Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton
Fargo has come full circle.
When the dark comedy airs its season finale on Tuesday (10/9c, FX), Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) and Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) will complete the dance they started with each other in the premiere. The drifter-hitman and milquetoast-turned-murderer had been apart for most of the season, but circumstances and hubris recently brought them back together for a fatal misadventure. As a result, three people lay dead in a Las Vegas elevator, and Lester unsuccessfully tries to flee to Mexico.
From Fargo to Game of Thrones: TV's most iconic toilet moments
All of this could have been prevented if Lester only decided to walk away from his dangerous acquaintance. "He really does need that recognition, he needs this guy to see him, that he's not this loser anymore, that he's changed his life and he's somebody worth knowing now," showrunner Noah Hawley tells TVGuide.com. "It's like going up to a scorpion and saying, 'Hey, do you like my suit?' But he's given the opportunity to walk away and he doesn't. That's Lester's particular damage I think."
Similarly, Malvo could have ignored Lester. After all, the hitman had spent the last six months on a long con that was about to bear fruit, but dropped all of that to play with Lester again. "Malvo's primary motivation is he wants to see if can he turn a civilized person into an animal on some level," Hawley says. "He recognizes in Lester something he hasn't seen before. It's much more interesting than the end game on this witness protection thing. As soon as Lester makes that decision, it's like, 'OK, so we're going to do this instead.'"
PHOTOS: 10 crazy things Fargo's Malvo is like
Judging by the events of the last episode, Malvo has accomplished his goal. Knowing that the hitman is after him, Lester sets up his new wife Linda (Susan Park) to wear his signature orange parka with the hood up. As planned, Malvo mistakes her for Lester and shoots her in the head execution-style.
"I got to watch that scene with a live audience. It was awesome," Hawley says. "It's great because there are three parts. The first is: 'I tweaked my back. Would you mind going in?' So you get this groan from the audience. Then he stops her and says, 'Here take my coat,' and then the groan becomes a kind of gasp. And then of course he tells her to put the hood up, and then people are just yelling at the screen. There is nobody in the audience at the end of that episode that is on Lester's side."
In a way, Lester appears to be more of a monster than Malvo, who has killed casually and repeatedly. "Malvo comes in and he's a scorpion in the beginning and he's a scorpion at the end," Hawley says. "But Lester has these human clothes on, and so you're judging him as a human being."
How do you think the Fargo finale will play out?
The Fargo finale airs Tuesday at 10/9c on FX. Not quite ready yet? Catch up on the last episode here.