So remember that shotgun Lester was going to use to try to intimidate Malvo after he bludgeoned his wife to death? The one that Malvo then used to kill Chief Thurman? The weapon that likely still had both Lester and Malvo’s fingerprints on it when the cops arrived at the murder scene and took it as evidence? Yeah, that gun finally gets a starring role in Fargo episode 5, The Six Ungraspables.
The episode opens with a flashback to how Lester acquired the gun. Swayed by a final markdown on irregular socks -- there’s one ladies’ sock stuck in with each pair of men’s -- the “best offer” deal the clerk makes with him is this: “Give me $55 and I’ll throw in this 12 gauge.”
Lester makes the purchase “for protection,” he tells his wife back at home. “If anyone could shoot themselves in the face with an unloaded firearm it’s you,” says Pearl, in case we needed a reminder that henpecking her husband was one of her favorite hobbies. Of course, to prove her point, Lester drops the gun while searching for a place to keep it. He settles on the top of a cabinet, where he also places the shells for safekeeping.
Flash-forward to the crime-in-progress and the phone call he made to Malvo, as well as his practice attempts at being a tough guy. The focus shifts to the gun, which Lester left in the corner, and Malvo grabbing it, then shooting the chief in the chest. The camera shifts to a hyper-stylized, very Coen-esque close-up of the shotgun blast, the shell leaves the chamber and the shot explodes outward, pellets hit the chief, careen through his chest, through his back, with one piece finally lodging into the hand of Lester.
Flash-forward again to Lester’s hand. It’s infected and pulsating and oozing something fierce underneath the bandages.
When we last saw Lester in the present, he was stuck in a jail cell with Numbers and Wrench, the two men who hours earlier had planned on killing him. Then Lester tased Numbers and narrowly escaped, only to find himself in what may be a worse predicament than being dragged out on a frozen lake by two toughs from Fargo.
Lester is pale and sweating; we’re back in the holding cell in Bemidji, where Lester sits between Numbers and Wrench. Wrench gets up, looks around, leans against the cell door.
“Look, I’m sorry,” says Lester. Numbers is taking him in. “About electructing you. I was just… this is obviously a misunderstanding, ‘cause like I said, I’m just an insurance salesman.” He runs out of logical sentences and strings together a series of “I’m just sayings,” and “wells,” and “you sees….”
All this time during Lester’s pathetic protests, Wrench is taking off his boot, taking off his sock, putting his foot back in his boot…
“You said him,” says Numbers. “On the ice. You said him. You said it was him. Not you.” Numbers wants a name, and he’s going to get it. He slams his hand against Lester’s injury while Wrench shoves his sock into Lester’s mouth to stifle the screaming, which is surely gag-inducing on a number of levels.
Lester almost passes out from the pain. Numbers demands that he doesn’t black out. He needs that name.
Lester caves. “Wait! Please! NoooMalvo! Malvo! Lorne, I think. Like the fella from Bonanza.”
Numbers signs to Wrench. Lester is going to throw up. He's hearing the washing machine sound the whole time.
“If you puke in here I’ll kill you,” Numbers threatens. “I’ll actually kill you.” And you believe it.
Lester tries to summarize the last four episodes: Malvo took his car, Duluth impound has it, the police have a picture, they put out an APB.
Numbers and Wrench have their bail posted. Numbers keeps screwing with Lester: What if they want to stay in the holding cell with their new friend? No? That’s OK, they know where to find him…
Numbers and Wrench leave. Lester loses his lunch.
Elsewhere in Bemidji, Molly is in civilian clothes, trying to do civilian things like fold laundry while listening to a nature program that she’s got on in the background. Naturally, it’s a program with an emphasis on predators.
“No way around it,” she says. She puts on her uniform and heads into the station, where Bill is distracted by StormWatch. New predictions: 2 feet of snow.
Molly, as always, in undeterred. She jumps right in and starts talking about the phone dump taken from Lester’s house on the night of the murders. Bill is concerned about plowing.
Molly once again oversteps her boundaries; she talks about how she brought in the manager from Leroy’s Motor Inn, where someone from the Nygaard house called right around the time of Pearl’s murder. Molly says the woman ID'ed a photo of the suspect “from the naked fella kidnapping.” His name is Lorne Malvo and he stayed one night -- the night Hess was killed.
Bill is dumbstruck: “You found this how?” Good police work, you dummy.
Molly says she talked to housekeeping; the boy discovered tokens from the Lucky Penny left behind.
“How many plows?” Cindy, on the phone, wants to know. Everyone except Molly has snow on the brain. Bill wants at least three, but they’re only going to get “two good ones and a pickup with a baby plow.” Bill can’t multitask. Molly wants to make sure he’s listening and gets a distracted “yes.”
Molly says she talked to the dancer who was with Hess when he was killed. She says Hess was bragging about making fun of a guy whose nose he broke… that same day. Who do we know got his nose broke the day Hess died?
It’s starting to finally sink in for Bill…who is being harassed by Cindy about the baby plow.
“So you see,” says Molly, “Hess breaks Lester’s nose, Lester goes to the emergency room, meets our suspect. That night, Hess gets killed. The next day, Lester places his call where the suspect is staying and shortly thereafter or thereabouts Mrs. Nygaard and the chief are killed.”
Molly has it all figured out – and she finally has Bill’s attention. He finally waves off Cindy and the baby plow people with an “I’ll call ‘em back.” “Son of a bitch,” he says to Molly.
“Yes sir,” she agrees. “So I’m thinking maybe this is a murder for hire…” Well, you’ve almost got it figured out, Molly. She wants permission to go to the Nygaard house and question Lester again.
But Lester’s not at his house, Bill informs her. He’s in their holding cell.