FARGO Recap: “Who Shaves the Barber?”

     May 27, 2014


It was an intense week of bloody finales on TV, including Hannibal and The Americans (even Mad Men contributed!) but Fargo was right there in the mix in the middle of its season, with its bloody white-out.  Not everyone died, but quite a few were maimed, and “Who Shaves the Barber?” focused on that aftermath, and what secrets came out once the snow had settled.  Lester continued exacting revenge on those who wronged him, while Molly got some terrible news just as she started to get things figured out.  Hit the jump for, “What the hell you got against Georgia??”

fargo-jordan-peele-keegan-michael-key-who-shaves-the-barberIn “Who Shaves the Barber?” things began to come together in the wake of “Buridan’s Ass’s” carnage.  Malvo goes to Reno to find out how Wrench and Numbers knew who he was, or how to find him.  He rightly pieced together that they were sent from “the Fargo outfit,” after Sam Hess’ death, but doesn’t know how they know him (which we, of course, know that it’s because Lester told them).  Then again, it doesn’t seem that Malvo is all that interested in the full story, and goes to Fargo to take out the entire operation, on the watch of FBI duo Budge and Pepper (Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele), who miss the entire thing.

Those Malvo has left in his wake though are starting to realize that they may share a common enemy.  Molly, who went from Gomer Pyle to Rust Cohle in the course of seven episodes so far, pieces together (post-gun-shot-wound from Gus, which she didn’t seem particularly perturbed about) that these incidents are all related, and connect back to Lester.  A visit with a bereaved Wrench confirmed many of her suspicions, although he’s not yet willing to cooperate with her fully (unlike Molly, he seems to take being shot by someone as a cause for wariness.  On the other hand, he did also lose a friend).

As Molly finally closes in on the truth, the rug is pulled out completely from underneath her.  A return trip to the station on the way home from the hospital leaves her with the devastating information that Chaz Nygaard has been locked up for murdering Pearl and Verne in an open-and-shut case (more or less).  Though “Who Shaves the Barber?” played this as the most horrific news possible, Molly still has a strong case against Lester regarding Malvo, even if she has to give up the Pearl/Verne angle (for now).


What’s more, Lester has gotten awfully cocky about his position, which makes him more likely to slip up.  Yet really, why shouldn’t he be feeling good?  When we met him, he was loser who got trampled on by everyone.  One by one, galvanized by Malvo, he’s taken them on.  After implicating his brother for the murders thanks to the planted gun Gordo had (Gordo, who saw him creeping around the house, lest we forget — this may become important later), he went back to work, and visited Gina Hess.  Instead of delivering the bad news that her husband had stopped paying the premiums on their policy, he leveraged his position to suggest that she could only get his money through him (which led to predictable results).  It was the perfect revenge on Sam, then, to have sex with Sam’s wife, knocking their photo off of the wall with the pounding lovemaking.

Lester is riding high, while Molly is at her lowest low.  This is the kind of moral subversion that Fargo has presented so far in its twisted vision of the world.  As Bill made sure to point out once again, this kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in Bemidji.  For it to all be cleaned up and put away as quickly as possible is in everyone’s best interest.  Except, of course, Molly knows that justice is not being served.

There’s still plenty of story to tell, and plenty of opportunities for things to get righted (for Lester and Malvo to get their comeuppance, as it were), but for now, life in Bemidji is awfully dark.  There were also a lot of plots that weren’t addressed in this hour, like what Bill had to say about the aftermath of Don’s epic (and mistaken) death-by-cops last week, as well as Numbers’ death in the snow.  Not to mention Stavros after the death of Dimitry.  No, this was Lester’s time to shine, and shine he did.  We can’t only assume it won’t last long.

Episode Rating: A-

fargo-joshua-close-who-shaves-the-barberMusings and Miscellanea:

— So the fish were explained because of a water spout.  Hmmm.

— Bill’s responses to Lester telling the “true” story of what happened with Pearl and Verne were incredible, especially because he just told his entire theory of the crime to Lester, who could then just agree with him.

— Fargo always has one or two genuinely funny moments per episode, and the best one in “Who Shaves the Barber?” was Lester calling the cleaning service, who was so chatty until he mentioned “there’s a lot of blood …”

— “I shot you, sorry, here’s some flowers” – Gus (more or less).

— “My first wife.  Korean.  She used to spit at me when we had sex.” – Malvo’s kinda boss.

— Not enough Key and Peele, frankly.  Although their scenes were good.  Fargo continued its window motif to follow Malvo through that building in terrifyingly effective fashion.  You didn’t need to see it, hearing it was enough.  The movement from window to window also said all that needed to be said.  Disturbing.

— “What the hell you got against Georgia??” – Malvo.