You know what? I liked this episode. This was the first hour that didn't leave me saying, "yes, but..." Maybe it's a function of me having to catch the 10:30 pm showing when I was totally exhausted, maybe not. But it gives me hope that as we reach the halfway point (this is the fifth of ten episodes), things are looking up.
The tone felt right. The balance of plot advancement and character development felt right. Perhaps it's due to the director, Colin Bucksey, who also helms next week's episode, but at least some of it has to do with improved writing.
We get past some plot points that I am glad to see go (for now) - Lester's hand with the tell-tale buckshot is outed, and Molly convinces her boss, Bob Odenkirk, to take her investigation into the case seriously. Malvo moves the blackmail plot forward and gets fired by Stavros.
I especially liked the character moments, which felt "real" to me. Molly and Vern's wife and the baby. Gus hearing a parable from his neighbor, the rabbi. The rabbi confronting Malvo. All of these added dimension to the humans involved without being too "look how clever our writing is!"
-- When I complained about the heavy handed character names, I missed one. I didn't realize that Mrs. Stavros's fitness trainer (the equivalent of Brad Pitt in "Burn After Reading"), whose blackmail plan Malvo hijacked, is named "Don Chumph." I guess that makes me a chump.
-- I also asked previously if Minnesotans really say "and the like" as much as is portrayed here. To my chagrin/amusement, I was checking out a page I run on Facebook and saw that in the description I ended with the phrase "and the like."
-- Wildly improbably theory: maybe "Lorne Malvo" really IS Lutheran minister "Frank Peterson." When Greta Grimly searches for Peterson, she finds Malvo's photo. How that would reconcile with the bosses/clients who called Malvo a few episodes back, I don't know.
-- Greta is a cool name, time for it to make a comeback. Will she be killed by Malvo? Will Gus? Will Molly? I'm guessing "Fargo" won't go that dark.
-- Baudette, home of the Lutheran church for which "Frank Peterson" ministers. I googled and found that there are three Lutheran churches in town.
This guy, Pastor Steve Bovendam of Baudette Lutheran Parish, looks friendlier than Malvo.
What did you all think? Was this episode good enough for Mr. and Mrs. SlowBreak to keep this in their Living Room Television Rotation or not?