If for some reason viewers were dubious about how the one-year fast-forward at the end of last week's episode might affect the ongoing story of FX’s Fargo, worry no more - tonight is the series’ strongest outing so far. It’s the type of episode you’ll want to watch again once it’s over and an hour I’d gladly pay to watch in a movie theater. As Noah Hawley teased, our original duo of Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) and Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) are together again for the first time since the pilot. It’s a fascinating game of cat-and-mouse with an ending that will leave you hungry for the final episode. Read on for an early review of “A Fox, A Rabbit, and A Cabbage”.
Early on in the series’ run when I spoke to Billy Bob Thornton he mentioned that while he typically likes to work with a backstory for his characters, he enjoyed playing Malvo as a blank slate. Tonight that pays off in full as we see the drifter inhabiting a totally new persona for his work, one that leads him to cross paths with Lester in Las Vegas. Before that though we get to do a little bit of catch-up with Malvo to see exactly how he winds up in Vegas, and the early scenes in the episode are among the funniest the show has done. Thornton is hilarious as Malvo conning an upscale couple under the guise of a ‘scoundrel’ dentist, but the second he crosses paths with Lester his insidious nature reveals itself again. It’s not long before Malvo makes his return to Minnesota, and one year after the massacre that started the series, he’s ready to up the body count again.
Of course Lorne and Lester’s meeting sets off a chain reaction of events, and soon Detective Solverson is being sent to question Mr. Nygaard about an incident in Las Vegas (hint: there are bodies). FBI Agents Budge and Pepper (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) are also eager to help Molly resurrect her year-old case when they realize it has ties to the Fargo shooting that led to their demotion. While some shows lag in the set-up that is necessary in a penultimate episode, Fargo thrives here. When I said I’d pay to watch this episode in a theater, I wasn’t kidding - it’s truly cinematic. The music, the cinematography, the performances, everything is top-notch. I can’t wait to see what the finale holds, but I really don’t want this series to end. I’m holding my breath waiting for an announcement about a second season. Until then, hit the comments and let us know what you’re excited about tonight, or come back after the episode airs and share your thoughts. I’ll be talking to Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks and Billy Bob Thornton once again this week, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments or send them to my Twitter. There’s a few more hints about tonight's episode below.
Stuff You’ll Love:
- The performances tonight are among my favorite of the series so far. The transformation between the Lester we met 8 episodes ago and the man he’s become one year later is flawless in Freeman’s performance. Getting to see him and Thornton play opposite one another again is a clear highlight of the episode.
- The dialogue. As I mentioned above, this is probably the funniest episode so far. Malvo as his dentist character is one of my favorite things the series has done.
- The ending. If there’s one thing this show knows how to do, it’s to leave us wanting more. While last week saw Malvo catching Lester’s eye for the first time in a year, tonight we leave off with the two in a decidedly darker and deadlier place. The stage is set for an epic finale.
Fargo airs Tuesday nights at 10pm EST on FX. “A Fox, A Rabbit, and A Cabbage” premieres tonight.