TV Show Review

TV Review: FARGO: Season 1, Episode 4: Eating the Blame [FX]

Billy Bob Thornton Fargo Eating the Blame

FX’s Fargo Eating the Blame TV Show ReviewFargo: Season 1, Episode 4: Eating the Blame answers one of the most important and burning questions presented in last week’s episode: why on Earth does Stavros Milos have a framed painting of a red ice scraper mounted on his wall? 

Perhaps those that have recently watched the original film will recognize the scraper, but for those that haven’t seen it in a while, the surprise will be even greater. Fargo the series has done an excellent job separating itself from Fargo the movie, but the cross-over present in Eating the Blame is brilliant.

While Lester Nygaard is pursued by the threatening duo of Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers, Lorne Malvo (whose name is finally spoken) is captured by Officer Gus Grimly of Duluth. However, the scheming Lorne is far from surrendering, using his uncanny wit to outsmart Gus’ superior officers. All the while he’s locked up, Lorne has the newly recruited Don Chumph running errands so that his torment of Stavros can continue.

Despite being a cold-blooded murderer (of both people and dogs – the latter of which makes you infinitely more dislikable in fiction), Lorne Malvo is one of the most captivating and fun to watch characters on television. This is largely thanks to Billy Bob Thornton, who up until now really only needed to project stoicism with underlying glee for chaos. In Eating the Blame, we get to see Thornton stretch his legs a little, as Lorne finds himself in a sticky situation and must embrace his priestly alter ego to get himself out. His transition from dour killer to dweebish minister is remarkable, and you can easily see how he could fool the police so easily.

One of the best decisions writer Noah Hawley makes this time around is the expanded role of Glenn Howerton‘s dim-headed, glowing-skinned Don Chumph. His pairing with the seemingly brilliant Lorne is a stroke of genius. These two drastically clashing personalities are made to bounce off each other, with Don always coming out the other end looking like a complete moron. This is Howerton’s first high-profile role in a drama, and he’s keeping pace with these seasoned veterans nicely. Let’s hope there’s much more Chumph in the future.

At nearly the halfway mark of the mini-series, Fargo has been consistently suspenseful and left me eager to see the next episode. This time is no different, with Eating the Blame featuring one heck of an exciting cliffhanger.

Note: I did not spot any new signs hanging around Lester this time around. Perhaps that motif has run out. If I missed one, let me know in the comments.

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About the author

Nick DeNitto

Nick DeNitto graduated with Honors from Adelphi University. He began writing movie reviews in middle school and has worked tirelessly to mold his own unique critical voice. He is currently affiliated with the National Board of Review and hopes that one day he is remembered as “The People’s Film Critic.”

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