There was a point early on in episode 9 of “Fargo” where I had to stop everything around me from happening so my sole focus was on the television. Sometimes it’s a near impossible endeavor to stop the world, but it was necessary and I made it happen. This was the episode I have been waiting for: Lester and Malvo finally meet again.
Oh and I haven’t said this in a while but THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW! Tread lightly…
After last week’s unexpected time jump, we learned of Lester’s near complete transformation from doormat to the horribly sh*tty person we see before us. And after catching a glimpse of a now grey haired Lorne Malvo in the Las Vegas hotel bar, we get a short backstory that seemed to pack a lot into one year.
During the year that made Nygaard “Salesman Of The Year,” Malvo was fully immersed in a new identity as a goofball midwestern dentist. We see him in full dentist garb, working on a patient’s teeth and it occurred to me rather quickly that one really needs to train to succeed at pulling off the dentist thing. How much school is necessary? I have no clue, but here Lorne Malvo is working on a man’s bicuspids and doing a very good job of it.
He also has a lady friend, who in a cocktail party scene offers to put her thumb up his butt later. Interesting? But we soon find his real purpose for this dentist guise is he’s working a man to presumably get to his brother (who is currently in the witness protection program). We never see this dentist thing fully play out because the newly confident Lester Nygaard makes a confident yet stupid decision and confronts Malvo in the bar.
Lester’s persistence to be acknowledged has him follow Malvo and gang to the elevator after Lorne distinctly whispers to him to walk away. As Nygaard puts it, this would’ve worked with the old Lester. But this is the new and improved Lester Nygaard, so into the elevator he goes and what transpires next is one of those television moments where the world needs to just stop so you can take in all the magnificence of the piece.
Is this what you want?
Lorne drops the charade and stares down Lester in the elevator, while the gang looks on confused. The question is repeated multiple times and Lester finally says yes. What a maroon! With that answer, Lorne Malvo pulls a gun and shoots the three friends dead. It turns out there was a thousand dollar bounty on that man’s head. Oh well, Lorne doesn’t seem too perturbed by it. What’s great about this scene is not only does it impact the changes that have happened in the past year, it also finds Malvo asking Lester the same question he asked him at the hospital back in episode one.
Lester, is this what you want?
The result then? Sam Hess’ death. The result now? Well let’s just say Lester runs away very quickly and sets Malvo on his next mission: kill Lester Nygaard. Lester gets the hell outta Vegas quick, giving some half assed excuse to his new dim-witted wife and soon they are back home with plans to quickly go on vacation in Acapulco. If he ever got to Acapulco, he’d probably still be looking over his shoulder as he is here.
Malvo is coming.
While this is transpiring, a very pregnant Molly Solverson is at her father’s diner and receives an intriguing phone call that seems to spark a year old fire inside of her. It seems Lester has been identified as a witness to the elevator murders in Vegas. Soon she’s back in Nygaard’s company, once again questioning him about murders again. But this time, it’s his dim-witted wife Linda who lies and covers for him. As Solverson leaves, she says they can’t leave town as more info on this investigation will be coming shortly. So, of course that night Lester buys those tickets to Acapulco. All the while, Linda questions none of it.
This is the episode where Molly finally gets some recognition for all of her diligent police work. Take that, Oswalt! Agents Budge and Pepper take a trip to Bemidji once they hear of her work connecting the dots regarding that massacre they fumbled the ball on a year ago. All those days in the file room, you bet I’d also jump at the chance to redeem myself! It looks like Key and Peele will remain for the final episode of “Fargo” and here’s hoping we’ll see their characters doing more field work. And mind you, I love me some Bob Odenkirk but Oswalt needs a damn demotion!
All of Lester’s looks over his shoulder weren’t pointless; soon we see Lorne Malvo making his way back into town. Gus sees him as he’s on his mail route, but there’s a strong uncertainty in him that it’s actually Malvo. A ghost from his recent police past could be stirring up some of those good old police instincts. Sure, he’s a mail man now but I think it’d be pretty damn awesome if he was a gun toting mail man in next week’s episode!
While we don’t see too much of Lorne’s hunt in Bemidji, we do find him visiting Lester’s old house and then Lou’s coffee shop. It’s this scene in particular where the tension was super powerful and as my co-host Jack from Pass The Effin’ Remote said to me in a text, “I was literally biting through my hand during the entire scene!” Carradine and Thornton are fantastic in this subtle standoff. Their dialogue dances around both of their suspicions of one another while also confirming them at the same time. Lou may be retired, but his police instincts are still very much intact and Malvo leaves without Lester’s new address.
“A Fox, A Rabbit, and A Cabbage” begins with the confirmation that Lester is a changed man, but it ends with a reminder that deep down, he’s still that same cowardly weasel of a man. He and Linda need their passports to travel to Acapulco but they need to head to his shop to get them. Well wouldn’t ya know it, someone is in his store at this hour of night. Lester knows Malvo is in there waiting for him so he sends in his wife to get the passports from the safe. And “because it’s cold” he gives her his orange jacket and tells her to put the hood up to protect her pretty face from the cold. Needless to say, episode 9 of “Fargo” ends with Lester’s 2nd wife biting the proverbial bullet.
So much has been setup for the season finale. Will we see The Supermarket King again? What will happen with Lester and Malvo? I really hope Gus listens to his instincts like Lou did. He really needs to find his own redemption as Molly seems to finally be finding with her work. What are your thoughts on last night’s episode? Tell me in the comments below!
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