tv review – FX’s Fargo, episode 1.4

‘Eating The Blame’ was a fantastic Fargo episode that gave fans an opening that made their jaws drop. Sure, there was the painting of the iconic red ice scraper from the movie hanging on Stavros’ wall last week and there have been multiple mentions of a series of crimes from the past, but this week’s outing directly tied the 1996 film and the series together. We got a flashback to the year 1987, of Stavros, his wife and their toddler being stranded on a desolate road, out of gas. Face down on the asphalt Stavros prayed to God to help him, offering lifelong servitude in return. When he opened his eyes he saw the red ice scraper standing upright in the snow near a fence, so he walked toward it, started digging and found a suitcase full of cash, the same case put there by Carl Showater, Steve Buscemi’s character from the movie. It was an amazing reveal that makes one wonder if characters from the movie will eventually start popping up in the series. Let’s hope so.

Back in the show’s present of 2006, Stavros seems to have forgotten about his promise to God and his life is also falling apart, thanks to everyone’s favorite psychopath Lorne Malvo. During ‘A Muddy Road’ he put pigs blood in Stavros’ shower, and this week he made sure the next Biblical plague of locusts was coming to Stavros’ doorstep. Meanwhile Stavros has been nibbling on the wrong pills (practically speed), which isn’t doing him any favors either. Again: for Malvo money hardly seems like an intended endgame, driving a man completely insane seems more like his type of hobby. The shot of Lorne on top of one of Stavros’ supermarkets, gleefully watching the people run from the locusts he had unleashed, was very telling: this is a man who clearly enjoys messing with people’s lives. Additionally he loves getting away with it: if threatening doesn’t work he pretends he’s someone else, which he’s apparently very good at. When Grimly took him in after accidentally running into Malvo, Lorne pretended to be a hapless minister which got him out of police custody very fast (helped by total incompetence of the men running the place).

Meanwhile Lester was doing too great: his hand is infected beyond repair and the two hitmen Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench tried to get Lester to confess he killed Hess and then dump him in a lake. Lester still had his brother’s taser and escaped using it, only to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with two angry killers in pursuit. As a last resort he punched a cop in the face to get arrested and be brought back into town, and have a safe stay in a holding cell. Too bad for him Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench staged a bar fight and ended up in the same holding cell. Cue Adam Goldberg’s Mr. Numbers’ maniacal grin. On a side note: no one’s noticing Lester’s hand wound, not even the doctor’s have noticed it when he was taken into the hospital after his wife’s murder. Is it all in his mind, just symbolical? Food for thought.

Fargo is halfway done already. The acting, writing, direction, cinematography… everything’s top-tier. ‘Eating The Blame’ was another brilliant outing. 9/10

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