Fargo recap: Everything happens for a reason

Molly begins to suspect Lester is involved with the murders, while the Fargo muscle arrives in Bemidji to start an investigation of their own. Malvo takes on a new client: the Supermarket King of Minnesota.
Ep. 02 | Aired Apr 22, 2014

Chris Large/FX

Still in Duluth, the action turns to the police precinct where Gus Grimly -- the cop who pulled over Malvo, but let him go -- works. The chief is talking about the brutal murders that happened over in Bemidji, and says the new chief there wants their cooperation. Grimly pulls that ticket he didn’t finish writing out of his pocket -- he got the plates on the vehicle. (Either the incident bothered him so much that he kept that ticket on him for days, or he never washes his pants.)

Grimly seems to be a good guy, but we’re getting hit a little too hard over the head with analogies in his story. Over dinner, his daughter Greta talks about an assembly at school about bullies. When confronted by someone violent, she asks her dad, "You’re the police -- what would you do?"

"Well you know, sometimes there’s more than one right thing," Gus says, trying to reconcile his own actions in his mind. She doesn’t get it. "I got you and I am responsible for you and sometimes I might be in a situation where -- and this hasn’t happened and it won’t -- where if I try to stop a guy from doing a bad thing I could get hurt or worse. And then who would take care of you?"

"But it’s your job," she says.

"Well, I’ve got two jobs," he clarifies. "And the first and most important is being your dad."

Greta says if she saw something, she’d do something. Gus doesn’t doubt her. Then he squirts a giant pile of ketchup for a nice blood effect, foreshadowing to…

…the return of Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench. They’re at the strip club where Hess was killed, grilling the prostitute and proprietor, who throw a guy named Lenny under the bus. Poor, stupid Lenny insults the pair from Fargo and tries to threaten them. He’s bound and gagged, thrown in the trunk, and taken to Hess’ trucking office for Gold to ID. But Lenny’s not the mystery dude who visited Hess.

Back in Duluth, Malvo visits Milos’ ex and her trainer, Don, who gets bronzer all over the hit man (not a good way to introduce yourself). Malvo, posing as a colleague of the wife’s lawyer, learns Milos is worth way more than he let on, and that the story of starting his business with a loan from his uncle is a load of BS. Malvo also has another chance encounter with Milos’ son, and manages not to blow his cover by telling another lame joke: What kind of bone will a dog never eat? A trombone. (Chicken bone is the wrong answer.)

Scene change to Malvo’s hotel room, where he’s listening to a recording of some interview: "I did what you told me," a man says."I saw her in the copy room giving me attitude like she doesn’t want it but we both know she does, right?"

"So what did you do?" the unmistakable voice of Malvo asks.

"I closed the door and said if she ever told the boss I was bothering her again I was gonna come to her house and tie her up," the unidentified man says. "I was gonna tie her up and do things to her that no kind of showering could erase. 'Cause you were right -- we have to take what we want. Deep down inside we’re gorillas, right? Wolves…."

Wait a second -- the end of Unidentified Man’s testimony echoes the same speech Malvo gave Lester at the hospital. Is the hit man collecting his own blackmail? Is he collecting pawns?

While listening to the recording, Malvo fingers -- rather literally -- the blackmailer in the Milos case. The ransom letter, he realizes, is covered in the same faux sun-kissed orange as the bronzer Don left on his hand when they shook. But Malvo’s train of thought is interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s The Fire Hydrant, and he’s come to intimidate. Not to be outdone, Malvo proves he doesn’t give a s—t -- by going to the bathroom, pulling down his pants, and taking a s—t, right in front of his guest. Fire Hydrant leaves -- and leaves the door wide open for anyone walking by to see.

The view isn’t any better for Lester, who is still haunted by the bloodstains at his house. He goes to the basement, tries to move the broken washing machine, and removes the back panel to reveal…the murder weapon. (He sneakily hid it there as the cops arrived.) Lester is becoming a more adept criminal than I originally would have pegged him for. He decides to temporarily move into his brother’s house and announces that he will sell his home. His sister-in-law is happy to hear he’s ready for a fresh start, but in congratulating him, accidentally bumps his injured hand.

So Lester heads to the pharmacy, where he’s searching for something to prevent infection. (Just how bad is that wound getting?) Out pops Molly, who is in full-on detective mode, and possibly full-on stalker mode at this point, too. She’s trying to piece together the details of the crime and won’t back down on her hunch that Lester is somehow involved; Lester gets flustered and says he’s feeling harassed, fleeing the pharmacy without even picking up his ointment.

In the parking lot, Lester perpetuates his lie, saying Molly should be out there looking for the real killer, and that he hasn’t seen Sam since high school. Molly reminds him that a friend of hers was killed, too. Then she looks puzzled.
"I’m not sure this is your car, Mr. Nygaard," she says. There is a "Honk if you heart knitting" sticker in the window and a menagerie of stuffed animals in the back seat.

"It’s my wife’s; mine’s in the shop," he answers.

Molly keeps going, saying it’s hard to believe that it’s all a coincidence that he knows Sam, that it’s a quiet town, and that suddenly there are four victims in 24 hours. There’s a witness saying Lester was talking about Sam the day he died, and they had differences in the past. "Help me understand what happened," she says in a rare moment of softness.

But Lester is incensed -- and scared. "Just ask Bill, your boss," he says. "He said he was satisfied. Look at me -- my wife is dead and you’re harassing me. He’ll tell you this is a break-in. I can’t help you." And just to show this murderer hasn’t lost his politeness: "Watch your feet now," he adds, driving away.

So it’s no surprise that Molly is going to get reprimanded. She’s having coffee at her dad’s restaurant, going over the clues with her ex-cop father. They have a daughter-dad moment, where it’s obvious he’s worried about her. He talks about the trouble cops see: "murder, violence, general scofflaws." But then, "there’s the stuff you’re looking at now…which is, if I’m right, savagery pure and simple. Slaughter, hatred, devils with dead eyes and sharks with smiles." And how right he is.

Bill walks in and asks Molly for a word. The new chief seems as scared of power as he is thrilled by it. He already told her to back off Lester, he reminds her, but Nygaard called and said she was harassing him. And because she can’t fall in line, Bill pulls her off the case. He makes her "head of inquiry on the frozen fella, the naked one" as a consolation prize. She looks defeated, but she’s not ready to quit.

Fargo’s goons aren’t going to quit on their case, either. As Eden Ahbez’s ethereal "Full Moon" plays in the background, Numbers and Wrench pull up to a desolate, frozen lake. They get out, pop the trunk, and Lenny jumps out, trying to escape. Wrench pistol whips their suspect -- who, remember, is the wrong guy -- and he falls to the ground. Wrench gets out a giant drill, and Numbers drags Lenny behind him as they walk out to the middle of the lake. The sun is shining; the sky is blue. Wrench starts the drill. Numbers binds Lenny’s hands. They drag him to the hole in the ice.

"No. Wait," Lenny pleads. The Fargo muscle hold him upside down and drop him into the icy waters below. "And in the evening/when the sky is on fire/heaven and earth become my great open cathedral/where all men are brothers/where all things are bound by law/and crowned with love," Ahbez incants.

Wrench and Numbers walk back to their car, unaffected.

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