Back at the Nygaard house, Lester walks into the bedroom, which features inspirational messages everywhere: "Everything happens for a reason" reads one; “go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you imagined," says another. Did Lester have a say in anything in this relationship? Of course, these could be his motto now.
He walks over to the closet and lifts the sleeve of one of Pearl’s sweaters. He starts crying into it, moaning. But this raw emotion isn’t for her, is it? No, it’s for the exceptionally crappy situation he got himself into. And then the doorbell rings.
It’s the cops. Molly and Bill have some questions. Molly is like a bulldog, wanting to jump right into it. Bill greets his old friend. “How ya holding up?” he asks.
Lester pours grape juice for his guests. "Pearl says it reminds her of being a kid," he says, then knocks on the table, forgetting. "Said," he corrects himself. The Lester Lie Machine has been turned on.
Bill is still bent on this being a social call, asking Lester if he remembers that gum -- that grape gum from their childhood. Molly’s patience is wearing thin, and she asks about Lester’s statement from the hospital. Lester says he was thorough…and that he has a concussion, so ya know, be gentle. Molly presses on, asking about details of the crime. "I heard the washer going," Lester says, pausing. "Spin cycle," he adds for effect. Lester says Pearl was already dead on the floor when he got home, and he never saw the guy before he got knocked out himself. Molly asks if he can recall Chief Thurman stopping by. Lester says the chief must have seen the suspect breaking in, and that’s why he was on the scene. Molly corrects him: "No, Mr. Nygaard -- Chief Thurman came to talk to ya about a man you may have met in the emergency room the day previous." Uh-oh, Lester. "You don’t say," he eeks out.
Bill cuts in. He thinks this is getting too hard for Lester. Molly recognizes her window closing. "We’ve got a witness…says you were arguing with the man about Sam Hess," she says.
Under the table, Lester starts flexing his injured hand. But he’s wearing a poker face. "Who?" he asks.
"Sam. Hess." Molly is getting impatient.
Bill launches into old stories about Sam bullying Lester in high school. Molly’s head might explode with this new information. "You were talking about him, so what’s the story there?" she asks, proving her worth as a detective.
Lester uses the "the last few days have been real fuzzy" defense. "I may have said my face is a mess," he tries, terribly. "And mess sounds like Hess…maybe the witness misunderstood." But Bill buys it. He launches into his "drifters" theory to back Lester up.
"We don’t both share that theory," Molly interjects.
"I’m a little scrambled right now," Lester says. "I’ve got a concussion right now, I’m not sure if I said that." (Ah, he’s really thinking on his feet now.) "Things are kind of fuzzy."
Bill says he’s satisfied and turns to leave, practically dragging Molly with him. The new chief says he’s gonna look up that gum.
"Hubba Bubba," Lester answers in an astounding moment of clarity and memory recall. Molly’s face is priceless. "Do you remember Hubba Bubba?" Bill asks her. "No," she says, disgusted.
"She was a good woman," Lester says as they leave. "Good wife. I just keep asking myself who could’ve done a thing like this?" I’m wondering that too, Lester. Who are you?
The next scenes allow Malvo to get back into the story. During a wonderfully macabre interaction with a mailing store clerk, he receives his new identity from his League of Professional Hitmen or whatever they call themselves. He is now Frank Peterson, minister, and his new client is Stavros Milos, the Supermarket King of Minnesota. Malvo visits Milos at his Phoenix Farms headquarters in Duluth.
Milos is a boastful man. He has a pro (semi-pro) former hockey goon as his head of security -- whom Malvo refers to as The Fire Hydrant -- and a painting of a crown behind his desk that reads “King.” Malvo asks about the reason why he’s there: the blackmail letter. Milos pulls it out, and it’s hilarious: It’s an old-school amateur job in cutout letters that says: "I know about the money pay me 43,613 or I tell the world." It’s also a wonderful nod to the ransom note in the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski. Is Malvo's attachment to his briefcase a Dude reference, too?
Malvo wants to know what "I know about the money" means. Milos brushes him off, saying that’s none of his concern, he just wants the blackmailer found. Lorne laughs (well, he doesn’t laugh, probably ever, but he is amused) at the ridiculously specific number. Milos says maybe it’s for student loans…and then his dim-witted adult son bursts into the office to tell a joke: What’s a karate expert’s favorite beverage? Kara-tea -- get it?
He exits. Malvo wants to know what to do with the blackmailer once he’s found him. Send ‘em packing, Milos says in his best imitation of a movie tough guy. He suggests starting with his wife -- soon-to-be-ex-wife -- who is suing him. And Malvo does -- after stealing the car of some poor sap who left it running outside the grocery store.