Just finished watching the Season Finale of FARGO, FX’s excellent post-modern take on the Coen Brothers movie, and I’m left scratching my head. Spoiler Alert Don’t read further until you’ve watched it. This post contains details from the show.
For the last 9 episodes, Officer Molly Solverson has been hot on the trail of Lorne Malvo and his (protegé? mark?) Lester Nygaard. Until this episode, when her husband Gus (nicely played by Colin Hanks) pleads with her to stay out of harm’s way. She’s pregnant, ok? And also Gus’s daughter can’t lose another mother so soon after the last one! All that is fine. But then for reasons not fully explained, Gus goes directly to Lorne’s hideout, waits for him to leave then lies in wait for him to return. When Malvo returns and as he sits staring at a wolf after fixing his broken leg, Gus pumps five bullets into him. What kind of ending is this? Gus? The ex-cop who’s now a mailman? I get that series creator Noah Hawley didn’t want to have the same exact ending as the movie, where the pregnant woman cop shoots the criminal, but this feels like a rare misstep. An easy way out. Gus was never a main character, had no reason to know where the cabin was, didnt seem like the type to lie in wait for Malvo, let alone know where it was, or shoot him point-blank five times. What’s worse, he’s just there when Molly does show up, and shows her the incriminating evidence. The show ends with Gus getting a commendation for bravery and Molly becoming the Police Chief. Lester, for reasons not explained, is caught by border patrol attempting to cross into Canada via snowmobile. They give chase until he crashes, then runs into the middle of a frozen lake. The last we see of Lester is his hat bobbing in the middle of an ice hole.
I’ll have to rewatch to see if there’s something i missed (likely!). As it stands right now, this ending feels completely at odds with the character of Molly (played commandingly by Allison Tollman). It feels like a left-field, slap-dash ending formulated by a committee who couldn’t stand to see Molly be the hero they spent 9 episodes creating. A Hail Mary to satisfy some network executive or star demand. Whatever it was, I hope there’s another season of this show. Overall it’s truly well-done, beautifully written and shot. Hopefully they come up with a better ending.