‘Fargo’: The Storm of the Century

Published 11 months ago by , Updated May 21st, 2014 at 7:53 am,

Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo Episode 6 Fargo: The Storm of the Century

[This is a review of Fargo episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.] 


As Fargo pushes further toward its conclusion, more and more of the ideas that were formulated in the early episodes begin to take greater shape. One in particular that the narrative likes to return to is, of course, the idea of choice, or, as is emphasized in the events of ‘Buridan’s Ass,’ the idea of determinism, free will, and the question of why people make the choices they do.

Naturally, as Lorne Malvo has been the catalyst for nearly everything that’s occurred, it is easy to argue that many of the early choices made by Lester, Stavros, and to a certain degree, Molly and Gus were caused by Malvo’s actions. So, the question then becomes what is the cause of Malvo’s actions to begin with?

Aside from the appearance of fish falling from the sky, the reasons behind Malvo’s actions seem to be the primary unanswerable element of the series. In fact, it’s far more likely that Fargo will have a reasonable explanation for the event that ultimately took the lives of Wally and Dimitri before it ever reveals what exactly is driving Malvo to do the things that he does. Until that time, Lorne will continue to exist as the archetypal trickster, or, at the very least, someone capable to doing anything because his actions are seemingly free of any kind of causal relation.

Of course, those fish fall from the sky after Stavros opts not to deliver the ‘No Country For Old Men’-style case of money to his blackmailer and instead chooses to bury it in the snow around the same place that he found it all those years ago.

Stavros – who is presumably still reeling from the effects of the Adderall and the biblical torment that was visited upon him by Malvo and Chumph – assumes that returning his unearned case of money to its point of origin will return nature to a state of balance. At first, it seems like Stavros has the right idea, as the massive storm hitting Minnesota abates not long after the case has been reburied along with the ice scraper, but that supposed achievement is soon proven meaningless by the aftermath of the raining fish.

Martin Freeman in Fargo Episode 6 Fargo: The Storm of the Century

Meanwhile, Malvo continues to cut through Duluth like a buzz saw, setting up a chaotic and rather awful end for the dimwitted Don Chumph, before having to dodge a hail of gunfire from Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers.

Unsurprisingly, Malvo gets the upper hand, killing Mr. Numbers and evading capture from Molly and Gus, thanks partially to the massive snowstorm and to the fact that Gus apparently shoots Molly. All of this further demonstrates the chaos that continues to erupt around Malvo, and how, despite characters moving in on him, the mayhem doesn’t necessarily stop; it just continues to spread out in order to impact more and more people.

In a sense, the same thing is going on with Lester, who unconsciously unburdened himself last week. Now that he’s lucid and is seemingly on the mend, however, Lester has turned his sights once more to the notion of self-preservation.

It’s a testament to the show that, with everything else that’s going on, ‘Buridan’s Ass’ manages to make Lester’s temporary escape from the hospital and subsequent planting of evidence in Chaz’s gun locker more than just an ancillary incident to pass the time. Instead, it becomes another example of the power of weighted choice and how the ripples of Malvo’s interference continue to spread out and affect those he’s never even crossed paths with.

The show is turning toward the final stretch, and as some events can be traced back to a series of choices, others seem to occur completely at random and may only have reason for the viewer. In that sense, the question of what Fargo is suggesting, in terms of the reasons for choosing one path over the other, is that choice is always weighted, even if the people making them aren’t entirely sure how or why.


Fargo continues next Tuesday with ‘Who Shaves the Barber?’ @10pm on FX.

Photos: Chris Large/FX

TAGS: Fargo
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  1. Probably the best and most progressive episode of the series yet.

  2. Straight up brutal episode. I actually found myself feeling emotional for Glenn Howerton’s character when the SWAT team blows him away.

  3. Why did it rain fish, it’s driving me crazy

    • Well I highly doubt Malvo managed to stage that so the only other explanation is freak natural occurrence. While rare, it has happened a number of time around the world.

      My only complaint about it would be, it ties into all the biblical referencing WAY too much so it felt too contrived. Now if Malvo was actually the one behind it (and they can explain how he did it), then my hat off to them.

    • Twas probably a water spout or tornado sucking up fish and then letting them fall.

  4. I enjoyed the nod to the original with the Gustafson Parking Garage

  5. Pretty exciting episode but it went nuts and abandoned all logic! And I’m not even referring to the raining fish!

    1. Malvo sets up the drop-off with Stavros at the parking lot but what was his plan? he didn’t go or send anyone to pick up the money and I don’t think he could have foreseen that Stavros would change the plan!
    2. Lester’s disappearance from the hospital is too much of a stretch to believe. He must have been away 2-4 hours, the nurse would have been looking all that time for the other patient, mr. Creech, and would have had to check the room again. Then when Lester returned they didn’t even take him to radiology which was scheduled for Mr. Creech, they just took him back to his room. Also, didn’t Lester take Mr. Creech’s car? how the hell did that patient drive himself to the hospital?
    3. How can Molly and Gus be so oblivious about the shots fired outside Chumph’s house? they both got their radios on them and Gus simply says “wonder what that’s about” and they just shrug it off? they were even closer to that house than the other cops! Then when they finally leave the diner Molly tells the guy who told them about the shootout to “call 911″ – do cops ever do that? tell citizens to “call 911″? I thought it was very odd since they themselves would have more direct lines.
    4. How the hell did Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench track Malvo down during the whiteout?! visibility was null! and I don’t think they could have even known what car Malvo would be driving and couldn’t have been tracking him since earlier without Malvo noticing.

    So yeah, huge plotholes. Then there’s the fish… maybe I can accept that but it’s very contrived; Stavros is coming out of fake punishment from God to get real punishment from God?

    • Lester took someone’s car from the hospital at large. He went into the locker room, which the nurses and/or doctors use, and got keys from there.

      • Yes, I think you’re right.
        At least that’s one less thing wrong with this episode!

  6. This series is hilarious. I was worried when I first heard that this was coming out, but it’s a worthy tribute to the film.


  7. That final scene with Lester slowly smiling, back in his hospital bed after planting evidence to implicate his brother, was almost as chilling as Don’s death scene. Amazing show! Molly better not be dead – she seems to be the smartest person on the show who isn’t a psychopath.

    • Except for the one GLARING mistake of his Brother’s kid seeing him. This one very small but important fact I think is going to come back and bite him on the ass.

      • I don’t think Lester has to worry too much since about the autistic kid seeing him since it didn’t seem to phase the kid and Lester is hoping that hiding the gun in the kid’s backpack will help him. Who would believe the kid saying Lester was in the house when he was supposed to be in the hospital?

  8. Very entertaining show and episode. I dont know exactly why but I like Lester a lot smh, he’s so weak and unassuming that he’s turned it into a strength! Bill bob is pure gold as well!

  9. Molly is not dead. Yet. She’s coming to the hospital. Where Lester is…

  10. Except Lester is in hospital in Bemidji and Molly got shot 80 miles away in Duluth

  11. Thats why Molly n Gus are dumb to the shots fired call, they are from a different town and would not necessarily be privy to Duluth radio traffic.