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Fargo “Morton’s Fork” Review (1×10)

18 Jun

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Fargo is essentially a tale of good and evil and what happens when the two clash. It’s a simple story, but it’s an effective one, and Hawley and co. milk everything they can out of it as we close the door on this 10-episode run. It’s a finale not without its bumps, but it’s satisfying thematically and plot-wise, deftly delivering the closing chapter to the crazy ride we’ve been on over the last few months.

Lorne Malvo’s been built up this season as someone who’s curious, someone who does what he does because he wants to see what’ll happen as a result. He’ll cheat and lie and manipulate at a moment’s notice, and if it comes at the expense of human life, then so be it. He’s a truly terrifying presence played so well by Billy Bob Thornton, and in “Morton’s Fork”, we see that presence leave the Earth. It’s fitting that he would essentially be undone by nature–by the wolf leading Gus to his hideout–as the natural balance of nature is undone by someone like him moving in and stirring things up.

It’s also fitting that Gus would be the one to take Malvo down. The way the scene initially plays out is a bit unsatisfying and Gus’s decision seems a bit hypocritical, but after some time, the thematic resonance becomes clear: Gus wilted under pressure back in the first episode due to a fear for his daughter, but here, he’s able to drum up the courage to face Malvo because of a similar fear for his wife. Everything’s coming full circle now, and try as the characters might to let go and avoid coming into contact with each other again, their own personalities simply won’t let them do that.

Molly, for example, is persistent, and there was no doubt in my mind that she would eventually find what she’s been looking for. Bill tells Molly–in heartbreaking fashion, delivered beautifully by Bob Odenkirk–that he can’t handle the inhumanity of the society they live in, and even though he’s been clinging onto the past and trying to believe in humanity’s inherent goodness, he can’t do it any longer. Malvo and Lester have egos, and it was inevitable that they would eventually clash; that elevator scene last week didn’t have to happen, but it certainly did.

And clash these two do. We see the profound impact Malvo’s had on Lester, turning a meek insurance salesman into a crafty killer (even Gus is now a killer). That’s essentially what Malvo’s been looking for all along–some kind of change–and it all ends with him going down due to his own creations. Lester, meanwhile, has been on thin ice this whole season, and it all ends with him going down–literally–under the ice. Both are gone, and both have essentially killed themselves.

What are we left with? Well, it’d be good, and that’s Molly and Gus and Lou and Greta. The finale still emphasizes the difficulties Molly’s had to face even though she’s been right the whole time, but the finale also emphasizes the accomplishments. Her finding the tapes, while not as emotionally resonant for me as it could’ve been, is still a huge moment for her. Her becoming the chief is also huge. Her sitting with Gus and Greta on the couch, watching Deal or No Deal, is the same.

Ultimately, she’s the one who gets the last word, who gets to sum things up with her story about the glove. Molly is the one who drops the second glove in hopes of helping someone else, while Lester is the one who complains and doesn’t even think about what other people might want. Malvo would shit on the glove or something.

That explains why Malvo and Lester are dead, and Molly lives on. Good prevails.

GRADE: B+

SEASON GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Goodbye, Budge and Pepper. You two were very entertaining.

-Nice callback to the bear trap.

-So much of the episode is about choices-forks, if you will–for people like Gus and Lester and Molly.

-Lou and Greta sitting on the porch, watching out for Malvo: very sweet scene.

-One more round of applause to the cast, and especially to Allison Tolman, someone I’d never even heard of, yet someone who came in here and acted the hell out of her character.

-The season was definitely at its peak with the penultimate episode, and I can see an argument for “Buridan’s Ass”, as well.

-Very honest opinion: Fargo is a very well made, well acted miniseries with a satisfying ending both thematically and plot-wise, and the season contains two of the best episodes of the year with “Buridan’s Ass” and “A Fox, a Rabbit, and a Cabbage”. It’s consistently enjoyable and hits some amazing highs…

…and yet, not much of it will stick with me. It’s fun while it lasts, but taken as a whole, it doesn’t have much of an impact on me. That’s fine and all, because I don’t think the show is trying to go for something deeper than what we see; it’s just that my individual, weekly enjoyment doesn’t seem to translate to the series as a whole.

-Should this get a second season, it’ll be entirely different characters and storylines, and I’ll be watching. We’ll see. Thanks for reading!

Photo credit: FX, Fargo

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6 Responses to “Fargo “Morton’s Fork” Review (1×10)”

  1. JustMeMike June 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi PB16 –

    I said in my own review that I was more than satisfied by the series and how it ended. The difference is that you spelled it out in greater detail than I did. But I certainly agree with your close to the review. Especially where you said that the series was fun while it lasted, but it will not have a lasting impact on you.

    I said the same thing in a different way. I said that this would not be a series that I could watch a second or third time/

    jmm

  2. CMrok93 June 18, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    It was a satisfying finale to say the least. Going to miss a whole bunch of these characters though. Especially Lester. Even if he was a dirty, d-bag, he still seemed like he was going to make it out of everything alive. Somehow, someway and for some reason, I was reeling for him. Nice review.

    • polarbears16 June 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      Yeah, I hear you. I was rooting for Lester, Molly, and Malvo all at once, because they were all so compelling and nicely drawn by the writers and the actors.

      Thanks!

  3. davecrewe June 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    I get what you mean about the show not really resonating with you. I’ve enjoyed the show a great deal – it’s blackly comic, beautifully shot and a genuine tribute to the Coens – but I’m not sure it’ll linger with me like truly great television shows do.

  4. sarah9461 November 11, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Polarbear, if you are not watching Season 2 of Fargo, you are missing some of the best television of the year. Kirsten Dunst is amazing. Also, Season 2 of “The Affair” is better than the first season. And this season of “Homeland” is better this year. Of course, we have to watch “The Walking Dead” because of our HS son. We are having to DVR everything on Sunday nights and watch throughout the week.

    • polarbears16 November 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

      I am watching the current seasons of Fargo, The Affair, and Homeland, and I completely agree. However, I haven’t had the time to review them weekly. Lots more been going on recently (I’ve only been able to cover The Leftovers, which has also been fantastic. I might check in on those shows for their finales, though. Thanks for stopping by again!

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