May 20, 2020
Fargo Finale Totally Rocks (And Yes, We Have Spoilers)
So, ya saw the Fargo finale on the TV, didja?
Ya didn’t? Then go watch it and come back, because there’s no way I can make this review spoiler-free.
After nine-plus hours of Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygard exploiting the decent and unwitting, justice finally comes to Bemidji in a big way. Writer Noah Hawley and director Matt Shakman draw out the dread and danger beautifully, keeping the bad guys bad and good guys (and girls) threatened right up until the end of the 90-minute episode.
Billy Bob Thornton’s Malvo is less playful and more of a menace this time, allowing that the police are finally on to him and his protege, the now fully realized sociopath Lester (Martin Freeman), who quickly improvises yet another not terrible alibi when another wife turns up dead.
Deputy Molly Solverson (Alison Tolman) — the greatest female protagonist maybe in the history of television — also sees the sociopath when she questions Lester about the sudden demise of wife No. 2. Freeman expertly plays every deflection and dodge he can summon without so much as a hint of panic, a much different creature than the tentative loser we were introduced to nine episodes ago.
Molly tries to use Lester as bait to bag Malvo. That doesn’t work and there are a few more victims (R.I.P., Key and Peele — I didn’t think the comic relief was excessive at all), but justice ultimately prevails.
Molly’s boss Bill (Bob Odenkirk) finally achieves the self awareness necessary to grasp what was really happening and checks out. “I don’t got the stomach for it, not like some,” he confesses to Molly. He hands over the investigation and, ultimately, the police department to her calling her “the real deal.”
Molly’s husband Gus (Colin Hanks) convinces her, however, to stay out of the manhunt for Malvo by invoking her stepdaughter Greta (“I can’t make her go to another funeral, Molly”). His case is buttressed by Molly’s retired cop dad, Lou (Keith Carradine), who isn’t about to give up Greta to anyone.
As I said, justice comes to Bemidji in a big way. Malvo is made mortal by his creature Lester, in a manner recalling Lorne’s story about the bear caught in the trap; however, he is finished off by Gus, a move I liked very much. Gus was the first cop to confront Lorne Malvo in this story, oh so many episodes ago, and was maybe the only one to get a true measure of him (Lou got an inkling last week, but not more than that).
The cop-turned-postman Gus sees there is no place in their world, not even jail, for Malvo — who could be the Satan trying to convince God that Job isn’t a pious man, or the Serpent in the Garden bedeviling Adam and Eve into throwing away Paradise.
Gus doesn’t redeem himself so much as make certain his family safe from such a monster — once and for all time. He also hands Molly an open-and-shut case against Lester and winds up with a citation from the city.
The acting is just about pitch perfect, as it has been throughout the 10-episode run. Tolman is a revelation, Thornton and Freeman are as creepy and compelling as any bad guys I can remember in a long while and the main supporting actors — Odenkirk, Hanks and Carradine — are just about awesome.
Yes, there are loose ends (Mr. Wrench? The used car salesman? Stavros?), but aren’t there loose ends in life? We are in the midst of a great run of television (Fargo, True Detective, Breaking Bad, etc.) that can be savored, obsessed over or just enjoyed. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth — good is fucking good, so watch and wonder while it lasts.