‘Fargo’ Episode 3 Review: “A Muddy Road”

By April 29, 2014
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Last week’s episode of “Fargo” was a bit slower than I had expected. After the outstanding premiere, I had wanted the pacing to continue but sometimes things need to settle down only to set up the next crescendo. In tonight’s episode  “A Muddy Road”, that set up is well under way.

The episode opens on an image of an office building’s exterior. Text appears on the screen to remind us that this series is based on a true story.

The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006.

Well I’ll be! It’s already been established that the storyline for the FX series was completely different from the Coen Brothers’ film. Now, we learn that this incarnation of “Fargo” is also based on true events. With how quirky and crazy these characters are, one can only image how true the story here is. But that doesn’t really matter…does it?

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Remember in the first episode, when we saw that almost naked dude in Lorne Malvo’s trunk make a break for it after that incident featuring the deer? This is where the flashback is taking us. We find the man panicking at his desk and after a beat, Lorne appears to drag him by his tie past all the other cubicles, through the lobby and into the trunk of his car. Let’s not forget the fact that he cut the man’s clothes off with a knife before throwing him into said trunk.

The flashback ends where Molly Solverson finds the dead dude in the woods and this leads as a bridge to the present story line. Solverson heads to the dead man’s work and finds further evidence that pushes her suspicions in Lester Nygaard’s direction. As well, she finally catches a glimpse of the other man involved in Sam Hess’ murder – Lorne Malvo. It’s not a perfect image, to be sure. But Molly Solverson is definitely on the right track.

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Whether she’s on the right track or not, really doesn’t matter to Deputy Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) as he has repetitively reprimanded Solverson to leave Lester alone. It’s later in the episode where she visits Lester at work based on her interest in opening a life insurance claim, that she spooks Lester further. And you can see by the look on her face, that she picks up his quirk and files it in her mental database. But again, Deputy Oswalt says NO!

Oh and yes, Lester Nygaard has decided to head back to work just days after his wife’s murder. Sitting in his empty home, he’s haunted by the nagging voice of his deceased betrothed and we see his home is still a somewhat gross murder scene. Seriously, Lester, is the blood still on the living room floor? I’d go back to work too!

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His first assignment back on the job has him dealing with Gina Hess’ insurance. Sam Hess’ late wife, played by the lovely Kate Walsh, REALLY wants that insurance money. She welcomes Lester into her home, as her two dim witted sons play with a bow and arrow out back. The older one jokes with Lester about banging his mom so it comes as no surprise when Ms Hess straddles Nygaard in the living room. Her intentions here are clear – seduce Lester into giving her dead husband’s insurance money over pronto. Classy.

What makes this scene one of the more hysterical moments I’ve yet to see on the show, is that the entire clumsy attempted seduction plays out in front of the wide window that gives us a view of the backyard. And as the former stripper straddles Nygaard, the older of the sons sees this and accidentally shoots the younger of the two boys right in the ass with an arrow. Without missing a beat, Hess sees this and sighs.

I’ve taken sh*ts I wanna live with more than them.

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And while she is watching her sons out the window, Nygaard gets a glimpse of Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers in the woods out back peering in at them. Remember when I mentioned Solverson visiting Lester at work? Well she interrupted a rather ominous visit by the two henchmen. Poor Lester, he’s gotten himself into such a mess!

Back to the Lorne Malvo story, we find him earlier in the episode confronting fitness trainer Don Chump (Glenn Howerton). We were introduced to his character in episode 2 and Malvo quickly picks up that he was the one behind the Supermarket King’s blackmail threat he was hired to fix. This quick confrontation has Malvo taking over the blackmail job because Chump isn’t very good at it. Milos Stavros’ harassment has just got pushed up a few notches and is confronted, throughout the episode, with a dead dog and a bloody (literally bloody) shower. Milos sure doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into. And to make matters worse, Lorne Malvo now lives on the property!

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Let’s not forget about Gus Grimley. In this episode, we see Deputy Grimly (Colin Hanks) put some pieces together linking the creepy man (Malvo) he pulled over in episode one to Lester Nygaard. In bringing his findings to the chief, there is a quick reference to events that happened in St. Paul. Later in the episode, when Grimly and Solverson finally meet, her father also references his days as a police officer working a case in St. Paul. You guys, they are referencing the Coen Brothers movie! You guys!

While Solverson has been consistently scolded by Deputy Oswalt to stand down, her new friend Gus Grimly makes that impossible as he brings her the evidence that connects Lorne Malvo to Lester Nygaard. The two, along with Grimly’s daughter, share a nice dinner at Lou’s restaurant. It seems that things are about to get very interesting.

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The episode ends with Lester visiting his brother’s garage where he keeps a pretty frightening arsenal. After a beat, he asks which one makes the biggest hole. He’s answered with a smile and we cut to a shot of Nygaard shooting that giant semi automatic weapon into the night while his brother cheers him on.

It feels like showers aren’t the only things that are about to get bloody.

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What did you guys think of tonight’s episode “A Muddy Road”? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Aside from throwing words onto your screen here, he has written for the likes of FEARnet, Examiner, Dread Central and MTV Movies Blog. And yes, he was Percy on VR Troopers.