TV Review: Fargo – Season 1, Episode 5 “The Six Ungraspables” (USA, 2014)

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We’ve officially reached the half-way point of the series and with the plans of most of our characters now in full motion, it’s looking a lot clearer cut. But the clean-up crew of both the hit-men and the police are now hot on the trails and making in-roads to getting things wrapped up, or so we think.

Poor Lester Nygaard can’t cop a break, trapped in a police holding cell with the two hit-men that tried to kill him and his shotgun-pellet wound and its infection now putting him on a septic induced tipping point. Mr Numbers and Mr Wrench finally get what they’re after – Lorne Malvo’s name and that he’s probably still in Duluth – then they are coincidentally promptly released from the cell and Nygaard’s presence. Though he’s not out of the woods yet, Molly Solverson and Chief Oswalt come to question him also but by this stage he’s hallucinating and not making any sense so they send him to hospital. Over in Duluth, Malvo has managed to convince Milos Stavros to pay the million dollar blackmail, and Malvo’s unwitting and ignorant accomplice Donald Chumph plays right into Malvo’s scheme by allowing himself to be locked in his own pantry. Whilst a restless Grimly tries to figure out what Malvo was up to when he initially arrested him, as well as struggling with his own moral conscience.

This episode and next week’s are both directed by Colin Bucksey and immediately there is a different ambience to how it plays out. There is a shift in focus, less on the individual characters and more on how the plan or plans are playing out. The passing of information from one person to the next and how that’s shifting the tide of events is the key theme. Our hitmen Mr Numbers and Mr Wrench use the tried and true method of torture to get what they need out of Nygaard. Solverson on the other hand doggedly keeps annoying Chief Oswalt and offloading all of her findings onto him in one long blurt-out so much so that he’s overwhelmed by all that she’s figured out and caves in under her requests. Her determination to get to the bottom of everything and to crack Nygaard is emblazoned on her face in the closing scene where she checks in on a ‘supposedly asleep’ Nygaard in his hospital bed. Malvo after observing how religiously minded Stavros is, figures that unleashing his own version of the Bible’s plagues upon Stavros will make him crack. Though it’s a particularly small scene where he discusses how Romans were raised by wolves (the story of Romulus and Remus) and how animals don’t care for much other than what’s for breakfast or dinner that seems odd. Malvo out of all our characters seems to be the one on a cause-less rampage. The real reason why he’s blackmailing Stavros remains a mystery to us still and he hardly seems like the type to crave money. So was this little exchange a way of further driving Stavros mad? Or was it merely his way of adding in some colourful conversation seeing as he just so happened to see a documentary about wolves earlier in the evening whilst he was purchasing his police scanner and walkie-talkie from Calamity Joe.

One of the best exchanges we see in tonight’s episode occurs between Gus Grimly and his next-door neighbour. Grimly and his neighbour exchange a late night conversation over glasses of milk that results in the neighbour telling him a parable. The Rich Man Who Gave Everything, basically boils down to the notion that no matter how much you sacrifice it won’t solve the world’s problems. Grimly who clearly isn’t as intuitive as our female lead, struggles with what to make of the story. His heart is in the right place, he knows that Malvo needs to be caught and brought to justice, but his head is telling him he needs to be careful to protect himself and his family. Here we see the key difference between our two “heroes” Gus Grimly and Molly Solverson. Molly is single, with no dependents, a career woman, charged with a purpose of finding her mentor’s killer and fuelled to be the best damn cop in Bemidji. Then there’s Gus, a single dad, taking on the lowly animal control work of the police division, just wanting to keep the wheel turning and making sure his daughter is cared for. Out of the two of them Solverson has everything to gain, and Grimly everything to lose from this case.

The net is beginning to close in and there are only 4 more episodes remaining. Will Malvo get his money and for what purpose? Will Nygaard be able to avoid police interrogation? Will Mr Numbers and Mr Wrench get their man? Will Solverson and Grimly get their man? Who will get Malvo first? Will Malvo be caught at all?


Fargo airs on SBS 1 on Thursday at 9:30pm and is also available On Demand via the SBS website.


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Carina Nilma

Office lackey day-job. Journalist for The AU Review night-job. Emotionally invested fangirl.