9.5

Fargo: "The Heap"

(Episode 1.08)

TV Reviews Fargo
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<em>Fargo</em>: "The Heap"

Wow.

Time jumps have become a bit de rigueur on TV shows lately. NBC’s Parks and Recreation, for example, just ended its season with a three-year leap. But a time jump during the season? Well that, as Molly might say, is something.

As Molly and Gus sweetly flirt on the phone and make plans for a date, the camera pans away. The words “One Year Later” come on the screen, and suddenly we see Gus as the mailman he always wanted to be as he drive up to his new home. And who is there to greet him? A very pregnant Molly.

On a show so full of death and malevolent behavior, seeing Gus and Molly get their happy ending (even if it turns out to only be temporary) was really great. Honestly, when Gus was chatting up Molly while sitting in a police car on a deserted road, I was convinced Gus was a dead man—that Malvo was going to kill him. That is, after all, what we’ve come to expect from this often gruesome show. Instead, we got a lovely domestic scene that just made me so happy.

But Molly has not left the murder of Vern, Pearl and Sam Hess behind. Her crime wall is up in her bedroom right next to the bassinet. She has not given up on proving Lester’s guilt. Her life may be in a totally different place than it was a year ago, but she has not abandoned her belief that Lester is the true culprit.

Before the time jump, Molly was frustrated to the point of tears trying to convince Bill that Chazz is not guilty of the crime. But Bill doesn’t want to hear it. In his mind, the crime is solved. “We had drinks to celebrate,” he tells Molly. Even when she starts listing all the facts, Bill tells her, “That’s just how it is sometimes, life. You go to bed unsatisfied … It’s just not meant to be.” Bill just wants life to go back to normal in Bemidji.

Later, at a party at Lou’s diner, Molly is on the verge of telling Vern’s widow that she doesn’t think they’ve caught the true killer before hesitating and realizing she can’t put Ida through any more grief.

Malvo decided to let Mr. Wrench live, in large part, it seems, because he’s impressed with how close Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers came to killing him. He tells Mr. Wrench, while handing him the key to his handcuffs, to come see him. Is Mr. Wrench working for Malvo a year later? That’s my guess.

Lester kicked off the episode with another fantastic opening (someone in graduate school needs to write a dissertation about the Fargo cold opens). He’s getting a new washing machine, which is the appliance that inadvertently lead to him killing his wife. The newly buoyed Lester then throws all of Pearl’s things away-her knickknacks, her clothes, and her wall decorations. All of it goes into the trash to the tune of “Ode to Joy.” Probably the least subtle musical underscore the show has had thus far.

At the office, Linda offers to make Lester chili before Gina comes in with her two sons furious at the denial of claim letter she’s received from the insurance company. She reminds Lester with some hilariously vulgar language of their recent liaison and threatens him with her sons. Not to be bullied again, he takes a stapler to the heads of both Hess boys and informs Gina that nothing can be done if Sam didn’t make his payments.

Cut to a year later and Lester and his wife Linda (who is apparently turned on by bad boy Lester) are in Las Vegas where Lester is receiving the Insurance Salesman of the Year award. He’s got a new hairstyle to go with his new confidence. Instead of retiring to his hotel room with his wife, he heads to the bar to score another conquest. But before he can enjoy his drink, he sees blond Malvo at a table laughing. Lester’s past has just caught up with him.

While it could have been gimmicky, the time jump served the show extremely well. The amazing trick Fargo continues to pull off in its inaugural season is surprising viewers even though we’ve known all along who is guilty. “The Heap” featured more fantastic work from both Allison Tolman and Martin Freeman. The series has truly hit its creative stride.

Other thoughts on “The Heap:”

• Tolman mentioned a few weeks ago that her favorite scene to film a scene in episode eight between Gus and Molly. I wonder if it was the phone call scene or the taco dinner scene?

• As much as I enjoy Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, their characters seem like an unnecessary diversion right now. I have a feeling that perhaps their story will converge with Molly’s at some point (especially since she keeps calling the FBI). They still have Malvo’s picture on the wall, after all.

• I kind of love that for Kitty it’s worse that Chazz cheated on Miss Hubbard County than the fact that he allegedly killed two people.

• Raise your hand if you are worried for Linda’s safety.

Amy Amatangelo is a Boston-based freelance writer, a member of the Television Critics Association and a regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.

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