There’s no snow in the opening flashback to Episode 5 of Fargo, just a wheat field. Nobody’s dead yet, as far as we know. Lester passively haggles with a shop owner over a 3-pack of socks, but somehow walks out with a 12-gauge shotgun (plus the socks). In another flashback we’re led up to, in a grisly Coen-esque slow-motion crescendo, exactly what happened to Lester’s hand. If you’ve been following me, you know I’ve been obsessed with that fucking hand. The hand is a physical manifestation of the guilt eating away at Lester from the inside. The hand is murder.
We get to see these characters discover what we already know in this episode, but not without a couple of twists. Present day, Lester’s pinned between Wrench and Numbers in the holding cell he sought as a refuge. He’s overcome by a relentless sweat-downpour, unparalleled fear and desperation, and a festering wound that won’t heal. Numbers demands to know the name of Hess’s killer, stuffs Lester’s mouth with a worn sock (socks!) and mercilessly clamps down on that stigmata hand. When the sock is removed, Lester gives up Malvo. Looking blood-faced, like a man being choked to death, Lester summarizes the chain of events we’ve seen in the last four episodes. The duo make bail. Lester pukes, goes septic, and ends up in the hospital.
As the excited and oblivious Don sing-songs about that thing people do in movies where they roll around in piles of money, Malvo drills a closet door shut with Don inside of it. I don’t get this storyline, though every scene with the two of them is laugh-out-loud funny. Stavros, upended, tells Malvo he wants to pay up. Dead dog, blood shower, raining locusts; he doesn’t want to know what comes next. (This is the second time we briefly see his son Dimitri, who seems to be… on a spectrum.)
Gus meets the (creepy?) husband of the naked Jewish woman in the window from episode 2. Without revealing too many details, Gus asks his neighbor for advice about the case, in light of his daughter’s safety. The neighbor offers a parable about a man so plagued by world suffering that he gives away all his money. When that doesn’t assuage his feelings, he gives up his kidney, Finally, the distraught man asks his doctor to remove the rest of his organs, and his eyes, everything in his body, for anyone who suffers. When the doctor refuses, the man slits his wrists in the tub and writes on the wall in his own blood, ORGAN DONOR. Did he kill himself for nothing? Gus says, “You gotta at least try to solve the world’s problems, doncha?”
Gus and Greta Google-search “Pastor Frank Peterson” and find a photo of Malvo in a church, with nerdy glasses and a touched-by-an-angel smile, but searching “Lorne Malvo” yields nothing. Down below, in an inspired and eerie scene, Malvo is stalking the Grimlys in a white van with a police scanner and walkie-talkie, when he is approached by the Jewish husband who asks him to leave. “You’re trouble,” the husband says to the stranger. “You’ve got black eyes.” We’re about to see how dark Malvo really is —whoever he is. All of this is tip of the iceberg. Remember, that storm hasn’t hit yet.
At the hospital, the doc says Lester will keep the hand. (Thank you; I needed a prognosis.) Does he keep the guilt too? Molly visits the slain Deputy’s widow who has just had his baby. In the stark hospital room, she appears so alone it’s unsettling. “Tell me you’re taking care of it,” she says. “I’m trying,” Molly replies, echoing Gus. Molly goes to Lester’s room. She’s pissed. She lingers in the doorway, seeing Lester asleep with his back turned. Only he’s not sleeping. He knows she’s there. He stays perfectly still and shuts his eyes tight to make her disappear.