alone quality to it, certainly,” he says. “It's just whatever felt playful, but also could definitely do some damage to people.”
And damage it certainly did, if Gator’s bruised crew and Dot’s unconscious husband Wayne (David Rysdahl) have anything to say about it.
Fargo airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX and streams the next day on Hulu.
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