The following story contains spoilers for the Fargo Season 4 finale.
As soon as keen-eyed Fargo fans learned the names of Season 4‘s characters, they should have suspected that something was up. Specifically, that goes for Rabbi Milligan (Ben Whishaw), who shares a surname with another character that Fargo fans certainly remember and admire, Season 2’s Kansas City assassin, Mike Milligan (an Emmy-nominated role for Bokeem Woodbine). It wasn’t certain how we’d get there, but it was long suspected that somehow Fargo‘s fourth season would tie the two together, and the Season 4 finale did just that.
The scene during the finale’s closing credits confirmed that Satchel Cannon, son of Loy (Chris Rock, playing a 1950 Kansas City crime syndicate leader) was indeed the young version of Mike Milligan. As we see him in what we assume based on past seasons to be 1979 (though it could be some other time), we see him reflect and aiming his gun as he drives down the road that effectively formed him.
It was this road that he walked down, alone, at the end of Episode 9 when he returned to his family. It was also this road when we first saw him threaten someone with a gun, and seeing how easy it is for that hunk of metal to get people off his back. He was saved in both the literal and figurative sense from certain death by Rabbi Milligan, and as he once again rides down this way it’s clear that he’s feeling some emotions and a connection.
In the span of the last few episodes, we saw Satchel lose not one, but two fathers. Yes, we saw him literally watch the life exit Loy’s eyes after Loy was stabbed in cold blood by Zelmare as a revenge killing in the closing moments of the season. But let’s not forget that he was also trained to know when Rabbi Milligan’s time on this earth was done as well. Rabbi, of course, was sucked into a tornado after facing down Calamita.
In the end, the fact that the character Fargo fans know, remember, and love as Mike Milligan—Milligan, being the name he took on, and not Cannon—tells a lot about how young Satchel perceived the events of Season 4. Obviously, he looked fondly on the fact that Rabbi was there for him way more than his actual father was. Sure, this was all rooted in “tradition,” but Satchel’s father gave him away as a human chess piece; Rabbi cared for him for the entirety of his short time on earth, and taught him survival skills that helped him at first on the side of the road, and that expanded to help him when we saw him in 1979, when we saw him in Season 2.
There was a lot of death in Season 4 of Fargo. The episode opens with a montage of the characters who were alive to start, but didn’t make it through all 11 of the season’s episodes. Crime boss Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman) and psychotic nurse Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley) didn’t make it through the end of the episode either. But through all of that, Fargo has continued to make a point: you can kill people, but the systems behind them won’t change.
But while those systems won’t change—and we know this because the Mike Milligan we see in Season 2, as big a character as he is, is yet another cog in the Kansas City mob system—we can see paths rapidly rearranged. If Loy isn’t killed on his front porch, and if Satchel isn’t the first one to find him, and if Zelmare doesn’t make a motion for Satchel to keep quiet, the Mike Milligan we knew prior to Season 4 is likely never born. And that’s the kind of impact that all this death and killing can really have.
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