After last week’s episode and the tension riddle conclusion it would be easy for this week’s installment to seem a bit stilted in comparison. Where last week dealt with events and circumstances coming to an ugly head, this week deals with the fall out and how people deal with the pieces left over with them. Molly has been shot-possibly by Gus-, Lester has framed his brother for the death of his wife, Lorne is out for blood for the people that sold him out and Mr. Wrench is left alone after he survives the shootout that his partner didn’t.
Despite the noticeable lull in the action this episode is no less gripping-it’s simply a different form of excitement. This week instead of gunfire and death we get manipulation and a wonderful character study on Molly, a character who is easily becoming the heart and soul of the show.
Anchored by a tremendous performance by actress Allison Tolman the role could have easily been forgotten amongst an array of larger than life characters. Instead though she has grown into her part and is one of the best written and most dynamically performed female characters on television right now. After waking up since surviving a gunshot wound she doesn’t simply go through the motions-she up and ready to go the second she can stand. She comforts Gus despite the likelihood of him being the one to land her in the hospital bed, she interrogates Mr. Wrench and even offers up some sympathy and despite her warmth she is on the case while still in her hospital room getting ever closer to the answer.
She is an absolute joy to watch and her crushing disappointment brought forth an unsettling atmosphere. No matter what’s happen and the pitfalls that she’s faced and thenceforth overcome she’s never appeared to be as defeated-as angry, as she was when she discovered that Lester’s brother was being charged for the murder of his wife.
Because, by the way, that also happened.
The big switch up of the episode happens when Lester’s plan to set up his brother actually succeeds. It also delivers Lester’s full transformation into someone without a moral compass. Before you believed that despite what he had done, despite what he was willing to do, he still had a shred of morality in him. That at the very least he believed that what he was doing was right. Now though it’s changed because he’s acting on impulses that he knows is wrong but he does anyway and enjoys it. Think of the smirk when he walks out of the precinct having pulled one over Bob Odenkirk’s police chief, or how delighted he is to hear his brothers yells from his cell. Think, of when he purposefully arranges for him to have a meeting with Sam Hes’s wife in order to manipulate the situation into one where they have sex.
Lester isn’t a good person, maybe he’s never been but he’s at least hidden it well and now layer by layer we’re witnessing what he can and what he will do in order to survive.
One of the bigger parts of the show that demonstrated just how much the show can do with so little involves Lorne’s plot. He’s out for blood and wants to know who at Fargo set him up and released his location. After doing some damage at the office of his higher ups he goes to where the hit men after him had been released and goes on a shooting spree. And we hardly see any of it and it’s just as thrilling. We follow an extensive tracking shot as we hear the gunfire go off and the screams of the victims as they’re hit-we see the bullets hit the windows and finally as Lorne reaches the top floor and one of his targets bursts through the window and hits the pavement, dead.
The showrunners managed to deliver a high caliber action sequence without any of the physical action. Artistically this show is on another level comparatively to current television because they refuse to let their limitations dictate the quality.
This show is quickly becoming one of the best of the past year and it coupled with Louie, The Americans & It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia FX is turning into one of the most interesting networks.