Okay, so if you haven't been watching Fargo so far, here's what you need to know. It stars Billy Bob Thornton as a complete degenerate hit man who is ALSO puzzlingly sexy, despite a very, very questionable haircut. It makes me feel really weird inside, if I'm being honest. But I ask you: what is hotter than a guy who drags a full-sized human being through an office by his tie? During business hours! My attraction to him did wane quite a bit when he killed a dog. I was cool with the humans, and even the blood shower for Stavros Milos the supermarket king, but killing a dog? That's just not right. In other news, Lester Nygaard is the bumblingest spouse-murderer ever; Deputy Molly Solverson is the smartest person in all of Bemidji, Minnesota; and Colin Hanks is Hanksian (and also an adorable single dad!).
We begin in the past. Picture it: a snowy Minnesota highway, 1987. A young family drives in a station wagon, hauling their meager belongings in a trailer. It is soon revealed that the dude here is none other than young Stavros Milos, future supermarket king. He and his wife argue, and we learn that they have a lot of debts, no cash, and have just run out of gas. She thinks that moving to Minnesota was a terrible idea, and also is convinced that their baby son (Dimitri!) will freeze to death. Stavros tries to flag down a truck, which just blows past him. He falls to the ground and, face down in the snow, says an abundance prayer and promises that he'll be the Lord's humble servant for the rest of his days. And then he spots a flash of orange by a fence in the snow. He walks toward it and sees that it's a windshield scraper. And, yes! Stavros has just found Steve Buscemi's suitcase of ransom money! Thanks for that, show. Stavros gets back to the car and, with his wife still complaining, says with great wonder that God is real.
Cut to the current day, where Stavros is getting his pipes checked. That's not a euphemism! The plumber can't find anything that would account for blood coming out of his shower head, and wonders if it was rust. IT WAS NOT RUST, TRUST. On his way out, the plumber casually mentions that it could be a biblical reference to God sending a plague of blood upon the land. You know, like, Moses and stuff. (In my life I have studied the Book of Housewives a-plenty, but I am a clueless heathen when it comes to the Bible so please forgive me for going light on details.) The plumber tells Stavros to get right with the Lord, and Stavros almost chokes him. Good discussion, there.
Meanwhile, Grimly gets a call about Stavros's murdered canine (RIP) and goes to the house to find Billy Bob (whose actual character name is Lorne Malvo) lurking. The Minnesota tourism board is going to have to do some work to reverse the impression that, in their fine state, somebody is always lurking at the edge of the woods and staring at you. Grimly recognizes Lorne (whose current ID says he's "Frank Peterson") as Molly's triple homicide suspect (whom he also let go for speeding in Lester's car) and pulls a gun. Lorne makes a quick call, saying, "This is Duluth. Package requested, Frank Peterson." Make no mistake that this is some sort of criminal mastermind telecommunication. Grimly cuffs him (nervously mouth breathing the whole time!) and arrests him for yet-to-be determined charges. Lorne repeatedly says, "you're making a mistake," then clarifies that this is what Grimly's going to be saying in mere hours. At the Duluth police station, Lorne wears a sweater and a Minnesota accent, and swipes a pair of glasses from another officer. Make no mistake that this is some sort of criminal mastermind costuming. Grimly calls Molly to let her know that he's got her suspect in custody, but Bemidji's Chief Oswalt winds up going to Duluth in her stead, which is sure to ruin everything.
Elsewhere, Lester STILL hasn't cleaned up the blood from his living room floor, and now his hand is all disgusting and puffy from being murder-bullet-infected. Before he can grossly squeeze his open wound, his phone rings. A voice refers to the Widow Hess and asks, "Was it worth it?" Worth what, you may ask? "Your life." Cut to Lou's diner, where Adam Goldberg and the Deaf Guy are having breakfast. They are of course behind the phone call. They quibble about whether they can just "do this and go home" (which is Adam Goldberg's vote, but the Deaf Guy says they've gotta be sure and need a confession. The Deaf Guy also says that Mormons like to be watched while they eat, because we are just now beginning to explore his vast knowledge base.
