'You could pick holes in the plot but you might as well pick your nose' - Pat Stacey reviews 'Fargo' finale
WARNING! Review features spoilers!
There were nagging fears that the finale of 'Fargo' would leave vital plot threads dangling - and viewers fuming - in anticipation of the mooted second season. The good news is we can relax and breathe easy.
After nine dazzling weeks, Noah Hawley's ingenious adaptation/expansion of the Coen brothers' much-loved movie didn't disappoint. It delivered the longed-for closure (you betcha!) in that everyone got what was coming to them, good or bad. But it did it in a way that nobody could have predicted.
Two or three critics in the US, where the finale was shown last Tuesday, carped that the expected showdown between Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) never materialised. To be honest, they should have known better.
One of the show's trademarks, and one of the many elements that has made it such a richly enjoyable experience, has been to continually pull the rug from under us.
Molly, having received overdue recognition for her brilliant detective work from both the FBI and her idiotic boss Bill (Bob Odenkirk), who finally figured out he's not really cut out to be a police chief and handed her his job, was denied the satisfaction of nailing her man.
That honour instead went to her new husband Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), the cop-turned-mail-man (a job better suited to his temperament) who walked away from a chilling chance encounter with Malvo earlier in the series.
No backing down this time. Gus shot Malvo, who'd been temporarily incapacitated due to an encounter with a bear trap laid by Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman). Lester, meanwhile, met his fate by literally falling through the tin ice he'd been skating on since episode one.
There was a a feeling here of the last piece of an elaborate jigsaw clicking satisfyingly into place. Only at the very end did it become apparent that 'Fargo' was much more than just a gripping thriller or a deliciously dark comedy.
While it doesn't do sometimes to over-intellectualise these things, Malvo can be viewed as a near-supernatural presence: a malevolent angel who pushes the other characters to fulfil their potential for good and evil.
Lester was transformed from a cowardly weakling to a mosnter who murdered his first wife and sacrificed his second to save his own skin. Gus discovered his inner hero, but at the cost of committing an act of violence he would once have abhorred. Molly represented the eventual triumph of good (and goodness) over evil.
You could pick holes in the plot - would the police be happy to let Gus walk free after a cold-blooded murder, even if the victim was himself a cold-blooded murderer? - but you might as well be picking your nose. This was the best ten hours of television drama all year.