'Fargo' Theories: Molly Solverson Will Solve(rson) The Mystery... Or Die Trying
FX's latest heroine has a real can-do attitude. Molly Solverson of FX's critically-acclaimed Fargo is determined to get to the bottom of a shockingly nasty suburban murder mystery. But she doesn't exactly have a lot of help: Not only are the people involved in the murder desperate to cover it up, she's facing resistance within her own police precinct. So what does the future have in store for our lone wolf detective? Will she get to the bottom of the case? How far will she go to solve(rson) the mystery? Will it lead to her own demise?
Unfortunately, we can't answer those questions by merely reading a plot synopsis of the film. While Fargo is an adaptation of the 1996 Coen Brothers classic, it's more of a re-imagining than a re-telling. None of the same characters or stories exist — rather, the show takes place the same universe with similar crimes and plot twists and silly accents. But while their names are different, some characters do have fairly direct analogues in both works. Molly is obviously a counterpart to Marge Gunderson, the lovable detective played to Oscar-winning perfection by Frances McDormand. While no one will be replacing McDormand in our hearts and minds anytime soon, Allison Tolman has been doing a crackerjack job of crafting her own unique take on the same stock character.
The summaries that FX has released for the next five episodes are brief and typically cryptic, although they do offer a few hints about what Molly's going to be up to. Here are the parts that concern her, rounded up: "Molly uncovers a promising lead." "Molly makes an unorthodox decision." "Gus and Molly team up in Duluth." "Molly and Gus try to get past a setback in the investigation." "Molly faces pressure close to the case."
In the most recent episode, Gus (Colin Hanks) decided to come clean about his run-in with Malvo, and the hour ended with him and Molly meeting at her dad's diner to discuss the case — and also chat about spiders laying eggs in people's necks. You know, the usual small talk. Thanks to the episode descriptions, we know their partnership will go farther than just swapping notes: the two young officers will launch their own informal investigation into the Malvo/Lester mess. Gus should prove very valuable to Molly, since he's one of the only people she knows who has experienced Malvo's malevolence firsthand. So Molly and Gus will pretty much be our Holmes and Watson. Does that make Malvo their Moriarty? If so, who is Martin Freeman's Lester? (Freeman also plays Watson on the BBC's Sherlock.)
Since Marge is Molly's parallel in the original film, can we find any clues in what happens to the very pregnant Gunderson? Marge does survive the bloody events of Fargo — do we dare hope for the same from plucky Molly? In the mortally dangerous world of the Minnesota tundra, it doesn't seem possible that both curious cops will live to see the end of the series. Gus naturally feels like the safer of the two choices, given that he has a young daughter at home. Plus, Molly doesn't have the whole unborn baby thing going on like Marge did, which makes it easier for the writers to bump her off without seeming like sadistic monsters.
There's one more piece of evidence that might point to Molly kicking the bucket before the end of the series: Lester's fish poster. I know it seems random, but hear me out. Molly's prime suspect has a poster in his basement that depicts a bunch of yellow fish swimming in one direction and a single red fish swimming in the opposite direction. It's captioned: "What if you're right and they're wrong?"
Seems like an innocuous motivational poster akin to those kittens hanging from tree limbs, right? It is, of course, but it's also much more than that. At the end of the first episode, when Molly goes out to fish with her dad, she's wearing a red coat — she is the red fish. No one believes her about Lester's involvement in his own wife's death, not even her fellow police officers, but she knows she's right and they're wrong. So what's the significance of the red fish? When Lester knocked himself out against the wall, he rammed himself directly against that solitary scarlet swimmer. When you look at it now, the red fish has blood dripping off of it. Coincidence? Maybe. But it could also be hinting that the inevitable collision between Lester and Molly, our red fish, will lead not only to his downfall... but also to her doom. (As long as she doesn't end up in a wood chipper.)
Then again, perhaps we're reading waayyy too much into things. Maybe Fargo will pull a True Detective and surprise us all by having both their cops survive. That would be the ultimate twist in this very violent world, after all.
Images: FX (3)