Fargo’s “The Six Ungraspables” started out with a literal bang, and then simmered afterwards. Once again, the hour started out with an interesting look into a past event: in this case, it was Lester buying the gun that Malvo would use to kill Verne. In what is so far the series’ best sequence (and one heavily reminiscent of Hannibal), the buckshot takes viewers from that fateful impulse buy to the night in question, and into the present reality of Lester’s festering hand. The hand remains a metaphor for the crime that Lester has so far gotten away with, but which continues to haunt him. And with Molly hot on his trail, his freedom doesn’t seem guaranteed for long. Hit the jump for more.
One thing Fargo does very well is that is never strays too far from the events of the inaugural episode. Lester’s crime is still the crux of things, because even though Malvo has wreaked havoc a lot of places, the loose ends in Lester’s case may be what sink him. “The Six Ungraspables” spent a lot of time allowing Molly and Gus to get up to speed on Malvo’s guilt in a way that even Bill had to get on board with. Despite his defense of Lester, Molly presents a fairly damning circumstantial case that deserves consideration. Still, she’s unable to get anything out of Lester other than, “I didn’t pay him.”
It’s interesting though that she broke into Lester’s house to snoop for clues. She has shown that she is willing to bend the rules to continue pursuing the case, but this step seems beyond her normal scope. She also came up empty-handed when it came to the murder weapon, but what her trip to Lester’s house and her later visit to Ida reinforced was the personal nature of this crime. The interconnectedness of the town will be what helps solve the case. As Gus’ neighbor says to Malvo, people stick together. What Malvo wants to test is how far that loyalty will extend when it comes to their own life or death.
For Lester, loyalty is easily bought and traded. Though he tries not to implicate Malvo to Numbers and Wrench (because Malvo can, in turn, point the finger at Lester), their attack on his hand let the truth come out. This now seems to be setting bounty hunters onto bounty hunters, in a way reminiscent to Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. One can only assume a gratuitous shoot-out is in the cards in a future episode. And yet, Fargo’s ambiguous moral world suggests that any outcome could occur; Malvo could escape, or even team up with Numbers and Wrench. Lester could somehow go free.
The clearest and most positive trajectory is with Gus and Molly, who are both growing in their work lives by leaps and bounds. Molly is finally finding a voice within the department, and Gus is closer to Malvo than he knows (or, more troublingly, Malvo is much closer to Gus than Gus knows). Still, the two teaming up professionally (and possibly romantically), is a nice touchstone in a world where everything else is pretty terrible.
While “The Six Ungraspables” contained some of Fargo’s best humor yet (from the irregular socks to the awkward haggling, to Gus’ strange conversation with his neighbor, to Chumph not understanding Malvo’s motivations), things tend to drag during Malvo’s Monologuing Moments. And speaking of that conversation with the neighbor, that sequence took an odd visual turn when the parable was explained visually, almost like Drunk History. It wasn’t bad, it was actually kind of great; it just didn’t fit in with the show stylistically so far at all.
I would say that Fargo is still finding its feet, except that it’s actually winding down. While Malvo’s speeches continue to be bloated with self-import (not only for him, but for the show), on the more positive side, the mystery of how these stories will all come together is getting a lot more interesting, and the quirks have been tempered so that when they appear, they make more of an impact. I’d better leave it at that, though, or risk a death-stare from Molly.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Did Molly say the motel owner’s name was Loraine Bobbit ….??
— “A severe woman with hard hair,” anyway. Such a great description.
— Surprising that Molly didn’t ask if the buckshot was still around for her to use as evidence.
— “My wife thinks out loud […] The oldest needs braces, and the youngest once sneezed for three days straight.” – Gus’ neighbor. Wives don’t fare well in this series.
— I really enjoy Gus and Greta’s scenes, particularly when she helped him search for Frank and later Malvo.
— Am I hearing more things, or did Lorne mention “slingblade”? That’s all I need from this show.
— The show has great little details, like the video of the wolves running in the background when Malvo was trying to buy a scanner, and Chumph with his Turkish bath coffee table books.
— I like that Dimitri very easily solves the mystery of the locusts for his father, who doesn’t want to hear it. Not as dense as Stavros likes to think.
— “Poop!” – Chumph.
— “Only a fool thinks he can solve the world’s problems” – Gus’ neighbor.