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Fargo S01E09: "A Fox, a Rabbit, and Cabbage"

After last episode's one-year time jumpFargo built up Lester Nygaard into a booty-slaying, insurance-selling macho machine. And his transformation from shoulder-slouching, speech-stuttering pushover to widow-banging, forehead-stapling office king to all-around alpha dog instantly became the most fascinating part of the series. 

In the final moments of "The Heap," Lester's manhood was put to the test when he randomly encountered the man who made him—Billy Bob Thorton's Lorne Malvo—in a Vegas hotel bar, and for one infinitesimally long moment, we hung in a beautiful state of pondering Lester's next move. Would he cower before the killer who inspired him to stand up for himself, or was he so bloated with conceit that he'd try to steamroll the guy? Or as a third option, would he engage Malvo as a proud student, eager to show how far he'd come?

After some in-your-face-mouth dentistry and an update on Malvo (he's "aces," thank you much), we got the answer to that question in "A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage." Lester sauntered over to Malvo with a smooth "Wassssup?" clearly wanting to show his mentor how much progress he'd made since his nose bled all over the place that one fateful day in the emergency room. After Malvo played coy and pretended that he didn't recognize Lester (I still kind of wish that the gent Lester confronted had turned out to be the real Billy Bob Thornton), Lester reasserted himself, ultimately starting his nightmare all over again. When Malvo asked him, "Is this what you want?" and Lester answered in the affirmative, Malvo shot his three compadres—including his new fiancée and his dentist co-worker played by Stephen Root—in the head. 

It was at this point that Lester understandably changed his tune from the ferocious bark of a big dog to the whimper of a scaredy cat. I mean, Malvo just capped three people in a Vegas hotel elevator because Lester blew his cover. And Lester's evolution hadn't reached a level where he could stay cool in the face of a triple homicide. Obviously Lester didn't have much choice but to run.


But Fargo had a choice, and I'm not sure it took the most interesting path. After their little skirmish in Vegas, the rest of "A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage" focused mostly on Lester scampering away from the mere thought of Malvo, and ultimately from Malvo himself. Lester was reduced to the wimp we met at the start of the series, and with only one episode left, it looks like he might remain that way. I don't know about you, but I was preparing myself for more of a showdown between Lester 2.0 and Malvo as the two fought for the spot at the top of the food chain. But Lester backtracked quite a bit as he realized that he'll never be the same caliber of psycho as Malvo; rather than continuing his Walter White trajectory by going from being a nobody to being the danger, he retreated like a puppy with its tail between its legs. It's too bad, because I was getting into that. I wanted to see Lester go from prey to predator.  

Lester still has time to turn this around and show off his newfound guts, though. Given that he sent his wife into his insurance shop as a decoy and watched Malvo blow her brains out, it seems he's still willing to go to some really messed-up places for his own gain. However, knowing how he craftily framed his brother for Pearl's murder makes his decision to send Linda in on a suicide mission seem more like cowardice than cunning. Was the Lester 2.0 we saw in the previous two episodes a sham? Or does he just know that Malvo is the one man he'll never be able to top? We'll find out next week.



NOTES

– Wondering how to solve Agent Budge's riddle about the fox, the rabbit, and the cabbage? The man takes the rabbit across the river in the boat and drops it off. Then he goes back and gets the fox, and takes it across the river. Before he leaves to get the cabbage, he grabs the rabbit and takes it back with him, and then he exchanges it for the cabbage. That means he's in the boat with the cabbage while the fox is on one side of the river and the rabbit is on the other. He leaves the cabbage with the fox, then goes back one last time for the rabbit and brings it across. Voila! Now he still has to worry about the fox eating the rabbit and the rabbit eating the cabbage, but at least he's on the other side of the river. 

– "Aces."

– Malvo is now pulling six-month-long cons? Hmm... 

– It's always great to see Stephen Root in anything, but seeing him play a sleazy dentist was amazing. 

– I still laugh every time I see Key & Peele on this show, and I'm excited to see them in the fold with Molly. Hopefully they'll play a big role in the finale. 

– How alpha is Malvo? He ordered sparkling water from the waitress and then walked out before it came. 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/14/2015

Season 2 : Episode 10

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Guys, you are missing the bigger picture here: Lester hasn't changed. He just thought he has to a successful degree. He can't handle this shit.
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Morton's Fork - Last Episode Title

I haven’t slept in seven nights and I’m not tired
who protects the ones I love when I’m asleep?
and though there’s little I can do, I say a prayer

that when the wolves come for their share
they’ll come for me

Sleep Deprivation - Malvo foreshadows sleep deprivation in the dental chair.

