Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
I wasn’t sure about Fargo before it began. The beloved film had been released a long time ago and fans would hate to see it trampled on by a lowly TV show hitching itself to one of the Coen Brothers’ most memorable films. Thankfully there was absolutely nothing to worry about in the end, as Fargo not only managed to build upon its very sturdy foundation with small links to the film, it also managed to stand firmly on its own to deliver a fascinating story that twisted and turned until it reached a very satisfying conclusion with “Morton’s Fork.”
After a brief shot of a hole in the ice that one of our characters would end up in by the end of the episode, we picked up where we left off last week with Malvo casually walking away from the scene of his latest crime. Lester has evolved into this horrid little creature who only cares about self-preservation, and after sending his wife to the slaughter last week, we got to see him shift automatically to saving his own skin again. Watching him decide against fleeing and immediately go to Lou’s Diner to establish an alibi for himself showed the height of his cunning, even though in his haste he had left behind the plane tickets which clued Molly in on the fact that he was about to run.
It was perhaps Molly’s words to him in the interrogation room that led to Lester deciding to take a stand against Malvo in the end, as there was no way that Malvo was going to stop coming after him. That scene with Molly was fantastic, with her story about the man giving up his gloves going completely over Lester’s head. Hardly surprising considering he only thinks about himself. The showdown with Malvo was great, with Malvo leaving a trail of bodies in his wake and Lester again proving to be a formidable foe. Luring Malvo into a room full of bear traps covered by laundry was a stroke of genius, although Lester’s shooting skills weren’t quite up to scratch. I was really pumped to see a Lester and Malvo showdown, and while it was quite short, it was pretty much perfect, with Lester essentially beating Malvo by driving him off with a mangled leg.
Of course a simple mashed up leg wasn’t going to kill Malvo. As he limped back into his cabin and set his own broken leg, it was hard to imagine what could possibly put an end to this demon of a man. That was of course until we were introduced to Gus Grimly’s revolver. We had earlier seen Gus approaching the cabin before Malvo left to go kill Lester, so it was a safe bet that he was still there. There was still a whole lot of tension in that scene however, as we know how capable Malvo is, and how green Gus has been. Over the course of the season we’ve watched as Malvo has brought out the side of people that they didn’t quite know was there. Lester was his greatest creation in terms of pure darkness, but he also brought forth a side of Gus we hadn’t seen, the side that was capable of killing to protect his family. The sudden blasts of gunfire were startling with even Gus being shaken. After initially appearing dead for a brief moment, Malvo gasped into life like something out of a horror movie only for two more blasts of gunfire to ring out and put an end to Lorne Malvo once and for all.
Lester’s fate was still up in the air of course, and he may have believed he had gotten away with it once again. However the death of Malvo gave Molly all the evidence she needed against Lester in the shape of those audio tapes Malvo had collected. We catch up with Lester two weeks later, on the run from the police on a snowmobile that we then knew would take him to that hole in the ice from the start of the episode. Absolutely defiant until the very end, Lester wouldn’t even consider taking responsibility for his actions and instead just kept running and running until finally, the surface cracked up around him and he fell. His foundation of lies had crumbled underneath him just like the ice on that lake and he ended up succumbing to a fate he had succeeded in escaping from earlier this season.
So our two main monsters both met their makers in the end, in incredibly fitting ways. Malvo was a predator, an animal who got put down by a man who he had bitten. Lester got dragged down into the abyss by his own guilt. Molly and Gus ended up coming out of this one whole, and can now live out their lives together as a family. At a very basic level you could say that good did triumph over evil but that over simplifies everything we’ve seen over the course of 10 spellbinding episodes. There were plenty of casualties along the way, with the latest two here being FBI agents Pepper and Budge. Their death’s was a particularly striking scene, as Malvo silently approached from behind. Another casualty was the career of Sheriff Oswalt, who realized he simply didn’t have the stomach for this kind of work. It led to Molly getting promoted to chief, though, which was a fitting achievement for her considering she often appeared to be the only competent law enforcement officer in the state.
So I reiterate, Fargo originally had me worried going into it, but it very quickly won me over thanks in no small part to the wonderful acting on display. The whole cast was great with Alison Tolman and Colin Hanks having plenty of moments to shine and Bob Odenkirk nearly stealing every damn scene he was in. The show belonged to two men in the end though, Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton. Freeman did such a fantastic job in transforming Lester from the sympathetic coward to the absolute horrid creature he was in the end, and Billy Bob Thornton just tore up the screen with his Satin-like Malvo performance at every occasion. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of awards nominations to commend such excellent work.
We came into Fargo knowing that this could just be a “one and done” deal and there wouldn’t be another season. Surely though we’ll have to get another story from this universe from this talented team of people. If we do get a second season it’ll be a whole new story with different actors and characters, much in the same vein as how HBO’s True Detective will be structured. But much like I was when I finished up Season 1 of True Detective, I’m left wondering how they could possibly top what we’ve just watched. A prequel set around the “Sioux Falls incident?” The Adventures of Mr. Wrench? I really have no idea, but I do know that I really want it to happen. Let’s just follow the advice of those signs in Lester’s house and think positively. Because if there’s one thing that Fargo taught us, it’s that good things come to those who wait!
Were you satisfied with the ending of ‘Fargo?’ Where do you rank ‘Fargo’ on your list of shows? Don’t be a shy fella and not leave a comment.
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