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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, a financially struggling Stavros Milos finds a buried suitcase with $920,000 inside buried in snow, marked by a red ice pick after his car breaks down. Stunned, he shows it to his wife and proclaims the existence of God, becoming a religious devotee. In the present day, Don Chumph, posing as a plumber sent by "Frank Peterson", inspects Milos' pipes after blood rains down on him in the shower and declares no malfunctions or signs of foul play. As he leaves, he mentions the blood's possible religious connotation and tells him to "get right with the Lord." Milos, already paranoid from Peterson's drugging, tries to attack him.

Gus Grimly is called to investigate the murder of Milos' dog, and notices Peterson outside Milos' house. Peterson quickly makes a call to someone for a "package" and complies with Gus' arrest, putting on his friendly minister's facade. In the car, Peterson tells Gus he is making a mistake, and claims Gus will be saying the same thing a couple hours from now. Molly Solverson has her request for Lester Nygaard's phone records granted and is emailed them. Before she can look into them, Gus calls her to tell her about catching Peterson, and she tells him she will come over to Duluth to see him. Bill Oswalt stops her, as he had reassigned her to Phil McCormick, and Peterson is wanted for his case, the murders of Pearl Nygaard and Vern Thurman.

As Lester's hand wound worsens, he gets a foreboding call from Grady Numbers, who believes he is sleeping with Gina Hess and had her husband and his wife killed so he could continue the affair in peace. Numbers has a meal with Wes Wrench at Lou Solverson's diner, and tells him he wants to kill Lester and leave Bemidji quickly, but Wrench, remembering their last attempt to find Hess' killer, wants to be sure Lester is responsible.

Peterson, in custody, calls Chumph while he is at a pet store and orders him to buy as much of an unknown item as he can. Bill and Gus meet, and despite the decent quality of the picture he has of Peterson assaulting Phil McCormick, Bill finds the picture to be insufficient evidence. Despite Bill and Ben Schmidt's questioning, Peterson easily convinces them of his minister cover story. Noticing an inn around the time of the murders in Lester's phone records, Molly interviews the clerk and the worker Peterson convinced to vandalize her car. When she asks about any suspicious characters checking in on the night of the murders, the clerk describes Peterson and shows that he signed the name "Lorne Malvo" in the inn's guestbook. The worker adds that he founds tokens in Peterson's room belonging to the strip club where Hess was murdered. Molly passes the name along to Gus.

Peterson is released from custody and Gus is assigned to desk duty for his false arrest, and as he tries to tell Schmidt he is making a mistake, he realizes Peterson's prediction has come true. As Peterson leaves, Gus follows him and addresses him as Malvo, causing Peterson to stop and revealing it as his real name. Gus asks him how he can lie so easily, and Malvo responds by asking him why humans can see more shades of green than any other color, the answer to this also providing the answer to Gus' question.

Lester is kidnapped by Wrench and Numbers and calls Chazz from the trunk of their car, informing him of his situation. When Chazz prepares to call the police, Lester panics and tells him the call is a joke before hanging up. As Wrench drills a hole in the ice of a frozen lake, Numbers tries to get Lester to confess to Hess' murder. Lester blames it on Malvo without using his name and stuns Numbers with the taser he stole from Chazz. Wrench, unable to hear the commotion, continues to drill as Lester runs away. He comes across a cop and, not wanting to explain his situation, punches him so he can be arrested and escape from the hitmen.

Milos' supermarket is besieged by hundreds of crickets. He gets a call from Chumph, using a voice scrambler, who orders him to deliver one million dollars the following morning at a not yet specified location. Chumph reminds him that "God is watching" and hangs up. As Malvo stands on the store's roof and observes the customers fleeing, Milos murmurs "God is real." Molly explains Malvo's question to Gus: when humans were lesser evolved, they needed to be able to spot predators that hid in grass and trees. Wrench and Numbers start a bar fight to get themselves arrested, and they end up in the same holding cell as Lester.


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"