Wolves -
Malvo

Who Pray's The Wolf Will Come After Me? - Who thinks their job is to be a father? Who couldn't sleep at his apartment's window? Who is awake looking at Molly's crime scene sketch and remembering Malvo driving by him on his mail route? Who was alone and is now blessed with a caring wife, father-in-law and a daughter; who now has a surrogate family for the first time. Gus. Who does he love? Molly and his daughter. Perhaps his father-in-law. Though there’s little I can do; is exactly a Gus-like comment.

Prediction/Protagonist Hiding In Plain Sight - Malvo is the antagonist. Lester and Molly have been the most noted protagonists. But I think the protagonist has always been Gus from the jump. He started out as a single parent to his lovely daughter. He is scarred for being an incompetent policeman. He is now clearly - see below - (including Molly saying Gus helped her with the crime scene sketch) - more legally engaged. My prediction is that Gus - whatever his ultimate fate - will be front and center on the show's finale.

The Emotional Repercussions - Gus is the hero. Rightfully so, he will be noted as such at the end; by Molly, by his daughter, by his father-in-law, by the FBI agents, by the police. Lester will get his due. Malvo as the wolf will have his due- whether he is killed or kills. The emotional repercussions will be a standard - but a slightly different spin - on the nature of the Coen brothers. The simple and good are heroes. They befriend the simple and the good. The cowards (Lester) and the devil (Malvo) are simply a backdrop in the nature of contrast.

Yes, I Am A Fargo-freak. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the show, its writers and its level of detail throughout the ten-episode format. This compels me to be on the look-out for every piece of dialog and visual clues. I can be rightfully be accused of over-analyzing. And most certainly guilty of being wrong. But I do so due to the respect I have for the show. The show's idea was risky. IMHO that risk has turned a show into something great. Depending on the last episode; I believe we are seeing (a) one of the best shows ever and (b) an entire new canvas of storytelling. Moving from hero, to anti-hero, to a multi-faceted layering of characters that tell a moral story.
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Breaking Down The Tape - Snippets
Lester's Insurance Building Is Right Across The Street From Lou's Coffee Shop. Malvo sees it driving by before he gets to Lou's Coffee shop. Making Malvo's questioning and Lou's answers as to Lester's whereabouts more concerning/interesting?

Malvo Is Playing A Song At His Party That Was Before 1979. Hinting he was of age in the Sioux Falls Massacre.

Gus Recognizes Malvo In The Red BMW. He later is seen staring at Molly's evidence board and focusing on Malvo's picture while he pictures Malvo driving by his bus route. Leading me to believe that Gus will be involved with Malvo - for good or for bad - in the last episode.
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Breaking Down The Tape - Snippets

Lester's Insurance Building Is Right Across The Street From Lou's Coffee Shop. Malvo sees it driving by before he gets to Lou's Coffee shop. Making Malvo's questioning and Lou's answers as to Lester's whereabouts more concerning/interesting?

Malvo Is Playing A Song At His Party That Was Before 1979. Hinting he was of age in the Sioux Falls Massacre.

fargo He later is seen staring at Molly's evidence board and focusing on Malvo's picture while he pictures Malvo driving by his bus route. Leading me to believe that Gus will be involved with Malvo - for good or for bad - in the last episode.
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Just when we were rooting for tv's newest anti-hero bam full scumbag sending his wife to die. Good job Fargo can't wait till the season finale.
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This has been a good show. Props for that. Bit disappointed Lester turned into such a scumbag weasel. He sent his own wife to her death and quivered in the dark all the while. Weak stuff.
One thing I don't think the show did a good job of was give a good reason why Malvo would come after Lester full force. He just shot 3 people in the elevator and then when he was done casually asked Lester to help him. Lester winds up whacking him in the head, to little effect, and Malvo's reaction is surprise more than anything.
I'd think Malvo would go find him to have a chat and get him back under his wing. Honestly it had to be much more gratifying for Malvo to see Lester grow a set than to have him revert to a weasel and scamper away.
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Anything that Malvo has done has never been explained, which I have had a little frustration with as well. I really want to know why he does what he does. I am constantly guessing about the why. So in this situation I think Malvo was about to bring Lester "under his wing" and then decided well if that is how your going to react then forget it. So he might as well dispose of him because what if Lester decides to say something. About the Vegas crimes and the murder of Hess and Verne.
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Lester sucks. He is the suckiest of all characters that have done bad things to others on television this year. He sent his wife, who was so enamored with him during this big highlight in his career by his side and proud of him, directly into the hornet's nest and assured she wouldn't be coming out alive by feigning concern that she would get sick without her hood on. Dickhead. Thank you very much writers!!!! These characters don't exist on network television because of the ancient trolls running those sinking ships into the ground - thank god for cable. Lester cannot die quick enough next week so he probably won't.
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I don't you just love to hate characters like him? It's like how much lower can he go?
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Just when your finished feeling bad for 'everyman' - he proves he is only out for himself. You hate characters like that but he's playing the part so well - like 'Lester' believes he is blameless in all of this and its so fun to watch. His wife was presented as such a sweetheart and died Malvo's victim, never knowing she'd been Lester's victim for the past year of her life. I just hope Molly gets to arrest the twerp or blow the back of his head out standing next to Bob Odenkirk's clueless character (another great character created by this show.)
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This scene at the beginning, highly disturbing and it speaks volumes as to what Malvo really is...

