Fargo recap: A million shades of green

Gus tries to make things right, but everything ends up wrong.

Gus tries to make things right, but everything ends up wrong.

Episode four: "Eating the Blame" [Warning: Spoilers for FX's Fargo series]

Let's time travel for a minute, shall we? Back to the brutally cold winter of 1987; the same year the original Fargo was set. Remember when Carl buried a suitcase of cash in the snow, blood running down his freshly shot jaw?

Well, guess who found it.

See also: Fargo recap episode three recap: Playing God and the Godfather

Flashback to a young Milos and his family, when his son was still sitting in a car seat, his wife had a huge perm, and none of them had any money to their name. In fact, they have so little that Milos only filled up the car with $5 worth of gas, so when the car peters to a stop, his wife starts nagging. Milos gets out of the car to think, attempts to wave down a semi-truck, and gets knocked over. Laying on the road, Milos begins to pray, then he sees a little red stick in the distance.

He trudges over to the window scraper and starts digging. Jackpot. "God is real," he says. "God is real."

Don Chumph has turned into Malvo's dimwitted minion.

Don Chumph has turned into Malvo's dimwitted minion.

Now, back to 2006, God's still looking pretty real to Milos. He's hired someone to come out and check his pipes after bathing in blood. Too bad the service guy is a touch too orange in this Minnesota winter. Don Chumph is doing Malvo's dirty work as a fake plumber while his new boss watches from outside.

"Say, you ever read the Bible?" Don asks as he's leaving Milos' house. "All that blood made me think of it. You know, Moses and the like. 'And God sent a plague of blood on the land.' Better get right with the Lord." That strikes a chord with the supermarket king (and vindicates our Moses/plague theories from last week).

At around the same time this happens, Gus goes on yet another animal-control call -- the other guy is sick again. "That guy is always sick," Gus complains. "What's he got? The cancer?" Yes, actually. Oops. Poor Gus just can't catch a break. Turns out this chore might actually be a boon for Gus, however, because he runs into Malvo hanging outside of Milos's house after Don drives away.

"Am I under arrest?" Malvo asks cooly. "You're handcuffed, of course you're under arrest," Gus snaps after having bungled the actual cuffing. ("Okay... uhhmm. Put your uh, left hand around your -- around the back of your -- yep." Has Gus ever arrested anyone?)

Now, we've watched Law & Order to know that Gus probably should've read Malvo his rights before taking him down to the station. Or said more than "Uh... We'll figure that out at the station," when Malvo asked what the charges were. Or, found some actual evidence. You know, cop stuff. It's beginning to look like earnest Gus is just about as incompetent as Bill -- and that's saying something.

Sitting in the back of the squad car, Malvo says, "You're making a mistake." He prophesies Gus will be saying the same thing in just a few hours at the station.

And really, "Eating the Blame" is filled with people making mistakes all around.

Gus is actually a walking mistake, calling Deputy Solverson "Molly" in front of his and her superior, among the hundreds of other "Whoops!" moments he's had over the past four episodes. Bill makes a big mistake here, too, ignoring Gus's instincts and calling into question the idea that Malvo might be the culprit behind all those crimes just because he's got a score to settle with Molly, who went behind his back again.

Billy Bob Thornton steals the show when he pops on an officer's glasses, buttons up, and smooths out his hair, pretending to be minister Frank Peterson from Baudette when Malvo gets arrested. Between the hilarious accent and turns of phrase ("Okee dokee, thanks a lot, sir" or "Hooo, partner, that's a heart stopper!"), you can't take your eyes off of him. Malvo convinces the cops he's just a man of the Lord from way up north -- and hell, we'd be convinced, too, if we hadn't seen that transformation -- and he gets let go. Malvo's prophesy comes true right before Gus calls him out with his real name (thanks for finding that out from the motel people, Molly). Uh oh. Malvo flashes some pure evil through those eyes before he goes on his merry way.

After getting out of custody, he continues to gaslight Milos, who gnashes his teeth and pounds away at his calculator like Scrooge on crack and unwilling to part with his riches. He yells at his son, "Kill or be killed!" Twice. Then a cricket drops onto his desk. And another one... and then there's a scream from outside the office in the grocery store.

