'Fargo' Season 4: Here's why fans believe Rabbi Milligan 'betrayed' his father, and wants to protect Satchel

'Fargo' Season 4: Here's why fans believe Rabbi Milligan 'betrayed' his father, and wants to protect Satchel
Chris Rock and Ben Whishaw (IMDb)

‘Fargo’ Season 4 may have branched out of Minnesota to Missouri -- more specifically to Kansas City -- but the show still has retained its essence in all manners; especially when it pertains to character development. And while this season has a lot more characters to deal with than any previous season, there are some that are obviously more interesting than the others. One of them is Rabbi Milligan. 

Rabbi, played by Ben Whishaw, is a stoic and principled man -- the kind of leading character Noah Hawley prefers. He is in charge of taking care of Satchel, Loy Cannon’s (Chris Rock) son for the Fadda crime family. And he is also fiercely loyal to his boss Josto (Jason Schwartzman) and does not let his brother succeed at causing conflict. He is principled enough that he wouldn’t let anything happen to Satchel, regardless of what may come. So, what causes him to be like this. And does it not in some way come in the way of what we see of him in the very beginning, when he kills his father?

Let’s recap a little. In the early 1900s, when the Kansas City underworld that was run by the Moskowitz Syndicate came face to face with the Irish immigrants known as the Milligan Concern, a truce was formed. Liev Moskowitz (Andrew Rothenberg) made a deal with Owney ‘Yiddles’ Milligan (Ira Amyx): each family would raise one of the other party's sons. Ari Moskowitz was sent over to be raised by Milligan, and Patrick ‘Rabbi’ Milligan to Moskowitz.

In 1928, Rabbi helped the Milligans double-cross the Moskowitz's, killing all of them and taking over the territory. In 1934, the Milligans were now challenged by the Fadda crime family, a clan of Italians, fresh off the boat. They broker a similar deal again. Yiddles, instead of sending his younger son, sent Rabbi again as Donatello (Tommaso Ragno) gave over his son Josto. History repeated itself. And the Milligans were overthrown. What changes, however, is that it is Rabbi, Yiddles’ son who ends up shooting him on Donatello's orders. 

Now, why would he do that? Fans of ‘Fargo’ on Reddit have an interesting (and rather horrifying) theory. One Reddit user suggested, “Maybe Rabbi is not a traitor to his family. I think Rabbi was not the Irishman's son. The original crime of the Irishman was Buggery and Perversion. I noticed he was very handsy with the boys. He gave away Rabbi to the Jewish mob, but six years later when Rabbi was no longer prepubescent he shoved him across to the Italians. (But kept the younger boy). Why would he do that to his tried and true son? Rabbi had no hesitation when killing him. I think both Rabbi and Josto were abused by the Irishman. It would also explain his demeanor and resolve to protect Satchel.”

Another Reddit user had a similar theory and a bit more. They wrote, “The Milligan patriarch was arrested for buggery according to his mugshot. He was raping his kids, that’s why Rabbi Milligan helped the Faddas murder him. To protect his brother. His brother is still alive somewhere. Maybe this is why the Rabbi is beholden to the Faddas. They are holding the life of his brother over his head somehow?”

“Buggery” -- an archaic term -- usually refers to anal intercourse and bestiality, that along with “perversion”, as mentioned in Yiddles’ mugshot in episode 1, can indicate that he may have molested Rabbi as a child. While this theory is terribly dark, it would go to explain why Rabbi is the good man that he is. For one, it would take away the traitor tag.

For another, it would explain why he is loyal to Josto -- a man who may have suffered similarly at the hands of Yiddles. And finally, it would explain why he is protective of Satchel. He knows all too well what a chaotic and abusive childhood can do to a person and does not want innocent Satchel to suffer the same. And it would also go on to explain, if a fan theory holds, why Rabbi would raise Satchel as his own son and give him the name Mike for his own protection, making him Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) from season 2 of the show.

‘Fargo’ Season 4 airs every Sunday at 9 pm ET, only on FX.

Share this article:  Fargo Season 4 Reddit fan theory Rabbi Milligan betrayal father Yiddle Satchel FX Child Abuse