FARGO Episode 10 “Morton’s Fork” Recap
The first thing that we see when the show starts up is a set of snowmobile tracks. The camera follows them briefly before we come across a snowmobile that’s flipped over onto its side. All the while, we’re hearing heavy breathing but no person is being shown. The camera shifts to a view of a frozen lake and zooms in on one particular spot where the ice has cracked and there’s a hole where someone has seemingly fallen through. The camera keeps going down into the water and fades to black and just like that, we’re back exactly where we left off in the last episode.
Lester is in his car having just witnessed the murder of his second wife, Linda. Lester is still watching Malvo as he walks away. After he’s sure that Malvo is gone, Lester takes the keys from his car and heads towards the office to grab his passport with the intention of running away from his problem aka Malvo… and also Deputy Solverson. He cracks open the safe to retrieve what he needs and he flashes to Malvo in the Vegas elevator asking “Is this what you want?”
Lester, with a look of determination, puts his passport back in the safe, closes it and puts his car keys in Linda’s hand and walks away. Lester heads to Lou’s Diner and upon arriving, chooses a seat by the window. He’s playing things out like he’s just parted with Linda with the intention of meeting her at the diner for a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches. Lester orders for the both of them, making sure that Lou knows that he’s waiting for his wife who should be there any minute. He excuses himself to use the washroom and sneaks out the sidedoor to run around to the front of the diner to use a payphone. He makes an anonymous call to the Bemidji Police Department to report gunshots being fired, hangs up the phone and sneaks back into the diner and to his seat. Lou comes over and tells Lester about the man that visited the diner looking for him earlier in the day.
(I feel out of breath just from writing this all out… so much happens!)
Lester flashes back to the Acapulco tickets and remembers that he printed them and put them in the pocket of his jacket. The jacket he had Linda wear into the office and the jacket that her dead body is currently in. And now that Lester has called in the gunshot tip, the police are on their way to the office to investigate what has happened.
Molly, Gus and Great are around the TV when the phone rings. Molly gets it and hears about what has happened. They’ve found Linda’s body. She grabs her coat and heads to the crime scene.
Bill is waiting for her when she arrives and they get right to trying to piece the puzzle together. Lester comes into the shop and the officers sit him down and ask if this might have anything to do with the Vegas murders. Lester avoids the question, gets in a tizzy and changes the subject. Molly and Bill tell him that it’s time to go to the station where he can wait for his answers there. Lester agrees but asks if he can “say his goodbyes” before he goes. Molly attempts to say no but Bill interrupts and allows him to head over to Linda’s body. Lester’s endgame is to get the Acapulco tickets out of the jacket pocket and just when you think he’s about to succeed in retrieving them, Molly stops him by stating it’s an active crime scene and he can’t be allowed to touch the body.
In a cabin in the woods, a police scanner is on. Malvo is listening to find out what the police know and what their next move will be. Malvo overhears Molly mention the FBI agents that are in town and he stops what he’s doing to pick up a weapon and leave the cabin.
At the Bemidji Police Station, the FBI agents are sitting in the waiting area. Molly comes out to talk to them and tells them that Lester in one of the interview rooms waiting to be questioned. She also tells them about the discovery of the plane tickets in Linda’s coat pocket. Bill chimes in to mention that the coroner has stated she was shot execution style in the back of the head and has goose feathers embedded in her head from the hood of the coat. Lou comes in from the diner and talks to Molly. She asks him to confirm the time that Lester arrived at the diner and from there, Lou tells her about the strange fella that came in looking for Lester earlier. Lou still doesn’t actually know who Malvo is though and can’t confirm if it’s him from the photo Molly shows him. Lou gives a description of the man and tells her what car he’s driving: a red BMW. Everyone files into the interview room and Molly says her goodbyes to Lou who, as he leaves, informs her that he’s going home to get his gun to keep watch over Gus and Greta. Molly shouts after him “You’re a good man!” with a smile on her face.
