tv review – FX’s Fargo, episode 1.3

‘A Muddy Road’ was another fantastic Fargo outing, pushing the show’s plot and characters forward. Martin Freeman’s Lester is going down the rabbit hole, the wound on his hand as much a display of his psychological and moral decline as a sign of his worsening physical well-being. Malvo’s actions did not only lead to a buckshot wound in Lester’s hand, but also to a sense of entitlement and the promise of power in his mind. Malvo’s words are lodged in Lester’s ears and it’s just a matter of time until the meek insurance man becomes a danger. During the last two episode we saw Lester act the way he always has: he tried to get away and hide from the forces the perceives as being threatening to him, in this case Deputy Molly Solverson who once again tried to confront him about the murders that took place at his house, and the two hitmen looking for Sam Hess’ killer. But if the tail end of ‘A Muddy Road’ was any indication, Lester is changing his ways: he took a taser from his brother and asked to try out the gun that “makes the biggest hole”. No more Mr. Nice Guy. This episode’s story of the spider putting her eggs under a man’s skin unbeknownst to him until the little baby spiders came crawling out, seemed like a nice metaphor for what’s happening with Lester: Malvo slipped in the eggs and now Lester is keeping them warm until they hatch.

Meanwhile Molly and Gus Grimly found each other and now they are looking for Malvo. They don’t know his name or how he is involved exactly, but they do know that he’s responsible for the kidnapping of the man who was found dead in the snow in his underwear. They also know he knows Lester in some capacity, since he drove Lester’s car, a vehicle Lester himself didn’t report missing. While it was not surprise that these two characters would meet (well, three, since Grimly’s daughter portrayed by Joey King also made Molly’s acquaintance), their dynamic was a nice change from what we usually see on TV: these characters are feeling each other out because they really don’t know each other, and they are hanging out because they’re the misfits and they really don’t have anyone else. In most shows these two characters would have immediately opened up, because they have the same job and the same goals, but here it was treated with hesitance, insecurity and the right amount of awkwardness, which made it ring true and feel real. Still it’s safe to say that Molly and the Grimlys will grow closer over the coming episodes and I’m curious to see where exactly Fargo will take them.

Lastly Malvo was up to his old tricks, obviously. He took over the blackmail from our spray-tanned personal trainer and took it to a whole other level: he killed his employer’s/victim’s dog, switched out his medication and made pigs blood run from the man’s shower head. To what end is the question, since Malvo doesn’t seem like a guy who’s motivated by money. He’s much more interested in pushing people’s buttons to see what the outcome will be, for his personal pleasure. In that sense he’s much like my favorite cannibal from other show Hannibal, by way of No Country For Old Men‘s Anton Chigurh. He’s wreaking havoc wherever he goes, and Thornton plays the character with a mischievous sense of fun and determined calm. He gets great lines to work with too, really putting the spotlight on the character’s sarcasm and dark humor.

Fargo continues to deliver with its intriguing story, unique tone and quirky characters. It simply is fantastic television. 9/10

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