‘Fargo’ Season 5 Episode 9 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Roy Finally Catch Dot?


Fargo season 5 moves closer to an explosive, action-packed end as the penultimate episode 9 sets up for a modern American battle to be carried out at Tillman Ranch next week. Dot Lyon had already been caught by Roy Tillman in the previous episode, and she has been a hostage in a small shack on the ranch. While Dot now gives her best to help her situation and escape the place, the fate of another character—Gator Tillman—hangs by a thread, for he had been found by the vengeful Ole Munch last week. It is primarily these two threads that Fargo episode 9 follows, and the setup for the finale is already quite promising.

Spoiler Alert

How does Dot manage to survive?

The night has passed since the end of last week’s episode 8, when Dot saw the body of Danish Graves being buried at the usual spot inside Tillman Ranch. Seeing the incident has undoubtedly made Dot fear for her life even more, and while she was already trying to plan out some escape from her captivity, the woman tries even harder now. She had earlier managed to fold the metal bed that she had been given, and now the woman moves it around to find some vulnerability in the shack. Being an old construction on a ranch, the small place does have vulnerabilities and weak spots, one of which Dot spots in the form of a nail stuck in the woodwork. She tries to make use of the nail to break the chains binding her to the ground, but in the process, the wooden floor of the shack gives way at a spot, and a hole is made in the wooden plank. With extreme desperation, Dot breaks open this hole to make it big enough for her to pass through.

When Roy’s henchman, Bowman, enters the shack looking for Dot, he is unable to find her, and he informs the rest of the camp about the woman’s escape. But Dot is still holed up under the floor of the shack, and once the danger passes, she finds a nail and uses it to pry open the chains on her body. Dot Lyon is finally free from captivity, even though she still needs to escape the ranch property as soon as possible. She sneaks through the place to come across the main house where the Tillman family lives, and she gets into the place without raising any alarm. Climbing up the stairs, she enters the bedroom where she once had to spend traumatic nights and seemingly notices how the place looks exactly like it did nine years ago. Dot gets hold of a phone here and immediately calls Wayne back in Stark County, definitely wanting to ask for help. However, she is interrupted before any such plea as Karen Tillman walks into the room holding a gun.

Karen is still extremely against Dot, for the woman blames the protagonist for having returned to the ranch and having turned everything upside down for the family. The notion that Dot never wanted to return but was forcefully brought back does not really occur to her. It is evident that Karen is jealous of Dot getting all of her husband’s attention at the present time, but it is not exactly clear whether she reveres Roy out of fear or any true love. This is why Dot proposes to her the idea of escaping together, hoping that the current wife will also surely want to get out of such a miserable life. After all, a side of Karen’s face is terribly bruised, making it obvious that Roy had assaulted her as well after his humiliation at the public debate. However, Karen does not budge, and she refuses to work together with Dot. The complexity of this side character is quite intriguing, but the fact that her father, the supremely conservative right-wing supporter Odin, is similar to Roy Tillman might suggest why she makes this choice.

Karen is about to take Dot back into captivity when the protagonist hits out at her, managing to bring her down and also get hold of her gun. Along with these, she also takes Karen’s phone away and gets back to her attempt to escape. Since she knows all the secret nooks and passageways in the house, Dot climbs down to the ground floor and disguises herself with a cap and a long overcoat to exit the house. Before leaving, she also turns on all the gas stoves in the kitchen, hoping that the many low-IQ people at the place will manage to strike up a fire and destroy the whole ranch. Dot then finally uses the phone to call up Indira Olmstead and ask for some help regarding her tense situation.

Why does Lorraine decide to help Dot?

Even before receiving the call from Dot Lyon, Indira Olmstead is seen in Fargo season 5 episode 9, in her completely new look, for she had accepted the job offer given to her by Lorraine Lyon in the previous episode. Having gotten rid of her police deputy uniform, Indira is now dressed in a more corporate and suave fashion, for she is the new in-charge of security for Lorraine and her business. The young woman immediately takes the place of Danish Graves, at least visually, if not functionally, and her very first assignment is to track the attorney’s cell records. When Indira informs Lorraine of Danish having used his phone for the last time on the previous night, they both realize that something odd must have happened to the man. Reluctant to wait any longer, Lorraine gets in touch with all the influential figures that she knows and gets the authorities in motion. Interestingly, among her acquaintances is also the man she refers to as the “Orange Clown,” whose election campaign she had majorly helped with her money, and this is most definitely Trump being talked about.

