Fargo 1.09 Review: “A Fox, A Rabbit, and a Cabbage”

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With only one episode left in the first season of FX’s Fargothe stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. After last week’s time jump ahead, the action picks back up a year from now (then, so 2007), and that’s when the real fun begins!

Lester now has his own insurance office, and he’s married again. Molly and Gus are married and have a happy little family with Greta and Lou. Bill is happy. Lorne Malvo is working as a dentist in Las Vegas. Everything seems hunky dory until Lester decides he just HAS to talk to his old pal Malvo. Of course, the story would never regain its traction if he hadn’t, so I suppose that was important.

A lot happens in this episode, so I’ll try to keep the recap succinct. Lester reaches out to his old pal Malvo, who is with his hygenist/fiancee and two dental world friends. His friend Bert (a small role played by the brilliant Stephen Root) has a brother who witnessed a murder that Malvo committed, or so I deducted from the opening scenes, showing what Malvo had been up to. Lester is given an out by Malvo, but will not let it go. So when Lester confronts him in front of his friends in the elevator, Lorne unceremoniously caps all three of his associates. He actually seemed genuinely happy to see Lester, until Lester hit him with a gun and ran for his life. Personally, I feel like Malvo gave him everything good that’s in his life currently, so he should be saying thank you…in a sick, twisted sort of way.

So of course Lester is on the run from Malvo, and when he returns home, Deputy Solverson comes over to question him on behalf of Las Vegas PD. After this questioning, which got poor Molly nowhere because Lester’s new wife lied for him, Molly is told that two FBI agents (Key & Peele’s Pepper and Budge) want to speak with her. Not too much time passes before Molly shows them “the board” (much to Bill’s chagrin) but the agents are impressed with her work and plan to pursue the case further.

Lester, meanwhile, now certain that Malvo is after him, plans to run away with his wife, there’s just one little problem: their passports are at the office. Linda (his wife) spends the whole car ride talking about how she’s always had a crush on him, and how much she loves him. Lester, once they arrive, totally takes advantage of her. He has her go to get the passports, and wear his orange coat inside to do it. Once inside, Linda heads over to the safe, and Malvo pops up and shoots her!! Malvo can’t see Lester from there, so he takes off, but he knows Lester has to be close by.

There are two really, REALLY good scenes in this episode that I want to talk about. One is the scene when Malvo enters Lou’s diner and has some pie. He talks to Lou about some things he observes, and all the while trying to find out exactly where Lester Nygaard moved to. It seems to me that Agent Lundy….er….Lou’s police skills are still at work, and he tells Malvo nothing. This scene was fascinating to watch because not only was it between two extremely talented actors and compelling characters, but because it timed out so well in accordance with Molly’s arrival. Some might say that was too much work, but there’s no way I want pregnant Molly anywhere near Malvo.

The other scene was barely anything at all, but there were two small scenes in which Gus remained completely silent. In the first, he was delivering the mail and he saw a car pass by, and he is pretty sure it’s Malvo (it was). The distress on Gus’ face is real, and yet he seems conflicted. Maybe he feels like he has unfinished business? Anyway, the second with Gus was another silent scene in which he goes back home and finds Molly’s big board about the case. Gus does very little, but stares poignantly at that board, primarily at the pictures of Malvo. I’m assuming that he was hoping to quell the worry he felt inside for his wife and child, knowing that Malvo was back in the picture.  I just think the world of Colin Hanks and he had so little to do in this episode, but he by far made the best of it this week.

That all being said, the acting superlatives this week have to go to our main players, Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman. Lester and Malvo both took extremely interesting strides and turns, and I don’t think anyone could’ve acted those parts better.

Also, I think I’ve figured out to some degree of certainty that Malvo is just a sellsword…er…sellgun. But I can’t be sure yet, I’m still wary and uncertain of his motivation.

Anyway, the finale is next week and Noah Hawley described it in one word, “Bloody”. So, get ready for that, fellow Fargo fans! If you aren’t watching, you absolutely should be. What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Up to snuff? Or was it just exciting to watch everything set up the bloody season finale? Sound off in the comments!!

[Photo via FX]

Nick Hogan is a TV and movie fanatic. He loves writing reviews, TV discussion, and is always looking for new things to watch. Follow him on Twitter @nickyahogan
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