Study Guide

Fargo Choices

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JERRY: Yah. Personal matters that needn't, uh…

CARL: Okay, Jerry. You're tasking us to perform this mission, but you, you won't, uh, you won't… Aw, f*** it, let's take a look at that Ciera.

Jerry is refusing to explain why he needs the money to Carl. Carl seems concerned, but then decides to take a look at the car Jerry's offering them. They're both guilty of making choices without thinking things through. If Carl would have known Jerry was in the hole for embezzling money, he might not have taken the job. Maybe we're giving him too much credit; he's just after money, too.

DIEFENBACH: Yeah, but we have an audit here, I just have to know that these vehicles you're financing with this money, that they really exist.

JERRY: Yah, well, they exist all right.

Jerry keeps flailing around, trying to convince Diefenbach that the cars are real, but without putting much effort into it. Jerry made the choice to embezzle money right under his father-in-law's nose. His haplessness turns this into a more serious situation, with Diefenbach later on threatening to tell the legal department about the problem. Each of Jerry's choices along the way keep compounding his problems.

CARL: Circumstances have changed, Jerry.

JERRY: Well... what do ya mean?

CARL: Things have changed. Circumstances, Jerry. Beyond the, uh, acts of God, force majeure…

Jerry didn't expect circumstances would change. For some reason, he thought hiring a pair of incompetent criminals to kidnap his wife wouldn't result in anything unforeseeable—like a triple homicide. His choices kick off a chain of events that rapidly gets out of control. And Carl, who's got no insight at all, attributes the trouble not to his choices to participate in a kidnapping with some psycho murderer partner, but to "circumstances." It wasn't anything he did. It was a force majeure. (Force majeure is a legal term for forces that are beyond your control that free you up from responsibility from some contractual agreement.)

JERRY: No, I— they don't want— they're just supposed to be dealin' with me, they were real clear. Ya know, they said no one listenin' in, they'll be watchin', ya know. Maybe it's all bull, but like you said, Stan, they're callin' the shots.

One thing Jerry didn't anticipate is how aggressive his father-in-law Wade would be in trying to find his kidnapped daughter. Wade's headstrong attempt to deliver the ransom money is just one of the major ways that Jerry's scheme starts to spiral out of control, another unintended consequence of his choices.

WADE: Damn it! I want to be a part of this thing!

JERRY: No, Wade! They were real clear! They said they'd call tomorrow with instructions and it's gonna be delivered by me alone!

This is just another example of what was noted above. But, it's also important to consider Wade's choices. He wants to take a bigger role in recovering his daughter (can't blame him), yet he can't anticipate that it will get him killed. It's a reckless choice.

[MIKE slides out of his booth to sit next to Marge]

MARGE No, I— Mike—why doncha sit over there, I'd prefer that.

Here's a very small interchange that illustrates how Marge's life is governed by small choices all along the way. She nips a potential problem in the bud by not allowing the situation with Mike to get out of hand.

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