FARGO Recap: “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage”

by     Posted 163 days ago

fargo-review

In Fargo‘s last episode, “The Heap,” I complained about the series’ fatalism, and how the expected outcome almost always occurred.  The same was true in “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage,” but this time, Fargo did a great job of building up the suspense before the inevitable final scene.  Just like in the premiere, Lester set something into motion he doesn’t understand, and can’t control.  What that led to wasn’t a surprise, but the important thing was how everything played out beforehand.  Hit the jump if everyone was alive when you exited the elevator.

fargo-recap-episode-9-jordan-peele-keegan-michael-key-allison-tolmanAt the end of “The Heap,” Lester, living large in a Pearl and Sam Hess-less life, with brother Chazz in jail, spotted Malvo in the final sequence.  Was Malvo there for him, to ruin his life?  (Or kill him?)  It was clear, however, from the opening of “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage” that Malvo wasn’t there for Lester, and that when Lester approached him, it was like Icarus flying too close to the sun.

Instead of bowing out and resuming his newly charmed life, Lester chose an outcome that he felt spoke to his new, bold personality.  No longer was he the brunt of the joke, the man retreating in fear; now he’s the one doling out punishments, and acting with confidence.  Unfortunately, it’s at the wrong time, and with the wrong person.

Malvo gave Lester several chances to get out.  He pretended not to know him, then told him to walk away.  In the elevator, he asked him repeatedly if this was what he wanted.  Imbued with this new (mistaken) confidence, Lester said yes, and found himself at the center of another crime scene.

From there, “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage” was really about Linda.  Most viewers should have rightly assumed that Linda was a goner, but the how, when, and where of it remained a mystery.  This is where Fargo really did some of its best work this season.  Sweet, innocent Linda was being moved around and manipulated by Lester to her death, but how exactly would it occur?  That suspense and feeling of dread around every corner made “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage” potentially the most compelling hour of Fargo yet.

As the season winds down, things are finally starting to come together.  Feds Budge and Pepper, after a great scene that illustrated their desperation working in the records room, literally jumped at the chance to follow up on a lead in the syndicate murders.  And with that, Molly got her due when they told her what great work she had done on the case, in front of Bill.

fargo-recap-episode-9-jordan-peele-keegan-michael-key-bob-odenkirk-allison-tolmanThere’s some repetition from the past as well.  Molly showed up to interview Lester about yet another murder he was a witness to, and Gus again saw Malvo, struggling with how he should handle that information.  On the one hand, it would be a boon to Molly and the case she’s been doggedly working for over a year.  On the other, it could lead to all of their deaths.  That’s pretty much the choice Malvo offers to everyone: let it go, or take your chances with the devil.

Also, instead of relying on forced quirks to carry scenes, Fargo allowed for there to be a natural acting showcase between Billy Bob Thornton and Keith Carradine in Lou’s diner, where Lou started off warily friendly with Malvo, and then became very firm — yet still cordial — in his dismissal of him only moments before Molly arrived.

The most compelling and terrible moment came at the conclusion of the hour though, when Lester feigned a back injury so that Linda would go into the office for him — with his orange jacket on, with the hood up — and then watched as Malvo killed her.  It was a plan he seems to have concocted from his home, which only ratcheted up the levels of despicableness.  And of course, Lester is left with yet another encounter with Malvo, and another dead wife.  He won’t be able to blame this one on Chazz.  The end is nigh.

Episode Rating: A

Musings and Miscellanea:

fargo-recap-episode-9-keith-carradine-billy-bob-thornton– I’m not a Malvo fan, but I did like his dentist stories and new persona (this hair suits him much better — he actually looked sort of innocent).

– Stephen Root!  So good to see you … oh of course.  R.I.P.

– Also R.I.P. Linda.  Gone too soon.  I liked how she covered for Lester though.  She was way too good for him, even before the murder.

– Gaius Baltar, eat your heart out.  Lester Nygaard is the new top, “I’ll throw anyone under the bus to survive” character.  (Plus, I always liked Gaius, bless him).

