Fargo: Morton's Fork
June 17, 2014 8:48 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Molly takes the lead, while Gus pursues a hunch. Lester manipulates a situation, and Malvo finds a new target.
posted by komara (78 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I honestly don't know what to say about tonight's episode. I don't know if I'm disappointed or elated. I'll have to sleep on it, I guess.

The one thing I do know for sure? I was ECSTATIC when the Fargo theme played at the end. That's my favorite piece of Carter Burwell music and after having listened to the pastiche all season I thought my mind was playing tricks on me by filling in the original, until I realized it truly was there.

(okay, yeah, strange thing to concentrate on considering everything that just went down, but what can I say?)
posted by komara at 8:51 PM on June 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


Okay, some more thoughts before I sleep:

- The opening with the great tracking shot into the ice hole? Fantastic. I had no idea how significant that image would be. I mean the show has proven time and again that the opening shot relates to the whole episode, but perhaps never so literally as tonight. Great bookends.

- Molly saying, "Maybe not even a man" in reference to Malvo made me think all our speculation is correct, he's supernatural ... and then the show went and turned that upside down.

- OH MY GOD GUS HOW CAN YOU BE SUCH AN IDIOT CALL FOR BACKUP AS SOON AS YOU SEE THAT RED BMW. CALL NOW! THIS CAN NOT END WELL!

- except somehow it did. Did Gus need redemption? Did giving him that scene somehow steal thunder from Our Hero Molly? I think it did. I don't think I like that. I don't think we needed a man to fix this.

- I thought for sure Molly's promotion (or the promise of such) so early in the episode spelled bad tidings for her. Again, Noah Hawley and team are clearly delighting in playing with us.

- I really really hate to be this thick, but Molly's parable about the gloves and the train station kind of went over my head. Someone fill me in. Two gloves ... Lester's two wives?

- For a minute I really thought Malvo disappeared up into the air outside Lester's house, at least until I remembered there had been a car there a few moments ago.

- Coen Brothers callback of the episode: the deputy in Car 6 saying "I had a pickup with an unsecured load" - just like Sheriff Bell pulling over a truck for the same thing in No Country for Old Men. I would say the leg surgery scene was a parallel as well but somehow the Fargo shots managed to be even more gruesome.

Final thoughts: how is it possible that they ended this without killing any of the good guys? I was absolutely sure this would end so so badly for at least one if not all of them.
posted by komara at 9:00 PM on June 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


re: the glove story:

Allison Tolman tweeted this a little while ago: The line we cut is "it's not a story about a man who loses a glove. It's a story about a man who gives his gloves away".

That doesn't particularly clear it up for me, but maybe it will for you?
posted by QuakerMel at 9:46 PM on June 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't slept on it yet, but I thought of a few more things:

- my theory that Oswalt knew more than he let on was completely wrong. He really was a big ignorant goof. In hindsight he was almost lovable for that.

- my theory that Solverson would never actually face off against Malvo was, say, 90% correct. They did vaguely see each other in the blizzard and she did see his corpse which is more than Sheriff Bell got with Chigurh, but not by much.

- but mostly I'm getting really annoyed that the resolution fell on Gus. I'm in agreement with the general sentiment that "we don't need more strong women in media, we just need more realistic portrayals of women, period" but this is one time I would really really like for the victory to go to the lady. Sure, she has the comfort of having been right all along and sure she got the Big Job in the end but Hawley & Co. really did make it seem like a whole "of course you got those things you deserved once a man solved your problems." Especially troublesome after that tender scene with Greta and her grandfather and the show basically saying, "Children emulate their role models and gender doesn't enter the conversation."

I don't need for Molly to have saved Gus, I need for Gus to have been smart and not gotten into that situation in the first place. Since apparently the producers wanted the whole thing to end happily ever after I wish they had resolved it thanks to Molly's intelligence or tenacity or "strength" or whatever, not Gus's idiotic burst of courage. Bleh.
posted by komara at 10:42 PM on June 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


Malvo remains a corrupting force right up to the end—albeit a mortal rather than a supernatural one. But note that Gus shoots Malvo in cold blood. Malvo's badly injured, has no weapon at hand, makes no sudden moves, but Gus shoots him anyway. After reminding Malvo of his earlier question of why humans see more shades of green than any other color. (Molly's answer was because we evolved as jungle predators.) If there's another season with the surviving characters, it will be interesting to see if that has any repercussions.

I'm a bit disappointed that Molly never confronted Malvo (expect perhaps at a distance through a blizzard); not because I think Molly has to be the one to save the day—that she didn't would normally bother me, but with this show I think Molly has established her bona fides time and again, so I don't find it detracts from her that Gus delivers the killing blow; but because I would have liked to have seen that conversation, between Malvo's mind games and corrupting influence, and Molly's incorruptibility.

But perhaps there's no entirely satisfying way to write that conversation. And perhaps that's alluded to in Lester's giving the solution to the fox/rabbit/cabbage puzzle; the fox and the rabbit never are left alone together.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:13 PM on June 17, 2014 [8 favorites]


I interpreted the gloves as being Lester and Malvo. She had Lester, but you need both to complete the pair. She was dropping Lester so that perhaps somebody could rectify the half puzzle, realizing that she couldn't be at Lester's house when Malvo came. Just catching Lester would be as unsatisfying as a single glove

Of course, that she had already dropped one glove for the greater good made it a bit better that Gus was the one that found her prize.

