‘Fargo’ Season 4, Episode 4 Recap: Something Rotten

Season 4, Episode 4: ‘The Pretend War’

Underneath the expected mélange of funny names, regional dialect, Coen references and knottily orchestrated mayhem, this season of “Fargo” has sought to make a big statement about America. That was clear from the opening sequences in Kansas City, which depict the succession of immigrant groups who turned to criminality as a path to legitimacy. Becoming a true American, the show suggests, involves surviving a cycle of discrimination and conquest — and no single group of people is going to hand power to another willingly.

In other words, you have to fake it till you make it.

That’s the message sent by Ebal Violante (Francesco Acquaroli), consigliere to the Faddas, when he takes another meeting with Doctor Senator, his counterpart in the Cannon crime syndicate, over the recent violence that has threatened their fragile arrangement.

“To be American is to pretend, capisce?” he says to Senator, in the sort of side-winding preamble that begins a lot of conversations in the series. The founding of America — and who gets to tell that story and how — is a topic of fierce political debate right now, but Ebal is enlightened enough to recognize the hypocrisy at the core of “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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