Three episodes in, and Fargo‘s plan of action is really coming into focus: After bringing the two narrative forces — Billy Bob Thorton’s Lorne Malvo and Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard — together in the premiere via a set of circumstances that resulted in three dead bodies, the show has effectively flung them apart into their own little worlds, and plans to have outside forces — the police, hitmen, etc. — drag them back together over the remaining episodes. What this means in the short term is that we have two somewhat separate stories taking place at the same time: Malvo’s blood-soaked blackmail escapade, and Lester and his Tell-tale Buckshot Wound hopelessly flailing about in Minnesota as he tries to construct a web of lies that will hold up under any teeny tiny bit of scrutiny. This is fun for a number of a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that it provides a simple, easy structure for me when I’m doing these recaps (“Here’s what Lorne did. Here’s what Lester did. Hey, look at this thing this one other guy/gal did. The end”), so, you know, shoutout to the people at Fargo for that.
But anyway, the episode. As we saw last week, Lorne spotted the bronzer on the blackmail letter, which led him directly back to Glenn Howerton’s loopy personal trainer character (who, again, could still be Dennis Reynolds working an angle). He then proceeded to take over the blackmail operation and begin quite literally raining blood and terror all over poor Stavros Milos, thanks in no small part to this guy…
… who gave him the means to switch out Stavros’s regular medication with what appeared to be horse-strength Adderall, and in the process, immediately became my new favorite character on the show. I mean, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: there are not nearly enough drug dealers who dress like Fagin from Oliver & Company and hawk clean urine and Zombie Apocalypse Survival Knapsacks out of the back of surprisingly well-organized white cargo vans in shady-looking Minnesota alleys and side streets. I must know more about him. I must know his story.
The result of all of this is that Stavros is sweaty and jittery and paranoid and irritable (“Eat a turd, is my response”) as things start going to hell around him. That’s no fun. Neither is finding your beloved dog murdered in the expensive outdoor patio you built for your mansion despite living in a place where there’s snow on the ground six months a year, or having your relaxing shower turn into a scene from a horror movie while Billy Bob Thorton reads the audience the excerpt from Exodus about Moses killing an Egyptian. Methinks this could be telling us something about Lorne Malvo. Or not. Who knows, really? The main takeaway right now is…
… it’s been a rough week for Stavros.
And now we move to Lester, who continues to be just awful at this whole criminal cover-up thing. This is shaping up to be a problem, as the Duluth hitmen are popping up at his place of business to ask him about the murder of Sam Hess, and the only thing that kept him from ending up at the bottom of a frozen lake was Officer Molly Solverson showing up at his place of business to casually/not-casually let him know that she knows about Lorne Malvo, which ties Lester to not only the murder of Sam Hess, but also — maybe — those two other suspicious murders that took place inside his home and for which he has no great alibi or explanation. So there’s that.
(Quick note: For as ruthless and thorough as Lorne likes to present himself, he’s kind of a crappy criminal. Dragging someone out of a building in broad daylight while security cameras and witnesses look on, fleeing the scene of a double murder in the car of the man whose home the murders took place in, etc. Come on, fella. That’s Day 1 crime stuff.)
And if all that weren’t enough, he’s also got the widow of the man he had killed throwing herself at him in the hope of speeding up the insurance payout (“I’ve got great tits and I’m super flexible”), in front of her two mouth-breathing, crossbow-wielding monster children. You have my attention Mrs. Hess, both for your commitment to increasing efficiency in the insurance industry, and for your revolutionary “bathrobe and a giant sippy cup full of booze” mourning strategy.
– AAAAAAAHHHHH THAT STORY ABOUT THE SPIDER EGGS. WHY DID THEY HAVE TO BRING THAT INTO MY LIFE? IT’S ALL I’VE BEEN ABLE TO THINK ABOUT SINCE LAST NIGHT. HELP. SEND HELP. HURRY. IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE SINGLE WORST THING I’VE EVER HEARD. WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOUR LOVER’S NECK EXPLODED MID-COITUS WITH MILLIONS OF BABY SPIDERS? WHAT WOULD YOU EVEN DO?
– Bob Odenkirk’s chief character continues to be a delight. I said it last week, but I’m saying it again: The hyper-polite, “Gotta say, I’m super ticked here” Minnesota version of the “YOU’RE A LOOSE CANNON! YOU’RE OFF THE CASE!” speech might be my new favorite thing.
– Between Lester staring at his fish poster moments before killing his wife and knocking himself unconscious, and Trunk Guy staring at his fish screensaver moments before getting abducted by Lorne, fish seem to be a very bad sign on this show.
– Three quick Molly Solverson thoughts: 1) Allison Tohlman is terrific, and if she keeps this up, I hope the Emmy people are watching; 2) MOLLY SOLVERSON! SOLVERSON! A COP NAMED SOLVE-ERSON, and; 3) Yes, I would like bourbon in my milkshake, thank you very much.
– The thing at the end where Lester and his brother fire off an automatic weapon while jumping about triumphantly reminded me of something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it right away. Then it hit me: Kenny Powers.
That will do nicely. As always, your thoughts below.