This show is so Minnesotan. For cool that any of you can enjoy it as well.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:34 PM on June 17, 2014 [16 favorites]


And, oh man, Molly's and Gus' and Lou's and Bill's choices in this episode have so filled me with homesickness that I'm not even going to feel the least bit guilty tomorrow when I subject my family to tater tot hotdish.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:49 PM on June 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


The glove story had me a bit head-scratchy too. Best I can come up with is, a man caught in a bad situation chooses an act that, while it doesn't solve his own problem, at least makes things better for someone else - at least they'll have the pair. Lester was the guy caught in a situation, but he chose a path that made things worse for everyone around him.
posted by dnash at 5:03 AM on June 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


I honestly don't know what to say about tonight's episode. I don't know if I'm disappointed or elated.

Same here. It smelled heavily of "Let's tie up the loose ends and call it a day." Lester's demise was so anti-climactic and telegraphed (well, sort of. I mean, given the opening shot, we knew someone was going into the ice after wrecking a snowmobile.)

And, yeah, that glove story...wha?

I also feel like the demise of Pepper and Budge was done more to make the audience ok with Malvo's own demise later. Because, admit it, as bad as the man was, a lot of us liked the character.

Overall...The episode definitely wrapped-up the show in a more-or-less tidy way. But, maybe too tidy?

Also...Did, or did not, Malvo let the used-car salesman go, after he told Malvo he had a little girl? I couldn't tell.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on June 18, 2014


Were we speculating about Malvo's name at some point? Collin Hanks tweeted this last night:

"I love that our show is rated TVMALV…add an O and you get Malvo."
posted by dnash at 5:13 AM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was going to write an AskMeFi question about my upcoming move to Minnesota from sunny Western Australia - what can I expect? How cold is the cold? What local nuances should I know about? How hard is it to ride a snow-mobile? How common is ice-hole-falling-into? Are there bears and wolves wandering around the place? How common are serial murders? [We've had a few here in lil Perth] But I feel like watching this show might have given me the answers.

Also, grilled cheese sandwiches are going to be my new dietary staple, I can just tell.


Anyway the show. I also wondered about the denouement being bereft of a Marge-esque commandeering of the malevolent Malvo, and the ascendancy of Gus. But the resolution scene in front of the TV is a reminder of the original film - the agonist world outside is a layered mess of happenstance, crossed paths, plans gone agley, detective work and unfathomable motives, but like the TV show, it is just part of the background to a family doing their thing.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:15 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I do think he let the car salesman go because we didn't hear a gunshot. Not that that means anything.

So many loose ends. Did anyone else anticipate a reemergence of Mr. Wrench? Or the Stavros story line? And what happened in 1979? Was Malvo involved in that? Mr. Solverson mentioned it directly to Malvos when they chatted at the diner, and then mentioned it again to his granddaughter when they were sitting on the porch in front of her house.

All in all I was a bit let down but enjoyed it anyway. I'll probably watch it again in its entirety to pick up on subtleties I missed the first time around.

I found Gus unlikable throughout so to see him gun Malvo down in cold blood just seemed to go along with his persona. Disappointed that there was no Molly/Malvo showdown.
posted by the webmistress at 5:26 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wasn't bothered by Gus doing the physical work of taking Malvo down. Gus needed redemption for himself after letting Malvo go, way back at the beginning of the show. I'm sure in his mind, all of the terrible things that have happened have been his fault, for that one night. Gus can sleep easy now, which he deserves.

Molly is absolutely, without question, the hero of the story. The bad guy got taken down because she never gave in, no matter how many times her dim-witted (but well intentioned, it turns out) boss told her to stop digging. She was fearless. Right down to the point when she left the police station and told the receptionist to lock the doors behind her.

One of my favorite things about this show is that there are tons of unresolved plot lines, but they are acknowledged as being there even as they are left unresolved. It's messy, just like real life, and not everything gets wrapped up neatly. Did Lou encounter Malvo back in the 1970s at those killings briefly hinted at during their excruciating chat in the diner? I think so, and I think his oblique hints on the front porch with his granddaughter kind-of confirm it, but it's not all neat and tidy.
posted by jbickers at 5:32 AM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


You're so right about it being messy like real life. We're definitely not getting spoon-fed all of the answers. I would have loved to have the 1979 happening explored a bit more because I really liked Malvo's character and wanted more backstory. I'm greedy like that.
posted by the webmistress at 5:46 AM on June 18, 2014


It's kind of interesting, too, that Gus, apparently, gets off free-and-clear after purposefully laying-in-wait and gunning-down Malvo. Small-town justice is certainly on full display there.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:10 AM on June 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's kind of interesting, too, that Gus, apparently, gets off free-and-clear after purposefully laying-in-wait and gunning-down Malvo. Small-town justice is certainly on full display there.

Yeah, Gus isn't a cop anymore. So isn't what he did technically murder? When victims on Law & Order shoot the bad guys, they get arrested, because they're not cops, and the law doesn't get to say "well, he was a bad person and deserved to die, so it's ok." Gus gets a citation for bravery.
posted by dnash at 6:32 AM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Did, or did not, Malvo let the used-car salesman go, after he told Malvo he had a little girl? I couldn't tell."

