The Heap (Fargo)

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"The Heap"
Fargo episode
Fargo - The Heap.jpg
The episode introduces Keegan-Michael Key (left) and Jordan Peele from the show Key & Peele as a duo of new characters, the FBI agents Pepper and Budge.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 8
Directed by Scott Winant
Written by Noah Hawley
Featured music Jeff Russo
Production code XFO01008
Original air date June 3, 2014 (2014-06-03)
Running time 53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Fargo (season 1)
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"The Heap" is the eighth episode of the FX anthology series Fargo. It was written by series creator and showrunner Noah Hawley and directed by Scott Winant. The title refers to the paradox in logic known as the paradox of the heap.

In the episode, Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), having successfully framed his brother Chazz for the murders, finds newborn strength and decides to start his life anew. It also features a one-year ellipsis, during which the lives of all main characters have radically changed.

The episode was acclaimed by critics, and was seen by 1.86 million viewers.


Following his brother Chazz Nygaard's arrest, Lester Nygaard consoles his sister-in-law, Kitty, who believes her husband is guilty. Shortly afterward, Lester tosses out Pearl's belongings, beginning a new life. Later, Gina Hess angrily storms into Lester's office, demanding payment from Sam's insurance policy and accusing Lester of having duped her and taken advantage of her sexually. Lester initially pretends he will make some calls on her behalf, but when her sons try to bully Lester, he hits them with a stapler, which in turn intimidates all three of the surviving Hess family members, and they back off. Additionally, Lester tells Mrs. Hess that Sam's having stopped paying the premium on the policy indicates she won't get paid. Lester's dominant performance impresses his coworker Linda.

Meanwhile, Molly Solverson returns to work and unsuccessfully attempts to reopen the Lester Nygaard investigation. At the Duluth hospital, Lorne Malvo kills a police guard and gives Mr. Wrench the handcuff key to escape, telling him that he and Mr. Numbers came closer than anyone else ever had to besting Malvo. Malvo confesses that he killed Mr. Numbers and tells Wrench to come find him if he still wants revenge. In Fargo, FBI Agents Pepper and Budge, having been assigned to surveillance during Malvo's 22-homicide gun rampage and missed his having walked right by their car en route to entering the building, are demoted to file clerks.

A year passes, and Gus Grimly, now a mailman, is happily married to Molly Solverson as they eagerly await their first child's birth. In Las Vegas, Lester, who has married Linda, receives an award for Insurance Salesman of the Year. While at the hotel bar, Lester spots Malvo, who now sports grey hair and a goatee rather than brown hair and a full beard. While conversing with his companions, Malvo calls himself "Dr. Michaelson".



The episode was first aired in the US on FX on June 3, 2014 and obtained 1.86 million viewers.[1] The show was aired in the UK on Channel 4 on June 8, 2014 and was seen by 1.2 million viewers.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode was acclaimed by critics. It currently holds a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]

The A.V. Club writers Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff gave the episode an A- rating.[4]

Another positive review came from IGN writer Roth Cornet, who gave the episode a 9.1/10 "amazing" rating.[5]


The episode title refers to the paradox in logic known as the paradox of the heap. The New York Times reviewer, Kate Phillips, also notes the similarities between "an obscure comic book icon who, in one version, morphs from dirt and swampish things into a monster, much as Lester Nygaard survived by adopting the chameleonesque traits more familiar to Lorne Malvo, the dark lord and monster of this entire montage".[6]

While in bed, Molly is watching the comedy mystery detective film Detective Kitty O'Day (1944).[6]


  1. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 4, 2014). "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Deadliest Catch' Leads Night + '19 Kids and Counting', 'The Haves and the Have Nots', 'The Little Couple' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Soccer Aid scores 3.9m on ITV, down on 2012 event". Digital Spy. June 9, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ ""The Heap" critical consensus". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  4. ^ Handlen, Zack; VanDerWerff, Todd (June 3, 2014). "Fargo: "The Heap"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ Cornet, Roth (June 3, 2014). "Fargo: "The Heap" Review". IGN. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Phillips, Kate (June 3, 2014). "'Fargo' Recap: Spinning Into a New Cycle". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]