Eating the Blame
Season 1, Episode 4
Episode Information
Air Date:

May 6, 2014

Written by:

Noah Hawley

Directed by:

Randall Einhorn

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

A Muddy Road

Next Episode:

The Six Ungraspables


Eating the Blame is the fourth episode of Season 1 of Fargo. The episode premiered on May 6, 2014.


When Gus tries to right a wrong, Malvo embraces his alter ego. Lester finds himself in a surprising situation, and Molly uncovers a promising lead.


In 1987, sometime after the events of the film, a car is seen driving down a highway in Minnesota. The driver is revealed to be a young Stavros Milos, along with his wife Helena and toddler son Dmitri. Helena hates the idea of moving to Minnesota where it is cold and desolate, but Stavros insists on pushing forward. Their car runs out of gas. Helena yells at him, and he gets out of car to think. He sees a semi truck approaching and tries to get it's attention. It passes by him, and he tries to go after it and falls in the snow. He prays to God, asking him to get him through this ordeal. In the distance, he sees a red ice pick sticking up in the snow beside a barbed wire fence. He approaches it and starts digging to find a suitcase filled with $920,000. Stavros looks around to see if the owner is nearby, and sees no one. He exicitedly takes the suitcase and the ice pick back to the car with him, and tells Helena "God is real.":

Back in present day, Stavros and Wally have Don Chumph, posing as a plumber, inspect the plumbing system of Stavros' house to see how blood got into the water tank. Don tells Stavros everything seems to be working fine, but Wally doesn't seem convinced. As he is leaving, Don asks Stavros if he reads the bible, bringing up similarities to the "rain of blood" from the story of Moses, saying he "better get right with the Lord." This causes Stavros to attack Don, and Wally intervenes. Don leaves, calling Stavros crazy. Don goes out to his van where he sees Lorne Malvo watching from a distance.

Meanwhile, Gus Grimly exits a gas station and receives an assignment over the radio to inspect the murder of King, Stavros' dog due to the animal control guy, Joe, being sick again. Gus questions how he can be sick all the time, and it turns out Joe has lukemia. Gus arrives at the Milos residence to find Malvo still standing in the yard. He gets out of the car and nervously arrests "Frank Peterson" on the spot, but not before Malvo makes a quick call on his cell phone requesting a "package". Nervously, Gus gets him into the car, though Malvo makes no form of resistance. On the way to the station, Malvo repeats "you're making a mistake" several times, claiming Gus will be saying that in a few hours. At the department, Malvo, now completely in his Frank Peterson character, is brought into custody.

At the Bemidji PD, Molly is looking through Lester's file. She tries to use her computer, but it has apparently been hacked and a bunch of pornographic images spring up onto the screen. After deleting off of the images, she gets an email containing Lester's phone call history. Suddenly, she gets a call from Gus telling her they caught Malvo, and she prepares to drive over to talk to the suspect. Before she can leave, Bill intercedes, saying it's his case.

Lester and Chaz go to Lester's old house to pick up a few things. Chaz sees the blood from Vern's murder is still on the living room floor and becomes squeamish. Lester goes up to his room to get a suitcase while Chaz stays downstairs. Upstairs, Lester tries tending to his wound again to no avail. He gets a phone call from a man, who asks if sleeping with Gina was worth it.

Numbers and his associate Wrench sit down at Lou's Coffee Shop. Their theory is that Lester had Sam Hess and Pearl Nygaard killed so he could sleep with Sam's wife Gina, and Gina could get insurance money out of it. Numbers wants to get their job done and leave town, but Wrench wants to be sure Lester is the man they are looking for, having taken the wrong person last time. They decide to try and get an answer out of Lester.

In custody, Frank Peterson calls Don to get an update on his trip to the pet store. He tells him they only have one hundred of "them" and is told to hit every store in town. In the bathroom, Lt. Schmidt introduces Bill to Gus, telling Bill that Gus was the one that made the arrest on Malvo. Gus asks if Molly came with him, to which Bill replies she didn't. Schmidt tells Gus not to get attached to her. When asking for evidence, Bill is shown the security camera picture of Malvo. Bill can't seem to tell who it is, saying it's too grainy.

Bill and Schmidt go into the room holding Frank to ask him a few questions. Frank tells them he isn't used to having a gun pointed at his face, coming from a quiet town as a minister. Schmidt tells him to drop the act, saying he was pulled over a few days ago by Gus. Frank doesn't recall that, as he was attending a bingo night at the church. He gives Bill a contact number for him to verify. Bill and Schmidt leave, and Gus stands on the other side of the window, appalled.

