I understand that narratively, Lorne is the shows antagonist but man, you’d be hard presses to argue that Lester isn’t the true villain.
We instinctively know when something bad is going to happen in film and television. More often than not tension is built before the oncoming disaster: musical cues, shifty glances between characters, long tracking shots, particular lighting-it all adds up and it’s utilized in order to emphasize that danger is lurking around the corner.
So we knew something bad was going to happen to Lester’s poor, sweet, unsuspecting wife Lou. We just couldn’t precisely pinpoint the when. Would it happen early in the episode as the pair rushed down the dimly lit corridor? Or maybe it would happen as they drove to his office and the camera paused itself on her face for a painful amount of time?
No. It was going to be so much worse.
Lester has grown tricky ever since he murdered his first wife and he’s grown entitled. He knows that Lorne is after him, he knows that there’s a chance he’ll be at Lester’s office waiting for him, so he sends Lou in as bait. He dresses her up, gives her his jacket and tells her to pull the hood up as if he’s genuinely worried for her health, and then sends her in to get the passports.
And poor Lou is shot by Lorne who either thinks she is Lester or because he just doesn’t care. We have to give Lester some credit, he plays the shock well but that’s all it is-playing. He knew exactly what he was doing when he sent Lou into his office and to him this outcome is okay because he’s alive. He’s won again by sacrificing a wife.
All of this because Lester at the start of the episode allowed his newly built pride to get the best of him. Lorne is playing a part in order to get some money and Lester disrupts that by going after him and asking him to remember him. In the elevator with his party Lorne asks him if he wants this and not knowing what this is Lester agrees.
Lorne pulls out a gun and shoots the three people who’d been with him in the head. The elevator stops and Lorne asks for some help moving the bodies and instead Lester runs away. Lorne calls after him, a silhouette in the elevator with the blood splatters behind him making make-shift wings, and tells him he’ll be seeing him soon.
The rest of the episode is a tightly wound ball of tension. Every move a character makes could be leading to their death: behind every door is a monster, out in the woods danger is lurking, every car ride is waiting for a dead end. The show builds enormity in its tension that can only be comparable to Breaking Bad. From the beginning to the end of the episode we know something is going to happen and we’re on the edge of our seats the entire time because of it.
After last week’s game changing episode which put us one year into the future this weeks could seem like a bit of a sleeper but there is undoubtedly a lot going on we’re just made to wait it out rather then being hit over the head with new information. Molly finally meets people who believe her, Lorne is back on the scene with platinum blonde hair and Lester has finally ripped away the lairs to present the real, psychotic character lying beneath.
It’s a beautifully executed episode with some mind-blowing cinematography. Everything from the score, to the scope to the storytelling makes this story about this little town with it’s small town folk inhabitants make it big. There’s a heart in the center that’s Molly (and let me confess and how hard I’m gunning for a surprise nomination for Allison Tolman at this year’s Emmy’s) and she takes this big story and this big scope and she makes it all seem realer. She’s the ultimate consequence of the violence that as viewers we’re desperately hoping against. Lorne may be the antagonist, and Lester the villain, but Molly is undoubtedly our hero.
I can’t wait to see what happens to her on next week’s season finale.