'Fargo' Recap, 'Buridan's Ass': Well Gee Whiz, That F**king Sucked
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'Fargo' Recap: Well Gee Whiz, That F**king Sucked

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | May 21, 2014 | Comments ()


“Buridan’s Ass,” the title of last night’s devastating episode of Fargo refers to a paradox wherein an ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water and, because the ass will always go to whichever is closer, it ends up dying of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.

If there’s any one character that can be applied to in last night’s Fargo, it’s Colin Hanks’ Gus Grimley, trapped hopelessly between his obligation to his job and to his daughter, to his bravery and his cowardice, to his desire to help Molly and not to get shot. But it wasn’t Gus who fell victim to his own paradox: It was Molly. Poor, stubbornly brave Molly.

I suspect that the thoughts going through everyone’s head during that scene were similar to my own. After Malvo coldly took a blade to Mr. Numbers’ throat and left him to bleed out in the snow, he calmly walked out into the blizzard with Gus and Molly trailing behind.


With no visibility, my heart lurched at the prospect of Gus getting shot and killed, not because I was a huge fan of Gus, but because I hated the thought of his daughter losing her Dad (also, because I clearly have problems separating fiction from reality). But it wasn’t Gus who got shot. It wasn’t even Malvo who pulled the trigger. This was the entire viewing audience at this exact moment: “Don’t shoot Molly. Don’t shoot Molly. God. Fuck. Don’t. He’s going to shoot Molly. He is, isn’t he? He SHOT Molly. GODDAMNIT.”


That’s when I taped a note to my chest for the paramedics saying, “Lost consciousness around 10:51 p.m. Please resuscitate.”

It took me maybe half an hour to come to the realization that maybe Molly is not actually dead, because Molly can’t die, can she? Because I like a good villain (Malvo) and a slimy one (Nygaard) as much as the next guy, but a series can’t survive without some sympathetic character, can it?

Fuck me.

At least Mr. Wrench is presumably still alive, so maybe he can get revenge on Malvo?

Meanwhile, Stavros Milos was caught by his own indecision, as well. Should he give into Malvo’s blackmail demands, or should he listen to the voice of God inside of his head and go rebury the suitcase of money from the Fargo movie back into the snow? Stavros chose poorly, and God smote him when the skies rained down fish, which ultimately led to the death of his poor, simple-minded son. (Note: Fish raining from the sky is a real-life documented phenomena, and not just an allusion to Magnolia.)


Jesus? They kill the simple kid, the henchman, potentially the hero, and the wise-ass in one episode? But the best kill scene was one of the smartest, holy fuckiest scenes of television I’ve ever seen. Malvo duct tapes poor Don Chumph to a shotgun, tapes his mouth shut, and sprays the neighborhood with bullets. When the police arrive, Don miraculously survives the shoot-out, but of course when the SWAT team throws open the door and sees a guy in the shadows pointing a gun at them, they unload an arsenal into the poor guy. Accidental suicide by cop?


All the guy wanted was $44,000.

Lester Nygaard shouldn’t be forgotten, either. With some Coen Brothers’ madcappery, Lester managed to sneak out of his hospital bed, go to his house, pull out the murder weapon, take it over to his brother’s house, plant it in the safe, and presumably frame his own brother for the murder of Lester’s wife. That’s colder than the tit of North Dakota witch.

I hope you’re proud of yourself, Lester.



Here’s your Fargo movie reference of the week!

(All GIFs compliments of the illustrious work of Uproxx’s Chet Manley)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • mzbitca

    So watching Fargo again and I can't stop thinking about the convo with his brother where his brother alludes to the fact that he's been "wrong" his whole life. It's an interesting comment and reminds me of someone I've known before who was pretty "lester-like" a coward, kinda socially awkward and like a beat down dog. However, he also wasn't a good person. He didn't really care about people and I remember commenting to someone that it's probably a good thing that he had no social skills or courage because he also had no empathy and was incredibly self-centered. All sociopaths don't look like Malvo. You can have no empathy and still be awkward as fuck.

    All this to basically say, I don't think "being bullied" led Lester to this as much as he spent most of his live being really hard to like but in a way that's must less blatant. I think he's always been a selfish little prick but until now just didn't have the instigation to act out on it.

  • Nadiney

    You know what I loved the most about this show?

    Last week, Stavros' son had cracked it. He told his dad he'd been speaking to the bug guy, found out the locusts had to be store bought, the kind you'd feed to certain pets, lizards and the like.
    So he'd called all the pet stores and...then Stavros interrupts him, caught up in his own panic and hysteria and sends him up to the cabin. Dimitri never finishes his sentences, never tells his dad what he found out. He could likely have blown the lid of it, directed Stavros to Don and then eventually, maybe Malvo.
    But no.
    Instead, it all went wrong, more wrong than it was and in the worst way.
    If Stavros had let his kid speak, maybe, just maybe, this episode would have gone very, very differently.

  • Skyler Durden

    So this is embarrassing, but here goes. I watched this episode while hungover and late for work. In other words, brain no worky. When the screen went to black after Molly got popped, I thought that was the end of the episode. So I left the room to get my keys and walk out the door.

    I came back into the room to see that coda with Lester back in the hospital room, smirking. And I swear, as dog is my witness, when I saw him back in bed as if he had never left, I thought that must have meant that the entire episode was a dream.

    It has been a very confusing day.