As Lou drives away in his truck outside and while the other officers are distracted, Malvo walks over to the car belonging to the FBI agents in the parking lot. He breaks into it and takes something from the glove box and then walks away.
In the interview room, Lester right away tells them “I toldja I didn’t see nothing. All I did was get on an elevator.” They place photos of Malvo in front of Lester and he almost immediately requests a lawyer. Lester has an outburst and demands to be locked up or let go to which prompts Molly to state to him that Malvo will never just let it go and tries to really drive it home that Lester’s life is in real danger.
The scene changes to morning and Lou sitting on Gus’ front porch with his shotgun. Gus asks what’s happening and leaves to check on Molly at the station, asking Lou to watch Greta while he’s gone.
In the staff room, Molly is briefing the other police officers on the situation and what they’re going to be doing to apprehend Malvo, who is armed and dangerous. A call from Gus comes through and Gus pleads with Molly to stay out of it. Molly is a little put off by the request but the more Gus talks, the more she understands his reasoning and reluctantly, she agrees. He hangs up the phone and slams on the brakes as a wolf walks into the road in front of him. As it walks away, the camera follows the wolf and then we follow what Gus notices next: a cabin in the woods with a red BMW parked out front. He picks up his cell phone to call the station but puts it away, pulls his car around the corner and gets out.
Every fiber of my being is shouting “NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!” at this point since it’s so obviously the thing that you just do NOT do in a movie where no character is “safe”.
Gus walks through the trees to the side of the cabin and observes. He watches as Malvo comes out of the cabin and gets into the car, on his way into town. Instead of Gus walking away or calling for help, he walks up to the cabin and goes inside. Because this is clearly a great idea.
Back at the station, Molly updates Bill on what’s going on. Molly asks him if he’s ok and Bill tells her that he’s quitting after they get done with this case. “I don’t got the stomach for it,” he says. Him and Molly talk for a while longer and he let’s her know that once the baby is born and she returns from her leave, he’s recommending her as the new chief. The talk carries on for a little while longer and ends with Molly saying to him “Chin up, Chief.”
Back in the police station parking lot, Malvo is there making a call. He connects with the front desk of the station and asks for the FBI agents, posing as their superior. She asks whether he’s looking for Pepper or Budge but he declines to have her interrupt what they’re doing since he called solely for the purpose of getting their names. He hangs up and calls FBI and connects with the agents’ superior officer and cancels the backup that they requested.
From there, Malvo drives to a used car dealership. He gets out and has the salesman bring him the keys to a car that he likes because it looks like an “undercover vehicle”. Malvo asks the dealer to come with him to take it for a test drive.
Lester is in the interview room still when Molly comes in to let him know that he’s free to go. She lets him know that he FBI agents will be taking him home and it’s not optional. Lester tries to convince Molly that he’s not a monster. She tells him a story that confuses him and he finds himself torn between wanting to understand her meaning and wanting to leave. Molly dismisses him, making the choice for Lester. He leaves with the agents and they drive back to Lester’s house.
Malvo picks up their tail and since the agents are expecting backup, they don’t think anything of the car behind them. Lester then tries to convince the agents that he’s innocent and mentions how Molly has it out for him. The one agent doesn’t really acknowledge Lester and instead asks him the riddle of the fox, the cabbage and the rabbit, which he solves as they drive on.
They get back to Lester’s house and get out of the car. “Your life may be in danger. Like a LOT of danger, so we’re gonna sit right here for a bit and keep an eye on things…”
Lester goes into the house and heads into the basement for Chaz’s hunting gear.
Back on Gus’ porch, Greta comes out with a warm drink for Lou. Lou tells Greta about being a cop and tells her about another stakeout that he was on when Molly was just a little girl. When he’s finished, Greta heads inside only to return a moment later with a BB gun in hand. Lou asks, “What are you planning to do with that?” and she replies, “I’ll put his eye out. You can finish him off,” and Lou can only smile the words “That’s my girl.”
