Tuesday’s episode of “Fargo” could’ve been called “Getting Away” – though the escapes don’t always work out as intended.
The police investigations continued, turning up more pieces of the puzzle but no clear answers, and we learned that this 10-episode show does indeed directly connect to a plot point from the Coen brothers’ 1996 black comedy “Fargo.”
The fourth episode starts in 1987 with a car running out of gas somewhere in Minnesota. After this final indignity, a man leaves his wife and young son in the car and goes outside, praying for help.
He notices something red sticking up in the snow, and finds the red ice scraper from the Coen brothers’ movie that marks $1 million hidden in a briefcase.
“God is real,” he says, and the episode cuts to this man nearly 20 years later, “Supermarket King of Minnesota” Stavros Milos (Oliver Platt), consulting a plumber to figure out why his shower turned to blood.
But the plumber is a fake, Don Chumph (Glenn Howerton), who’s an accomplice of Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton). Chumph says there’s nothing wrong, and wonders if it could be related to the biblical plagues.
Duluth Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) responds to a report of a dead dog, foul play suspected, because the animal control guy is suffering from “the cancer.” At the scene, he instead finds Malvo, the man he let get away.
Grimly fumbles his way through it, but he awkwardly manages to handcuff and arrest Malvo. Malvo plays dumb, though he warns Grimly, “You’re making a mistake.”
Grimly calls Bemidji Officer Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) about the arrest, and Police Chief Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) is mad she got the call, especially because she’s off the case. Oswalt decides he’ll go to the suspect interview in Duluth, leaving Solverson back in Bemidji.
Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) unwraps his bandaged hand during a visit to his old house, and that shotgun wound is looking pretty bad. He gets an unexpected call, and the Fargo crime syndicate thug on the phone incorrectly accuses Nygaard of killing businessman Sam Hess because of an affair with his widow.
“Was it worth it?” the caller threatens.
The Fargo crime syndicate guys engage in a heated sign language debate, with Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) suggesting they get rid of Nygaard now. Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) is hesitant, and says he wants to know for sure that Nygaard was the murderer. They agree to nab Nygaard and get him talking.
Locked up in Duluth, Malvo perfects the accent for his new assumed identity, a Baudette, Minn., Lutheran minister. He uses his phone call to talk with Chumph, who’s trying to make a large purchase of crickets in a pet store.
An important conversation takes place at the Duluth police station – in the bathroom, of course – as Grimly’s superior officer and Oswalt question him and realize they only have a grainy surveillance photo to connect Malvo to the crimes.
Malvo’s a practiced liar, and armed with his heavy accent and airtight assumed identity, he soon convinces Oswalt of his innocence.
Solverson’s police work back in Bemidji gets a name for her suspect – Lorne Malvo – and she calls Grimly to let him know the name of the man he arrested.
It’s too late, and Oswalt releases Malvo and apologizes for arresting the wrong man. Grimly tries to convince his superior officers, but Malvo goes free and Grimly is put on desk duty.
Grimly confronts Malvo in the hallway, asking how he’s able to lie, but Malvo just plays his role as innocent minister Frank Peterson – but stops in his tracks when the officer calls him by his real name.
Malvo counters with a riddle, telling him he’ll have the answer to his question when he figures out why the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color.
The Fargo duo grabs Nygaard off the street, stuffing him into a trunk – and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen them nab a target this way.
Nygaard calls his brother for help, but eventually says it was just a prank when he finds a stungun in the trunk and decides to fight his captors.
The car comes to a stop, and the two haul Nygaard out onto a frozen lake, ice auger in hand. As the deaf Mr. Wrench drills a hole, Nygaard takes his chance and stuns Mr. Numbers long enough to run away.
Nygaard finds a police officer down the road, and after he’s refused for a ride back to town, he punches the cop to get arrested – and escape his would-be killers.
Milos looks bad at his grocery store office, a manic, sweaty mess because of all the speed he doesn’t know he’s been taking. He’s startled by yelling and screaming, and finds crickets everywhere in the store, crawling over produce, falling from the ceiling and chasing the customers away.
An unknown caller demands $1 million in unmarked bills. “God is watching,” he threatens.
“God is real,” Milos replies.
Solverson and Grimly catch up about Malvo’s release, both still convinced he’s guilty. Solverson figures out Malvo’s riddle, telling him that humans can see more shades of green because they’re predators that need to distinguish animals from grass and plants.
“So what do we do now?” Grimly asks.
“Lester,” Solverson says, and he’s suspect No. 1 once again.
Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers get arrested for a bar brawl and end up in Nygaard’s cell, the one place he thought he’d be safe, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode to see how their night together will go.