‘Fargo’ Season 5 Episode 2 Recap & Ending Explained: Who Is Roy Tillman?  


Episode 2 of Fargo season 5 has been released along with the pilot, and it helps grow the tension and mystery in the black comedy crime drama series. The first episode set the basic premise of the show, with the protagonist, Dot Lyon, facing some unforeseen dangers from her past. Despite being kidnapped by two brutes, one of whom she manages to kill, Dot keeps claiming that nothing of the sort had happened and that she had only taken some time away from the house to think straight. But the reason for her fears is now revealed in episode 2, with the introduction of a new set of characters.

Spoiler Alert

Who is Roy Tillman?

Fargo season 5 episode 2 begins with the introduction of Roy Tillman, the sheriff of Stark County, a region in North Dakota that is right by the state border from Scandia. Roy’s self-introducing words explain that he is the third-generation sheriff of the county, as his grandfather and father were both in the same profession. Tillman’s image is, at first, built as a hardworking and honest protector of the law, the very icon of rural America, as he sports a hat and rides around on his horse. However, the reality is far different, for the man is like an autocratic ruler who governs over the county in his own way and by his own standards, not giving a care about federal or state laws. In fact, Tillman is actually a constitutional sheriff, meaning that he is elected by the people of the county to be their protector and is not really brought into office by some governmental authority.

A taste of Roy Tillman’s authority and judgment is given right at the beginning of the episode, when a young couple is seen to have come to the sheriff’s office looking for a solution. The man in this couple has been physically assaulting his wife, and the woman has, therefore, dragged him to Roy, knowing that he will serve justice. Roy Tillman does not condemn violence against women, but he states that the man in front of him has been hitting his wife for wrong and unnecessary reasons. It is quickly established that Roy is a man with extremely conservative values, for he is open about his belief that women should run the house while their husbands work and arrange for their needs. A woman should then repay for all the services by tending to the husband while at home, and if ever, according to him, the woman fails to do her duty, any husband can resort to slight violence to put her back to correct ways.

Thus, now that the man in front of him has hit his wife despite the woman being extremely caring and obedient to him, Sheriff Roy Tillman metes out his own brand of punishment. To him, there is a far better way to teach lessons to people like these than by putting them behind bars or reprimanding them through words. This is the quick and just method of violence, and so the sheriff orders one of his men to hold the young man in a tight, choking grasp for a few moments. When the man retaliates, he is hit some more, and Roy also guarantees that he will check up on the couple to find out whether the young husband has learned his lesson or if he needs some more beating up.

Roy Tillman runs a one-man show with regards to the county’s safety, and he has his arrogant son, Gator, working along with him. The two, particularly the sheriff, have seemingly come under legal trouble earlier, and another such instance arrives at present as well. Two FBI officers, who are new to the Fargo division of the Bureau, arrive in Stark County to meet with Roy. They have already heard about the man’s bold and unlawful ways of running the law, and they find it strange that he himself has been flouting several federal and state laws through his methods. But when confronted about this, Roy Tillman very calmly states that he does not care about such laws, for the judgment of his own self is the final word on every problem at hand. Although the FBI agents had come to intimidate Roy and talk some sense into the man, they left very soon with no progress made, for the sheriff is not ready to let any law or institution govern him.

Along with being such a conservative and problematic sheriff, Roy Tillman also has a different identity, which is more pertinent to the show, for he is also the estranged ex-husband of our protagonist, Dot Lyon. Around nine or ten years earlier, Dot had been married to Roy, but the woman had run away from his life and had been hiding for ever since. Roy had presumably made a number of efforts to find her, but it was only now when Dot’s fingerprints were put up in the national directory after her arrest in the previous episode, that the man finally found track of her. It was he who had hired the goons, Ole Munch and Danny, to go over to Scandia and kidnap the woman. This plan had obviously failed, though, and Ole returned, complaining about how tough Dot actually was.

Although Roy does not make any direct mention of it, Gator soon holds Ole at gunpoint, making it clear that the sheriff had ordered for the goon to be killed, for the son always abides by his father’s orders. Gator is as brash as always, and in the process, Ole manages to kill two of the guards, injure Gator, and flee the scene before Roy can do anything.

How does Dot face trouble from both sides?

