Most episodes of the Fargo miniseries have left me dissatisfied - admiring many of the elements but frustrated that they added up to less than I felt they should or could. But two episodes so far have met my expectations; tonight's was one of them.
And not just because we got some Gophers hockey...
By cutting out a lot of the fat (the supermarket ransom story, particularly) the hour sticks with the strength of the series, Molly and Malvo, with a little Lester for comic relief. Our gal survived being shot by Gus (and I am glad that he manned up and took responsibility) and keeps working the case even as she convalesces. The scene with her and Mr. Wrench in his hospital room was especially good.
Meanwhile, we don't see Malvo until we are fairly far in, but Billy Bob makes the most of his screen time as usual. The way they shot his massacre of the Fargo mobsters who hired Wrench and Numbers to kill him was very showy but quite effective. As the camera moves along the exterior of the office building, we hear the gun shots and screams from within. I much prefer this approach, one which requires the viewer to engage his imagination, to the killings last week which were much more graphic in depiction.
Lester's framing of his brother was the other storyline. It played out exactly as one would anticipate from last week's setup, so I found it the weakest part of the hour. No twists or surprises, too predictable. But when he resumed his job and wound up banging the dead bully's wife while recalling his humiliation at the hands of her husband, I had to chuckle.
So, as we near the end of the miniseries, the focus is narrowing more and more to the showdown between Molly and Malvo. This gives me hope for a strong finish. She pretty much cracks the case using her hospital room window as a dry erase board, only to be thrown a curveball when she returns to Bemidji and finds that Lester's brother has been arrested. Malvo appears to be done with Oliver Platt, Wrench and Numbers, and the mobsters who hired them.
I'm looking forward to next week. I'm also looking forward to any comments below - they've been dwindling each week, meaning that people have been losing interest in the series and/or in discussing it here. But if you've read this far, you don't belong to either group. Chime in.