After a terrific hour last week, Fargo had plenty to prove with “Who Shaves the Barber?” and plenty of loose ends to tie up. Luckily, the show handles those various threads nicely, answering a few burning questions while throwing things back into an ever-widening gyre of chaos, with the same ferocity as the tornado that apparently made fish rain from the sky at the end of “Buridan’s Ass.”
From that chaos, new beginnings have emerged. We find some of our characters transformed by recent events, and while “Who Shaves the Barber?” may not be the best episode of the series, especially when compared to the last few weeks, it serves as a nice palette cleanser. What it does is effectively clear the table after last week’s feast, acting as a bit of a lull before an impending storm (that will likely be even more tragic and destructive than the one that just blew through Bemidji).
The show answers the questions left by last week’s cliffhanger immediately: Gus shot Molly, but she is still alive and recovering from losing her spleen. Molly shot Mr. Wrench, who is recovering as well, but will soon go into police custody. Malvo survived the storm too, and has headed to Reno to find out who sent Wrench and Numbers after him. And last, but certainly not least, Lester has successfully framed his brother for the murders of both Pearl and Verne.
While the last few episodes have shifted their focus to tell the story of Stavros and the plagues that Malvo has inflicted upon him, he is necessarily absent this week so that we may revisit the foursome at the show’s core: Malvo, Lester, Molly, and Gus. Each character has undergone a bit of a metamorphosis over the course of the series, and those changes are all starting to show. The armor that they’ve been wearing is beginning to break, and their true natures are beginning to rise to the surface.