3

In season two of the TV show Fargo, Mike has been dispatched to take care of business but he fails to deliver. The Undertaker is sent to him, this person has two companions with him.

enter image description here

My question is: is The Undertaker planning to kill Mike and Mike's associates?

  • If The Undertaker is planning to kill off Mike, why would he come into Mike's room, which is basically a hotel room, which is not ideal for murder.
  • If The Undertaker is planning to kill off Mike, why would he inform Mike that he is coming?
  • If The Undertaker is NOT planning to kill Mike, why would he bring two assassin-looking guys?
  • If The Undertaker is NOT planning to kill Mike, why would Mike kill him preemptively?
2
  • 1
    I don't remember the scene very well but my best guess is that it was meant as a veiled threat. Don't mess up again or else...
    – sanpaco
    Mar 4, 2018 at 6:58
  • @sanpaco, thanks. That was very possible or the undertaker was there to replace Mike.
    – Yu Zhang
    Mar 4, 2018 at 7:04

2 Answers 2

3

Fargo series (and the movie) usually leave some details out, but let me tell you how I understood the issue:

  • Mike's motives:

    • Mike is ambitious, and the operation he is leading is supposed to be his opportunity to show his ability. Losing control of the operation is a big hit, no matter what.

    • Mike works for the organized crime. These people do not have severance packages, if you do not fit they do not risk leaving a "disgruntled exemployee" behind. Retirement means death. Maybe he is not sure that the Undertaker (or someone else) is going to go for him, but he cannot be sure that he is safe, either.

  • The Undertaker's POV:

    • He does not know of Mike's ambition, or at least how far that can push Mike.

    • He works for the same organization that Mike. Even if Mike does not like him, he should fear the rest of the organization enough to prevent some crazy act like that.

    • He has been overconfident in his fame. Everyone knows that he is cold blooded, efficient killer. If you believe that he is coming for you, you run away.

      For all of the above, from the Undertaker POV it means that if Mike has not run away, it is because Mike does not expect himself to be a target, or that he believes he can convince his bosses that he is worth more alive than dead.

      He is not expecting Mike to turn on such a reputed killer like himself, in his own hotel room and with inferior numbers.

Was the Undertaker going to kill Mike? I'm not certain, but:

  • So far Mike has been loyal to the organization, even if he has not shown progress.

  • Mike is no newcomer to the organization. If he fails in his new post, probably he can be used in the tasks he was doing before.

  • Even if Mike is to be "retired", there is an ongoing operation in place. Mike is still useful as a source of information, and killing someone is always a risk of someone discovering it/increased police attention/etc. If Mike is to be killed it would be better doing it at a later time, somewhere else.

1
  • yeah, the undertaker is overconfident and even arrogant. In the elevator, he looks very unhappy when one of his companions does not press the floor key fast enough.
    – Yu Zhang
    Mar 4, 2018 at 18:40
2

Yes: according to the narrator in episode 9 ("The Castle"), the Undertaker is indeed planning to kill Mike. Just over ten minutes in the narrator says:

Mike Milligan, the low-level enforcer for the Kansas City mafia, was playing a dangerous game. Just hours earlier he had been targeted for execution, but he had turned the tables on his killers.

(It's possible, of course, that the narrator is unreliable, but there is nothing to indicate that he is, as there usually would be in writing using an unreliable narrator as a literary technique.)

As for your related questions:

  • If the undertaker is planning to kill off Mike, why would he come into Mike's room, which is basically a hotel room, which is not ideal for murder.

I don't see the issue here. The room is a private place that nobody else is expected to enter until at least the next morning (or longer, if you put a "Do not disturb" sign on the door handle), so as long as the killing isn't too noisy the Undertaker can do his job and leave without trouble. And clearly a gunshot or two isn't too noisy (it looks as if that area of the hotel is under renovation and empty of other guests) as Milligan didn't have to deal with the police showing up immediately after he shot the Undertaker.

  • If the undertaker is planning to kill off Mike, why would he inform Mike that he is coming?

It looks as if Kansas City sends the Undertaker to do cleanup jobs that do not involve executing the people involved, and they assumed that Mike would think this was such a job. During the narration above, Mike is on the phone with Kansas City and replies (presumably to an unheard question about what happened to the Undertaker and his retinue), "Well, they never showed up." Thus, despite both Kansas City knowing and Mike at least suspecting that the Undertaker had been sent to kill him, they are both maintaining the fiction that that was not the case.

The conversation continues with Mike proposing to pick up Dodd Gerhardt from Peggy and Ed and end things with the Gerhardts with a trade or ambush. Kansas City appears to agree with this; the conversation ends with Mike saying, "Well thank you, Sir. I won't let you down."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .