We begin in the past, when Lester went shopping for irregular socks and was offered a deal: If he paid $55 for the socks, said the store proprietor, he'd get a 12-gauge shotgun for free. Am I wrong to think that this is the kind of thing that happens all the time in Minnesota? And that, given the unmarked packages, Lester had a strong likelihood of ending up with ladies' socks?
When Pearl saw Lester at home with the gun, she told him to be careful not to blow his own face off, since if anyone was going to shoot himself in the face with an unloaded firearm, it would be Lester. And then he dropped the gun on the floor with a loud clatter. Pearl may have been kind of a nag, but she was right about many things. Lester put the gun on top of a bookcase, with bullets nearby.
And then we're in the more recent past, where Lester removes the gun from the bookcase and hears his desperate, post-Pearl-murder call to Lorne play in his head. He leaves the gun in the bathroom when police chief Vern Thurman comes over, and as they talk Lorne calmly takes the gun from the bathroom, walks downstairs, and shoots Vern. Little pellet shards fly through the air, and we see one land in Lester's hand…which is now, in the current day, completely disgusting and infected. Apply Neosporin early and often, folks!
So now Lester and his crunk hand are sweating in jail, right between Adam Goldberg and the Deaf Guy. Lester tries to say that this has all been a misunderstanding and that he's just an insurance salesman, while the Deaf Guy ominously takes off his shoe and sock. Adam Goldberg notes that, on the ice, Lester referred to "him" as the murderer of Sam Hess. They want to know who "him" is. And so they stuff the sock in Lester's mouth and press hard on his hand. It doesn't take long before Lester identifies "him" as Lorne ("like the fella from Bonanza") Malvo. This has all been so much fun that Adam Goldberg and the Deaf Guy want to stay in jail even after their bail has been paid! On their way out, they tell Lester that he might want to have a doctor look at his hand. When even the hitmen who are trying to off you are concerned about your crunk hand, you lead a very complicated life.
Molly, meanwhile, can't concentrate on folding her laundry. She heads to the station to tell Chief Oswalt about the developments in the case. He tears himself away from the weather report to hear that a) Lester had an outgoing call to the Motor Inn; b) Lorraine, the manager of the Motor Inn, identified the man in the photo related to the "naked fella kidnapping" as Lorne Malvo, who was staying at the motel on the night that Lester called; c) Lorne Malvo left behind tokens from the Lucky Penny, where Sam Hess was murdered; d) the dancer who was with Hess said that just before he died he was laughing about a fella whom he bullied, who ended up with a broken nose; e) Lester had a broken nose the day that Hess died. Basically, Molly has figured this whole thing out. She thinks it might be a murder for hire gone sour, which is a bit off, but Chief Oswalt finally agrees that they should talk to Lester about it.
Meanwhile, Gus Grimly has his daughter, Greta Grimly, help him to use the Internets. Upon his request, he searches for photos of Pastor Frank Peterson. There's one article with a photo, and it's Billy Bob in full, cardigan-clad glory. SWOON. Then she searches for Lorne Malvo. There's nothing, and in his head Gus replays his history with Lorne, with no light bulbs going off. He's really trying hard to figure out why he found Lorne on the street, on foot.
Happily, Lorne is paying another visit to his Adderall dealer, who also apparently peddles electronics from his big, giant van. Lorne wants a police scanner, and remains uninterested in the dealer's remote control helicopters, even though they're on special. He also very much does not want a pink police scanner. He is, however, interested in a walkie-talkie. When the dealer tries to insist that he buy a pair of them and suggests that he give one to a friend, Lorne asks if the dealer would like to have it himself, so he can listen to Lorne shit on people late at night. And, as improbably hot as I find Billy Bob Thornton in this role, I am fairly certain at this point in the season that I would not very much like to meet this guy in person.
Lorne then pays bronzer trainer Chumpf a visit, to use his phone to call Stavros. (It should be noted that Lorne is recording all of his calls, likely because he is a criminal mastermind but also because he's a creeper.) Starvos is freaking out about the ten plagues that are coming his way, and notes that the last plague is the death of the first-born son. He's planning to pay off his blackmailer, and take Dmitri somewhere safe. Chumpf is stoked that they're going to get a million dollars, until Lorne locks him in a closet with no specific instructions on where and how he is to go to the bathroom.
Meanwhile, Molly and Chief Oswalt find Lester in terrible shape, and shuttle him into an ambulance. When Molly asks what happened to his hand, he deliriously mumbles about socks and shotguns. She also asks if he paid Lorne Malvo to kill Sam Hess, and Lester says he never paid. The EMTs take him out before she can probe further. Meanwhile, Adam Goldberg and the Deaf Guy get the surveillance picture of Lorne (from the naked fella incident) from a cop.
Unable to sleep, Gus Grimly drinks milk. He sees a guy in the window across from his, also drinking milk. This isn't quite as exciting as Gus's last window encounter (presumably with this guy's wife), but the neighbor comes to pay a visit. Gus shares the very basic parameters of his current Lorne dilemma, asking if he should put himself (and Greta) in danger by trying to find proof to nail Lorne, or just let it go.
