Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fargo Season 1 Episode # 3 "A Muddy Road" - Recap and Review

Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in Fargo Season 1 Episode 3 "A Muddy Road"

As the episode opens, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) abducts one Mr Phil McCormick from his office. Phil's naked dead body is found in the snow the next day.

Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) is working on the case and finally gets a look at Lorne, thanks to the surveillance footage in the building.

Lorne figures out that Stavros Milos (Oliver Platt), his boss is being blackmailed by Don Chumph (Glenn Howerton), the personal trainer of his wife, Helena Milos (Allegra Fulton).

Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), a member of the Duluth Police Department is haunted by the night he stopped Lorne's car due to reckless driving. Lorne's masterful behaviour unnerves Gus, who lets him go with a warning.

Colin Hanks as Gus Grimly in Fargo Season 1 Episode 3 A Muddy Road

Gus runs the number plates and discovers that the car driven by Lorne on that night, belongs to Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman).

Gus realizes that Lorne might be responsible for the triple murders at Bemidji, Minnesota.

Lester is sent by his boss, Bo Munk (Tom Musgrave) to meet Gina Hess (Kate Walsh) about the insurance settlement of her late husband Sam Hess (Kevin O'Grady).

Kate Walsh as Gina Hess seducing Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in Fargo Season 1 Episode 3 A Muddy Road

Gina Hess (Kate Walsh) tries to seduce Lester, before they are interrupted by the Hess boys. Lester is surprised to learn that the Hess house is being watched by Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) and Mr. Wench (Russell Harvard).

Molly is still convinced about Lester's involvement in the crimes. Under the pretext of getting an insurance, she discreetly shows him the surveillance picture of Lorne. Lester gets unnerved and much to her displeasure, her boss Deputy Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) still blindly believes in Lester's innocence.

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Gus heads out to Bemidji with his daughter, Greta (Joey King) and discusses his suspicions about Lester with Molly.

The episode closes as Stavros is bathed in blood while taking shower and a smiling Lorne is seen leaving the house.

Fargo is turning out to be one of the best TV shows I have seen in a long time.

Martin Freeman does a good job with his accent. Readers who enjoy his work as John Watson on Sherlock will undoubtedly appreciate his performance as Lester Nygaard.

Oliver Platt as Stavros Milos in Fargo Season 1 Episode 3 A Muddy Road

Billy Bob Thornton is the standout performer in the show and he is excellent here as well. His deadpan facial expressions and dialogue delivery make Lorne Malvo an unforgettable character. This is my introduction to Billy Bob's acting skills and I will be checking out his other work as well.

Allison Tollman is also impressive as the hapless Molly, who is unable to solve the case and more importantly confirm her suspicions about the shifty Lester. Her passion to solve the case and catch the killer of her mentor and former Chief of Police, Vern Thurman (Shawn Doyle) is palpable.

The show is set 20 years after the incidents in the original movie that took place in 1986. The show has nice references to the original. The characters of Lester Nygaard and Molly Solverson are nods to William H Macy's character Jerry Lundegaard and Frances McDormand's Marge Gunderson respectively. Mo Buck is also a tip of the hat to Steve Buscemi's character Carl Showalter.

The screenplay, the dialogues and the humor in this series bear the signature touches of the Coen Brothers - Brilliant and Dark. Writing, Acting, Directing, Cinematography... The cast and crew deserve applause for their excellent work. 

The Coen Brothers are my favorite movie directors. I am a big fan of their movies: Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, True Grit, Barton Fink and Fargo.
The Coen Brothers, directors of Fargo, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men, True Grit and Barton Fink

These are some of the best works of art I have seen. Their ability to create such engrossing pictures without the need to resort to big budget set pieces or any attempt to tug at heartstrings has to be seen to be believed. Each of the above movies are certifiable masterpieces with relatable/believable human characters, brilliant screenplay, stunning cinematography and most of all, superb direction.

A must watch for fans of the Coen Brothers/Fargo/Thrillers.


Faure's Requiem is heard in the following scenes:
  • Lorne meets Stavros after his pet dog is killed
  • Lester practices shooting with his brother.   

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Image Sources: FX Productions, MGM Television, FX Network

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Fargo - Morton's Fork
Fargo - Eating the Blame


  1. I haven't watch this series yet. I'll put it on my list. Thanks!