‘Fargo’ Episode 8 Review: “The Heap”

By June 4, 2014
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Last night’s episode of “Fargo” left me wanting more, but also content with what I was given. In good television nowadays, one has to be patient with the episodes that act as the calm before whatever storms are coming. “The Heap” was definitely a calm one but it also delivered a few unexpected turns that left my fiancee noting that is felt almost like a wrap up episode. But it was not, as we still have two episodes to go.

That one moment in the episode where I, much like everyone else watching, thought Gus Grimley was going to bite it big time was the moment that changed the trajectory of the story. We moved forward a year. Molly Solverson went from trying to convince Oswalt of Lester’s involvement in the murders to marrying Grimley and moving in with him and his daughter. Hell, she’s now very pregnant! We see Grimley has gone from police officer to mail man, as he always wanted. And they all look like one cozy family in one cozy house. Good for them! It’s hard not to see the parallels between pregnant Molly and pregnant Marge from the original film.

Aside from this tidbit, we do see Molly still has her evidence board linking Lester to the crimes and she continues to call the FBI regarding the incident where Malvo shot up the entire crime syndicate, murdering 22 people. And while she pursues the truth on her end, both Agents Budge and Pepper have been living their professional lives in the FBI’s file room for the past year due to their own screw up in that case. I’m really hoping Key and Peele have a more solid presence and purpose in the remaining two episodes as it felt like Noah Hawley was just teasing us with their appearance on screen. Still, it’s nice to see the comedy duo getting work outside of the sketch comedy they are famous for. I can’t help but think that they will be crossing paths with Gus and Molly soon enough.

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Speaking of Malvo, what we saw in last night’s episode was a possible new working relationship formed between himself and Mr. Wrench. We’ll have to wait and see if that comes to fruition in the remaining episodes. Honestly, watching the entire series play out, I continually find myself wondering what role Lester Malvo is really playing in all this. Is he just a wolf, given all the animal analogies used thus far? Or is he more like a manipulative version of fate? That sounds like a weird question, I know, but he really is pulling the strings behind the curtain here. What is his end game?

And that brings us to Lester Nygaard. The episode begins with him buying a brand new washing machine to replace the clunker that has been haunting him in that basement. Shedding that monstrosity from the house seemed like it was the last big remnant connecting him to his guilt and deceased wife. And once that item was removed, it’s as if we see the final piece to the new Lester puzzle put into place. He’s got a new suit, a confident stride, an interested co-worker and an angry Mrs. Hess pounding down his door. But when confronted by the widow and her two oaf sons, Lester simply attacks them back with a stapler to the head leaving them to retreat, defeated. Lester is a fully changed man.

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We continue to see this change a year later. He’s won Salesman Of The Year and has married the co-worker who showed such interest in him earlier in the episode. He looks different and is carrying himself with so much confidence, he actually comes off a bit like a douche. (It will still take some work to get to Patrick Bateman status, but he’s slowly getting there.)

It’s the moment when he bids his sleepy wife goodnight and heads to the bar for a “night cap” after making eyes with a beautiful younger woman, that you kind of want to punch the TV. But this scene plays out beautifully with minimal dialogue. In the simplicity of it, Lester hears a familiar laugh and sees a grey haired man that just might be Lorne Malvo at a booth across the room. It’s as if the audience feels Lester’s panic that this facade of a life will quickly come crashing down around him due to the same man who unleashed his inner demon just one year ago.

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As we move into the 9th episode of “Fargo,” I can’t help but feel this jump forward a year will be necessary in leading us to the best conclusion for the series. But I’m led to wonder if Malvo and Lester will have the confrontation I’ve been thirsting for since the first episode. Will Budge and Pepper ever get out of the file room? Where the hell is The Supermarket King? How far along is Molly? Inquiring minds want to know!

What are your thoughts of last night’s episode? 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.