‘Fargo’ Season 5 Ending Explained & Finale Recap: What Happens To Ole Munch And Roy Tillman?


Fargo Season 5 has easily come off as one of the best seasons of the anthology black comedy crime drama show, and its final episode 10 this week holds on to the brilliance of the entire work. This season, Fargo unfolded in the recent times of 2019, in two small towns in Minnesota and North Dakota, with the political climate under Donald Trump an important characteristic. Dot Lyon, the protagonist this time, had been living a false life as part of the wealthy and powerful Lyon family in Scandia, Minnesota. Ten years ago, Dot had been Nadine Bump, the wife of Stark County Sheriff Roy Tillman, and a helpless victim of regular domestic violence. While Nadine had escaped the life to start afresh as Dorothy, or Dot, the villainous husband, Roy Tillman, had been in search of her ever since, and his hunt finally ends when he manages to track down the woman and bring her back to his ranch, holding her captive. However, the tides had started to turn when Dot found an escape from captivity and managed to contact her mother-in-law, the billionaire matriarch Lorraine Lyon. Although Lorraine had begun the season with a negative portrayal, she had switched sides after learning of Dot’s past, and now she used all her influence to send the authorities after Roy. Fargo season 5, episode 10 begins at this tense juncture, with FBI and SWAT teams prepared to barge into Tillman Ranch while groups of angry conservatives wait to go to battle for their beloved sheriff and preacher.

Spoiler Alert

How does Roy Tillman try to escape?

The lead antagonist of Fargo season 5, Roy Tillman, had understood back in episode 9 that the tides were really turning against him and that the situation was getting out of his hands. Although hordes of his supporters had come down to the ranch to fight against the law until their last breaths, Roy realized that it was time enough for him to escape. Episode 10 has Roy going to visit the man who has been his closest aid for some time now, Odin Little, who seemingly lives inside the ranch. But the meeting between these two characters does not go as Roy wanted it to, and the biggest reason for it is Odin finding out how his daughter, Roy’s current wife, Karen, had been beaten down by Dot. Like his daughter, Odin also now turns against Roy for having brought back an ex-wife and having created all this trouble because of her. Along with wanting to seek revenge for his daughter, Odin is also smart enough to realize that now is not the best time to be on Roy Tillman’s side.

Therefore, Odin attempts to punish Roy on the principle that his seniority in age allows him to do so, and he is seemingly about to hit the man when Roy fights back. It has been quite evident that, despite all the tall preachings of Roy Tillman about conservative Christian values, he will never stop protecting himself. Thus, Roy fights back against Odin, who is his enemy at the moment, by simply slashing the old man’s throat with a knife. As Roy leaves Odin dying on his porch, Karen walks into the scene and is immediately chased by her husband. But what Roy does not anticipate is that his other wife, the brilliantly crafty Dot Lyon, is waiting for him on the other side. This is definitely not a premeditated plan by the two wives, for Karen would never help Dot out, but it is simply a coincidence that Dot has finally found the man. The woman still carries the gun that Ole Munch had given her at the end of the previous episode, and before Roy can pull out his own, Dot shoots him in the stomach.

The force of the bullet is enough to throw Roy backwards, but the sound of the gunshot also alerts the authorities as well as the miscreants who had been waiting for a gunfight to begin. As Roy tries to reason with Dot, the SWAT team reaches the place, causing more chaos as the gunfight now finally begins, and Roy Tillman manages to escape into the snowstorm. He quickly goes down into the underground tunnel system that would help him get out of the ranch. The North Dakota state trooper, Witt Farr, bravely follows the blood trail to go after Roy, but the vile sheriff mercilessly kills him by stabbing him with the same knife and continues his effort to escape the law.

Why does Gator betray his father?

The Fargo season 5 finale episode begins with Gator in his helpless condition, with a piece of rag tied over his plucked-out eyes, and completely abandoned by everyone else. Gator had been brought back to Tillman Ranch by Ole Munch, and he had been handed over to Roy, but the father simply abandoned his son now that he was of no use to the sheriff. The young man now tries to save himself, both from the terrible cold and from the warfare going on at the ranch, and so he makes use of the same underground tunnel system. As Gator successfully navigates through the tunnels and climbs out of the exit near the fringes of the ranch, he is found by the FBI authorities, and the young man now decides to betray his father. Therefore, when Roy Tillman goes through the same tunnels later on and tries to escape the law through the exit hatchet, he is immediately arrested by FBI officers, including Joaquin and Meyer.

