As the title of the episode suggests, both Lester Nygaard (played by Martin Freeman) and Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) are caught by different kinds of people – Fargo mobsters and Duluth police, respectively – and though each of them has almost an equal part in the slaughter that started this whole mess, they end up walking free.
The episode touches again on almost the entire cast and expertly continues their story threads. It has only been four episodes, but each of them so intense that I could say that, again, everyone is very much in-character.
They all act like the people we have met so far, trying to complete their own agendas, and that makes for a perfect character-driven episode.
The stars this time, however, are Lorne Malvo and the hilarious Fargo mobsters – played by badass Adam Goldberg, always with his shades on and interpreting deaf Russell Harvard – who manage to steal the episode in all of their scenes.
Malvo continues the crazy blackmailing of his client Stavros Milos (played by Oliver Platt), throwing at him plague after plague, in order to make things more biblical, and touch on the man’s most inner beliefs to make him feel true, Rage-of-God-like fear. First it was the literal rain of blood on last episode’s final moments, and on this one it’s an invasion of crickets – you know, because mosquitoes aren’t that threatening after all – on a giant scale.
The little things invade the Supermarket King’s offices and Supermarket, and on a perfect shot closing the whole scene we see Lorne Malvo right on top of the roof of the Supermarket, watching the people flee in panic, just like God admiring his work from above. Below, with the help of a timely phone call demanding the $1 M, Stavros really starts to believe that God exists, much like his father did – as we are shown in a good but maybe a bit too long sequence right at the beginning.
However, Stavros is not the first one on this episode to feel Lorne Malvo’s mischievous touch. Duluth honest cop Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), who was seeking redemption by trying to get Lorne Malvo with the help of Bemidji police officer Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) – without their respective bosses’ approval – literally stomps into Malvo and takes him into custody. However, devilish Lorne has more than one trick up his sleeve, and manages to turn the whole situation around, leaving the precinct as an honest, scared church minister with an alibi to back his act. It was amazing, and an unexpected change of tone, to see Thornton suddenly play this sickly man of God while we all know he is as violent and evil as it gets. These are truly disturbing scenes because of the subtext: that pure evil can hide under the skin of one of God’s servants clothes and walk away with it.
And it’s not good news that Malvo fools Bemidji chief commissioner Bill Oswalt (played by Breaking Bad’s own Bob Odenkirk) because if he already had suspicions about Molly and her fixation on a “good citizen” such as Lester, now he feels empowered to discredit both her and her Duluth colleague, Gus. A masterful play by Malvo indeed.
And what about Lester? Well, armed with one of his brother’s Tasers, he tries to make his way out of your typical mobster kidnapping and drowning on iced waters…
But poor Lester, despite all his efforts and pent-up violence, is nothing but a dork. And on this marvelously driven story thread, always with a Coen Brothers’ flavor – the failed attempts by the violent mobsters to off his target and, what’s better yet, the discussion to determine if the intended target is the right one – he gets to run away once by almost locking himself up in jail.
But as that perfect last scene shows us, two can play at that game…
Or better yet, three.