I spend a lot of time comparing Fargo the TV series to Fargo the movie in my reviews, but from now on, besides the moments that are intentionally meant to provoke memories of the film (parts of Stavros’ story), I am done. This week Fargo the series completely moved on to the next level. The original film is plenty violent and plenty dark, but nothing compared to what we saw in tonight’s episode. There are no assault rifles or police standoffs, no planting weapons on children, no Bible-evoking schemes. FX’s Fargo has become its own monster entirely in tonight’s action packed new episode.
Malvo takes his bad guy credentials to new heights tonight. It was clear that Don was going to be harshly manipulated by Malvo from the get-go, but no one can honestly say they predicted the guy to be absolutely slaughtered like he was in this episode. In an effort to draw police away from his little money exchange with Stavros, Malvo rigs up Don like a makeshift plastic army man using a massive amount of duct tape. He seals a gun in Don’s hand and then rigs one up in the window to make it appear as if there are two gunmen. The second gun is attached to a tripwire in the yard that causes the gun to fire, and when Malvo sends off a couple of rounds before his departure, a swat team comes running.
The next sequence is masterfully shot, perfectly utilizing slow motion, plenty of shadow, and some creative camera angles to make a tense, horrifying pseudo-standoff. Don is lit up like a Christmas tree by bullets, but sadly we do not get to see the police’s reaction when they realize the circumstances of the situation. This scene was intense and serves as an intro to the rest of this pulse-quickening episode.
On his way to handle Stavros, Malvo is rear-ended by Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench, both bearing their own assault rifles. The intense blizzard that has fallen on Duluth makes visibility scarce, and the elements make for an interesting battle between the hitmen. Not ever one to be surprised or outsmarted, Malvo uses some decoy blood to get the drop on Numbers and learns that Numbers was sent from Fargo before slitting his throat. Gus and Molly, who are nearby and hear the distressing gunfire, rush to assess the situation, but in the ensuing chaos and blinding conditions, Gus shoots Molly. Molly’s fate isn’t revealed, but I would be more shocked than I was seeing her gunned down in the first place if she doesn’t survive. Then again, it would stretch the story out longer, seeing as Molly really is the only person with all the pieces of the Lester/Malvo puzzle.
Speaking of Lester, he uses some cunning to escape his police confinement at the hospital to create a new scapegoat. Before his escape, Chaz visits to inform Lester of what the police know and offers the advice that he needs to give them someone else if he expects the situation to go away. He also denounces and insults Lester, basically saying that he believes everything the police are saying. It’s a bad move for Chaz, because Lester then retrieves the murder weapon, a picture of Pearl, and a pair of Pearl’s panties to plant in Chaz’s gun locker. Lester also takes a gun and sticks it in Chaz’s son’s bookbag. Afterwards, Lester sneaks back into the hospital, quite pleased with himself.
I assume that once a teacher discovers that Chaz’s son has a gun at school, the police will investigate and find the evidence, putting the heat on Chaz and taking some off of Lester. It’s a move that is almost as despicable as Malvo’s actions tonight, or say, killing your wife. Fargo continues to be shocking and enthralling, and I can’t wait to see what writer Noah Hawley cooks up next.
The Best of the Rest
– In the cold open, a nameless boss orders that anyone involved in the Sam Hess murders needs to be killed.
– Stavros is about to make the drop at the parking garage, but then decides that the better move, for God, would be to replace the money. It turns out he was wrong, because a mysterious horde of dead fish falling from the sky derail’s Dmitri’s car, killing him, Stavros’ first born son. How did Malvo pull that one off?
– The parking garage where Malvo and Stavros are set to meet is the Gunderson Garage, the same owned by Fargo the movie character Wade Gunderson and featured in that film.
– Stavros even tries to leave the garage prematurely without paying the parking fee like Steve Buscemi in the original picture.
– Stavros keeps the red ice scraper that marked the spot of his money in a glass case.
– “There’s something missing. You’re not right in this world.” – Chaz to Lester
– Molly notices the Phoenix Farms company car that Malvo was seen driving, connecting him and Stavros.