Pulling the strings, Lorraine sets federal and state authorities on Roy Tillman, and almost immediately, a long convoy of FBI and SWAT teams drive towards Tillman Ranch with the plan of arresting the man. They have been given two targets to rescue—Danish Graves and Dot Lyon—and in the meantime, Indira also informs Witt Farr about this mission about to take place. She wants Farr to join the search and ensure Dot’s safety, which the state trooper agrees to without any hesitation. Finally, when Dot herself calls Indira and tells her about everything going on at the ranch, the ex-deputy uses the phone number to track Dot’s position and relay the message to Witt Farr. During this phone call, Dot also directly speaks with Lorraine, informing her about the murder of Danish Graves, to which the billionaire is genuinely startled and saddened. Dot now wonders why her mother-in-law is helping her all of a sudden, and while Lorraine does not really answer the question, she does refer to Dot as a daughter of her own.

Lorraine Lyon’s understanding of and attitude towards her daughter-in-law seems to have started to change from the very moment that she found out about the domestic abuse she had to face in the past. Behind Lorraine’s blind and almost fiendish charge towards authority is surely support for women standing up for themselves. When she learned that Dot had done the same without ever telling anyone about her struggles, the woman must have developed a new love and respect for Dot. Although it is still quite possible that the two women will not become the best of friends when all of this is over, the old animosity between them will surely no longer exist.

How does Roy plan to fight?

Roy Tillman understands very soon that the tides have turned against him, and even before the official confirmation, he realizes that the authorities will be coming to catch him. But Roy is not someone to easily accept fate and go down, and he takes pride in his fighting spirit and mettle. He also makes the decision to kill Dot after coming to the conclusion that his obsession with the woman is hurting his current situation. But to many, like Odin, this decision has been taken far too late, and Odin genuinely questions whether Roy’s decision to fight against the authorities is his last desperate attempt at life. Before the FBI shows up at his door, Roy broadcasts a personal message via a live stream, calling out to all men like him who are against state and federal authorities, asking for their help in fighting the FBI and SWAT teams. As one would expect, dozens of trucks with men carrying guns and ammunition soon arrive at the ranch and start to prepare for a gunfight that will surely take place in next week’s episode of Fargo.

When the authorities finally arrive at the ranch, they ask to meet with the leader of this modern American rebellion, and Roy Tillman eventually arrives on his horse to have a conversation. But once again, the man is not someone to bow down to authority, for he literally kills and buries anyone who tries to object to his beliefs. Therefore, Roy very clearly states that he will not let the FBI get into his ranch and carry out any investigation, but he will also not do anything to them if they leave the place without any trouble. There is a clear threat to leave or else be shot at by the supporters he has gathered at the ranch. Unbeknownst to Roy, a team, including Witt Farr, does sneak into his ranch with the objective of finding Dot, but the real conflict will take place only in next week’s season finale.

What happens to Gator?

At the very beginning of Fargo episode 9, Gator Tillman is seen as a hostage kept by Ole Munch, who had easily found the young man in the previous episode. The hitman is now out for revenge, with no desire to show any mercy, and thus, he prepares for some extreme torture against his hostage. Just like Roy, Munch also has a habit of quoting from the Bible to explain his cruel and twisted plans, even though Roy’s frequency of doing so is much higher. Quoting some such words, Munch rips out the eyes from Gator’s face, making him blind forever. The hitman then ties a piece of cloth around Gator’s eyes and makes him walk miles through heavy snow with a chain tied to his body. Towards the end of the episode, Munch and the chained Gator arrive at Tillman Ranch, where they finally come across Roy. Ole Munch was of the belief that it was Roy who had ordered his son to go kill the hitman’s adopted mother, but this was not really the case. In fact, Roy was even surprised and alarmed to find the bag full of cash that he had given to Munch now in Gator’s room, immediately realizing that his son was in trouble. When the confrontation takes place, Munch does not kill or hurt Gator, but he simply leaves the maimed son with his father before running away. Although Gator does not die, he is abandoned by Roy immediately, who even goes on to claim that there is no longer any use for the man.

Does Dot get caught by Roy in the end?

Advised by Indira, Dot finds a hiding spot in the ranch where she would be least expected to take shelter. The woman chooses the pit used by the Tillmans to bury their victims as the most suitable hiding place, but then Roy also figures out this plan and gets his men looking at these very places. It does not take very long for Bowman and two other men to find the woman hiding inside the pit, but as they are about to force her out of the place, they are shot and killed by someone. While it is initially made to seem like Witt Farr and the rescue team might be behind this, the real person turns out to be someone very different. It is Ole Munch who takes down Bowman and the others, and he helps Dot out of the pit, even handing her a gun. While Dot had been the target set for Ole Munch for all this while, the hitman seems to have realized that the men hiring him were the real villains, and therefore, he decides to help the woman now. By the end of Fargo episode 9, Dot is not captured by Roy’s men, and she manages to stay free, but what will ultimately happen to her and also to the rest of the characters will be revealed in the finale episode next week, amidst a possible heavy gunfight at the Tillman Ranch.

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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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