It's a goddamn plague. Crickets are everywhere, customers are running around like it's the apocalypse, and Milos is just about ready to have a heart attack (especially with all that Adderall he's been snacking on). Of course, it's not a God-sent plague, just Malvo. While he was locked up, Malvo had Don drive around and collect crickets from all the local pet stores so they could unleash the latest Biblical mess.

Meanwhile, Lester's hand is getting nasty. How he's dealing with it and how no one has asked him about what the hell is going on with it (his hand is swelling like a balloon) is beyond us. The hitmen make a fuss at the diner (keep an eye on 'em, Lou!) before going to kidnap Lester, to make him squeal about Hess, and kill him. Only, things don't exactly go as planned. Sure, they stuff Lester in the trunk, but he finds the taser he stole from his brother.

As they plan to make Lester into a popsicle just like the Malvo look-alike, Lester zaps Mr. Numbers while Mr. Wrench plugs away at drilling a hole in the ice. Being deaf and working a loud, rumbly piece of machinery, Wrench doesn't notice Numbers is unconscious, and Lester makes a break for it in what's easily one of the more hilarious parts of this week's episode.

Lester, by some odd chance, stumbles upon a cop on the road and asks for a ride back. Unwilling to give him a ride just 'cause, the cop gets walloped in the face, and Lester gets chauffeured to the station by assaulting the officer. The hit men see what's up though. And just as Lester plans to make himself a nice little concrete bed in the cell, Wrench and Numbers show up drunk as skunks, having done a little strategic "let's get arrested" fighting at a local bar.

Big mistake, Lester. Have fun spending the night with those two strange bedfellows.



Death count:

Still five, plus the dog. Potentially the widow Hess, which Numbers hinted at on the phone to Lester. We hope it's not true.

Random notebook dump:

  • "Did you know a human eye can see more shades o' green than any other color," Malvo asks Gus before he leaves the station. "My question for you is why. When you figure out the answer to my question, than you'll have the answer to yours."

Gus relays this to Molly, and she knows the answer right away: predators. As humans evolved, they needed to be able to see the danger through the grass and trees, hence the green. They're going to have to catch this predator with some predatory skills of their own.

But, we can also safely say that there's another kind of green that immediately registers in our eyes: money. The fact that Milos is so concerned with holding onto his money, unwilling to give up $43,000 when he's supposedly got $15 million to his name is telling (especially after he only made those clams after finding nearly a million in the snow)...

  • Chazz gets squeamish at the sight of blood still sticky on Lester's floor, which is hilarious considering he's got enough guns to rid northern Minnesota of all wildlife.

  • We've had a theory for the last few episodes, and here Malvo really showcases impish side. It's becoming more apparent that he's a mischievous Loki-type character, hellbent on wreaking havoc everywhere he goes. Let's forget Marvel's dashing Tom Hiddleston Loki and look at Norse mythology, shall we? Loki was a trickster god -- disguising himself, scheming, and throwing the lives of everyone around him into chaos just for the fun of it. This is Malvo's modus operandi ALL. THE. TIME. By the end of the episode, Malvo proves himself a master puppeteer, pulling the strings of mere mortals while he surveys the scene with satisfaction from the sky.

  • "Remember, God is watching," says the voice on the other end of the phone to Milos. It just didn't say which god. Our bet is on Loki.

  • While we're talking god(s), let's do another potential plague count following last week's Biblical episode:

Bill mentions that a huge storm with 60 mph wind and up to 10 inches of snow is about to hit -- mark another tally for the storm category. Next, during Milos's meltdown with his son he shouts "Kill or be killed" -- add another check to death of the firstborn. There's tons of meat in the butcher-shop window next to Milos's office -- dead livestock, check. Lester's locked in the trunk of a car -- mark one down for darkness. Oh, and the crickets -- not quite locusts, but close enough. Now all we need are wild animals/flies -- which, if you count the deer we've seen/hit since the first episode, then we've already got a plague perfect 10.