Astrology: Television: ‘Fargo’: Season 1 Finale: ‘Morton’s Fork’



The question that haunts Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) at the beginning of “Fargo”’s Season 1 finale, “Morton’s Fork,” is Lorne Malvo’s (Billy Bob Thornton) Las Vegas elevator query. “Is this what you want?” Malvo taunts.

So what’s the “this” that Malvo tosses out to an increasingly depraved Lester, like the brass ring as a prize in a cheap quiz show? Nothing less than being his own person. After years of self-identifying as a doormat, Lester now kind of likes being the CEO of his own life. It’s a Saturnine energy of accomplishment and achievement of goals, and he wants his new identity acknowledged by the same guy who befriended him when poor old Lester was a sad sack awaiting treatment in a hospital waiting room.

And Gus, who initially fell prey to Malvo’s exhortation to walk away from what’s clearly in front of him and off the path of righteousness, has also been struggling ever since to restructure his own identity so he can live for himself and, maybe more importantly, for his teen daughter and soon to be born child.

If Lester has seen the value of overhauling his own identity in the service of Saturn, so has Gus silently embraced a new modus operandi, which came to a head in the season finale when he both did and didn’t play fair and by the rules in his final send-off of Malvo.

Archetypally, “Fargo” is a Saturnine drama. Its locale – icy, forbidding and limiting – bespeaks long winters, ruled by Saturn, during which surviving, enduring and keeping warm are paramount. The show’s heroes – Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), her father Lou (Keith Carradine), Gus (Colin Hanks), Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) and the hapless FBI agents– represent law enforcement, whose domain of keeping civil order falls under the aegis of Saturn. So does the precision, documentation and organization (nice audio cassette library, Lorne!) epitomized by monster Malvo. And, in the end, so do the frozen elements that conveniently swallow up Lester alive and whole.

Saturn likes being boss, and those who aspire to the highest success and recognition in the community, like Lester, are the most likely to let the end justifies the means. These are human needs that Malvo can smell out like the animal he is, fittingly brought down, in part, by a bear trap. Gus, on the other hand, embraces Saturn and plays by its regulations simply because he wants to correct a serious, past misstep that would seriously affect his future.

However, unlike her counterparts, Molly seems inherently equipped to know how human nature works, both for the good and ill. She doesn’t need a direct confrontation with Malvo to upgrade knowledge of who she is, even though she’s ambitious enough to revel in the reality of “I get to be chief.” Her essence and goals do not work at cross purposes, and her anecdote to Lester about the dropped glove on the railroad platform suggests as much. Molly, in other words, needs no interaction with Malvo to challenge her weaknesses.

In the end, how do we assign meaning to what Malvo, in his cunning and enticements, represents? A fair assessment is that his overtures are invitations to leave the Eden of one’s making where we remain because of cowardice. It’s a leave-taking everyone must confront to become fully realized humans. The Malvos of life just seem to prod us to face this inevitability a bit sooner.

Astrology Television Rating: ♄ (Saturn)

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