Television: Fargo, "The Heap"

I said in a previous recap that I can't really cheer for Molly Solverson, and at the time I said I wasn't sure why. Just something about her character that I couldn't put my finger on. But after some thought, it occurs to me that I just can't respect her. And I feel like she went about the whole proving-her-point thing the wrong way. So maybe it's her lack of finesse that puts me off?

And there for a while, too, I think I felt badly enough for Lester that I didn't necessarily want him to get caught. Part of me just wanted Solverson to drop it already.


Getting away with murder does very little for one's character, does it?

So here's what happens in "The Heap":

  1. Lester gets a new washing machine.
  2. Bill fusses at Molly and tells her that, whatever her feelings about the case are, she needs to let it go.
  3. Lorne Malvo visits Mr. Wrench in the hospital to let him know how and where things stand. Namely, that Mr. Wrench is now unemployed because Malvo has killed off the business.
  4. The FBI agents who completely missed Malvo's entering the building with an automatic weapon are put on file room duty.
  5. The Widow Hess and her henchmen sons confront Lester in the insurance office because her dead husband hadn't paid on his policy, which is why she's being denied the money. Lester says he'll make some calls but is force to get a bit violent when the boys threaten him. This impresses the girl he works with (Linda).
  6. Molly and Grimly continue their courtship.

And then . . .

We jump forward a year and discover:

  1. Molly and Grimly are married and expecting a baby. (Here, then, is the pregnancy so prominent in the film?)
  2. Molly is still fixated on the case and calls the FBI semi-regularly about it.
  3. Those FBI agents are still in the file room.
  4. Bill has adopted an African teen(?)
  5. And Lester is Insurance Salesman of the Year at an annual meeting in Vegas. He's also now married to Linda and has much better hair. But he's far less likable, too. That hubris he's acquired is what allows him to confront Malvo when he recognizes him at a bar.

People might ask why the decision to skip a year, but it's pretty clear to me that the idea is to give the characters more to lose. A single cop with a sorta romance is one thing, a pregnant woman with a family—those are higher stakes. Lester had little after the loss of his wife, and he betrayed the rest of his family, but now he has a whole new life and a lot more that can be gambled and lost. Also, in the course of a year the characters feel "in the clear," making it that more of a punch to their guts when all this comes back to haunt them.

I'd been sort of idling with this show, half watching and still enjoying, but this episode brings things to a new crescendo. The final two of the season should be interesting indeed.

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