There were zero cars in the driveway when Lester followed Malvo's blood trail downstairs, so I'm assuming Malvo did indeed let the salesman go.

(or the producers just needed to make it obvious that Malvo was Gone Gone, so they couldn't have any cars in the driveway at all, and they just handwaved that away.)
posted by komara at 7:11 AM on June 18, 2014


"Collin Hanks tweeted this last night:
"I love that our show is rated TVMALV…add an O and you get Malvo."


Man, I was all over that back in Episode 05. I even made the image and everything. Unfortunately at the time I didn't realize it was more #awjeez than #ohjeez so my little joke didn't work quite so well.
posted by komara at 7:21 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


There have been hints that a second season, if there is one, would go back in time, so maybe we will be treated to the Sioux Falls story line after all.
posted by QuakerMel at 8:29 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


A second season? Didn't the producers pretty much say this was a one-and-done event? Or, maybe they meant that the cast is a one-time thing, and a second season would feature an entirely new cast?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on June 18, 2014


There have been hints that a second season, if there is one, would go back in time, so maybe we will be treated to the Sioux Falls story line after all.

Fargo creator Noah Hawley likes that idea too, when Alan Sepinwall brings it up.

As I was watching the final episode of season 1, I assumed the references to 1979 atrocities were setting up season 2. I hope that's what happens! Would be outstanding premise!
posted by Buddy_Boy at 8:37 AM on June 18, 2014


Thorzad, 'they' are calling Fargo an anthology, with a new story and new characters each season.
posted by QuakerMel at 8:45 AM on June 18, 2014




It's kind of interesting, too, that Gus, apparently, gets off free-and-clear after purposefully laying-in-wait and gunning-down Malvo. Small-town justice is certainly on full display there.

Yeah, Gus isn't a cop anymore. So isn't what he did technically murder? When victims on Law & Order shoot the bad guys, they get arrested, because they're not cops, and the law doesn't get to say "well, he was a bad person and deserved to die, so it's ok." Gus gets a citation for bravery.


That was my biggest complaint with this episode. After Gus shot Malvo I expected the last scene to be Molly visiting him in prison. The absence of any repercussions for Gus doesn't work for me.
posted by homunculus at 9:59 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


The more I think about this ep (and therefore the whole season), the more incoherent with rage Gus makes me.

He didn't get "redemption," he fucking murdered a guy. A dangerous guy, sure, but one who had a broken fucking leg and was still bleeding. Gus could have called the cops the instant Malvo showed up at the house, but no, he had to be the "hero" to make up for his moment of weakness a year ago. And, most enraging, he knows he's going to do this when he demands that his wife -- who is still actually a cop -- not do her job so he can off Malvo himself. And then, just to put the cherry on top of his I AM DA BIG MAN sundae, he claims that he figured out the riddle that Molly explained to him.

And he gets a citation? From who, the fucking Post Office? The state cops, for Best Lame Excuse For Executing Someone By A Civilian?

GAH. I fucking HATE that this resolution so thoroughly corrupted a really good show. Frankly, I would have been happier if they'd dissolved to white instead of jumping forward a year. I'd rather the bad guys win than this shit.
posted by Etrigan at 10:13 AM on June 18, 2014 [10 favorites]


Komara's link to the interview with Hawley was interesting for a number of reasons, but one thing that jumped out at me is that he referred to all the characters by their names on the show, except for the FBI agents who he referred to as Key and Peele. Which kinda makes sense, because they seemed like they were themselves in the show somehow. (Maybe that's a way of saying that they weren't very well developed, so I projected their Comedy Central personas on them?)
posted by jbickers at 11:51 AM on June 18, 2014


Eh, I don't think any of us have sympathy for Malvo, and I don't think that Gus comes out of it looking like a hero, but just a decent guy that did what he was best able to determine was necessary.

What good would have been served by bringing Malvo through the criminal justice system? Is it the courts that really mete out justice? Is that the "decent" thing to do here? That's the contrast that has been harped on throughout the series, basic human decency vs. predators that are taking advantage of it, and as soon as Bill took over as chief and convicted Lester's brother for Lester's crime it became clear that the public institution is not considered an infallible arbitrator of justice.

Gus has shown that he isn't a hero, he doesn't have a huge amount of courage. He never even earned the respect of his fellow police officers in Duluth. But he knew what Malvo was capable of, and what would happen as Malvo encountered Bemidji police, and he knew the carnage that Malvo had created due to Molly's macabre investigation poster that had been in the house for a year. He knew that he didn't want Molly coming to the cabin while Malvo was alive. If the cops did come, what's going to happen except for a shootout? And with a shootout, there's inevitably more deaths, of both friends and Molly's colleagues, and even a possible escape by Malvo. Gus saw how Malvo set up the police shootout in Duluth, trapping the bumbling blackmailer. He knew the competencies or lack thereof of the Bemidji police force, and he knew that the only way that Malvo wouldn't kill again was to get him at his weakest, and completely by surprise. I think the only reason Gus even let Malvo know he was there before shooting Malvo was that Gus saw how weak and injured Malvo was.

Malvo was a deadly predator. And like a mother wolf, he took pleasure in his cubs. He birthed predators, like Lester, and was so proud of them that he kept recorded mementos of their creation, and listened to the recordings in moments of silence. They were his brood, his family. Molly's pregnancy is contrasted with Malvo's predatory motherhood in the later episodes, one births standard, decent humans, the other births predators that devour those around them to satisfy their hunger.

What Gus did could be seen as cowardly, a coldblooded murder, but Gus knew that he was just a deer facing a wolf, as we were twice reminded by the wolf outside the cabin and Gus' restatement of the riddle. Gus was reluctant animal control. The wolf had been injured by Lester's literal (bear?) trap, and there was only one thing to be done.

I don't find it the least bit surprising that Gus wasn't arrested. It wouldn't be decent. Malvo had killed the police chief, two FBI agents, and an entire gang of mobsters in Fargo. Malvo's mere presence was a threat, no need for Malvo to draw the gun from his jacket to exhibit that threat. What jury would ever convict Gus? What's the harm with a little fib to make the self defense more explicit? What point would be served by bringing Gus to jail? He lives with Molly, for gosh sake, it's not going to be hard to find them if they change their minds about charging him. And remember that Lester wasn't arrested at the scene of the crime when the Lester's first wife and the police chief were killed. This is not a place with lots of procedure to follow, murder is not a normal event in Bemidji, there are no arbitrary rules that must be followed, put in place due to years of experience with murder. Unless you have to because of rules, why should Gus be arrested?

IMHO the glove story was an attempt to make it OK for the audience that Molly didn't get the showdown with Malvo, that Gus was the one who put him down. Molly was on the train of pregnancy, and couldn't go back to catch Malvo in the field, and had to give that catch to someone else. She thought the FBI would get Malvo, but it ended up being Gus. It's kind of a sad surprise to me, but I'm also glad it wasn't a pat ending. One can't always get what one wants, after all.
posted by Llama-Lime at 12:05 PM on June 18, 2014 [30 favorites]


I'm amazed that you're all convinced that Malvo wouldn't have one last trick up his sleeve, or that Gus wouldn't have thought that. The ruthless, seemingly unstoppable mass murderer did have a knife on hand, after all.
posted by raysmj at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's kind of a sad surprise to me, but I'm also glad it wasn't a pat ending. One can't always get what one wants, after all.

That's the part that really rankled for me -- there was this pseudo-redemption arc for Gus, complete with a citation, and a neat little "He did himself in" climax for Lester, and Molly gets to be the Chief. It was a pat ending; it was just pat in all the wrong ways.
posted by Etrigan at 12:14 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was also annoyed by the scene of Gus in Malvo's cabin. And who would give him a citation for bravery? The USPS?

I wanted Molly to show up and save Gus. Or for Malvo to show up at her house and lose an eye (at least) courtesy of the stepdaughter.

Lester at Glacier National Park -- was he making a run for the Canadian border?

The car salesman -- dead, I think. Malvo had a habit of killing people after they served their purpose to him.

Really puzzled by the Oliver Platt storyline, in retrospect.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:34 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also: where was Don Chumpf killed? That police department had a lot of firepower (unlike bemidji) -- was it in Duluth?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:39 PM on June 18, 2014


Lester at Glacier National Park -- was he making a run for the Canadian border?

I feel like he was just out tooling around on a snowmobile, secure in the knowledge that he had won.

Also: where was Don Chumpf killed? That police department had a lot of firepower (unlike bemidji) -- was it in Duluth?

Yeah, it was Duluth.
posted by Etrigan at 1:42 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


- OH MY GOD GUS HOW CAN YOU BE SUCH AN IDIOT CALL FOR BACKUP AS SOON AS YOU SEE THAT RED BMW. CALL NOW! THIS CAN NOT END WELL!

Two things. He's never forgotten his cowardice at the traffic stop. No doubt his inner voice is telling him that if he'd been a different man that day none of the deaths since would have happened. (Almost certainly untrue, the truth is he'd be dead himself, but this is how self-loathing works.) And second, he doesn't want Molly to ever encounter Malvo. The only way to be sure of that is to take out Malvo himself. (Though granted, he's taking a chance that as Malvo heads out the door, he's not going to run up against Molly on that particular outing.) That's not to excuse him; it was a fucking terrible way to handle it.

As for being cited for bravery rather than indicted for murder, that's pure politics. You're the mayor, or the D.A., or the chief of police. An extraordinarily brutal serial killer is ultimately brought down by a public servant. What story do you want told?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:35 PM on June 18, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm amazed that you're all convinced that Malvo wouldn't have one last trick up his sleeve, or that Gus wouldn't have thought that. The ruthless, seemingly unstoppable mass murderer did have a knife on hand, after all.

He was able to nail Lester with the trophy while his leg was in the trap and after taking a bullet. Funny symmetry, BTW: his last act to Lester being to restore his nose to the state it was in when he first met him.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:06 PM on June 18, 2014 [21 favorites]


I did like seeing Lester bashed by his own stupid trophy. Heh!

Another ending could have been Bill somehow blundering his way to Malvo's cabin, unintentionally killing him in some gruesome fashion (that would have truly put him off police work) and then getting the credit and citations for bravery/solving the case as a farewell to his career in law enforcement, as Molly sadly shook her head. Maybe they would have had cake.

I would have Lester survive and become Molly's (very) white whale.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:46 PM on June 18, 2014


"We need to say again that your life may be in danger."
"Like... a lot of danger."
posted by isthmus at 5:10 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Lester at Glacier National Park -- was he making a run for the Canadian border?

I think so - I thought there was a sign by the officers that said "Canadian Border" and/or their vehicles said "Border Patrol."
posted by dnash at 5:21 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ah! I didn't catch that!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:26 PM on June 18, 2014


I thought it was perfect that Gus got to be the one to confront Malvo. Molly doesn't have anything to prove, everyone already knows she's the best. Gus needed to prove that he belonged in his own family: we see Lou, Greta, and Molly ready to defend their loved ones, but Gus is terrified and anxious and wants everyone to avoid all danger until he sees the wolf and decides to face Malvo down. He must have felt like the worst cop ever, and a terrible protector: he let Malvo go, he shot Molly, he screwed everything up with Frank Peterson. By facing Malvo, he is proving that he deserves to be at Molly's side.

As many of you mentioned, I was a bit taken aback that there were no consequences to Gus for shooting an unarmed man, though, even if the guy he shot was totally evil. It seemed to me that Gus probably listened to the tapes while Malvo was out, given his familiarity with the tape deck; maybe that's what helped him decide it was moral and right to kill him given the incredible amount of suffering and violence he brought into the world.

Yeah, Lester was definitely making a run for the border. I was so proud to see Montana make an appearance! Three cheers for Glacier!

I agree that there were aspects to this episode that felt too pat, and a few plot holes (do they really not have caller ID at the FBI?), but I still really enjoyed it.
posted by dialetheia at 6:09 PM on June 18, 2014 [8 favorites]


Funny that Martin Freeman had had to answer a variation on the fox/rabbit/cabbage puzzle in an episode of The Office.

As I recall, he got it right then also.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:29 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think Gus saying he figured the answer to the shades of green riddle (coupled with Malvo's bear trap broken leg and the mysterious wolf) makes a lot more sense if you recall that Gus used to take all the animal control calls when he was in Duluth.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:57 AM on June 19, 2014 [5 favorites]


Loved the episode.

I was wrong about the airline tickets though. I thought Lester only printed one for himself. Apparently he printed one for each of them, since Molly says something like "We found airline tickets in the coat pocket." Definitely plural.

But this also clears up a nagging plot hole that my one ticket theory would have presented: how could he be SURE his wife would be killed? Turns out he was ready for either outcome. If she doesn't die, they both take off. If she does, then he goes alone. But, oops, he left left them in the pocket of the coat he gave her.
posted by The Deej at 8:07 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I think Gus saying he figured the answer to the shades of green riddle [...]"

I feel like he knows the answer thanks to Molly having told him but I'd say he understands the answer in the final episode. And man, I can't believe I didn't make the animal control connection.

What nice bookends did we see in this episode?

- opening shot of a hole in the ice / closing shot of a hole in the ice
- the state of Lester's nose the first and last times that Malvo sees him
- Gus as animal control
- Chief Oswalt feeling queasy at a crime scene

... I'm sure there must be more.
posted by komara at 8:18 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


It was a slightly disappointing episode, in that after all that had happened, you'd wish Malvo had come to a nastier end. But given the amount of entertainment this show gave, I'm satisfied.

I think the theory I've read here on fanfare that next season will focus on the ransom money being found is a great one.
posted by Catblack at 10:24 AM on June 19, 2014


I think Gus saying he figured the answer to the shades of green riddle (coupled with Malvo's bear trap broken leg and the mysterious wolf) makes a lot more sense if you recall that Gus used to take all the animal control calls when he was in Duluth.

This guy called it and wins many internet points
posted by mecran01 at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


Oh, and Billy Bob Thornton said that Malvo was a devil/god who brings out people's essential natures.
posted by mecran01 at 12:28 PM on June 19, 2014


I was pretty pissed off when Gus called Molly and started guilting her into not doing her job - as Bill said Molly is the real thing, and Gus had no business interfering. I wasn't looking for redemption for him; he redeemed himself when he got the job as a mailman and stopped being a terrible cop.

But maybe I was too invested in the Molly/Malvo confrontation; for me Malvo was the fox, Lester was the rabbit, and Molly was the cabbage, where cabbage = money = the payoff for the series. I wuz robbed, I tells ya! After reading the article komara posted it looks like that's just where Noah Hawley wanted me to be, so he could pull the rug out from under. Hey, at least there wasn't a bear trap under there.
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:28 PM on June 19, 2014


"I think the theory I've read here on fanfare that next season will focus on the ransom money being found is a great one."

If our theories are true that the money is going to be the element that ties future seasons together and if the rumor is true that S02 might be set in the 1970s and centered around the Sioux Falls incident, then S02 might be where we see Wade Gustafson (Jerry Lundegaard's father-in-law) come into his riches.
posted by komara at 12:34 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


When Gus said he figured out the answer to the shades of green riddle, there's [yet] another, more charitable interpretation than that he was taking credit for Molly's answer.

Molly explained to Gus the evolutionary reasons why humans can see more shades of green than other colours. But that was Malvo's question for Gus, not Gus's question.

Gus wanted to know how Malvo "...could just do that. Just lie like that." Gus figured out, as Malvo's riddle said it would, how Molly's answer gave him the answer to his question about how Malvo was able to act the way he did when threatened. It's evolutionary; it's the level of skill required to ensure survival. You do whatever it takes, or else. And that's how Gus was able to just lie in wait and shoot Malvo in cold blood like that.


