The Gift of the Magi
Season 2, Episode 5
Fargo Season 2 Episode 5
Episode Information
Air Date:

November 9, 2015


1.13 million

Written by:

Matt Wolpert
Ben Nedivi

Directed by:

Jeffrey Reiner

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

Fear and Trembling

Next Episode:



The Gift of the Magi is the fifth episode of Season 2 of Fargo, as well as the fifteenth episode overall. It premiered on November 9, 2015.


Floyd takes action, and Charlie tries to prove himself. Peggy and Ed disagree about what to do next, while Lou finds himself sidelined during Ronald Reagan's campaign tour.


Ronald Reagan makes his way to North Dakota during his presidential campaign. As he gives his speech, Hanzee makes his way back to Fargo. Elsewhere, Joe Bulo along with Gale and Wayne Kitchen meet with a bought-out zoning commissioner to do some game hunting in the woods. Mike Milligan stops by briefly to talk with Joe in private, which Joe later tells the commissioner it is only housekeeping.

Lou Solverson stands by Reagan as he is giving his speech, having been tasked with helping the candidate's passage through the state run smoothly. Returning to the Gerhardt residence, Hanzee delivers Rye's belt buckle to Floyd. She asks how he died and Hanzee says he was run down at first then killed in another location, specifying the perpetrator to be a butcher. When Floyd is confused that a butcher killed her son, Dodd take the opportunity to take control of the situation and spins the story to his own ends, claiming it was "Butcher Luverne," contract killer hired out of Kansas City. Hanzee takes Dodd's lead and feeds Floyd corroborating details, saying Kansas City took Rye as a 'bargaining chip' for negotiations between the two organizations then mistakenly killed Rye, panicked, and escalated the war and avoid having to buy the Gerhardts out. Dodd acts satisfied that he was 'right.' By laying the blame for Rye's death on an their rivals, Dodd's scheme to gain back control over the family organization is furthered - his mother looks weak because she originally wanted to negotiate and come to a peaceful agreement, but has apparently been duped. Meanwhile, Dodd - who gets to say "See?" - has twisted the story to make it look like he was right all along, furthering his claim to rightful clan leadership and to the idea that his mother, or any woman, cannot lead the family.

While Reagan continues giving his speech, Joe and the commissioner discuss the end of the local mom-and-pop organizations, and the rise of big business. Joe asks him if he is able to persuade political leaders on both the state and local level, to which he reassures him that "there's not a politician in this state that wouldn't take my call in the middle of dinner." They spot a deer out in the open, and the commissioner gets ready to shoot. Before he can, he is suddenly shot in the head by members of the Gerhardt Crime Syndicate, who have ambushed the hunting party. Several more Kansas City members are gunned down as Joe runs for cover. Gale and Wayne begin firing back, and take out a majority of the attackers. As they chase down the last of the Gerhardt men, Hanzee grabs Wayne and stabs him in the throat, and knocks Gale unconscious. Meanwhile Joe, having thought to have gotten away, sees Hanzee in front of the parked cars waiting for him.

Reagan finishes his speech, which has everyone in standing ovation and Karl Weathers in tears. As the campaign bus is loaded up, Karl talks with Sonny Greer about not shaking his hand due to Reagan "making a movie with a monkey." Despite this, he still shakes his hand anyway.

Dodd reports to Floyd that they successfully killed Joe and his men, but that Mike was not there. She then orders him to kill the "Butcher" Ed. Dodd says he will send Virgil to do it.

Ed wakes up and talks to Peggy. She suggests they should move to California if the Gerhardts are going to start coming after them for killing Rye. Ed argues to stay in Luverne.

Charlie convinces Dodd to let him go with Virgil to kill Ed. Simone visits Mike at the hotel. He shows her the head of his boss, Joe. Simone pleads that she did not know what her family was up to and Mike gets her commitment to always let him know what her family is doing from now on.

Still on the campaign trail with Reagan, Lou gets a call from Ben who tells him about the shootout between the KC mafia and the Gerhardt clan in the woods leaving 12 dead. Lou agrees to join him in questioning Floyd about the incident.

At the butcher shop, Ed and Noreen have a funny discussion about the purpose of life. She cites Camus saying everyone dies so there is no point in life. Ed says you have to try anyway. Charlie comes in to kill Ed and starts talking to Noreen about the book she is reading. After seeing Ed, Charlie just buys some meat and leaves the shop.

Peggy decides to leave Luverne and packs her suitcase. She goes to get her car from the mechanic Sonny, but before she leaves she changes her mind and sells the car to him planning to stay in Luverne and use that money to buy the butcher shop for Ed.

Hanzee returns to the Gerhardt compound and Bear thanks him for all his loyal service over the years.

After one of his speeches, Lou talks to Reagan in the men's room. Reagan thanks Lou for his military service then reminisces about his war stories from the Hollywood movies he was in. Lou confides to him that his wife is suffering from cancer and asks how to cure the similar disease that afflicts the world. Reagan does is patened smile and nod and just leaves.

Betsy takes another dose of the experimental cancer drug. She looks at a crayon picture Molly drew of her family. Instead of the usual sun there is a spaceship with rays emanating downward.

Virgil makes Charlie go back in the butcher shop to finish the job. As Charlie points his gun at Ed, Noreen comes out of the bathroom and shouts at Ed. Charlie's shot misses but starts a fire. Virgil comes in and shoots but his bullet ricochets and knocks out Charlie. Ed and Noreen fight Virgil. Ed knocks him to the ground and impales him with a cleaver. They drag Charlie out as the building goes up in flames. Ed leaves the scene as Noreen stays behind.

Ed arrives home and asks Peggy to start packing to leave. Peggy shows him the check for selling the car to buy the butcher shop and stay in Luverne. Ed tells her what just happened and that they have to leave. The cops arrive to arrest him.


Main cast

Recurring cast




  • The title comes from the O. Henry story of the same name. Peggy's act of selling her car so that Ed can buy the butcher shop is similar to the events of the story, in which a woman sells her hair to be able to purchase her husband a new chain for his pocket watch, only to find that he has sold his pocket watch to buy her a set of hairbrushes.
Season 2 episodes

01. "Waiting for Dutch"
02. "Before the Law"
03. "The Myth of Sisyphus"
04. "Fear and Trembling"
05. "The Gift of the Magi"

06. "Rhinoceros"
07. "Did You Do This? No, You Did It!"
08. "Loplop"
09. "The Castle"
10. "Palindrome"