Back in Scandia, Dot tries her best to convince her husband and the Scandia police deputy that she had not been kidnapped but had actually left her house in a mess. According to her, she had bruised her feet before leaving, which left the blood drops, and she states that it must have been some error in the records that her blood did not match with the samples. The woman is definitely not convincing, and Deputy Indira Olmstead suspects something to be wrong, but she still needs some time to get a hold of the matter. For now, Indira leaves the couple after Wayne almost forces his influence once again.

Although the police let Dot loose for some time, she soon faces trouble from two sides of her life. On one side are obviously Roy Tillman and his son Gator, who have already resumed their search for her. As soon as her fingerprint was taken, Dot knew that her violent ex-husband would be back in her life, and thus, she was prepared when the two goons broke into her house to kidnap her. This is also why she now wants to hide the kidnapping incident, for she does not want anyone to find out about her past.

But on the other side, Lorraine Lyon grows extremely suspicious when she first hears that Dot is refusing any claims of kidnapping. She is the first to rightly guess that her daughter-in-law must have actually gotten kidnapped, but she is now trying to hide the incident for some reason. From her very instinctive dislike for Dot, Lorraine comes up with the theory that her daughter-in-law was a crook in reality who was in ties with the men who had kidnapped her. According to her, Dot had faked her own kidnapping to extort money from her and the Lyon family business. This easily reminds us of the Coen Brothers’ Fargo (1996) once more, for in the film, such a plot had actually been hatched by Jerry Lundegard. Lorraine wonders whether her son was also involved in this ploy, and she deduces that it is possible Dot has won over Wayne and made him a part of the extortion as well.

Lorraine decides to interrogate Dot by herself while she sends her attorney, Danish Graves, to speak with Wayne and find out more about this possible extortion plan. But when Lorraine sits down to talk to Dot in private at the latter’s house, the fierce and ruthless nature of Dot is revealed for the first time. The protagonist outright threatens her mother-in-law, saying that she is far more intelligent and dangerous than she shows herself to be. She also suggests that she will not think twice before taking some unlawful action against Lorraine if the mother-in-law tries to take away Wayne and her usual life from Dot. When questioned about this fake kidnapping, Wayne decides to stand up for his wife, siding against his mother, and this ought to have more repercussions than just a slap across his face delivered by Graves.

Can Gator find Dot in town?

Knowing very well what is coming her way, Dot preps her entire house with dangerous traps and electric lines to stop any intruder from breaking into her house. The woman has been prepared for situations till now, and that is what has been keeping her safe. She also convinces young Scotty and Wayne that these precautions are needed for their own protection, and both of them finally comply.

Dot surely needs the protection, too, for Gator and another of his father’s guards soon drive up to Scandia looking for the woman. Gator directly reaches the hospital room of the injured police officer, Witt Farr, who is being treated for his injuries. Indira Olmstead also reaches the place at the same time, for she has already figured out what may have happened. In a small town like Scandia, not many women are reported to be kidnapped on the same day, and when Witt’s description of the woman who helped him in the fight matches that of Dot, Indira is sure that Dot is lying about the kidnapping. She intends to show Witt a photo of Dot for verification, but Gator walks in right at this time.

The young man takes the phone, verifies that Dot is the same woman his father is looking for, and then deletes the photo so that the police force does not go tracking Dot. He then prepares to go out in search of Dot that very night when he and his guard associate stop at the same convenience store where the last episode’s action took place. In a sudden, shocking turn, an injured Ole appears out of nowhere and kills the guard, leaving Gator stunned and in immense fear.

What can we expect Next?

For the most part of the opening two episodes of Fargo season 5, Dot was the only individual being targeted from two sides—her estranged ex-husband Roy and then her inconsiderate mother-in-law Lorraine. There is surely some more history with regard to what Dot had done to Roy Tillman before she left him, and it will definitely not be a surprise if some money is also involved in the matter. It is also quite interesting that Roy and Lorraine are not too different from each other, at least when it comes to their judgment of Dot. Therefore, whether the two decide to work together sometime in future episodes would be something to see. The police deputy, Indira Olmstead, will also surely get more involved in the matter, for Gator’s stupid pretense of accidentally deleting Dot’s photo from her phone is definitely not enough to convince the woman. Lastly, the end of episode 2 establishes that Gator and his father are also now targets for the rogue hitman, Ole Munch.

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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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