On a lighter note, I liked the DLR plate callback.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:18 PM on June 19, 2014 [11 favorites]


I wonder if we'll learn the backstory on the Fargo mob?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:04 PM on June 19, 2014


From mecran01's link:
she and Gus will both serve as our heroes, Molly going after Lester (we know she’s a skilled ice-fisher, and a lot of fish imagery keeps popping up around Lester), and Gus going after Malvo.
Where did we last see Lester? Down a hole in the ice!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2014


Wow, I really enjoyed the series--especially the warm relationship that Lou and Greta so easily fell into. Just so sweet.
posted by blueberry at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]




Anyone else think that the female cop's voice on the phone/radio (when Lester called outside the coffee shop, and later on the police radio) was Frances McDormand? It really sounded just like her.

Also, my immediate thought when Gus quietly he was getting a citation was that that's his two-cent duck stamp. It doesn't mean much on paper, but it means the world to him and his family.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wow, I really enjoyed the series--especially the warm relationship that Lou and Greta so easily fell into. Just so sweet.

It's a show about Lou and Greta. The rest is just padding really.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:20 PM on June 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed the episode and series but what I hadn't noticed before, as someone who works on cars as a hobby, is how shitty and rusted the undercarriages of cars in the midwest must be after driving in all that dirty snow. I mean jesus
posted by edeezy at 10:29 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh dude or dudette or whatever works for you, you have no idea how shitty undercarriages get from snow and dirt and salt. Car washes are open year-round and likely do more business in the winter than the summer.
posted by Etrigan at 4:51 AM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lester's demise through the ice was just like Wile E. Coyote - he's fine until he stops and looks down, and then he's doomed. That said, up to that point he was a perfectly poised combination of death wish and survivalism. But, yes, Lester the cartoon wolf (whereas Malvo was the real thing).

Has anyone spotted any names we recognise among those on the cassettes?
posted by Grangousier at 2:44 PM on June 22, 2014


According to IMDB names on cassettes are production staff from the show.
posted by marxchivist at 3:54 PM on June 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'll tell you this much - there is just no way that any person could have sat on a porch all night in the middle of winter in northern Minnesota and come out of it fully intact.

Otherwise, I thought the series was aces!
posted by triggerfinger at 7:19 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it had to be Gus that killed Malvo. Because Molly can't. It's really not credible for anyone at all in the show to beat Lorne Malvo in a gunfight. For Malvo to be killed at all, it had to be this way: an ambush, shot while he couldn't get to his gun. And Molly is the one person who can't do that. Molly is the hero, with the angels on her side. She has to try and arrest him. So, if Malvo's set up to be too much of a big bad for that, someone other than Molly has to put him down.

Someone like animal control. Jeez, I can't believe I missed that.

Yeah, Molly gave Gus an answer to the "riddle." And I don't see Gus being one to lie about it, face-to-face with Malvo. So, I think Gus must mean that he understands some answer beyond just what Molly said.

As for Molly's story, I think dnash has it she can't, then and there get them both. If she tries to hold Lester, she surely can, and Malvo will surely walk away from Bemidji a free man. So she'll let him go, so that someone, maybe her, maybe not, but she thinks not, can get them both.

more than a man

I think you could write a long essay on the religious undertones here. But I think the world of the show is one where God is real, and that Lester Malvo, while human enough, is as close to demonic as just about anyone sees.
posted by tyllwin at 7:40 PM on June 22, 2014 [12 favorites]


As for Lou staying on the porch all night, I was disturbed by that scene for another reason. Gus left the house at what? 7-ish? Wouldn't it still be dark that time of morning in winter?
posted by QuakerMel at 7:46 PM on June 22, 2014


So, I think Gus must mean that he understands some answer beyond just what Molly said.

Yes, while it's not very deep, his presence in that cabin, and what he does right after he says it, does suggest that he's figured out that the answer to the riddle, as Malvo represents it, is the other way around. We can see through the brush not to avoid being eaten but to kill the thing we want to eat or the thing that's trying to eat us. You don't beat Malvo by seeing him coming, you beat him by tracking him down and killng him. Molly was talking about when we were gorillas, but Malvo is talking about humans -- who actively destroy threats rather than run from them.

This is why the showdown with Malvo had to go to the crappy cop who always got backup animal control duty, rather than the good cop who would have arrested him. Gus already tried arresting Malvo. Not only did that not go well but that's when Malvo posed him the riddle.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:10 AM on June 23, 2014 [9 favorites]


"Fargo" was a better series than "True Detective." And I loved that one.
posted by ColdChef at 10:19 PM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Variety Q&A with Noah Hawley (Fargo) and Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story).
Hawley: Billy [Bob Thornton] is like whatever those precision tools are they use to build watches. He has this “watch me get it in one” mentality.... What Billy brought to do the role is just a stillness. Nothing he did was ever arch or over the top or too comedic. Just very precise. He showed up with that hair — I didn’t give him that haircut. When he did, I knew we were making the same show.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:12 PM on June 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Doesn't the snow around the money ever thaw?
posted by hypersloth at 8:25 PM on July 1, 2014


"Doesn't the snow around the money ever thaw?"

We were shown, in a flashback, a much younger Stavros finding the money in the snow bank with the ice scraper still sticking up. I took this to mean that Stavros came by not very long after Carl Showalter buried the money - maybe even the same day.