Like most other characters in the show, Gator also had not turned against his father, but his change of sides was a more gradual one that had been coming for quite some time. The distrust perhaps began with Dot’s words in the previous episode, when she reminded Gator how he was not named Roy, as per the traditions of the Tillman family, despite him being the eldest son. This made it clear that Roy still planned on having a different successor to lead the family after him, for he did not consider Gator good enough to carry on the lineage. Dot had also managed to indirectly remind the young man about how Roy had murdered his mother, Linda, and this, too, perhaps played a role in Gator going against his father.

But the final nail in the coffin was undoubtedly the moment when Roy refused to help or take care of Gator after he was dumped at the ranch by Munch. Despite Gator now being blind, he metaphorically saw through the cruel and heartless nature of his father, the man he had been hotwired to respect and look up to for all his life. Thus, at the very end, he decides to stop being manipulated any longer and turns against Roy, telling the authorities that the man will be trying to escape through the underground tunnels. When the antagonist is arrested, and Dot is finally safe, Gator apologizes to the woman for following his father’s atrocious orders against her. In an emotional moment, Dot forgives the young man, promising to visit him in prison.

How does Lorraine exact revenge against Roy Tillman? 

After Roy is arrested by the FBI, Dot is safely returned to Scandia with her husband, Wayne, and daughter, Scotty. She also reunites with Lorraine, and although the mother-in-law still maintains her stern countenance, Dot leaves no chance to hug her and finally get close to her. A year passes after the events at Tillman Ranch, and Dot is seen visiting the grave of Witt Farr, along with Indira Olmstead, who still pays respect to the fellow police officer. Although things seem to have finally settled, a few matters still remain unresolved, and one of them is Lorraine Lyon’s revenge against the horrific Roy Tillman.

Ever since Lorraine found out about Roy’s wife-beating character and saw the photographs of abuse on Dot from the past, she had turned against the Stark County sheriff. The woman grew even more vengeful against him when Roy tried to disrupt the deal between her and a bank that she was trying to acquire, and as a result, she sent the authorities against him. Although Roy gets arrested and put in federal prison, Lorraine’s revenge is not really over, for she, too, is not someone to play by the books. As she herself clarifies during a prison meeting with Tillman, Lorraine is not satisfied by legal punishments and repercussions.

Instead, the woman firmly believes that Roy Tillman must face similar atrocities that he has committed against women, specifically his wives, throughout his life. Being in prison does not seem to be much punishment for Roy either, as he admits liking the high intensity of the place and also the racial segregation that is followed. The man had put in an appeal against his sentence, but since Lorraine has her influence over the judges and juries of local courts, too, it had been rejected. Lorraine now plays her final card, revealing that she has come up with an ultimate plan to make Roy Tillman’s life in prison no better than living in hell.

Lorraine pays off all the other inmates at the federal prison to harass and beat up Roy on a regular basis, offering to forgive all the debts that they accrue while in prison. Naturally, the inmates have taken up on this offer and are ready to lash out at Roy, just like he had lashed out at his wives earlier. Considering the ruthless nature of Lorraine against her enemies, it would not even be surprising if the mistreatment against Roy involved sexual assault as well. For the first time in many years, Roy Tillman looks genuinely scared and concerned for his safety as Lorraine leaves the prison with a last parting gift for him—a box of cigarettes. The cigarettes are intended to be a means of barter that Roy can use to avoid the wrath of the inmates, but the bribe would surely not be enough to keep him safe for long. 

What happens to Ole Munch?

While the fates of all the characters are sealed by the end, Fargo season 5 leaves one last individual till the very end. Dot is now safe and happy with her family, and Lorraine is also less stern with the protagonist than she used to be earlier. Both Roy Tillman and Gator are in prison, although their sentences must be very different. Indira Olmstead is now a worker under Lorraine, as she continues to be the head of security for the Lyon family business. However, the vengeful hitman, Ole Munch, remains missing for the entire episode after he was last seen helping Dot at Tillman Ranch. At the very end of the episode, Munch returns, and Dot finds him sitting with Wayne, waiting for her to return home.

During Fargo Season 5’s ending, Ole Munch, or Oola Moonk, as his name is, has come to finish the mission he had been given by his past employers—to kill Dot Lyon. Although the hitman had turned against the Tillmans because of his own personal reasons, he cannot let the mission go unfinished, for he has been generationally taught to complete all commissions. As Munch goes on about his personal history as a sin eater who knows only about each having to pay their dues, it is evident that he intends to kill Dot but is stopped by his conscience. Ultimately, Dot teaches Munch a lesson in forgiveness, making him realize that forgiving one’s dues and abandoning one’s unjust mission can also be a normal part of life. Finally, Munch decides not to kill Dot and to end the circle of violence and bloodshed, settling down to have dinner with the Lyon family with a smile breaking out on his face.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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