In its fourth outing, Fargo suffered greatly from convenient—even lazy—storytelling.
There were far too many things that happened that didn’t make sense and occurred merely to move the story from plot point A to plot point B. Last week, I was upset that Lester was the one sent to talk to Gina Hess, but this week the predictable plot bordered on ridiculous. Would Lorne Malvo really sign into the motel using his own name? Unless we find out his name really isn’t Lorne Malvo, this makes no sense.
Would Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench really leave a taser in the trunk of their car? If they’re two experienced hit men, as we’re lead to believe, why would they leave a weapon that can be used again them?
And honestly, how dumb can Bill and Lieutenant Schmidt be? They corroborate Malvo’s story with just a few phone calls? Wouldn’t they at least ask for photo confirmation that they were talking about the same guy? I’ve watched enough Law & Order to know that’s how you do things.
The storyline just isn’t that interesting if all the cops but Molly and Gus are idiots. The fact that Gus would be punished for arresting Malvo is just plain silly. I need the reveal that Bill is in cahoots with Malvo, and I need it soon.
As for Gus, when he runs into Malvo on the way to investigate the death of Stavros Milos’ dog, he doesn’t hesitate to arrest him. Gus is definitely of the “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” school of thinking. He may be shaking as he puts the handcuffs on Malvo, but he still does it.
Lester gets kidnapped by Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench, but escapes via the aforementioned taser. But his freedom doesn’t last long. By the end of the episode, he’s in the same jail cell as the hit men.
One of the most confusing things the show did this week was have another actor, Carlos Diaz, play the young Stravos. TV ages people up and down all the time, and the scene would have played better with Oliver Platt playing Stravos. After all, the scene was only 19 years before the events of the series. It’s not like they were showing us Stravos in middle school. Even though his wife called him, “Stravos” I spent most of the scene thinking, “Is that supposed to be Oliver Platt?”
As for Stravos, Malvo is playing on his faith. He brought blood to his shower and then infested his grocery stores with locusts. As the locusts are swarming his store, Stravos gets the call for $1 million. But again, aspects of the plot didn’t quite make sense. Last week, Don Chumph was a bronzed personal trainer who couldn’t even pull off a basic blackmail. This week he’s impersonating a plumber and dropping religious hints on an unsuspecting Stravos. (And really, a grocery store magnate wouldn’t have a regular plumber?) But in his next scene, he doesn’t understand that Malvo is the one calling him.
Billy Bob Thornton clearly delighted in playing the humble reverend. complete with the accent and catchphrases. And it was a lot of fun! But watching an actor have fun with a role isn’t enough to get me to tune in each week.
Television is all about the willing suspension of disbelief. But this episode had way too much of it, and not nearly enough Molly.
Other thoughts on “Eating the Blame:”
—Seriously, how has no one noticed Lester’s hand by now? It’s going to turn into gangrene soon.
—Again I ask, where are Lester’s bloody clothes?
—This week we were treated to the translation of Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench and learned that Mr. Wrench has a conscience. He only wants to kill Lester if Lester confesses to killing Sam Hess.
—Even though it’s not a correct theory, Mr. Numbers’ theory that Lester and Gina were having an affair and that’s why Lester killed her husband and his wife is a better theory than both Bill and Lieutenant Schmidt have come up with.
What did you think of this week’s Fargo? Did you find the plot twists a little too convenient? 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.