Meanwhile, Lorne gets his one prison phone call and rings up bronzer trainer and blackmail intern Don Chumph at the pet store. He knew Don was at the pet store because he sent him there, gives further instruction to case all the pet stores in the city for a particular critter of interest, and tells Don to pick him up at the jail in two hours. Make no mistake that this is some sort of criminal mastermind preparation for a plague of biblical proportions. Chief Oswalt makes it to Duluth, and he and Duluth's Officer Schmidt question "Frank Peterson," aka Lorne Malvo, aka Billy Bob Thornton rocking a cardigan in the way that only he can while impersonating a Lutheran minister from Baudette, Minnesota. Frank/Lorne/Billy Bob wins every Emmy given by my heart for uttering in perfect accent the words, "I'm not used ta having a firearm stuck in my face. I know the Lord tests you in all kinda ways but oh, partner, that's a heart stopper!" Grimly watches from behind a two-way mirror, and after Schmidt and Oswalt leave to check Frank/Lorne's alibi, he throws a smile in the mirror's direction.
Molly keeps busy by interviewing the lady from the motel and her son, learning that Billy Bob — a shady character with head injuries, just like Molly inquired about! — checked into the motel around the time of Hess's murder. The son recognizes him from Molly's surveillance camera shot, and his mom shows the name listed on the ledger — Lorne Malvo. And what's more, the son found tokens from The Lucky Penny (the strip club where Sam Hess was killed!) in Lorne's room. Lorne is SO competent at his job that I can't imagine he's accidentally leaving this trail of clues. Alternately, he REALLY does not seem to give a shit if anyone catches him or not. And no wonder, since his alibi has checked out and he's released from the Duluth jail well within his predicted two hour window. Grimly cries out that they're making a mistake, just like Lorne said he would, and Lorne smiles at him.
As Lorne's on his way out, Grimy reveals that he knows Loren's name, and also wonders how he can lie so effectively. Lorne responds by saying that the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color, and that when he figures out why, he'll have the answer to his question. Make no mistake that this is some sort of criminal mastermind zen koan. Chumph is waiting outside for a timely jailhouse pickup, with his pet store loot in the back of the car. And when Grimly meets up with Molly later, he learns the answer to the riddle — in her words, "Used to be we were monkeys, right," and since everything in the jungle is green, we had to be able to see predators in the grass and trees. This show has really taught us things about Mormons and evolution tonight! Grimly wonders what they should do now, and Molly simply says, "Lester."
Speaking of Lester, he barely has time to panic about the fact that his car is being inspected by forensics since he's ambushed and stuffed in a car trunk by Adam Goldberg and the Deaf Guy. Lester tries calling porn-watching (amidst his gun collection) brother Chaz for help, but cuts their talk short when he realizes he's got Chaz's stun gun in his pocket. This saves him from being dropped down a hole in the frozen lake — he stuns Adam Goldberg while Deaf Guy has his back turned and is drilling, then takes off through the woods. Eventually Lester runs into a police officer, whom he punches in the nose to get a ride back to town (this also entails being arrested). Adam Goldberg and the Deaf Guy peer at him from the edge of the woods (get to work on that tourism campaign, Minnesota!), and eventually stage (or maybe half-stage since they do seem to want to beat the shit out of each other) a bar fight to wind up in a jail cell with Lester.
Meanwhile, Stavros has been popping Adderall like Tic Tacs (thanks to Lorne stealthily swapping out the contents of his acetaminophen bottle) and maniacally conducts routine office chores until Dimitri comes in, wanting to talk about his mom. He doesn't think that Stavros is being very nice. Stavros tells him the true fact that you can't go to the car dealership or titty bar and expect to get anything with "nice" — it's kill or be killed — and Dimitri starts to cry. His pain is intensified when Stavros kills a bug on his desk. But then we realize that there's not just one bug — it is a Biblical-sized herd of locusts (or probably grasshoppers…I mean, can you actually BUY LOCUSTS in the pet store? That seems rife for ill-conceived office pranks and should be illegal.) in Stavros's office and the entire Phoenix Farms supermarket. Fresh produce is compromised! Old ladies fall down in front of their carts! The whole scene is madness. Stavros gets a call asking for a million dollars in unmarked bills and reminding him that, "God is watching." We go outside and see the exterior of Phoenix Farms, with Lorne standing on the roof against a blue sky. It is a pose of triumph from a guy who, criminal mastermind activities aside, really just enjoys fucking with you.
Next week: Molly and Grimly get together to "compare notes," and Lorne does NOT want to buy a pink police scanner from his Adderall dealer.
[Image via FX]
Morning After is a new home for television discussion online, brought to you by Gawker.