‘Fargo’: Let’s Just Say There’s a Lot of Blood

Published 11 months ago by

Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele in Fargo Episode 7 Fargo: Lets Just Say Theres a Lot of Blood

[This is a review of Fargo episode 7. There will be SPOILERS.]


Noah Hawley’s world of Fargo certainly favors those who act over those who react. It also highly favors those who act decisively over those who act reflexively. That is: those characters that know what they are doing (and why) seem to be the ones who find themselves on top in any given situation.

Right now, the story finds itself entering the final stages of its 10-episode run, and those characters who were the first to act – like Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygaard – are afforded another chance to act again, solely in their own interests, bringing forth another wave of chaos when the first has yet to be fully resolved.

Although Lorne Malvo has orders from some sort of crime syndicate, many of his early actions have either been to serve his personal interests, or they have been intriguingly illogical – often resulting in something of an unanswerable question as to who would actually benefit from his involvement.

It stands to reason, then, that the killing of Sam Hess theoretically had no immediate upswing for either him or Lester, and yet he went through with it anyway, almost as though it was an uncontrollable compulsion, like telling the kid at the motel to urinate in his boss’ gas tank. That same sudden, gripping urge could be used to describe Lester’s murder of Pearl, and, again, it could be factored into Gus’ decision not to arrest Malvo when he first had the chance. It seems that all three were acting reflexively, and that’s what put them in the situations they now have to work their way out of.

That being said, Malvo and Lester did survive their initial encounters with the men from Fargo, and with law enforcement in both Bemidji and Duluth. As a result, they have since engaged in plans that are both swift and decisive, which seem to have positioned them both in ideal spots. Malvo took it upon himself to go and deal with the higher-ups in Fargo, while Lester successfully framed his brother Chaz for the murders of Pearl and Vern – possibly giving Bill the luxury of thinking his drifter theory was at least spot-on for the murder of Sam Hess.

Martin Freeman in Fargo Episode 7 Fargo: Lets Just Say Theres a Lot of Blood

Both men execute their plans with spectacular, almost mechanical proficiency, which the episode handles wonderfully by pointing out how the personal becomes frighteningly impersonal, and the impersonal is treated with shocking iciness. For one, Lester’s framing of Chaz takes an already tenuous familial relationship and boils it down to all the negative pent-up anger that had accumulated over the years. The audience doesn’t know all the ins and outs of Chaz and Lester’s relationship, but over the past six episodes, Hawley has demonstrated enough through their encounters that feelings of inadequacy on behalf of Lester, along with a healthy does of general animosity was constantly roiling underneath the surface of their connection.

In that sense, the motivation for the actions Lester takes against Chaz are almost identical to the ones that drove him to murder his wife. Only this time, he’s using another body to literally clean up the mess he made with the first – which the episode then nicely underlines by showing Lester’s long-delayed decision to finally erase the bloodstains in his house and pay a visit to the widow Hess.

The familiarity and pent-up rage pushing Lester to turn on his family hits similar notes as Malvo’s swift and seemingly total destruction of the crime syndicate in Fargo. Although Malvo is told the decision to have him killed by Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers was likely personal, his act of killing takes on a decidedly impersonal tone.

In fact, the camera doesn’t even enter the building where the killings take place; instead, it remains on the outside, unable to look in and see what is actually going on. In a way, that distance is as reminiscent of Malvo’s temperament, as it is the ineffectualness of law enforcement – especially those sitting right out front when the carnage erupts.

Colin Hanks in Fargo Episode 7 Fargo: Lets Just Say Theres a Lot of Blood

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s very funny appearance as Agent Budge and Agent Pepper (what, no Agent D’Pez Poopsie?) demonstrate how unaware those in a position of authority are when it comes to everything that is and has transpired with regard to Malvo and Lester. The comedic duo’s appearance manages to call to mind Bill Oswalt and the rest of Bemidji’s overwhelmed law enforcement, which – outside of Molly’s actions – hasn’t gotten a single thing right since Vern died.

That leaves Molly faced with a seemingly unanswerable question of how to tell a group of men who are already uninterested in listening to her that their open-and-shut case is completely wrong. Her next action will not only influence her already contentious standing with Bill, but it will also have an impact on those freely acting beyond the reach of the law.


Fargo continues next Tuesday with ‘The Heap’ @10pm on FX.

Photos: Chris Large/FX

TAGS: Fargo
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I too was thinking that Lester was becoming a bit like Malvo now with all the chances and back handedness that he’s been doing. Especially with the widow Hess…..(Pretty funny actually) He’s gone from anice guy push over to a bit of a fiend since this has all happened. Hell…He even prepared for the two hit men, and then actually got away. Pretty big leap for him.

    I really like how the show has been going. I wondered what they planned to ndo once this story was done, but if this is a 10 part story then I guess it’s more of a mini series than an actual series we get to enjoy later…That’s too bad….

