Rutherford Falls Season 1, Episode 5 recap: History Fair

RUTHERFORD FALLS -- "History Fair" Episode 105 -- Pictured: Jarod Bainbridge as Cole -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock)
RUTHERFORD FALLS -- "History Fair" Episode 105 -- Pictured: Jarod Bainbridge as Cole -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock) /

In the fifth episode of Rutherford Falls, it’s time for the town’s annual history fair, which means a bunch of young hopefuls dress up in their best historically accurate costumes and submit projects to be judged by Reagan, Nathan and newcomer Frank (who is mostly just a “fun little add-on”).

Beyond the fair, tension brews between Mayor Deidre and Terry, who have some secretive beef between them that Deidre’s assistant spends the episode trying to solve. At the heart of Rutherford Falls Episode 6, “History Fair,” is a quandary over art and separating the art from the artist. It’s a little heavy-handed, and the characters don’t reach any real solutions as they agree it’s a “thorny” issue.

Is it okay to continue listening to R. Kelly’s music? Or to watch Annie Hall so long as you rent it from the library and don’t pay for it? Where do you draw the line? Does liking someone’s art give them permission to be a monster? It’s a conversation that has been brewed since the inception of pop culture, although recent years and social justice movements have made it incredibly timely.

Rutherford Falls
RUTHERFORD FALLS — “History Fair” Episode 105 — Pictured: (l-r) Jana Schmieding as Reagan Wells, Ed Helms as Nathan Rutherford — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock) /

Rutherford Falls Season 1, Episode 6 recap: Reagan and Nathan have trouble choosing a winner

The episode opens with Nathan showing up in his Rutherford family outfit to meet Reagan at the casino before the fair. While they’re looking forward to the judging, the real excitement comes after when they traditionally go to P.F. Changs for a celebratory meal.

Reagan and Nathan always agree on the winner at these events, so they’re hoping to get out early so they can get to the restaurant sooner. But while the pair finds it easy to pick a winner for the costume contest, the art project portion of the fair proves more challenging.

First, they have Bobbie’s film, which panders to diehard patriots with meaningless platitudes about everything from the military to single moms to a 9/11 reference. The next option is a deeply moving film about the “faceless” Minishonka and how their legacy has been whitewashed. Both Reagan and Nathan are impressed until they see that the movie was created by a white guy named Spencer.

The third option is a presentation by a Taylor Swift superfan presenting a painting inspired by Fast & Furious with a bunch of feminist icons together. It’s not as great as the short film, but it’s not terrible. It’s a solid middle ground between Bobbie and Spencer’s projects.

Rutherford Falls Season 1, Episode 4 recap: Terry Thomas. light. Related Story

Nathan is ready to award Spencer with first prize since all three judges were emotional by the time the film was over. But Reagan is hesitant to give it to a white guy considering he’s speaking on behalf of a nation whose heritage and culture he could never truly understand. They decide to call Spencer in to talk to him and he impresses Reagan by reiterating his goal for the film and adding that it’s stupid the town worships the Rutherfords.

He even thinks they should remove the Big Larry statue and replace it with a Minishonka leader, or heck, even rename the town! Well, that obviously doesn’t sit right with Nathan, so now Reagan and Nathan have switched sides again. Reagan even gives Spencer the high praise of being like a “Mark Ruffalo” white guy instead of a regular woke teen creating a white savior narrative.

Eventually, they decide they’ll think better if they go to P.F. Changs and deliberate there, so they postpone the winner selection for another hour to go eat. At the restaurant, Bobbie shows up to argue against the painting from the Taylor fan. He points out that three of the girls on the poster are just different Ariana Grandes.

Reagan and Nathan even get the P.F. Changs kitchen and waitstaff involved. Hence the argument over separating art and artistry. Is it okay to award Spencer for his project even though he’d technically be profiting from a culture that isn’t his?

Ultimately, Nathan and Reagan agree the whole thing is too “thorny” to navigate so they give Bobbie the award for his bland video.

Rutherford Falls
RUTHERFORD FALLS — “History Fair” Episode 105 — Pictured: (l-r) Dana L. Wilson as Mayor Deirdre, Michael Greyeyes as Terry Thomas — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/Peacock) /

Rutherford Falls Season 1, Episode 6 recap: Deidre and Terry make amends

Meanwhile, while the judges are deliberating, Deidre and Terry butt heads since they’re forced to attend the ceremony, Deidre as the mayor and Terry as one of the fair’s sponsors. We find out that the reason there is so much bad blood between them is because Deidre’s cousin Brian stayed at one of Terry’s Airbnb rentals and made a huge mess of the place, even causing Terry to lose his Superhost status!

But Deidre finally decides to step up and be the bigger person. She apologizes to Terry for Brian’s actions and he accepts (“Every family has a Brian.”). Not only that, but Deidre tells him they should be sticking together as Native tribe leader and the town’s first Black mayor. They have a lot more to gain by being on the same team than in opposing corners. Still, when Terry leaves, Deidre tells her assistant that she still doesn’t trust him and asks him to schedule a squash match against Terry, I guess she’s coming for his title as the first Native squash champion!

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The first season of Rutherford Falls is now streaming on Peacock TV.