Episode #4 of Fargo opens where #3 closed. With god. It’s 20 years earlier and an old car chugging along that signature snowy highway carries a young Stavros Milos and his wife and small kids, on the run and in the red. When the car breaks down, Stavros loses his shit and prays that if god saves him, he will be the lord’s humble servant for the rest of his days. Just then, he spots an orange ice scraper sticking out of the snow that turns out to be a marker for, guess what, a buried leather case full of money. “God is real,” he tells his (future-ex-) wife.
The ominous weather report warns of a blizzard ahead, while Gus responds to a call about a dead dog. Only there’s no dead dog, there’s just Malvo standing in the snow, talking on his phone. Eager to redeem himself, Gus immediately takes Malvo in, but with zero evidence to prove his identity. When being interrogated by the Duluth PD, Malvo stealthily swipes a pair of nerdy glasses off of a desk and transforms himself into a meek dullard of a man, a Lutheran minister named Frank. All Gus can do is look on with gritted teeth, knowing full well that Malvo, though seemingly prophetic and perhaps supernatural, is no man of god.
Last week, the hair-plugged fiend made Stavros’ shower water turn to blood. This week he makes it rain locusts in the aisles of the supermarket king’s Phoenix Farms. Stavros gets a call from a disguised voice that says, “Remember, god is watching.” Still tweaking on the Adderall he’s unwittingly been taking, he believes the case full of money god gave him all those years ago is coming back to haunt him. Payback’s a bitch.
Our sympathetic wife-killer Lester, with his stigmata hand, gets a phone call too. It’s the I-know-what-you-did-last-summer type, the voice clearly belonging to Mr. Numbers. Wrench and Numbers (now oddly sporting an effeminate fur coat) nab Lester and throw him in the trunk of their car. Another man in the back of another trunk; just another day in Fargo. The men mean to bury Lester under the ice just like the poor man they mistakenly took for Hess’s murderer, but Lester escapes thanks to a stun gun and the hearing impaired. He hilariously assaults an officer on the side of the highway in a desperate, improvised plan to get arrested. Foiled, Numbers and Wrench retreat to the diner and yell sign language at each other, then explode into a full-on fist fight. Lester’s sitting safely in a holding cell, but when the men get hauled away for their public brawl, unlucky Lester’s got two new cellmates.
Is there a reason that Numbers’ sign language is fake and Wrench’s isn’t or is it just more Twin Peaks/Coen Brothers fuckery? Who, if anyone, was Malvo talking to when Gus rolled up on him? Is all this devilry and boondoggling the work of Lorne Malvo/Minister Frank or the devil himself? Or are they one in the same? What was Stavros running from, and is the jackpot he found 20 years ago the very briefcase that Steve Buscemi, as wood-chipper-happy Carl Showalter, buried roadside in Fargo the film? If so, that’s going to be a highly satisfying twist.
At the diner, Gus meets Molly who is plain-clothed with her hair down. We know awkward romance is on the horizon. We also know the answer to the riddle Malvo gave Gus when he walked out of the station a free minister. Gus relays it to Molly verbatim: “Why can the human eye see more shades of green than any other color?” Molly shrugs as if to say, duh, we learned about that in fifth grade, but she knows it’s a warning. When Gus asks Molly “what now?”, the increasingly confident Deputy Solverson simply says, “Lester.”
Look out, buddy. There’s a storm coming.