Back at the Bemidji PD, Molly interviews the motel owner and the worker from Leroy's Motor Inn about a call that was made from Lester's house the night Pearl and Vern were killed. The owner tells Molly that she had a suspicious-looking guest check in that night and hands her the sign-in sheet. The man is revealed to be Lorne Malvo. Molly asks if anything odd was found in Malvo's room after he checked out, the worker replies he found some tokens from The Lucky Penny.

At the Duluth PD, Frank is released from custody, believing his story is true. Molly calls Gus to tell him that the suspect's real name is Lorne Malvo. Schmidt assigns Gus to desk duty for three weeks as punishment for arresting a civilian for no reason. Gus tells him "you're making a mistake" just as Malvo told him he would. Before Frank leaves, Gus stops him and asks him how he can lie like he does. Frank dismisses his question and heads for the door. Gus calls Frank by his actual name, Lorne Malvo, and he stops. Frank asks him why people are able to see the color green more than any other color, and if he can answer this, he will answer is own question. This confuses Gus, and Frank leaves. Exiting the building, Frank fixes his hair and jaw, and enters Don's van as Lorne Malvo.

Elsewhere, Lester exits his workplace only to be grabbed by Numbers and Wrench and thrown into the trunk of their car. Being driven outside of town, Lester tries to call Chaz who is watching online porn in his basement. He tells Chaz he has been kidnapped and put in a trunk, and Chaz tries calling the police. Before he can make the call, Lester calls it off as a practical joke, not wanting to get the police involved. He hangs up and finds the taser in his coat pocket from Chaz's basement. The car pulls over, and he is grabbed by Numbers and Wrench and dragged out onto the frozen lake. Wrench beings drilling an ice hole while Numbers tries to get Lester to admit he killed Sam. Lester denies this, saying it was "the other guy". Before Numbers can get an answer, Lester shocks him with the taser and escapes. He runs back onto the highway where he sees a cop writing up Wrench's car. He asks for a ride back to town, but the officer tells him there aren't any taxis available. Lester punches him in order to get arrested and brought back into town, while Numbers and Wrench watch from a distance.

Stavros sits in his office frantically looking around and twitching, as noises from the clock become loud. He madly signs papers and slams on his typewriter. Suddenly, Dmitri knocks on the door and enters the office, although Stavros does not hear him knock. He wants to talk to Stavros about being nicer to Helena, but Stavros scolds him for interrupting. As he beings crying, screams are heard outside the office. The two of them along with Wally check to see what is going on, only to find the entire supermarket filled with crickets. All the customers flee in panic as Malvo is seen standing on the roof of the building watching the chaos ensue. Stavros gets a call from a voice telling him to bring the blackmail money tomorrow morning. Shocked, he once again utters "God is real."

Numbers and Wrench stop at a bar in Bemidji for a few drinks. There, Wrench glares angrily at Numbers. Numbers tries to get him to lay off, and they get into a fight, wrecking the interior of the bar in the process. At Lou's, Molly and Gus discuss Malvo's riddle, which Molly quickly figures out. Gus asks what they should do next, she says they need to get to Lester. In jail, Lester sits in his cell. As he tries to get comfortable, Numbers and Wrench are brought into the jail cell with him, just as they planned.


Main cast

Recurring cast



  • None


  • First appearance of Knudsen.
  • It is revealed that Stavros got his money from the suitcase that Carl buried in the film.
  • Lorne Malvo's name is mentioned for the first time in this episode.
  • This is one of the few episodes to not feature any deaths.
  • The title refers to a Zen koan. A cook had had his preparations delayed for a meal he was supposed to serve a Zen master and his disciples. He quickly goes to the garden, chops up the vegetables, and makes a soup. In his haste he accidentally included part of a snake in the soup. The disciples love the soup, but the master finds the snake's head in his soup. He calls the cook and says, "What is this?" The cook replies, "Oh thank you, master," takes the snake's head, and eats it quickly.
Season 1 episodes

01. "The Crocodile's Dilemma"
02. "The Rooster Prince"
03. "A Muddy Road"
04. "Eating the Blame"
05. "The Six Ungraspables"

06. "Buridan's Ass"
07. "Who Shaves the Barber?"
08. "The Heap"
09. "A Fox, A Rabbit, and A Cabbage"
10. "Morton's Fork"

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