Now we've been shown Stavros burying the money in the same fashion. I'm guessing that S02 of Fargo will either show someone coming along shortly after, OR be a prequel to Fargo and show how Wade Gustafson came into the money in the first place.
posted by komara at 7:16 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, finally watched the last three episodes.

I find that I'm entirely satisfied. I very strongly agree with several analyses above and, combined, they answer the objections to Gus.

To wit, Moly couldn't have caught Malvo; under proper procedures, she wouldn't have had a chance. That was already established. Molly is awesome, no doubt, but Malvo singlehandedly killed 22 murderous criminals in their own headquarters and, later, two FBI agents who had their weapons in their hands and were expecting the guy who, um, killed 22 murderous criminals singlehandedly.

Malvo had to be killed by another predator of one sort, or another.

I don't think this makes Gus a hero even on his own terms and it certainly doesn't make him the hero of the show. I very strongly disagree with the link above with the claim that Gus is the "real" hero of Fargo. No, not at all. Molly is the hero, she has all the attributes of a hero.

Gus did something necessary, that he (rightly, as it turns out) thought he would be able to do, because he was in the right place at the right time to do it. He was basically the only person who could do it. It wasn't bravery, really, and that's partly why he disavows it at the end. I think he's proud of himself for it, a little. Proud in that he did something dangerous that was necessary, not proud like it makes him admirable in the way that Molly is admirable. That's why he says that she deserves the commendation, not him.

And, yes, as was written above, Malvo corrupts everyone he touches and Gus's willingness to be truly predatory, for a moment, against the laws that he upheld and which his beloved, heroic wife embodies, is evidence of corruption. I think Gus knows this. In fact, I think that this is an additional reason why he was so desperate for Molly not to encounter Malvo. Because he thought that even if she somehow survived it, she would be corrupted by it, one way or another.

"It's a show about Lou and Greta. The rest is just padding really."

I don't know if you were in earnest, because it's a humorous statement. But it's arguably true in a deep sense. I think that, in very different ways, both Molly and Gus weren't who they were meant to be or who they wanted to be and the pieces came into alignment and they found themselves in better lives. But they, like a number of other characters, especially Lester, had agency in this evolution -- their choices were moving the pieces of this community-wide realignment into position.

But Lou and Greta, like so many others in the community, were pulled and pushed by the moves the others were making. Lou and Greta ended up in better lives for reasons that were largely well outside their control.

To me that means something because people's lives really are deeply interconnected and what we see happening in this show is that people make self-directed decisions, exerting their will upon the circumstances of their lives, and this necessarily has consequences that spread outward, like ripples in water. And they don't always, or often, consider what those consequences for others are going to be. Malvo is definitely malevolent, there's no question, but he's also an agent for change. He's disruptive. And his disruption creates opportunities to make choices. Some of those choices are deeply wrong. Others are right. And quite a few people's lives are changed, either way.

It's deeply satisfying to see Lou and Greta so happy because, in a strange way, we feel they deserve it. Molly and Gus more conventionally "deserve" it in the sense that they can be thought to have earned it by their actions. But Lou and Greta certainly don't deserve to be made more unhappy by the actions of the people closest to them.

Lou and Greta's happiness is a kind of confirmation that good things can come from frightening change and bad events that they have absolutely no control over. That message hits much closer to home for most people than do any messages about the choices involved in being a hero or confronting a predator.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:16 AM on July 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


Fargo renewed for second season. "[FX CEO John] Landgraf did confirm that it would be new characters (with new actors) and a new storyline."
posted by Etrigan at 10:26 AM on July 21, 2014


Fargo’s second season will take place in 1979

yessssssssss
posted by komara at 7:07 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


At this rate, the seventh season is going to be set in 1834 and will consist of ten hours of a deer drinking out of a stream.
posted by Etrigan at 7:22 PM on July 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


The wolf will be more than just symbolic in the seventh season.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:56 PM on July 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


After reading over observations made by others about their feelings of dissatisfaction related to this final episode, I have arrived at some explanations of my own, specifically the actions of Molly and Gus. I wasn't aware of this series until the Emmy's and watched it afterwards.

It is known that Gus has made several errors in judgment, leading to the end of his career as a police officer, which was not his first choice of a means to serve the public. Since his termination of employment from the Duluth PD, he is now in the position he always wanted; that of a mailman. However, he still has the skills and instincts of a policeman. Just as when he initially let Malvo get away, his first priority is to protect his family (which now includes his daughter, Molly, her father, and an unborn child). Thus, in the final episode, he asks Molly not to leave the station and personally coordinate the hunt for Malvo (even though he knows it is a job requirement). He opts to act in her stead, and hunt for Malvo himself (Gus' character seems to have become more confident since his initial introduction to the plot line). He chooses to go back to the same location where he previously saw Malvo, who has been hiding out in the guest house of another Malvo "victim," Stavros. Gus, remembering the riddle about why humans can see so many shades of green, sees the red BMW amidst the green surroundings, ultimately becoming the hunter, laying in wait for his prey.

Molly, after speaking with a more confident and persuasive Gus, wisely chooses to follow Gus' request to stay at the station until Malvo is located/killed. It is at this point that Lester, after being in custody for questioning and is about to be released, states that Molly has been after him since the beginning (of the murders of Hess, Lester's first wife, and the police chief on the same day), and that he is not the monster she thinks he is. Molly then tells the metaphorical story of the gloves. The story is one of accepting personal loss with the hope of benefiting someone else. Molly accepts her own loss to actively pursue the guilty parties and leave the responsibilty to others, who will benefit from the capture, while protecting the dream of her future with Gus and her family.

