Fargo‘s fourth episode, “Eating the Blame,” saw Malvo continuing to wreak havoc, with the police very far behind. There’s no such thing as “Minnesota nice” when it comes to the cops of Duluth and Bemidji, and the Old Boys’ Club mentality at both stations makes Molly and Gus unable to keep Malvo in their grasp. Elsewhere, Lester continues to operate on the fringes, running from everyone. Hit the jump for why the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color.
After an great, galvanizing third episode, Fargo slipped back into a bit of a coma in “Eating the Blame.” The major thrust of the episode focused on Malvo upsetting things, and embracing his new identity to its fullest extent. On the one hand, his “Frank Peterson” persona allowed him to play the bewildered minister in front of the police, thwarting Gus’ efforts to hold him on the murder charges. Though it makes sense that Gus couldn’t allow him to escape a second time after all of that wrangling with his conscience, there wasn’t much to hold him on. The fake credentials aside, the only evidence was a grainy photo. And miraculously, somehow, his alibi as a minister held up.
Also, Malvo found some inspiration in his Frank Peterson character by using the guise of Biblical plagues when it came to Stavros and the ransom. A flashback revealed Stavros was essentially bailed out by the money he found in the snow back in 1987, a call-back to the briefcase of cash Steve Buscemi‘s character buried for safe keeping in the movie. Usually, Fargo is better the further away it gets from its source material, but in this case, it was a fine trick. It also allowed for Stavros’ further horror when it comes to the idea of a plague — he could see it as retribution for not living up to the terms of his prayer back on that snowy road.
Malvo is certainly an Old Testament kind of demonic presence, that devilish snake in the garden stirring up trouble (though Bemidji is as far from Eden as one could possibly get). That metaphor continued to when he gave Gus his riddle to solve about predators, which Molly puts together. This snake is not inviting Gus, or goading him like he did for Lester or for the boy at the motel. He’s telling him explicitly to stay away.
Lester, for his part, is still dealing with the repercussions of his actions that were supported by Malvo. In addition to the hole in his hand, there’s still a pool of blood on his floor. He’s unable to leave any part of those crimes behind him, also because Wrench and Numbers are harassing him, too. In a smooth move, Lester used the taser he accidentally pilfered from his brother on Numbers, and made the great move of lightly punching the police officer to get arrested, to ensure his safety (once again, no Minnesota nice from the officer, who told the obviously desperate Lester he wasn’t a taxi service). Of course, in the hour’s funniest moment, things went right back to where they started after Numbers and Wrench — who had a falling out after Lester’s escape — ended up in the same holding cell as their mark.
In “Eating the Blame,” Fargo felt once again like a very drawn-out murder mystery strung together loosely with quirks. Though there were some genuinely good small moments (usually between Wrench and Numbers, who also were in the episode’s best scene: dragging Lester onto the ice to a great shot and soundtrack), Fargo still isn’t going much deeper. Yet. For better or worse, there’s still plenty of time.
Episode Rating: B
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I understand using the “true story” tag in the first episode, but every one? Really no need.
— Interesting that even in that small town, Stavros and Don Chumph didn’t know each other before this episode.
— The scenes with the crickets were horrible and amazing.
— I was concerned for Gus that Malvo now knows he’s after him, but I think he just enjoys the game at this point, knowing he’s so far ahead of Gus.
— Molly did get a little breakthrough though after interviewing the Motel manager and her son.
— Apparently Bill loves Asian girls holding marlin.
— Ok, so, this was the first episode I’ve had subtitles for Wrench and Numbers’ conversations. On the press screeners, they were just uninterpreted scenes. Adds a lot … like that hilarious comment about Mormons like being watched while they eat!