TV Review: Fargo – Season 1 Episode 9 “A Fox, A Rabbit and A Cabbage” (USA, 2014)

  • Carina Nilma
  • June 19, 2014
  • Comments Off on TV Review: Fargo – Season 1 Episode 9 “A Fox, A Rabbit and A Cabbage” (USA, 2014)


It’s the penultimate episode of Fargo and there are so many questions remaining unanswered that we could potentially fill up an entire additional season. Yet in Noah Hawley’s script we trust, and somehow he’s going to give us all the answers, if not in this instalment, then at least in the finale.

Once again we’re given a trip down backstory lane, but thankfully it’s only a little brief detour before we’re brought back on track. Lorne Malvo/Frank Peterson now known as Mike has been moonlighting as a dentist in order to get closer to his next assassination target. His chatty peroxide blonde persona even has a trophy soon-to-be wife and a fancy home to complete the package. He ends up with his best dentist buddy Burt, the buddy’s wife Louise and his own fiancée Jemma on a seemingly spontaneous trip to Las Vegas to catch up with Burt’s brother who is in witness protection, which is where we left off last week.

Lester Nygaard decides that he can’t take it and approaches Malvo, demanding to be acknowledged despite Malvo pleading ignorance and then quietly threatening him to just walk away. It all goes pear shaped when in the heat of the moment Malvo ends up killing his Vegas companions, causing Nygaard to panic and flee with his wife Linda back to Bemidji. FBI Agents Pepper and Budge get a tip on the Fargo case and travel to Bemidji to meet Molly Solverson, they commend her on her work on the case, whilst chastising police chief Oswalt for overlooking some glaringly obvious connections. Gus Grimly, whilst on one of his mail runs, sees what he thinks is Malvo returning to Bemidji. In an attempt to track down Nygaard Malvo shows up to Lou’s Diner, and whilst having some pie and coffee attempts to extract a location from Lou, who is too suspicious of the creepy Malvo and reveals nothing. Nygaard, now paranoid that Malvo is after him tries to escape to Acapulco with his wife Linda, suspecting that Malvo might be hiding for him at his insurance shop he sends Linda in to retrieve their passports only for her to be killed by Malvo.

There are some absolute nail-bitingly tense scenes in this episode all of which feature our evil-incarnate Malvo. The first being the stand-off between Nygaard and Malvo in the Las Vegas elevator. Nygaard could have easily walked away and things gone in a drastically different (and less bloody) direction, but instead his ego got the better of him. I’m still not entirely sure what he was trying to get out of the confrontation other than Malvo publicly acknowledging his presence and validating their relationship. It wasn’t like Malvo was alone and Nygaard was attempting to kill him, nor would Malvo ever stoop to publicly admitting any of his crimes. So what was in it for Nygaard, other than having the words come out of Malvo’s mouth? We do get to see a scarily chilling switch get flipped on Malvo, one minute jovial and happy, the next a stone-faced killer. The only other thing we really do get out of it, is a motive for Malvo to now exterminate Nygaard since he then blames him for surrendering his 100K bounty in favour of shooting the companions. In saying that though, we also know Malvo to not be the type to really have clear-cut motives. He seems to just do things for the psychopathic pleasure of it. It’s a strange scene, but the delivery is done with a touch of comedy, particularly when Malvo orders Nygaard to help him dispose of the bodies only to be clocked on the head with the ‘Salesman of the Year’ award as Nygaard makes his escape. But almost in the same breath as we’re given that light comedic touch, we see Malvo silhouetted standing in the elevator doorway with a pair of blood spatter “wings” behind him. That in itself is what we’ve come to expect from Fargo.

The next is the scene between Malvo and Lou Solverson at the diner. Everything we’ve seen thus far tells us that Solverson Senior is a goner, that Malvo will extricate the information he needs, kill Lou and move on to his next target. The picture of Malvo that’s been painted is that he’s ruthless and calculating and nobody will stand in his way as he steamrolls through. As Solverson Senior calmly recalls the story of Sioux Falls though, we’re given a glimpse of the man he was before running the diner. A detective who has the guts, instinct and the attitude to stand down anybody and it’s this character trait that potentially saves his bacon. Malvo possibly senses that Solverson Senior is getting suspicious and is not as stupid as the other townsfolk he’s been able to so easily sway thus far, so instead of killing him, he merely walks away. Another possible theory is that Sioux Falls may have actually been perpetrated by a much younger Malvo, Solverson Senior even says “I’d call it animal, but animals only kill for food” and we all know that Malvo seems to get a deranged enjoyment out of killing people and racking up a body count. To add even more heightened tension to this scene, it’s inter-cut with Molly driving to the diner on her way to meet the FBI agents and her arrival is choreographed perfectly with Malvo’s departure – leaving us all to exasperate frustratingly at our screens. So close, yet still, so far.

The last scene is the closer, with Nygaard, his patsy wife Linda and Malvo. Nygaard, again not as dubious as he was before, suspects that Malvo will be waiting for him at his insurance shop. So instead of going in for the passports himself so that they can jet off to Acapulco he sends poor Linda in his place wearing his trademark orange puffy jacket, resulting in her obvious death. Even though we could’ve guessed this as the outcome from a mile away (particularly when we see him earlier on musing over the same jacket after grabbing his gun), it still makes it no less horrifying and despicable. It’s quite indicative of how far down the dark path Nygaard has gone that he would knowingly and willingly send the woman who only moment earlier admitted she’d had a crush on him for years, to her certain demise. Afterward there’s a momentary pause of Malvo staring into the distance at Nygaard’s parked car that leaves us wondering. Surely Malvo would’ve known that Nygaard wouldn’t go in to the shop alone? Or be that glaringly obvious with wearing the same jacket? Malvo is way too smart for that, so did he kill her anyway out of spite? Or did he do it unaware but still suspect that Nygaard was nearby watching the spectacle unfold? Despite the fact that Nygaard seems to think he’s some big-shot now with a ballsy attitude, it’s clear that Malvo is still the one steering this crazy out of control train-wreck.

Hawley and director Matt Shakman manage to squeeze every last breathable ounce of nail-biting type tension out of this episode. I swear I felt clammy and tense the entire time, as I shook my fists at the screen wishing so hard for Malvo or Nygaard to get their come-uppance or for Molly to finally come face-to-face with Malvo. Obviously the finale is where we get our closure, or at least we can only hope so from these two.


Fargo airs on SBS 1 on Thursday at 9:30pm or On Demand via their website.


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Carina Nilma

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