The second episode of Fargo was truly a chance to savor all the wonderful choices the show is making to fully bring viewers into the distinct and quirky world of Fargo. The discordant music, the long camera angles, and the unique set choices (an office, for instance, that overlooks hanging raw meat) all work together to create a vibrant and believable setting.
What’s becoming very clear is that Lester makes a lousy criminal. How long until Molly finds out that Lester and Sam saw each other right before Sam was murdered? All she has to do is talk to his dimwitted sons. So telling Molly, “I told you. I haven’t seen him since high school” is not a bright move. And Lester has the bullet wound on his hand. How did he explain that to the cops when he was at the hospital? Molly is bound to notice Lester’s festering gash.
I love the frenetic desperation Martin Freeman is bringing to Lester. “I keep asking myself who could have done a thing like this,” he says to Bill and Molly with little conviction. When Lester cries in his wife’s clothes, I couldn’t tell if he’s crying because he lost his wife, because he killed her or both.
Molly, however, is having a difficult time convincing the new chief, Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk), that Lester is somehow involved in the crime. He believes the murders were the work of a drifter. Allison Tolman’s facial expressions in her scenes with Odenkirk are fantastic, and her delivery is spot on. When Bill tells her to call other police stations to see if they’ve experienced similar crimes, she deadpans, “Similar to three murders including the police chief?” My chief (pardon the pun) complaint here is that Bill is a little too dumb. I’m hoping he gains a few clues in the coming episodes.
Four significant new characters were introduced. Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) come to seek vengeance on the person who killed Sam. They bring a menacing comic relief to the series. Oliver Platt is Stavaros Milos, the (as he’s prone to telling us many, many times) supermarket king of Minnesota. Stavaros is the latest person Lorne is sent to “help.” Stavaros is being blackmailed, and he wants to know who is behind it. And fresh off a gig on The Mindy Project, Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is the personal trainer to Stavaros’ soon-to-be ex-wife. Suffice to say, his use of bronzer is probably going to get him in trouble.
While all these characters are introduced, Lorne continues to quietly and calmly wreak havoc. He terrorizes a postal employee (“I need to see some I.D.” “No.”) and easily shows Stavaros’ bodyguard whose really in charge.
Meanwhile Officer Gus Grimly’s guilt continues to grow. Molly’s dad tells her what she’s dealing with is “savagery pure and simple.” As Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench unceremoniously dump Lenny, whose only crime was not being Malvo, into the freezing ice, there’s no doubt that’s true.
Other thoughts on “The Rooster Prince”:
—The spoken word song that played over that final scene was “Full Moon” by Eden Ahbez. It was the perfect song for that moment and really showcases the series’ savvy use of music.
—Can someone opine on whether or not Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench are actually using American Sign Language? It’s interesting that the show is choosing not to translate what the characters are saying since there definitely seems to be a disconnect between what someone is asking to be translated and what’s actually being translated.
—We saw where Lester hid the hammer, but where did he hide his bloody clothes?
—I, too, loved Hubba Bubba gum.
—Between this show and The Americans, FX has a thing for one character defecating in front of another.
What did you think of the second episode of Fargo? Is Bill a little too dumb? Did you love Hubba Bubba gum? Talk about it below.
Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.