  • Look, you knew something was going to go down when IMDB listed "Rains of Castamere" as the credits music for this episode last week.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I'm pretty sure Malvo is really the devil. Has to be. No man can be so deviously evil by himself.

  • Holly Martins

    I couldn't believe Lester was actually hiding a gun in his nephew's backpack. A few moments before, with the close-up on the photo of the family, I thought Lester was feeling guilty. And then... Reaching a new height of evilness he is.

  • Parsnip

    All those years of being the 'little' man, endlessly bullied by everyone even his own family. Maybe with what's happened so far there is no limit to what he can do now?

  • Stephanie C. Bois

    Exactly. He's had enough.

  • NoPantsMcLane

    Yeah i really didn't understand why he did that. Can anyone explain that one?

  • Stephanie C. Bois

    His brother said pretty mean things to him, I see why he did it, although I think its petty.

  • SVR

    In addition to fucking with the family, which he seems to be enjoying, it would also lead the cops to the gun locker where Lester hid the murder weapon, photo, and panties.

  • NoPantsMcLane

    Ah, yes. That makes more sense.

  • Ofir Fishkin

    last week i was very ecxited for gus and molly to on a date and now this episode broke me.

  • That whole snowy scene was one of the greatest I've ever seen -- the whole damned episode, really. I kept screaming expletives at the television, and when I wasn't, my mouth was (probably) dropped open.

    Then Lester's sly little mouth turn up at the end...oooh, I wanted to slap him, and congratulate Freeman at the same time.

  • SVR

    This show is fabulous. Watching Chumph's death unfold, knowing what Malvo was planning, was just torturous.

    I'm not sure Mr. Wrench is still alive. We, from Gus's perspective, definitely saw/heard shots fired before Gus shot the approaching Molly. Molly was shooting at someone. Could be Malvo, obviously, but Wrench was also wandering around that storm. On the one hand, I don't think that having Wrench die offscreen would be truly satisfying. On the other hand, after this episode, I genuinely don't know where the hell this show is going.

    No way is Molly dead. And as much as I love her, and oh boy I do, wandering off into that whiteout when you know there are people with guns about and without back up (Gus doesn't count) was a poor decision on her part.

    And I love Gus. Completely. I totally understand those who find his bumbling frustrating and/or annoying, but the fact that it's played with complete self awareness on his part saves the character for me. That and Colin Hanks is doing a fabulous job imbuing Gus with a very nearly palpable kindness. He is the perfect foil for Lester.

  • pajiba

    I WANT to love Gus, but season 6 (?) of Dexter haunts me.

  • SVR

    Shhh.... let it go and bask in the glow of Molly and Gus and Greta being adorable. ADORABLE. That scene with the three of them at the diner was perfection. They (along with Molly's dad and widow Ida) are just so easy to root for in the maelstrom that is Malvo's plotting.

    I mean, Gus wanted to be a postman so he could be part of the community and bring people presents, for fuck's sake! He's a terrible, horrible cop and needs to get off the force as quickly as possible, but he's desperate to be good person. And I love that.

  • One of the best hours of television this year.

    The impending sense of doom began with the snowstorm and just built and built. Lorne's set up of Don. Stavros going through his religious/existential debate. Lester apparently about to go on the run. Gus and Molly closing in on the truth.

    And then it just exploded.

    Don is dead. Lester has framed his brother (but his nephew knows something is up). Lorne knows he's hunted by Fargo now. Mr. Numbers is dead. Stavros' son is dead and Molly likely hangs on for dear life.

    Bad guys win. Good guys lose. Fargo prevails.

  • mzbitca

    I love everything about this show except for Nygaard. I want him to die and I want it to be soon. He's a typical Coen Brothers character but damn are they hard to handle when the rest of the cast is out their interacting with each other and he's just sneaking around by himself

  • Parsnip

    I came expecting Freeman to pull in a passable performance with a dodgy accent but he's really impressed. It doesn't harm that the script is outstanding (along with all the other elements) but he really has outdone himself. And without even a whiff of Baggins.

  • mzbitca

    Freeman's done a great job. I just loathe the character and I think part of that is exacerbated by his isolation from the rest of the characters.

  • Parsnip

    I couldn't agree more.

  • BWeaves

    ". . . he's just sneaking around by himself."

    Freeman is playing Lester the way Bilbo should have been played. As a sneaky, quiet, burglar.

  • BWeaves

    This is the only show on the air where I have NO idea what is going to happen next, or how it's going to end. There is nothing predictable about the plot, other than Billy Bob will screw somebody over.

  • Parsnip

    Or will he? I've given up trying to guess what'll happen next, everytime I have an 'Aha!' moment the rug gets pulled out from under me. Clearly no one is safe, so I just assume by the end of the series everyone will either be dead or dying 'cept Hanks...maybe?

  • fluff_fluff

    Freeman's micro-expressions are always great, but that little smile was MESMERIZING even as I was thinking "Walter White Smile Walter White Smile Walter White Smile" waiting for it to emerge. BRB, watching the gif on a loop.

  • This show is insane. I love it, and I had no intention of loving it when they first started promoting it.

    Tues: Fargo
    Fri: Hannibal
    Sun: Game of Thrones & Mad Men

    My brain can't handle all this on a weekly basis.

  • pajiba

    Wed: The Americans.

    DO IT.

  • GAH I know! I keep hearing great things. I've got to catch up on Netflix.

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