tv review – FX’s Fargo, episode 1.9

‘A Fox, A Rabbit, And A Cabbage’ was Fargo‘s penultimate episode and it definitely ranks among one of the miniseries’ best. This outing started off really funny with a very uncharacteristic version of Lorne Malvo, who we later found out masqueraded as a dorky dentist to keep tabs on a target. It didn’t take long though for the foreboding and dread to seep in: the eerie image of Malvo listening to one of his tapes in a red-lit room gave way to an episode that had much in common with David Lynch’s movies, or his stellar Twin Peaks series. While Fargo flirted with Lynch’s style before, and the tone of the Fargo movie it barrows from also struck the same balance between quirky and literally deadly serious as Lynch’s work often does, the atmosphere during ‘A Fox, A Rabbit, And A Cabbage’ was palpable, reinforced with cameras slowly panning through hallways while there’s something buzzing in the background. The stellar diner scene between Billy Bob Thornton’s and Keith Carradine’s Lou was especially reminiscent of Lynch’s classic show, with a cherry pie reference to boot.

After the episode introduced us to dentist Malvo, it picked up in Vegas, where ‘The Heap’ left off. Lester went to confront Malvo, who first tried to pretend he didn’t know Lester and, when that didn’t work, simply told him to back off. The old Lester would’ve done so, but new Lester didn’t and he followed Lorne into an elevator, adamant on being noticed by Malvo. There, in front of his quasi-fiance, the man who was supposed to lead Malvo to his target, and that man’s wife, Malvo asked Lester one thing: “Is this what you want?” When he replied yes, Lorne went on to shoot everyone in the elevator in front of Lester, who later knocked Malvo over the head and ran off while Malvo stared him down, the blood stains on the elevator wall behind him like two blood red wings over his shoulder. Lester then fled the hotel with his wife, back to Bemidji, but Malvo followed. Fortunately for Lester Malvo didn’t have Lester’ new address, which is why he visited Lou’s diner, but Lou wouldn’t give it to him either. Eventually Malvo waited in Lester’s office, which led to the episode’s most vile moment: Lester knew something was wrong when the light was on in his office, so he sent his wife in instead. And not just that: he made sure she wore his jacket with the hood up. Inside, Lorne killed her, while Lester looked on. Yes, that Lester Nygaard is now unquestionably one of TV’s most unlikeable characters, and, while Malvo sometimes seems like the devil incarnate too (something the writers really love to toy with, with the use of the Garden of Eden line this entry, for example), if he’s the one to rid the show’s world of Lester, audience’s are most definitely rooting for him.

On the Molly front things finally went her way: FBI’s Pepper and Budge followed up on the phone calls she’d made and fully bought her theories about Lester and Malvo. Molly was also sent in to question Lester about the Vegas shooting because he could’ve been a witness and, immediately, she knew most about his testimony was off. Now with his wife dead there’s really a trail of evidence that ties Lester to multiple murders and, possibly, Malvo too. Gus didn’t have much to do this episode, but he did figure out he had seen Malvo drive into town while doing his postal job. Next week’s ‘Morton’s Fork’ will likely see our heroes team up in some form or another, but with a show like Fargo it’s really hard to say how everything will turn out. It’s hardly the type of story where the good guys will deliver swift justice and prove victorious over the evildoers. It promises to be an exciting finale, even though it is worrisome that there are still a lot of unresolved plot lines (Stavros, Mr. Wrench, etc.). It seems unlikely the last episode will answer all our questions, and it’s doubtful we’ll ever learn what Malvo’s motivation truly is.

‘A Fox, A Rabbit, And A Cabbage’ was a fantastic Fargo episode that kept viewers on the edge of their seats throughout. 9/10

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