... and here you go, the elevator scene was memorable:

And Lester's shame:

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Malvo recording the calls has always been super disturbing…so premeditated
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Maybe it's not that bad - maybe it just serves all a scientific purpose, lol
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Yeh, one season will do it. Last two episodes have been a bit strained and
contrived...
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"Haven't had a piece of pie like that since the Garden of Eden". Supports what I've thought all along. Malvo is the Devil incarnate and Lester is his unwitting tool whom he's just toying with. Furthermore, Lester would never be able to kill Malvo, because he's invulnerable.
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Holy sheesh, what a dark episode! I hate that Lester's wife was killed but, I guess I'm suppose to be appalled. Fargo is quality stuff, the kind you expect from FX.
I can hardly wait for Tyrant and The Strain.
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OMG The Strain looks freaking amazing!!
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Yea it does. That last trailer removed all doubt.
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Well after this episode, i really don't give a fuck what happens to Lester now. What a EFFING COWARD. Runs away like a little bitch after Malvo popped 3 homies in the elevator...meh i can sympathise with that. But sending his new wife into the shop, knowing what would happen to her...that's some cowardly shit right there. I even gave him a chance to confront Malvo when he came out, but he continued to be a coward and tried to duck out of Malvo's sight when Malvo suspected something looking in his direction to where the car was parked. Really disappointed in this development of the story. I was hoping Lester would become the new king predator, replace Malvo as the new king predator and come up with some brilliant plan that only a king predator could come up with, but instead he becomes a coward.
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After all that, I still want Lester to scape...I don´t know why... I would love that Molly gains all the credit she deserves, and I´m not sure what I want to happen to Malvo, but I know Lester is a terrible person and still I want him to survive Malvo´s plan...it makes me a horrible person too? I don´t know...but one thing Iñm sure is that this show is perfect
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You know, this whole time I haven't seen the original film... I just assumed that the TV series was a minor adaptation of it.

My friend recently told me the series is "kind of" a sequel to the film. Due to a certain prop and plot-point used in the series.

So... now I can watch the film later without having (too much) spoiled.
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Yes you can, i highly recommend it. Its an excellent movie. I actually watched it a couple days ago, being fully caught up with the show, and nothing was spoiled.
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the movie is excellent. the flavor of the series is exactly the same.
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True story? It is my understanding that the only element of truth to the original movie was the wood chipper scene which was taken from the 1986 Newtown wood chipper murder in Connecticut.

It appears to me that the element of truth in the TV series is based on the Malvo character, inspired by contract killer Richard Kuklinski (aka, "Iceman"). Check out the HBO documentaries "Iceman Confesses" and "Iceman Psych". In the latter he describes killing a guy in the exact same way Malvo killed the guy that was guarding the deaf contract killer in the hospital. Not to mention the evil, dispassionate way in which they both practices their craft.

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Sweet lord, Lester has seriously gone down an even worse path than expected. I knew once he sent his wife in she was toast, but him asking her, "Put your hood up, honey. I don't want your head to get cold." What a scum bag.

In other words -- excellent job, Fargo.
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Confronting What Is Worse? Pure Evil Or Hypocrisy

Lincoln: When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some other country where they make no pretense of loving liberty - to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, without the base alloy of hypocrisy. Malvo is despotism taken pure. Lester's despotism depends on the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Malvo vs. Lester's motivations. Malvo is pure evil that he ultimately uses for financial gain. Lester is pure evil that he ultimately uses because he is a coward.

The Movie vs. The Show - Lester is Jerry Lundegaard. Malvo is a combination of Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare.

How The Show Ends. Molly - like quite pregnant Marge Gunderson - wins. Malvo dies without an emotional tail. And the coward Lester caught and sent away to prison to contemplate his actions until he dies.

Again the central question is what is worse? Pure evil or hypocrisy. I believe that is the central spine of the show. And one that will be answered next week.

