After ten amazing weeks, we said goodbye to Fargo. Well, at least for now, as after months of speculation series writer Noah Hawley has seriously hinted at a continuation, and how it would connect to both this first season and the 1996 movie, creating “a big picture.”
I could say many things about this episode, but it all could be summed up in one sentence: This is how you do a Season Finale!
The story Fargo has been telling, a recollection of the murderous events that took place in Minnesota on 2006, has always been true to the spirit of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 movie; each episode surrounded by a dark aura of death, madness and fear, all topped up by a unique noir, almost unbelievable, sense of humor.
The quality of the series, the effectiveness of its shots, the incredible character development in only ten episodes, the seriousness of the approach, not falling for cheap, spectacular moments a single time and instead giving the viewer more tension and quality than most expected, along with the well-thought out pace, has made Fargo – as some in the creative team already call it – a ten hour movie. And what a great movie.
I came to this finale afraid of what Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton), our emotionless, cold-blooded assassin – who is a great part of the backbone of the overall story arc, driving things forward with his sick games of “helping” people by reaching to their inner demons and bringing them out, corrupting them beyond redemption – could do.
After all, he was in town to hunt and kill the disturbed Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), who previous to his first encounter with the efficient animal that is Malvo was just a pussy; some nobody unable to defend himself from what life threw at him – bullies, unloving wife, ashamed brother…and so on.
I said it was a great finale, and that is in great part because of its fast, non-stop pace, and the success in conveying the sense of imminent and present danger in each and every second. The whole town of Bemidji is now aware that Malvo is on the loose, and thanks in part to the FBI agents coming or to the fact that a second Nygaard wife has been brutally killed, with two tickets to the Caribbean in her pocket – Lester’s survival instincts coming to life once more – our very pregnant Deputy Officer Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) finally gets all the credit she’s been denied the whole season, with Chief Police Commissioner Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) openly admitting her that he was wrong for not listening to her investigation before, while almost reaching out to her, being honest by saying that while she’s cut out for this kind of threat, he obviously isn’t, and that’s why she should become the new Chief.
This scene is hugely rewarding to all the viewers, and it’s perfectly managed, being also fitting that it takes place in the very last episode. At last Molly gets her reward.
Another powerful reason why this finale was so spot-on is because it made all of its characters shine, showing their skills set at their best. It portrayed an extreme situation, with almost no time to think.
There were two manhunts going on at the same time: A sanctioned one, with Cops and FBI, coordinated by Molly, scouting all of Bemidji for Malvo, while using an under custody Lester as bait. And an unsanctioned one: Malvo’s. Malvo going after Lester and managing to track him down to his new home where the two FBI agents – neither the best nor the brightest – were taking guard ended in a crazy, bloody and violent killing spree.
Malvo is a trained assassin and as such has plenty of resources at his disposal. It doesn’t matter that he’s outnumbered and outgunned, he has something the rest don’t: a primal need to end his prey’s life, and the intelligence and boldness to do so.
And when he starts his killing spree right in front of Lester’s snowed yard – the poor FBI agents never stood a chance – it looks like that’s going to be it. As if our main characters’ endless loop of death will finally, violently, come to a close.
However, after a crazy violent sequence – including the involvement of a bear trap – Lester’s survival instinct, born from the depths of his cowardice, manages to save him from Malvo and to win this last round. When Lester smiles then, though, looking at Malvo’s blood on the snow, he doesn’t know he will not live for long after that.
But that’s not the craziest showdown, the craziest turn of events, as there’s one last incredible “made in Fargo” scene. It is so shocking that I don’t want to spoil it for you. Let’s just say Lorne Malvo won’t set foot again in Bemidji, and that Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), though now a mailman, redeems himself and becomes the unsung hero his family, and himself, needed him to be.
It has been a crazy ride, but definitely worth every second of it.
Sleep tight, Fargo, we’ll be waiting.