‘Fargo’ Season 5 Episode 8 Recap & Ending Explained: Do Roy And Danish Graves Reach An Agreement?

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While episode 8 of Fargo season 5 is not really action-packed, it is surely one of the most tense episodes of the season because of the developments happening in it. At the end of last week’s episode 7, our protagonist, Dot Lyon, had finally run out of her much-needed luck, as she had to face her worst fear—being reunited with her abusive ex-husband, Sheriff Roy Tillman. Fargo Episode 8 now takes this side of the plot further, while Lorraine Lyon’s personal attorney and trusted henchman, Danish Graves, is at the center of a different, enjoyable drama.

Spoiler Alert


What happens to Dot after being found by Roy?

Dot Lyon’s unfortunate accident last week got her hospitalized somewhere in North Dakota, where she was identified by her previous, or original, name—Nadine Bump. Naturally, her closest known relative was contacted, and this happened to be Sheriff Roy Tillman, for Nadine did not have any family but her vile and abusive husband at the time. While Roy was relieved to have found the woman who had run away from his house so many years ago, Dot was obviously frightened, knowing well that more torture and abuse were soon coming her way. She does not have to deal with the ex-husband’s anger right away because they are in the hospital, but this situation changes as well, since Dot is not much injured from the crash and is therefore given permission to leave.

It could also be that Roy forcefully wants to get Dot released from the hospital, as he does not want to take any more chances with the woman. Either way, the two are seen at the hospital’s reception, with the form of release laid out in front of them and Roy telling Dot to sign it so that they can return to Stark County as soon as possible. Dot refuses to sign, as she points out that the form mentions her name as Nadine, an identity that she had left behind nine years ago, but these desperate attempts obviously do not work. The woman signs and then tries to keep the pen with herself so that she can use it as a kind of weapon against her captor, but Roy knows about all these tricks far too well by now. He immediately takes away the pen and also notices how Dot had scribbled the words “help me”, instead of signing her name on the form.

Roy Tillman tears up the form, right in front of the receptionist, and asks for a new one so that they can go over the same procedure again. The receptionist obviously understands that Roy is taking Dot away against her will, as she is able to overhear the conversation between the two, but she is unable to do anything either. Roy knows the woman and also, crucially, knows that her brother has had some run-ins with the law. Therefore, the sheriff threatens to harm the receptionist’s brother, in the most indirect way one can use to threaten, and ensures that no action is taken against him. As luck would have it, the North Dakota state trooper, Witt Farr, comes into the hospital with a drunken miscreant and immediately spots Dot. Although Farr tries to come to the woman’s aid, he is very soon outnumbered by Roy’s son Gator and his many henchmen goons.

Dot cannot avoid the fate that has been coming her way as she is dragged back to Tillman Ranch, where she had to spend the worst time of her life nine years ago. She is not welcomed back into the home, despite Roy’s claims that he only wanted his long-lost wife back, but Dot is instead kept chained inside a small shack in the ranch, no different than any animal. Only a bed with a few blankets is provided for her, and the chain, which is fixed to the floor in the middle of the room, allows her to only move around a few steps. At first, Dot tries to plead with Roy and persuade him to let her go, telling him of the very loving and compassionate husband she had found in Wayne and how she had to be there for Scotty as the girl was rapidly growing towards her adolescence. She even mentions how she herself was just a teenager during her marriage with Roy—not that she had any control over this decision, though. But none of it works on Roy Tillman, as can be expected, for the man is really out to take revenge against the humiliation and disrespect that he felt when she escaped his clutches. The man utters self-righteous statements, using the Bible to justify his actions, and goes as far as stating that Dot’s life will soon be back to being Nadine, while the events of these nine years will be like a fantasy to her.

When Roy introduces Dot to his current wife, Karen, the latter also does not hesitate to strike Dot and abuse her. It is clear that Karen is just playing along with her husband’s wishes in order to be on his favorable side, but the woman is not really very happy that his ex-wife has suddenly returned after all this time. Karen fears that Roy will grow more loving towards Dot and that the woman might soon replace her, and so when something goes wrong at Roy’s election campaign, Karen immediately tries to use the situation. She states how Dot’s presence is a bad omen and how she somehow caused Roy’s public humiliation. But the husband only grows more angry and disgruntled by all this, and he takes it all out on the chained Dot, assaulting her in a terrible manner.

As Dot’s life gets back to the horrific ways of the past, she tries multiple means to escape, starting with trying to cut off the chain and even attacking Roy and trying to choke the man to death. In the middle, when Roy is away, Dot even tries to get help from Gator, telling him about how his mother still loved him and how Linda was still alive. Gator claims to not believe any of this, but he also seems to grow suspicious that his mother still might be alive. In this case, our earlier doubts are confirmed, as Dot had only seen Linda in her delirious dream, while the woman had actually been killed by Roy and buried inside his very ranch, where all dead bodies were disposed of. Thus, with no help from anyone, Dot remains imprisoned inside Tillman Ranch for now, fearing that she, too, will be killed by Roy.