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Test, my last two posts didn't get published ...
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Wow all the Lester hate, he is a coward? Why? Cause he didn't walk into the insurance office and have Malvo shoot him in the back of the head instead? Was Walter White a coward for not getting into a fist fight with Tuco? In Vegas his ego led him to a bad decision and he knew it immediately, from there out it was all about survival and he couldn't tell his wife the truth and in the short term she was going to be a detriment to his sudden war with Malvo if they didn't get to Acapulco.
Everyone's getting all alpha wolf this and 2.0 alpha dog that.... all that matters now is who gets the drop on the other, Malvo like Anton Chigurh has the advantage of not being tethered to straight world like Lester with his history and public persona however Lester has shown his cunning and resourcefulness to survive, setting up a chain of events and getting out of threatening situations unharmed so I wouldn't rule him out of the game just yet.
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"Wow all the Lester hate, he is a coward? Why?"

Seriously? Yes, he should have gone in there himself, with the gun in the coat pocket, and his hand on the gun. The cowardly thing to do would have been to send in the wife WITHOUT the coat, thinking that "Malvo" might just let her get the passports, if he's in there at all. Instead he got her to wear HIS coat, with the hood up, to increase the probability that she would be killed. His wife was, as far as we know, a good woman who really loved him, and Lester still put almost zero value on her life. Lester is a great character, but a horrible, horrible person.
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If Lester had let his wife go in without the coat and Malvo let her go she would of been all types of angry at Lester and her speaking to the police about both him and Malvo would be bad result for him = Jail.

If Malvo had managed to see it was the wife and somehow remain unseen Lester could not be sure Malvo wasn't still on his trail.

If it ended up a hostage situation and he refused to go in the result might have been the same or worse if Malvo tortured her first to bait him in or messier if third parties got involved.

Obviously Lester didn't care that much for his new wife as he was willing to cheat on her and use her as bait, I'd say selfish yes, insensitive yes, inhumane even, but is it cowardly to avoid walking into an ambush?

People are saying he should of tackled Malvo in the elevator while he was between shooting people, yes he would have been brave and dead.
Despite the fantasies that people have of somehow disarming gun toting professional killers from watching action films as their only basis for combat or self defense, the likelihood would be slim to none.

I'd want the odds in my favour and be the one holding the gun or getting the psychopath to walk into my trap rather than the other way around. Winning the war and survival through cowardice if that's what it takes.
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Lester, Lester...you should have just let it go when you had the chance. Keep on pulling the devil tail and you will end up seeing his head.
I used to like his new found confidence but after what he did to his 2nd wife, i'm disappointed. It's not Lester 2.0, it's Lester 1.05.
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Anyone else amused at Billy Bob playing an undercover character that Burty Burt refers to as Mick Mike?
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Er, it's not the first dodgy dentist Root's been a rooter in mate! In Louie C.K. he fed him more than gas whilst under. The horror.
Lester ultimately proves himself to be a terrible cunt. He talks to Malvo knowing no good can come from it. He knows Malvo toys with those around his intended and often also end up as his kills too. And if he had an ounce of thought for others, he should've assumed those with him were wrapped up in some ball of wool. But he goes for the yes answer knowing full well he's dragging in the lift occupants too. Further, that if Mallvo elects to kill him, at the least the others will forfeit their lives. So what happens? Lester bottles it, causes more death and flees again. If he wanted to man-up he could've hit Malvo with his precious award, thus saving one or more of his fellow travellers. But no. If Lester was truly facing his demon he would've confronted him alone and not presumed to have human shields.
So what's he do? Well, he gets his wife to wear his hooded coat just in case Malvo's about, shortly after she's basically thanked him for saving her life of meaninglessness.. Bye bye sucker. Terrible cunt.
The chances he's wasted are phenomenal. Fortunately for the law, he's so wrapped up in trying to lie to himself that he's more than he is, it's got to be clunk click every trip next week.

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I don't know about that. I think Lester gambled on the yes/no answer, you know, because he is in the gambling capital after all. I think Lester had a hunch that something bad would come out of the "no" answer, but not to the extent of Malvo shooting them in the head bad. Then after it happened he went into shock and eventually realised he's not a bad ass after all and he just doesn't have the sack to be the bad ass killer that Malvo is.
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The rule was simple to/with Malvo, yes meant go ahead (punk, make my day!) but no was no, back away from action. Lester knew this all too well but, I agree, thought his luck of late was running but, moreover, that the trapped company/witnesses would push Malvo to back down. Lester's gamble relied on the latter and so all he really ended up doing was gambling on their lives to either make him the bigger man or perish. And we saw how that played out!
He also did it with his wife, by gambling with 'his' life which was really hers and we got a TKO! In fact, his wife's killing surprised me most as Malvo to date has been much more calculating. I can only assume that he either guessed it was her and thought she'd be a fun message or, simply didn't care if it was a mistake as his patience has been exhausted with Lester. The way he chillingly looked over to the car would suggest the former. Eek!
Lester is, as Malvo pointed, the only one he's let wriggle away in quite the way things turned out. Lester is too dumb to realise that you poke the bear and eventually it's your arm that gets ripped off when it's tired of eating those around.
The problem with Lester is that he'd never be satisfied with no matter how much luck he had and how ever many lives he ruined to keep chasing the win dragon. What he should've done was sated himself by taking up with his brother's Miss Whatever she was and rub that in his face till death.
If I was him I'd be debating on whether to get the passport now as Malvo has gone for the time being and thus literally fly off to escape him and the inevitable police hunt. You betcha!
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I keep seeing references to the original Fargo movie, and also "No Country for Old Men." I think Malvo used the phrase "friend-o." Malvo bargaining with the telephones reminded of the coin tossing in "No Country for Old Men."
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Did Malvo's actions make any sense at all? Why not say "oh yeah, I think I remember seeing you when I passed through Minnesota." Or why not shoot Lester with everybody else in the elevator? Lester's actions did not make much sense either. Lester knows how dangerous Malvo is, and Lester is trying to hide the truth about the murder of his first wife. As pathetic as Lester is, he's no idiot.

Malvo's ability to murder people right out in the open, often in front of security cameras, and just casually walk away, is just getting ridiculous. What is the body count? At least two dozen that we know of - without so much as a serious investigation. How did Malvo know there were no security camera in a Los Vegas elevator?
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It's definitely becoming ridiculous how Malvo can literally kill whoever he wants wherever he wants and just get away with it.
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I agree with you, how he managed to stay in shadow all this time and why there is no series investigation about all these crimes,???? i think that part of the his mysterious personality, i am looking forward to see how they will catch Malvo and Lester, I think Lester will kill Malvo, to me that make seance.....
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Lester is a sad excuse for a human being and there's no way I could ever empathize with him.
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So, his first wife was right after all eh.
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But, i must say he knows how to end his marriage, but will he be able to explain how this one killed??? there is no explanation for this no, he is going down this time.
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This might be the only time in my 47 years of conscious TV watching that I saw a scene where someone was conked on the head and did not ass out ( not counting Looney Tunes
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The biggest question of the episode: Why the hell are you travelling around with a fox?
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Most awkward elevator ride ever
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As said in a reply to another comment: I was rooting for this guy before since he kinda was a victim who turned the tables and became a smoother and more assertive man, but now after seeing him fall apart again and the way things went down, I kinda want to see him get busted, if not killed. (It would've been awesome to see Lester 2.0 against Malvo in a showdown or something, but now that he seems like the meek p@$*y that he was again, especially after using his wife as bait, I gotta root for solverson to live up to her surname.)

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That picture of 'Dad' and Malvo. It's not from the episode is it? Weren't Malvo and 'Dad' at the counter the whole time?

Lester 2.0 was clearly a hollow shell, easily shattered by Malvo.

Six months for a hundred grand bounty. That seems very low rent for a master like Malvo. But he clearly enjoys his work and his cover fiancé was pretty hot, so maybe that makes up for it.
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Yes they were at the counter. I think Malvo doesn't care about money.
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Another good episode of Fargo. Fargo is an above average dark TV comedy. It is perhaps not everyone's taste hence it might not get the popularity and accolades it deserves.

The NEW Lester thought he got away with murder and won salesman of the year. He believed he HAD change so he wanted to prove to himself and Malvo too. Sometimes when we achieved some success in a short time (sometimes through sheer luck) we convinced ourselves we are better since we achieved external things while inside we are still essentially the same.

Tim wanted him to change MORE but I think this Lester is THE real Lester. The show had been consistent in their characterization of Lester, Malvo, Molly and Gus.

Lester thought he changed but inside he is still a coward like he always had been.

I do have one complain though. Malvo should have kept Lester's new wife alive to question her about Lester whereabouts. Why did he killed her off straight away? That seems like an unrealistic move just to move the story on.

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Now I realized my mistake. I went back to re-watch. The jacket made Malvo think that she was Lester, that is why he shot her instantly. He checked afterwards so I guess Lester is still in trouble.
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The way Linda walked was kinda feminine, I think it would've been more rational for malvo to ensure it was her, I know she was in lester's jacket but still...damn...he used her as bait...thats just sad, (I was rooting for this guy before since he kinda was a victim who turned the tables and became a smoother and more assertive man, but now after seeing him fall apart again and the way things went down, I kinda want to see him get busted, if not killed)
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Wondering how to solve Agent Budge's riddle about the fox, the rabbit, and the cabbage? The man takes the rabbit across the river in the boat and drops it off. Then he goes back and gets the fox, and takes it across the river. Before he leaves to get the cabbage, he grabs the chicken and takes it back with him, and then he exchanges it for the cabbage. That means he's in the boat with the cabbage while the fox is on one side of the river and the rabbit is on the other. He leaves the cabbage with the fox, then goes back one last time for the rabbit and brings it across. Voila! Now he still has to worry about the fox eating the rabbit and the rabbit eating the cabbage, but at least he's on the other side of the river.

Thanks Tim for telling us the answer to the riddle but in your eagerness to tell us, I guess you mistook chicken for rabbit :-) Some might be wondering where the chicken came from?

In my own eagerness to point out your mistakes, I have NOT read the rest of the comments and I think perhaps someone else might have done it already :-)
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We fixed the chicken error!
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Thank you but I think you guys still did not fixed the Norman and Norma mistake in the Bates motel finale. I did point it out in the comments section too.
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Chicken is never an error. Its the fish you gotta look out for.
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That was one hell of an episode.

Of all the possibilities put forward last week about the Lester-Lorne reunion, I don't think anyone came close to calling it.

Lorne in the diner. You could practically hear Molly's Dad's old cop instints clamoring full blast in his head. If not before, he knew something was off when Lorne asked about the picture. It was intense, even if what happened was totally predictable. Molly entering just as Lorne leaves. The FBI almost tripping over Lorne as they get out of the car. It was masterful.

Lorne is a purebred psycho, but Lester is one true bastard. Setting his wife up like that, it doesn't get much worse.
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Interesting that nothing came out of Linda lying to Molly about why Lester and Linda left Las Vegas earlier. Linda lied on purpose, so somehow she felt the need to do that. Why didn't she say anything to Lester about how she knowingly covered up for him, and that he went along with it? It was such an obvious lie, that I thought Linda realized right then and there that Lester was afraid of something, and lied to Molly because of it. That's why I expected some kind of a discussion about it between Lester and Linda.
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I think that was the point of the conversation in the car about her having a crush on him. It illustrated that she has a blind infatuation/love for Lester. Thus, she would defend him regardless of the reason.
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And she was probably hoping that by showing such loyalty she would eventually be let in on the dark secret.
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I didn't like the episode that much. Fine, Lester's wife is dumb. But is she that dumb? She doesn't ask ANY questions about what happend? Why did she lie for Lester but didn't ask anything about that? Also I can't believe Lester's change. Why would he insist on talking to Malvo? Because this is "The new Lester?". Nah...
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I don't think Lester's new wife was dumb. She suspected that Lester has a dark secret and that is part of the attraction. That's why she lied for him, so he would see that he could trust him and let her in on the secret. I am certain she would have remained loyal even if she had learned the whole truth.
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I do not think Lester's wife is dumb, she just chose NOT to ask. I think the conversation she had with Lester in the car tell us everything. The fact that she chose not to ask show us she is quite smart.

To her, Lester was her dream man and she is living her dream. She does not need to destroy everything by asking too much questions.

However perhaps she believe her dream too much and trusted Lester would never harm her in any way.

The NEW Lester thought he got away with murder and won salesman of the year. He believe he HAD change so he wanted to prove to himself and Malvo too. Sometimes when we achieve some success in a short time (sometimes through sheer luck) we convince ourselves we are better while inside we are still essentially the same.

Tim wanted him to change MORE but I think this Lester is real.

He thought he changed but inside he is still a coward like he always had been.
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I'm surprised no one else has asked this, can I just say.. why didn't Molly's Dad Lou know what Malvo looked like?? It's probably all that Molly's ever talked about for the last year. He used to be a cop, did he never visit their house? surely you'd ask your old mans advise on the case.
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Good point. Maybe Molly has chosen to not involve her Dad. So he has never seen the room with her diagram. Also sometimes we don't see something unless we are looking for it.
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Good reply. I saw the tension between and ex-cop and a criminal. I thought they might be a shoot out and the Dad was going to die. Luckily it did not go that way.
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"he never visit their house?" and see the spider gram of Malvo Murder King Pin I mean
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The diagram's located on a wall in Gus & Molly's bedroom. Sure, Lou would have visited the house many times, but he wouldn't have had any reason to go snooping around in the master bedroom. In fact, Lou's the sort of man who'd respect the privacy of his daughter, his new son-in-law, and their marriage.
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I love his relationship with the three of them. They are all so sweet and loving.
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Maybe not, or maybe it just didn't register, but his spidey senses were really tingling
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Ooh, Lester, so Ruthless. Or at least Lindaless. And Pearlless. Anyone still desperately clinging to Lester being a victim of circumstances just willingly let go. Bring on the finale!

I liked the Missouri "you betcha"s at Malvo-the-dentist's party. I guess the show just had to get at least one in for that group of people.

I see Malvo as a successful professional. Certainly he's an alpha personality and predator, but maybe he's too socially skilled and empathic to qualify as a true psychopath? I don't know. Only his decision to terminate his 6-month project a week before completion made me question his sanity. I think he probably thought it through and had logical reasons to do so, but we may never learn what they are.

Most favorite scene: Police station, white board. Budge and Pepper, perpetrating the deception that they're active FBI agents on an active case; Chief Bill, first disparaging of Molly then perhaps questioning his own competency; and Molly, enjoying the validation of her crime solving then meekly ducking out to allow a superior some dignity. And that's only the tip of it. More well-acted/-written/-directed "character stuff" happened just in that one scene than in whole seasons of other TV shows.

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Also, Budge and Pepper recognizing that Molly is both smarter than they are, and even less respected, esp. by her boss, and making a point of building her up and tearing her boss down. The fact that they can't do that to their own boss being additional incentive.
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Oh I wanted Lester to become a stronger man and yes get away but after he sacrificed his second wife I'm pissed and he deserves his whatever Lorne has in store for him.
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Agreed. This show is aces
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"Aces" hahahahaha! Wasn't that the best catchphrase?
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No, I thought it was annoying. I couldn't have been around him for long
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By now, Lester should have known that Malvo was either a hitman or in the mob. The 2 guys semi-torturing Lester to find Malvo... and one of them was killed in a bloody firefight with automatic weapons. I'm sure Lester knows it was Malvo.

So the smart options would have been to either:
  • Walk away at the bar, never even say "hello", and never make eye contact. Just get the eff away.
  • Step in the elevator, pretend he didn't know Malvo, and "brag" about his award and say "Last year a great guy gave me advise and self-confidence that made me the man I am today" And gotten off at his floor.
But obviously... for a dramatic story we had to have the two of them face off at some point.
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I don't think Lester should have known. Malvo is no ordinary hitman, after all. What kind of hitman chats up random strangers at hostpitals and then kills their bullies? He might guess Malvo's involved with the mob somehow but he doesn't know anything for sure.
He approaches Malvo because he's so full of himself, gotten so arrogant, he doesn't even get the idea Malvo could become dangerous to him. I think it makes sense.
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The biggest question to come from the episode for me was what would have happened if Lester had answered no to Lorne's question, 'Is this what you want?' Either way, really, Lester comes out a coward. We sae the results of a yes answer in this episode. Lester may be a coward, I don't disagree with that statement, but like others have said, when faced with a triple-homicide what more can he do than run? But if he had said no he would have been bowing done to Lorne and truly proving him as his superior, so I'm actually happy with how things turned out, story-wise.

The only other possible option would have been for Lester to help Lorne dispose of the bodies, for them to have a started some sort of mutual understanding of one another... But Lester's not dumb, and he wasn't when he ran either, there's no connecting with Lorne. They maybe would have had one or two nice chats tops before Lorne would turn on him, because that's just his nature.
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The smart thing for Lester to do was to say "sorry, my mistake, you look exactly like someone I used to know', and walk away.
There was no way he could do that, so the only other option was to go all the way and say yes. But then, of course, the shell shattered and he had to run away.
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I thought Lester WAS going to help with the bodies but that would be the OLD lester. The NEW lester was smart enough to run and RUN far away.

I see him as a coward not because of that but because he gave up his wonderful second wife. That was coward. I am sure if he thinks hard enough, they might be another way to test the Malvo's presence than to send his wife in.
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I think Lester should have helped with the bodies. Lorne would have shot Lester right then and there if he was going to kill Lester anyway. I've got more to say but I'm saving it for my post later. :)
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I can't wait for that rusty bear trap to come into play.

