Fargo Review: “The Heap” (Season 1, Episode 8)


Well, that was unexpected. For the first time ever, I’m not exactly quite sure what to think of an episode of Fargo. This is a show that has been tightly constructed and hyper-focused for seven straight episodes, and then took a wild departure this week with “The Heap,” in a plot twist that not only changes the playing field, but the entire narrative of the series.

At the beginning of each episode we’re given a disclaimer, claiming that the following events are a true story, told in 2006. Well, as it turns out, the story spans much longer than that, as a surprise time jump occurred about halfway through this episode that takes us a year into the future. It’s a risky move, a bold move, and one I’m going to have to reserve judgment on until we see the final two hours of this show.

“The Heap” feels very much like two episodes strewn together. The first is a continuation of the storyline that began with the chance meeting of a perpetual loser named Lester Nygaard, and a dangerous drifter named Lorne Malvo. In fact, the first half of the episode is very much an ending to that story. Lester is a changed man and has begun taking his life into his own hands. Molly’s attempt at convincing her superiors that Chaz is innocent of Pearl’s murder gets crushed for the final time, bumbling FBI agents Budge and Pepper (who appeared for the first time in last week’s episode, played by Key and Peele) are sentenced to filing room purgatory, and Lorne Malvo pays a visit to Mr. Wrench,  setting him free with the option of seeking vengeance if he so chooses.

The second half of the episode occurs after the surprise time jump, and acts as a sort of reintroduction to these characters and where their lives are now. Gus and Molly have gotten married and have a baby on the way. Lester has remarried and is, by all accounts, no longer a complete loser (with the award to prove it), and Lorne has changed his appearance and has likely become someone else entirely.