Whether Gus is legally correct in shooting Malvo "in cold blood," Gus opts to make, arguably, the moral choice to eliminate the threat to future victims of Malvo's basic evil nature.

It has been announced that the series is to be picked up for an additional ten episodes, which are to be set in some time frame prior to the time in which the feature film, "Fargo" takes place. I would think the allusions to an earlier incident in Sioux Falls will be the center around which the new season will revolve.

On a personal note, I really hated that Thornton's character is killed off. He is such a diverse actor that it is always fun to watch his character interpretations. Additionally, Thornton wears a hairpiece (a previous comment quoted someone mentioning Thornton coming to the set with, "that haircut"). He was balding at the time the short film, "Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade," and other films prior as well (those of us who have followed the career of Thornton already know this). The truth is, who cares. John Wayne wore one, too.
posted by pullmyzipper at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


At this rate, the seventh season is going to be set in 1834 and will consist of ten hours of a deer drinking out of a stream.

Northern Minnesota was home to French traders (Voyageurs) going back to the 1600s - and that is ignoring the sizeable native american populations...

I grew up in Duluth, and family had hunting cabins new Bemidji and so was pretty excited for this series. I waited till it was was in the can so I could binge watch it.

Re: accents - they aren't well done. It's more a caricature and sort of grating, because it's just not quite right. But it's hard to get right, so... But, The fish thing was also very bizarre. They were much too large to be from MN lakes, especially in winter - most lakes will have ~2feet of ice on them.

Also, the bear trap ? There is a tool you have to use to open them - they're impossible to open with your bare hands. I was half expecting to find that Malvo severed his own foot getting out of it, and that he just got out in a few seconds was exceedingly cheesy, I thought.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the series. I'm going to go back and read the other threads, and maybe have something to add after I collect my thoughts.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:24 AM on September 25, 2015


So late to the party - this was one of those 'really should watch it one day' shows. And after the disappointment of re-watching the X-Files (ugh) and the first three episodes of the new X-Files (double ugh) I thought I would try something different.
This was SO different, and I am so glad. This is my jam - understated, supremely well coasted, well acted, sarcastic, unexpected, clever with realistic characters (if you have ever lived in a small town, you were recognising a lot of people in this show). And with a woman that is competent but not glamourous and perfect, just likable, good at her job and a decent person.
I can't wait to watch Season 2.
posted by Megami at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wanted to highlight something I thought was interesting: the fact that Lester was able to understand the fox/rabbit/cabbage riddle, but not the glove parable.

By having Lester pretty easily figure out the fox/rabbit/cabbage thing, they reminded the audience that (leaving aside his despicable-ness) he is a very clever man, more clever than these two guys whose job is ostensibly to catch him. That's been on display the whole series, but it was good to get such a stark reminder of it right before he pulls the trick with the bear trap. But when you contrast that with his reaction to the glove thing, certain things kind of snap into place. Because of COURSE he doesn't get the idea of a story whose point is accepting your losses and seeing how those losses might help others. Lester might be clever, but he is the exact opposite of selfless. The idea that someone else might be able to profit from his loss - that is, the idea that by giving up and admitting everything, he might be able to stop Malvo from hurting anyone else - is totally irrelevant and incomprehensible to him. And that's why he ultimately loses, because his cleverness isn't enough to make up for his selfishness.

Also, re: Gus - I spent half the episode yelling at Gus for being such an idiot... but then, when he showered Malvo with a hail of bullets, I completely changed my mind. I thought it was fantastic. As many others have pointed out, Molly would never have blatantly broken the law and essentially committed cold-blooded murder, because she is a good cop. But Gus isn't - and more to the point, Gus knows that the law is totally unequipped to handle a guy like Malvo, because he saw him wriggle out of an arrest once before. Malvo understands the system and can manipulate it to his advantage, so trying to use the system to take him down is just playing into his hands.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:14 AM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually, you could get a decent paper out of comparing the various riddles and parables posed in this show, and what peoples' reactions to them say about them. There's:

-the 'different shades of green' question
-the parable of the selfless organ donor
-the fox/rabbit/cabbage riddle
-the story of the glove on the train platform

I haven't spent enough time thinking about this yet, but I think the fact that Molly...

-knows the answer to the shades of green question is 'people come from predators'
-responds to the organ donor parable with 'why didn't the fella just go work for a charity'
-poses the glove parable to Lester as a kind of hail-mary attempt to get him to come clean

...shows what a totally decent and ordinary person she is. She knows people can be predators, she knows it's silly to give up everything you have in order to help somebody else, but she also knows that if you have the chance to turn your misfortune into somebody else's good fortune, there's no reason not to do it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Finished a binge-watch of season 1 yesterday... One thing not mentioned in these comments, Gus's killing of Malvo could be a call back to the way Malvo handled the deer at the beginning of the season. Malvo has went from the predator, to a wounded beast, and like with an injured deer, Malvo is put down.
posted by drezdn at 12:50 PM on November 27, 2017


« Older Louie: Pamela Part 2...   |  24: Live Another Day: Day 9: 6... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments