At the beginning of episode 8 of Fargo, which could have been titled “The New Lester Nygaard,” viewers see washing machines being built at an assembly line with a whistling soundtrack accompaniment. Overall, the entire show focusses on the aftermath of the previous show’s shootout, the death of Mr Numbers and the death of Stavros the supermarket tycoon’s son and righthand man, along with the original blackmailer. Adding to last week’s body count are the 22 members of a crime syndicate that Malvo executed with an automatic weapon. It also follows the new improved Lester and how he has changed.
This week opens with Lester getting a replacement for the washing machine that was pretty much the cause of his wife’s death and Molly’s return to work. Police Chief Oswalt, while admitting that he was wrong about who killed Nygaard’s wife and the former police chief Vern, he is not ready to let Deputy Solverson anywhere near the Sam Hess murder which is still unsolved.
Molly’s scene with Bill Oswalt shows just how much evidence she has collected in her investigation and for the first time in the show, Solverson almost cracks and and has to fight off tears while dealing with the new, and obviously inept, police chief.
Lester is busy growing closer to his colleague Linda when Hess’s widow comes charging into the office talking about the two of them having sex, in explicit and cringeworthy detail, and how he knew all along that there would be no pay out. Remembering the meek Nygaard from before the murders, she tells her sons to work Lester over. He turns the tables by hitting the late Hess’s acorns with a stapler.
Once the two bully brothers have been stopped, Lester masterfully takes over the situation much to the delight of Linda Park. This is a new Nygaard with his worm who has completely turned appearance in episode 8 of Fargo marks new beginnings for a number of the cast.
Before a “welcome back” party for the injured Molly, Malvo visits the wounded Mr. Wrench in the hospital. Before going in to talk to the deaf hitman, Lorne shows once again just how deadly he is by killing the hapless officer who was supposed to be guarding the silent killer in the hospital bed. He explains to the deaf assassin that the men in Fargo who hired him are no longer in the picture and that Mr. Wrench is now unemployed.
Lorne tells the remaining member of the hit team a story about a bear caught in a trap and tells the man, a la Kill Bill Vol 1, that after Wrench has healed up he should come see Malvo if he “still feels raw about” the death of his partner. Lorne also admits that the two killers got closer to killing him than anyone else.
Later, as Gus sits by the side of the road in his cruiser speed checking cars, he calls Molly to say that his hearing on the shooting is the next day. Their hesitant courtship moves up a gear or two when Solverson finally takes charge of proceedings and asks Gus and his daughter on a date.
Once the burden of asking Molly out has been removed, Gus sits happily talking to the woman he shot. The camera moves away to the excited drone of Officer Grimly’s conversation with his new girlfriend and the timeline suddenly changes to “one year later.”
Gus is now working as a mailman, the job he always wanted, and he and a pregnant Molly, and his daughter, all live in Bemidji. Molly proves that she has not forgotten the case that she knows was solved “incorrectly. She is still a good cop. Viewers also get to see what has happened to Lester one year after Malvo, as the devil, came to the small town to commit wholescale mayhem.
Nygaard’s life has changed for the better and at the end of a special evening he runs into an old friend. The overall message of episode 8 of Fargo is that life has moved on and that there is a new Lester who is confident, in a loving relationship and who lost that old meekness when he got away with killing his wife. It seems that in next week’s penultimate episode, he will be confronting his “old friend.” It will be interesting to see if the “new” Nygaard can keep his confidence level up.
By Michael Smith