Tuesday, April 22, 2014

REVIEW: 'Fargo' - Molly Tries to Get Answers Out of Lester While Malvo Meets the Supermarket King in 'The Rooster Prince'

FX's Fargo - Episode 1.02 The Rooster Prince

Molly begins to suspect that Lester is involved with the murders, but her new boss points her in a different direction. Meanwhile, Malvo investigates the blackmail plot against a man known as the Supermarket King.

The pilot effectively broke Lester Nygaard. Everyone was kicking him down and he finally just broke and killed his wife - which also led to the death of police chief Vern Thurman. It was a drastic change for him and a true shakeup to this community. The show built up this universe and these characters - only to completely destroy everything by the close of its first episode.

Now, "The Rooster Prince" has the daunting task of setting up the new status quo - which will likely carry the show through the rest of its season. Lorne Malvo has no problem moving on. He enjoys coming into an area, stirring up some trouble, seeing what happens and then simply moves on to the next area. He enjoys seeing and learning about human interaction and reactions. Now, he's off in Duluth trying to help Stavros Milos (The Big C's Oliver Platt) aka the Supermarket King. It's the job he came to the area to deal with. It's mostly introductory stuff here. Malvo gets his new identity - Frank Peterson, a minister! He meets with Milos and his security who hand him the blackmail note. And he's able to figure who the blackmailer is fairly easily. Like there's really no reason why he and his skills were necessary to solve this problem. Milos' security guy seems capable and intimidating enough. But this is where Malvo is right now. It will be interesting to see what he does with this information next. His pot-stirring ways means this resolution won't be so easy for any of the people involved. And that intrigue on what happens next is what's fueling this story. That and the overall mysterious aura of Lorne Malvo.

Elsewhere, there's Lester. The people around him are treating him much differently than they were last week. They all view him as a victim who deserves their sympathy. Chaz opens his home for Lester to stay - which is a major turn around from wishing he would get his life together in the first episode. Additionally, Bill is now the new police chief. He has a theory of what happened and gosh darn it he's firmly sticking to that story. He's known Lester for awhile and doesn't think he's capable of anything mischievous despite all the clues pointing to him. His promotion also undercuts all the work that Molly is trying to do. She's following a viable lead. And yet, she and Bill just aren't on the same wavelength as she was with Vern. That forces Molly to search for answers by herself - and that does come across as harassment of Lester. Their bump in the pharmacy is meant to be awkward. All she's concerned about is discovering the truth while he truly does have something to hide. But the way both go about it is the wrong way.

It's also interesting to see how Lester is reacting to his murdering of his wife. He truly does miss her because she's the only woman he's ever really loved. But how much of it is a facade that he has to keep up to keep the police and his family from suspecting him of killing her? He's not the best lier right now. But this event has made him a better one. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Rooster Prince" was written by Noah Hawley and directed by Adam Bernstein.
  • Also, we get to see more of Officer Gus Grimly's life. He's conflicted over letting Malvo go without a ticket. But we also learn his key motivation - his daughter. She's the most important thing in his life. She's number one. So if he's forced to choose between death or her, he'll choose her.
  • Gus' daughter is the only teenage character who has any kind of brain.
  • Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench also stroll into town to figure out who killed Sam Hess. They are quite the entertaining duo. But also really intimidating and deadly. They caught the wrong man but we got to see their style of disappearing a body - through a hole in the ice.
  • That hand injury is going to prove problematic for Lester sooner rather than later.
  • Between this and The Americans, FX sure is comfortable with letting us hear when characters are taking a dump.