Back at the station, Molly acts as the command center for the officers out looking for Malvo. She checks regularly for updates and provides tips and advice, clearly going crazy being stuck at the office and not being a part of what’s going on. She decides to go out to check on Lester.
The FBI agents are waiting in front of Lester’s when a car pulls into the driveway. They’re unsure of whether it’s their requested backup or Malvo. They approach the vehicle with guns drawn, having to get close to identify the driver due to tinted windows. The car creeps closer and we see the car salesman duct taped to the steering wheel. The agents are so preoccupied that they don’t see Malvo creeping up behind them until it’s too late. He shoots one of them in the head and the other in the neck while the salesman begs for mercy.
The fate of the salesman remains unknown.
The scene shifts back to Molly en route to Lester’s and then shifts back to Lester himself as he notices the empty FBI car and a trail of blood. Lester runs upstairs as Malvo breaks into the house through the backdoor. Lester draws Malvo away with the sound of him on the phone, pleading for someone to come help him. Sure that he’s undetected, Malvo keeps his eye on the prize and doesn’t notice the trap that Lester has laid out for him. He steps on a bear trap that has been covered with clothes and Lester emerges from the bathroom, taking a shot at Malvo. Only managing to injure him and not kill him, Malvo reacts by picking up the Insurance Salesman of the Year Award and throwing it, hitting Lester in the nose. Lester retreats back into the bathroom after his gun fails to fire as Malvo fires three shots of his own after him.
After a few minutes of no further violence, Lester emerges from the bathroom to an empty bedroom: Malvo has escaped the trap. Lester follows a trail of blood and we’re not sure if this is an unintentional trail or Malvo luring Lester where he wants, like he did with the Fargo Associates. However, the cars are gone from outside and Lester feels a sense of accomplishment at having fended off the madman.
Malvo drives away, injured and gushing blood. He gets back to his cabin and hobbles into to patch himself up. Malvo’s leg is badly hurt with the bone protruding out. He gets a bag and pulls out a needle to give himself something to numb the pain in his leg so that he can set the bone back into place. Malvo sees the same wolf from before outside and stares at it for a while as Gus makes his way across the cabin with a gun drawn. He simply tells Malvo that he’s figured out his riddle. Malvo doesn’t look amused and prompts Gus with an “And?” and Gus responds by putting five bullets in Malvo, ending his life.
Officers arrive on scene to Malvo’s cabin, including Molly (much to my relief). She hugs Gus and they walk inside to view the body. Gus instructs Molly to open a case on the desk that contains a tape recorder and a bunch of tapes. She picks up the one labeled LESTER NYGAARD and listens. It’s a recorded conversation of Lester calling Malvo at the hotel after murdering Pearl. Molly shows visible relief at finally having the proof she needs to put Lester away.
Things jump ahead to two weeks at Glacier National Park. Lester is on a snowmobile, trying to escape authorities through the park. He flips the snowmobile and slowly the beginning of the episode comes together with the end of the episode and the season. Lester runs away from the vehicle and away from the authorities, who are no longer pursuing him due to a sign that reads DANGER – THIN ICE. The officers are yelling after him “Stop! It’s not sage!” but Lester continues running. As the ice continues to crack around him, Lester slows down and he looks down at his feet. Just then, the ice gives way and he falls through into the water below.
The final scene in this season is back the Grimly household. The phone rings and Molly answers it, receiving an update on the situation with Lester. She goes into the living room to watch TV with Gus and Greta, curling up with them on the couch. Gus tells her that he’s going to get an award for bravery and Greta jokingly says “You’re afraid of spiders!” to which Gus calmly states “Buzz Aldrin was afraid of spiders and he went into space.”
Gus tells Molly that it should be her getting the award and without any bitterness or resentment, she smiles at him, tells him that he truly is the one that deserves the honour and ends the show with “Besides, I get to be chief.”
A full review of the season will follow.