Vote: who do we think will step in it?
- Lester
- Malvo
- Gus
- Bill
- Key or Peele
- Molly
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Bill. He can't see what's figuratively in front of his face, doubt he can see what's literally there, either.
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Poetic justice would be Lester. BTW, I love how you call Budge and Pepper "Key & Peele." :-)
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Good call!
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Bill!
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I was concerned about last's week's time jump and what it would mean for the rest of the story, but I have to say it, this episode was 'aces'.
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I thought we were going to learn that Lester's new wife figured everything out a while ago and that's why she was covering for him when Molly showed up. Which I guess is still possible... but I doubt we'll ever truly know what she knew at this point.
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Sacrificing her was, not only a cowardly move by Lester, but, quite possibly, also a strategic mistake. She would probably have kept covering for him. Finding out that he had killed his first wife might even have turned her on.
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I hate Lester so much right now.
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Really? I don't hate him. He's not a good person and I don't pity him; but I don't hate him.
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Low Blow lester....Low blow
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Oh my gosh, this is a show that's just getting better and better. The tension...oh, the tension between the characters.
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I agree. This episode was just so good.
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I disagree about Lester pussing out. He was not expecting Malvo's move in the elevator. Bravado or not, Lester is wise enough to know he doesn't have the psychopathic skill Malvo has. He's no match for him man to man. Running away was his only option. Approaching him in the first place was ballsy all by itself.

I have to say the death of the sweet Asian wife was just sad. It once again reminds us we should have no sympathy for Lester.

Final thought: Billy Bob Thorton is a brilliant, subtle actor.
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Agree all around. I didn't know Thornton was so good until I watched him in this. He is so much fun to just watch.
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I never like Thornton in ALL the movies I seen of him but I really liked his acting here. Same with Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk.
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Agreed on all accounts. I don't think he's really regressed... he just realizes how much s**t he's in and can't hope to fight that guy. Sending his wife in with his jacket was calculated, and he's carrying a gun now.

The pilot had me feeling pity for Lester... but he quickly turned into an anti-hero and was irredeemable after he screwed over his brother's family like that. Not just his jerk brother: but his nephew (fail, ruined life, etc.) and wife (losing everything).


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I disagree with you, Tim. Fargo took the only path it could've taken, and it's also an interesting one. We have to differentiate between a new-found alpha dog who has self-confidence but who is, at the end of the day, still an insurance salesman, and a hitman who likes to spend his spare time causing chaos and manipulating people (loved how he told the kids that now live in Lester's old house there are ghosts there just for the fun of it).

Lester was never even remotely on the same 'level' as Malvo and he chose the only path anyone who has seen what he has seen Malvo do would choose. That doesn't mean his character development has been reverted - quite the contrary! We saw him clock Malvo with his award (so funny!), we saw him again lie flawlessly to Molly and we saw him mercilessly and de-facto deliberately sacrifice his wife (it was amazing how the writers set up a contrast between her - epitome of a good girl who used to clean BM's in a motel - and Lester, who sends her out to be killed).
This was symbolized when he took his old, orange jacket from the rack. At first, we thought (and maybe he did as well) he had indeed reverted and was running with his tail between his legs. However, he never did put it on but even gave it to his wife in an attempt to make Malvo mistake her for him. It was a calculated, cunning move on his part - no sign of the Old Lester. Cowardly, obviously, but cunning.
I guess this is what we are to see him as - a coward. He didn't stand up to his bully in school, he cowardly murdered his first wife, he cowardly set up his own brother for a murder he committed and now he cowardly sent his second wife out to die. He never took responsibility.

We have to stop comparing his evolution to WW's. Yes, they both had fantastic character developments but they are too different to really see side by side.
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Lorne's casual, cruel, manipulations are a big part of what makes this show great.

And Lester is, most definately, not Walter White. Lester 2.0 is a hollow shell. Heisenberg went through to the core.
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Great stuff! Thank you for pointing out the comparison to WW. I've never seen BB (I know crazy) so those statements were over my head. ;)
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Jen, you are one lucky person to have BB to look forward to! Get on it after next Tuesday. :-)
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No. Lester should have simply thanked Malvo in Vegas.

And it made no sense that he didn't. Lester's life became perfect. New wife, new house, best seller award. One would think that Lester wouldn't care to re-live the threat of the killings he got away with. And keep enjoying the benefits. So what did he have to gain out of challenging the killer who made it all happen in the elevator? A prison cell?
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"If you are kind to a magnanimous man, your kindness puts him in your debt, while it makes the base more arrogant" Malvo, in his own way, was kind to Lester. The only way I could describe Lester's actions towards Malvo in Vegas is arrogance and rebellion. Some people that have been stepped on all their life won't know their limits once they think they have the liberty to do what ever they please, until someone puts them back in their place.
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well said
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I know. He knows what Malvo is. He knew Malvo was living a new persona. It was just foolish pride that made him think Malvo would welcome hearing about his great new life.
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In your explanation of the riddle, you switched from "rabbit" to "chicken" and then back to "rabbit". You've got one magic boat.
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yeah, I caught that. I also already knew the answer.
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