The neighbor shares a parable about a rich guy named Jeffrey Hoffstead who, wanting to alleviate the suffering in the world, first gave away all of his money, and then a kidney, and then killed himself so he could donate all his organs. Gus asks if it stopped the suffering, and the neighbor reveals the lesson: "Only a fool thinks he can solve the world's problems." Gus is very Gus-like as he responds, "Yeah, but you gotta try, don't you?" Later, he lies awake in bed for a while but, unable to sleep, eventually gets into his car and drives.
Gus passes a car on the dark road, and it happens to be Lorne, who is driving Stavros to Phoenix Farms. While Lorne stays in the car, Stavros goes inside to get money from the safe. Dmitri pops in with some legit knowledge — he says that the crickets that infested Phoenix Farms aren't local — they're the kind you get in a pet store. Stavros cuts him off to say that God sent them. But Dmitri is wise, and called around to pet stores, and wouldn't you know…well, we know what he's about to say. But Stavros cuts him off, saying that he doesn't have time for this and also Dmitri should pack up his shit since he's going to the cabin. Poor Dmitri, ever so parable-worthy himself, looks absolutely dejected. He should have kept one of those crickets for a pet, at least!
Molly talks to the ER doctor, who says that this is Lester's third time in the hospital, and that he's having a bad week. I'll say! Though Lester came close to losing his hand, the doctor was able to remove the foreign object…which is a shotgun pellet with fabric attached to it. It passed through something (or someone) before it got to Lester's hand. Molly wants to talk to Lester, but he's sedated. She then looks even more troubled when she learns that Vern's widow, Ida, has just given birth to a baby named Bernadette. And, I mean, Bernadette isn't that bad of a name.
Molly then goes to Lester's house, and technically I think is breaking and entering when she finds a key under the mat and lets herself in. Using her seriously killer cop instincts, she heads down to the basement and looks right at the washer. She pulls it away from the wall, takes off the back, and digs her hand around in there. I can't quite figure out if she does or doesn't find the murder weapon, though.
Meanwhile, Lorne is driving Stavros and giving him a history lesson about the Romans — the greatest empire in human history, which was founded by wolves. He talks a LOT about wolves — how they hunt, and kill, and make The Jungle Book a very improbable tale. Because Stavros isn't sweating enough, Lorne then launches into a lovely tale of a 110-pound Rottweiler who basically almost raped a lady. In fairness, it was kind of her fault since she thought it would be cute to let the dog hump her a little. But really…what does this guy talk about during a nice dinner at Chili's? Can someone make a reality show that's all about his eHarmony first dates? Also, the dog was killed at the end of the story, which I guess is good for the lady but WHY does Lorne need to go around everywhere being a canine killer?
Anyway, Lorne continues that the Romans, since they were raised by wolves, will see a guy turning water into wine and eat him. There are no saints in the animal kingdom — only breakfast and dinner. And if I were Stavros, I would be really fucking nervous right now. They pass Gus on the side of the road near Stavros's house, and when they arrive Stavros gives Lorne the money he owes him and says they're done — Lorne can stay the night, but has to leave come dawn. And, like, try to have ONE instinct and not let that man sleep in your house.
Molly, still in Lester's basement, calls Gus, who is still trying to figure out why Lorne was standing on the roadside. He might do better to notice that Lorne is staking out his home at this very moment! Molly is going to check out Lester's car on the following day, and wonders if Gus would like to get together after and compare notes. And is "compare notes" the new "come to my room and listen to records"?
While Lorne watches Gus enter his apartment, and is able to somehow creepily listen to Greta on the walkie-talkie, the neighbor from earlier—who has the grave misfortune of being on Neighborhood Watch—raps on his car window. He says that Lorne is not supposed to be there. But Lorne thinks he's right where he's supposed to be. The guy threatens to call the cops, noting that Lorne has black eyes, and is trouble. And THEN Lorne asks if the guy's building is the one with the "Jew Bus" outside. He is referring to the "Mitzvah Tank" that we also saw earlier in the episode. Does this somehow relate to wolves and Romans?
Lorne, intent on being the creepiest creepster that ever creeped, adds that some people don't think you need alarms on second story windows. Or they don't hook up the alarm to the phone line, so the bell rings but the cops don't come. In a tight community such as this one, he says, the calls of neighbors might just be quick enough to save his life, or his children's lives. The neighbor says something in Hebrew, and Lorne wishes him a nice night and drives off. So that…was interesting. I have to say, I enjoy Lorne way more when he's occasionally droll.
Finally, Molly goes to see Ida in the hospital, taking a whiff of baby Bernadette and saying, "That's what a new one smells like." Molly tells Ida that she's trying to take care of it. Presumably, this means bringing Vern's killer to justice. She looks uncomfortable, and eventually goes into Lester's room. His eyes are open when she enters, but he shuts them and she leaves. They then open again, and we're out.
Still to come: Water aerobics, madness.
[Image via FX]