    One little note of reality in the shootin (Pass if you don’t like things pointed out. I only say this because I live north of Fargo so I’ve seen the town many times….I also travel through Minneapolis quite a lot so I know that city also…..That great shoot up scene in the building that’s supposedly some Fargo mob headquarters……That was in Minneapolis. Would have never known it had they not shot Key and Peel on the sidewalk with the other buildings behind. Then again I did kind of wonder where they found a building with so many floors in the real Fargo…Other than a couple big motels most buildings that old are only about three or four stories high…That building was arounrd six. I did like the Key and Peel cameo though

  2. I don’t believe Lester was ever a nice guy. He has always been a cowardly weasel nursing grudges. A dangerous mix.

  3. Well i`d like to point out two things. First, i`ve really enjoyed how this show reminded me of Breaking Bad due to the obvious subject matter. Second, i feel like most of the funny bits take away a lot of the tension i`m supposed to be feeling, thus making show less addictive to me. Any thoughts you guys might wanna share?

  4. True crime offerings that create a lot of tension has been done…to death. The show basically takes after the movie by making a totally unrealistic enviroment where this supposedly “True Story” takes place. That laid back to the point of near numbness, and everyone speaking with an accent that really is only in really small communities (But even there has all but faded away) makes this a quirky show something like the old Northern Exposure from back in the 90′s or so.

    What keeps me coming back for more is how things keep sort of falling apart and together at the same time. To me that’s pure entertainment. Not often seeing what’s going to happen next. Like we all knew Malvo was going to do something, but who would have guessede it would have been on such a grand scale? By the by…..I live about 80 miles north of Fargo and I never heard of a mass killing like that there….Ever. Maybe that Minneapolis background meant it really was in the cities, but why would they be located there if they’re a syndicate out of Fargo?

    Anyway the bottom line is…This just isn’t one of those intense series like Criminal Minds, and I for one like it just the way it is.

    • tundra, the “based on a true story” is sarcastic , more dark humor, its used to make some people ,like your self, think it is based on real events, but you then you see ridicoulous stuff like the falling fish, then you question that statement “true story”. Its sort of a inside joke(i guess)

  5. I think the movie was based on a true story, but this version just goes way too far, We might be laid back up here a bit, but a guy like Malvo going around killing people and just walking away without some huge man hunt going after him is just foolish. They give the impression if they don’t catch someone in the act then they’re not too sure what to do next.

    As for the fish falling from the sky….There actually has been fish and frogs falling from the sky with rain after a tornado went over water. This could never happen in MN in the winter though….Even though they are the state of ten thousand lakes.

    As for following a real story…..Well I’ve seen many times where they take a real story, and then add so much drama that in the end it’s not the same story at all. My hope is that this is able to continue into another season. I have the feeling that Billy Bob will finally get killed (My guess it will be Guss who kills him in the end….He has to redeem himself from all his screw ups) So a next season would probably find him and Molly working together either in Duluth or Bemidji. I hope it’s not just a ten episode mini series the way it seems to be shaking out…

    • The “based on a true story” introduction is just as much tongue in cheek as are the introductory comments concerning the surviving victims and the deceased victims.

      BTW, my bet is Malvo’s booking agent went away in a hearse and Lester will have fun with his sister-in-law. He’s still a weasel.

      • Here’s what I* found on IMBD about the original movie in relation to being a true story:

        The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

        The film is not actually “Based on a true story”. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen later admitted that they added that disclaimer so the viewer would be more willing to suspend disbelief in the story. (An urban legend even says that people have gone to search Minnesota for the briefcase of money, and come to a bad end.) While the specific crimes in the movie didn’t happen, the plot has elements of two well-known Minnesota crimes. In 1962, a St. Paul attorney named Eugene Thompson hired someone to kill his wife, Carol. Unbeknownst to Thompson, his man hired someone else to do the job. The second man fatally wounded Mrs. Thomspon in her house, but she managed to escape him. She went to a neighbor’s house for help while her assailant fled the scene. The sloppiness and brutality of the crime attracted great attention. The murderers were quickly caught and gave up Thompson, who denied knowing anything about the crime for many years afterward. In 1972, Virginia Piper, the wife of a wealthy Orono banker, was kidnapped. A million-dollar ransom was paid, one of the largest in U.S. history. Mrs. Piper was found tied to a tree in a state park. Two men were convicted of the crime, but were acquitted after a re-trial. One of them later went on a shooting spree after his wife left him, killing her, their 5-year-old son, her son from a previous marriage, her new boyfriend, and one of his sons. Only $4,000 of the money was ever recovered.

        I thought I had heard or read around the time they were filming the movie that it was based on a real story around Brainerd. Their stating this as a true story at the beginning of every episode might be tounge in cheek, but what the hell? Why do so? I mean we’re used to explainations like that being sincere. It’s not really funny, just goofy to do so.

    • Google it. Not true. Either one.

  6. My understanding is this season is entirely self-contained and the season finale will mark the end of this story. Next season will feature an entirely different story with different actors and/or characters. This show may be analogous to a book of short stories.

    • Since the original Fargo took place in Brainerd, MN, and this one in Bemidji and Duluth MN, Then maybe the next one will get closer to Grand Forks, ND……It’d be funny that every series they do with the title of Farg….Never really has much to do with Fargo itself as it has up to this point. A whole series named after a town…That they never use….Now that’s kind of funny…