The frozen tundra is chockablock with hitmen. That is the primary lesson here.
I say that because last night’s world-building episode of Fargo introduced us to two new characters right at the beginning, played by Adam Goldberg and Russell Harvard, and, yes, they will happily throw you in a trunk and drop you — ALIVE — into a freshly drilled hole in an ice-covered lake, all for the crime of “kinda looking like Billy Bob Thornton, sort of, according to one lady in a strip club, and acting like a tough guy when you drink.” Poor Lenny. Poor, poor Lenny. He shouldn’t have said those things he said. He knows that now, as he sits shivering in heaven or hell or purgatory, or wherever loudmouth drunks go immediately after drowning in frigid Minnesota waters, but it’s a hell of a way to learn that lesson. Say this for Lorne Malvo: he’ll drive a knife into the back of your head for being mean to a guy he bumped into at a hospital, and shoot a shotgun into your abdomen for investigating that first thing at, oh, let’s say an inopportune time, but at least he tries to be quick about it.
Speaking of Lorne Malvo, his brief detour of murdering people and screwing with teenagers appears to be over, and now he’s off to work a blackmail case for a Greek supermarket magnate played by Oliver Platt, who has a tough, suspicious bodyguard and a flair for colorful language. (Quick aside: It says a lot about how much Lorne loves his job that he was willing to do it for free on what basically amounted to a two-day vacation.) But first, there’s this, which is a nice reminder that (a) it’s important to be precise with the language you use, and (b) Lorne Malvo is terrifying.
Maybe I’m just a big softie, but I’m willing to give this clearly flustered federal employee a pass on the whole thing where he signs off on mail fraud, because I imagine you’re never quite prepared the first time you hear the words “I found a human foot in a toaster oven.” Consider it a warning.
Elsewhere in and around town, Lester Nygaard continues to be a horrible liar with an infected buckshot wound in his hand, and Bob Odenkirk — the newly appointed chief of police, whose name I promise to learn once I get past the “Hey, that’s Bob Odenkirk!” block in my brain — appears perfectly content to continue disregarding both of those things. It appears as though any murder investigating that’s gonna get done on this show is gonna end up being the responsibility of Officer Molly and/or Gus the Coward, provided he can take the tiny bit of chutzpah required to peep at the pretty neighbor lady and transfer it to hunting bad guys. I hope they team up at some point. It’ll be like an Aw, Shucks-y version of True Detective. Time is a flat circle, dontcha know?
A few things in closing:
- As a lifelong fan of loose cannon police officers getting taken off of cases by angry chiefs, I was tickled by the very, very polite version of that we saw last night in the diner. “I’m making you head of inquiry on another case” is the Minnesota version of “THE MAYOR’S GONNA HAVE MY ASS FOR THIS, JOHNSON. BADGE AND GUN, NOW. GO COOL OFF FOR A WEEK.”
- I have chosen to believe that Bob Odenkirk’s character is actually Saul Goodman, still on the run, who has somehow risen to a position of power inside a Minnesota police force. Think about it. Maybe he’s just playing dumb as part of an angle he’s working. Maybe he’s the one calling the shots here. Who knows, maybe he’s trying to divert Molly from the Lester Nygaard situation because he’s been quietly pulling the strings behind the scenes the whole time, and he’s afraid that if she nails Lester for murder, Lester will spill the beans regarding Lorne Malvo, which will open up an investigation into Sam Hess’s ties to Fargo that could all lead back to a missing person case involving a suspicious lawyer from New Mexico. We can’t rule it out. Not yet. That’s all I’m saying.
- Similarly, I have chosen to believe that Glenn Howerton’s aggressively bronzed personal trainer character — who may or may not be involved in the scheme to blackmail Stavros the Grocer — is Dennis Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny working a long con on the wife. Call it a new D.E.N.N.I.S. system, if you will. I don’t have all the letters worked out yet, but E is “Extort” and the S is “Sail away to freedom.” The second N might be “Naked Aerobics.” It’s a euphemism for sex. I am great at acronyms.
- Oh, and this happened…
… which I think was pretty important.
As always, your thoughts below. I feel pretty good about this show two episodes in. Who’s with me?