– Hmmm, so was that Lester on the tape Malvo was listening to?

– “So everyone was still alive when you exited the elevator?” – Molly.

– I want to know more about the massacre that Lou investigated in ’79 …




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  • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

    I loved Malvo’s line about the pie being the best apple he’s had since the Garden of Eden. He really is some biblical force of evil.

    • Daniel O’Reilly

      My favorite line tonight also.

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    • Christian Grey

      I liked when Keith Carradine tells Joey King that, ” You’re the grand daughter I always wanted but was afraid to buy online…” that was one of the sweetest line in the series so far… Kind of a relief from the madding show :)

  • 80sRobot

    What an incredibly tense episode.

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    I was hoping that as Lester watched Linda walk in to the office, there would be a tapping at the driver’s side window, Lester would look, and then…But since we still have one episode to go, poor Linda had to be the one on the end of Malvo’s silver plated special. In any case, it would be much more satisfying for Molly to nab Lester anyway.

    That could be the most ominous hotel hallway since The Shining.

    Turducken. Hilarious.

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    I was hoping that as Lester watched Linda walk in to the office, there would be a tapping at the driver’s side window, Lester would look, and then…But since we still have one episode to go, poor Linda had to be the one on the end of Malvo’s silver plated special. In any case, it would be much more satisfying for Molly to nab Lester anyway.

    That could be the most ominous hotel hallway since The Shining.

    Turducken. Hilarious.

  • Michael Ginzburg

    The guy on the tape was the boss Malvo wacked

    • Christian Grey

      I think that the tape belongs to his parents.. Maybe he listens to that tape to trigger him to do bad things to people, not that he needs one anyway. He is a Natural Born Killer.. Or Maybe Not ..

  • LEM

    Those two kids in Lesters old house must’ve had a good nights sleep.

  • http://twitter.com/reddevil09 Thizzle

    so far one of my favorite episodes! sets up the final hour perfectly.

  • Christian Grey

    How on earth Fargo is rated less than True Detective.. it is not fair AT ALL .. if anything they both should be rated equal if not Fargo more… Almost every episode of this season is like watching the season finale of breaking bad… Tense, well written, amazingly choreographed and acting is too good for a TV SERIES .. TOO BAD TO CALL THIS A TELEVISION SERIES :( .. Next years awards season is going to be a tough fight between the two lead actors from Fargo and True Detective. My money would definetly be on Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freemam to win… Cant wait for the next episode…

    Do anyone know.. Is this a one off series like True Detective ??? Because, i cannot imagine continuing this series for more than maximum 2.. I dont want this to end up like Homeland :(

    • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

      I believe FARGO is meant to be an anthology series like True Detective.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    Question: will this police woman stay pregnant the whole season ?

    • 80sRobot

      Unless they do another time jump in the next episode (which will be the finale), then probably yes. Molly said she wasn’t due for another several weeks.

    • 80sRobot

      Unless they do another time jump in the next episode (which will be the finale), then probably yes. Molly said she wasn’t due for another several weeks.

    • Daniel O’Reilly

      That would be in keeping with the film, which concluded before Marge was due.

    • Daniel O’Reilly

      That would be in keeping with the film, which concluded before Marge was due.

  • Archer

    I don’t know if anyone else noticed it, but in the beginning of the episode, when Malvo ominously says “Goodbye Lester… See you real soon….”, the shot featured his silhouette with 2 blood stains on the wall right above his shoulders. It really made him look like an Angel of Death.
    This show is brilliant.

  • Concord Dawn

    The visual language in this show’s beautiful. Amazingly filmed. And the acting really is top notch, too, definitely. Can’t help loving Malvo as a character and hating Lester as he becomes what he has. And I like Lou’s proper gent so much I’m worried he won’t get out alive every time I see him. Should hate Gus for being such a weak coward, but there’s an understandable pragmatism to his behaviour. Love when the sweeping, epic score comes in in the end credits, too.
    The show’s been slow at times, but where we are now has made it worth it. Big fan

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