Spoiler alert: This is a recap of episode five of season one of Fargo on SBS on Thursday’s at 9:30pm.
In this week’s prologue, we see Lester buying a gun from a department store. We see this same gun being picked up and used by Malvo to kill Chief Thurman in the first episode. At which point there is a very gnarly slow-mo shot of the bullet tearing through Thurman before a particle ricochets into Lester’s hand – the one he has been persistently rubbing.
Picking up from last week, Lester is still in prison with Numbers and Wrench, who proceed to torture him with a sock to extract the identity of Hess’ killer. Eventually Lester gives up Malvo, and the proceeds to pass out.
In Bemidji, Solverson comes into Oswalt’s office and more or less cracks the entire case as it has played out – The I.D on Malvo, the phone call made to his motel from Lester’s house on the night of the murder, Hess beating up Lester and the emergency room meeting between Lester and Malvo. Gobsmacked, Oswalt finally defers Solverson’s genius and tells her to question Lester on her new lead.
Solverson tries to question Lester but finds him convulsing & babbling to himself. She accompanies him to the hospital, where the doctor eventually tells her that they retrieved a bullet from Lester’s hand and that Ida Thurman (The Sheriff’s widow) gave birth to a girl. In the meantime, Solverson goes to Lester’s empty house, goes into his laundry and starts to search the washing machine (the very one he was fixing before he killed his wife), but apparently doesn’t find what she’s looking for.
Grimly troubled by his various run-ins with Malvo, is pondering the right thing to do. He winds up having a late night conversation with neighbour (who I think was a Rabbi, but this wasn’t clarified). The neighbour then tells Grimly a parable, the crux of which is that it is foolish to think you can individually stop all the misery in the world, to which the earnest Grimly answers – “Yeah but you gotta try right?”
With Milos almost at breaking point from his religious torment, Malvo goes over to Don’s house to finish the blackmail. Whilst Don muses over how he will celebrate with his cash, Malvo takes a drill and locks him in his own pantry.
Malvo picks up Milos and drives him over to his supermarket to collect the cash for ransom. Once inside, Milos’ apparently not so dim witted son, figures out the cause of the plague of locusts after ringing the local pet shops, but Milos’ in the thrall of religious terror refuses to hear it. Back in the car, Malvo treats Milos to some of his philosophy. At the end of the trip Milos’ tell Malvo to hit the road and that there business is concluded (and remember Milos doesn’t know Malvo is the one blackmailing him). Whilst at Milos’ Malvo sees Grimly in the driveway, who is retracing his steps, when he arrested Malvo. Malvo then follows Grimly home, before being confronted by Grimly’s aforementioned neighbour. The neighbour tells Malvo knows he is a bad man, that he is interfering in a community and that he needs to leave. Malvo responds by cryptically threatening the man and his children.
This was one of the strongest episodes of the series. Although it did little to advance the plot, it heavily explored the central thematic concern of the series (and from the original film) –how can good people go on in the face of evil and misery? Although we have seen plenty of evil this week we saw the goodness of the ordinary people. What really set this episode apart was how the small town people were moved to do the right thing in the face of impossible: Grimly, totally out of his depth, continues to haplessly pursue Malvo; the neighbour confronts Malvo even though he knows he is evil, and in a very stirring final scene, Solverson promises Thurman’s widow that she will find her husband’s killer. In these small moments, we see that these earnest, uncomplicated people are heroic for living with integrity, and we instantly understand the world they are trying to protect.
This week someone mentioned the murders from the first episode only being a few days ago – Is this whole series-taking place over the course of a few days??
The inevitable showdown between Wrench, Numbers and Malvo is coming!
And Lester, having identified Malvo to the hit man duo, continues to slide hopelessly out of his depth.
Strange tension between Malvo and Milos at their parting, maybe Milos is on to him before the hand off next week?
Don’s house had the book of ‘Turkish Bath Interiors’ – ridiculous!
Don (beneath goatee and spray tan) is actually actor Glenn Howerton, star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.