How is Roy Tillman’s election campaign hampered?

Fargo season 5, episode 8 begins with a scene in which Danish Graves flips through a record book of every debtor in the state of North Dakota, looking for something very specific. Even in the modern times of 2019, when the events of the show take place, this record book is surprisingly maintained by hand. Graves finds the names of three debtors and strikes off their loans, marking them as having paid off their dues. But he is then seen in the North Dakota Court office, along with the three gentlemen whose dues he had just cleared. Much to the officer’s bewilderment, Danish Graves is here to represent the three men, all of whom want to officially change their names and, more surprisingly, into the same, or similar-sounding, name.

It is only later revealed in the episode that the name that the three men were formally adopting was Roy Tillman, with only different middle names. This was all actually a part of Danish Graves’ execution of his boss Lorraine Lyon’s order to disrupt the sheriff elections in Stark County. Ever since Roy Tillman went against Lorraine by meddling in her deal with the bank owner, the woman had decided to destroy his career. It is not entirely clear whether Lorraine had come up with this ingenious plan or whether Graves was the mastermind behind it, but the latter seems more likely. With the official public debate before the sheriff elections coming up, Graves created these three fake Roy Tillmans, whose job it was only to mimic the current sheriff during the public debate and rile him up. Graves seems to have gotten the moderator of the debate, a woman named Anndrea Cordell, onto his side too. Thus, when the debate begins, Cordell wastes no time and gets to the pertinent question regarding Roy’s enormous spending for the sake of defense. She points out that Stark County’s petty crimes do not obviously require the purchase of military tanks, and this naturally confuses Roy.

The man had been prepared only for a debate that would just be a formality, and he desperately looked for a contact, Jerry Belknap, in the crowd. It is evident that Belknap was the one helping Roy win the election for so long, most probably through unfair means, but the man is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Roy tries to come up with some ridiculous excuses regarding the county’s safety, and the three fake candidates, who are also dressed like Roy, in a suit, and with his iconic sheriff’s hat, simply mimic his words and actions. Humiliated and angered by the rolls of laughter among the audience, Roy decides to leave the hall, shoving a photographer along the way. As someone rightly calls it an assault and Anndrea Cordell rushes towards the man, Roy punches the moderator, revealing his abhorrent personality in public. This public disgrace surely hampers Roy Tillman’s sheriff election campaign, and Danish Graves walks out of the hall like a triumphant hero.


How do Farr and Olmstead try to help Dot?

North Dakota state trooper Witt Farr wanted to help Dot and ensure her safety right at the hospital, where he ran across her and Roy. Farr offered to take Dot home to Scandia himself, but he was then cornered by Gator and the others, and he had to keep his distance. But Farr does not give up this easily, especially since he knew who Roy Tillman was and what the accusations against him exactly were. The police trooper realizes that Dot is being taken against her will, but he also decides to play it safe. Later in Fargo episode 8, Witt Farr reaches Tillman Ranch, demanding to speak with Dot for once, in order to ensure that she was safe, or at least that she was still alive. But Gator once again drives the man away by directly threatening to shoot him, and Farr has to back off once more. Interestingly, at this point, as Gator also drives away from the ranch, Ole Munch is seen in the backseat of his car, making it clear that the next episode will have Munch taking his revenge.

On his way, Witt Farr runs across Danish Graves at a gas station and decides to inform the man about Dot having been kidnapped by Roy Tillman. Farr and Graves had earlier met at the Lyon mansion, and the trooper knows that Graves is Dot’s lawyer. Therefore, he tells him about what had happened, and Graves now heads towards the ranch without informing Lorraine about any of it. The attorney is perhaps confident that he will be able to reach an agreement without making his boss worry about it. As this plan does not really work out, Witt Farr’s decision to inform Indira Olmstead about Dot comes into play.

Back in Scandia, Indira Olmstead catches her worthless husband, Lars, having an affair with another woman at their own house, and she finally decides to disown him. As she angrily walks out of her house, Olmstead sees her car being towed away because of her uncleared debts, and she has to take a desperate decision. She hurries to the Lyon mansion and meets with Lorraine, taking up the earlier job offer that the Queen of Debt had thrown her way. Along with agreeing to work for Lorraine, Olmstead also informs the woman about Dot’s current location—Roy Tillman’s ranch in Stark County.


Do Roy and Danish Graves reach an agreement?

When Danish Graves arrives at Tillman Ranch, he is quite confident that some agreement between the two sides will surely be reached. During his personal meeting with Roy, Graves reveals how it was he who caused all the chaos during the public debate. The man then also presents his side of the deal—Graves and his client, Lorraine Lyon, would help Roy win the sheriff election if he immediately returned Lorraine’s daughter-in-law, Dot. Once again, the simply devilish nature of Roy Tillman is displayed, for the man does not even think of doing business with people who have caused him so much humiliation. Roy simply pulls out a gun and shoots Danish Graves dead, and the latter’s body is then taken to the ranch and buried, much to the horror of Dot, who is able to see this disposal from her makeshift prison.


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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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