Season One, Episode Ten
“Lester, is this what you want?”
That question haunted Lester for the final days leading up to his inevitable death. But let’s back up and discuss the events that unfolded during the finale of Fargo. It’s always tough for TV shows to deliver a great finale. Is “Morton’s Fork” a great finale? Probably not, but it’s satisfying and that’s never a bad thing.
Going into the finale, we had two main characters that really dug themselves into a lot of trouble. The downfall for both Malvo and Lester was that they believed they were better than everyone else, and eventually they paid for it. Malvo, the skilled killer that he is, never imagined he would be caught. He’s so good at what he does and always deals with people he knows he can handle, that even though he’s prepared he allowed his enjoyment for killing to get in the way. I’m not completely buying that Malvo would’ve just walked away after shooting Lester’s wife in the back of the head. But I can believe that he was playing a game with Lester, allowing him to scamper away just to even the playing field a little bit for one more day. Maybe Malvo was even tipping his cap to Lester, “Good one buddy. You tricked me this time.”
One question that bugged me was why did Lester bring this all to himself? Why didn’t he just let Malvo be in Las Vegas? It’s because just like Malvo, Lester thought of himself as smarter and better than everyone else around him. It’s quite the transformation from the Lester we saw in the beginning of the season, but that scared, push-over of a man was gone. This was now the man who killed his wife, framed his brother for it, got his high school bully murdered, banged his wife, and got away with all of it. No wonder he was tripping on a high, especially after receiving the salesman of the year award. And the great thing about Lester’s story was that again and again, he was able to go toe-to-toe with Malvo and outsmart him. All the way to the very end, by setting the bear trap and breaking Malvo’s leg, Lester won. He survived the evil that Malvo represented, but the one thing he never understood was that he, himself, was another kind of evil.
If there is anything that Fargo is trying to tell us, it’s that being a good human being does pay off. Just like the movie, the good guys triumph. Here, with the stakes high and the suspense turned all the way up, it’s Gus who puts an end to Malvo. The mailman and the guy who questioned his very duty as an officer when he let Malvo go that one night, yes that good ol’ Gus. He’s the one who spotted the red convertible and he’s the one who made the choice to make things right. This also leads to the scene where Molly finally gets her relief with proof that she’s been right all along. Her reaction when she listens to the phone call between Malvo and Lester is perfect.
Of course, this leads to Lester being trapped and quite literally, he finally falls through the thin ice he was standing on. The final shot of the season shows us Gus, Molly, and Greta sitting on the couch watching Deal or No Deal. Gus is given the credit for capturing and killing Malvo, but he knows that all the credit should go to Molly. In the end, the good guys win and this great family is safe.
Last but not least:
– One scene that I loved was when Greta joined Lou on the front porch with her BB gun.
– Something that Fargo did very well was pointing out to us who the truly good characters were, while the bad characters were muddled. I wanted to like Lester, and I did in the beginning, but he transformed into a monster. And while it was obvious Malvo was a villain, it was hard to root against him in the beginning because he did everything with so much confidence and charisma, I didn’t think he would ever be caught. And who wants to root for the losing team?
– Budge and Pepper end up getting killed by Malvo. They weren’t the best of FBI agents, but they did provide us with a few memorable scenes.
– Bob Odenkirk telling Molly he’s stepping down and making her deputy was beautiful. I couldn’t help but think of No Country for Old Men and how he just couldn’t handle all the crazy in the world anymore. He just isn’t cut out for it. I hope Molly at least keeps him in charge for obtaining additional snowplows when needed.