Before we begin, let’s do a quick post-finale Fargo roll call:
- Lorne Malvo – Dead
- Lester Nygaard – Dead
- Molly Solverson – Alive and promoted
- Gus Grimley – Vigilante mailman
- Lou and Greta – Alive, thank God (#FargoSeason2)
- Special Agents Pepper and Budge – Dead
- Stavros Milos and Mr. Wrench, the deaf hitman – Unaccounted for
- That hobo-looking drug dealer and his van filled with contraband – Probably in Daytona or something
So that’s where we ended up. Everyone more or less got the ending they deserved last night, except for Key and Peele, who spent an entire year in the file room and then helped Molly figure out the case, only to get bullets to the face/neck for their trouble. You can’t make an omelette to bring to work as a snack without cracking a few eggs, I guess.
First, the happy endings. Molly Solverson gets to be chief, Gus gets a medal, and their soon-to-be-expanding family can finally relax in front of the television to watch Deal or No Deal in peace, without thoughts of serial killers and multi-state crime sprees weighing heavily on their minds. It was a nice way to wrap things up for them, although I could have used a shot of Molly taking down her big conspiracy board, if only so I could say a proper goodbye to one of my favorite running plots of the season. And the ending was also cool because the show used the same music the Coen brothers used at the beginning of the movie, which was a neat little last homage in a season that was full of them.
Now, the murder.
There was something incredibly fitting about Lorne being done in by Lester and Gus. Both characters started the season as spineless globs of goo, and it was Malvo himself who turned them into men capable of taking action. Granted, this manifested itself very differently in each of them, with one becoming a sociopath who happily brought death and other disasters upon anyone who could be used for his own personal gain, and the other developing just enough of a backbone to hunt down the mad man who could bring harm to his family, but that’s really just a matter of degree. Think of Malvo as a match: Lester was a big rusty barrel of gasoline inside a fireworks warehouse, Gus was a carefully placed explosive with a long, slow-burning fuse. Lorne lit them both because he likes watching things go boom, and they both ended up burning him in the end.
(A quick aside: I’m not super familiar with the specifics of Minnesota criminal law, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just walk into a man’s cabin, announce that you’ve solved his riddle, then deposit a half dozen bullets in his chest as he sits on his couch tending to a nasty leg wound. And I especially don’t think you can get a fancy medal for it either, seeing as it appears to be, in the most technical sense of the term, first-degree murder. Unless Gus just put a shotgun in Lorne’s lap after killing him and shouted “NOW, I DON’T WANT NO TROUBLE, MISTER. HEY. HEY! MISTER! WHAT’RE YOU DOING WITH THAT SHOTGUN?” really loud in the hopes a witness would hear him and conveniently forget that all the gunshots happened first. I don’t see how we can rule that out.)
Hey, speaking of Lester…
Lester had a busy episode, between trying to ham-fistedly cover-up his second wife’s murder (STILL NOT OVER IT), getting interrogated by Molly, setting bear traps in his home, and getting his nose broken during a confrontation with a violent bully who was threatening his personal safety, again. (In the premiere, he smashed his face on a glass storefront. Here, he got hit with his glass Salesman of the Year trophy. The more things change, right?) He spent most of the episode scrambling to try to salvage the life he built himself by turning into a monster, and it all went to sh*t and he ended up as a popsicle floating in a frozen lake in Montana. Good.
I don’t know if there will be another season of Fargo. Showrunner Noah Hawley has been a little dodgy about it, probably because the decision is more FX’s than it is his. But even if we don’t get more of the show (or if we get more of it, but with a whole new crew of characters), there’s no denying that this was a fun, 10-episode ride, and a really pleasant surprise. If you had told me back in March that I would get so much enjoyment out of a show that (a) was loosely based on a Coen brothers movie, (b) the Coen brothers weren’t involved with in any way, and (c) aired in the spring and was set in the ice-cold Minnesota winter, I really don’t think I would have believed you. Shout out to everyone involved for overcoming those hurdles and making such a delightful little slice of television.
A few notes in closing:
– If you haven’t read Josh’s interview with Noah Hawley, please remedy that ASAP.
– Also, I really recommend listening to the Fresh Air episode with Hawley and Allison Tolman. FUN FACT: The Coen brothers rarely, if ever, return Hawley’s emails. That’s hilarious.
– Was that a Christmas Story reference from Greta when she said she’d shoot the evil intruder’s eye out with her BB gun? I do believe it was.
– I’ve been meaning to mention how great Allison Tolman is at Twitter for weeks now, but I kept forgetting. So this is me doing that. She cusses like a sailor and makes fun of people who try to troll her. She is my favorite.
Okay, that’s it for me. Thanks as always to Chet for the GIFs. Your thoughts on the episode, and the season, and bear traps or whatever the hell else below. This has been fun.