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The Rooster Prince
Season 1, Episode 2
Episode Information
Air Date:

April 22, 2014

Written by:

Noah Hawley

Directed by:

Adam Bernstein

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

The Crocodile's Dilemma

Next Episode:

A Muddy Road


The Rooster Prince is the second episode of Season 1 of Fargo. The episode premiered on April 22, 2014.


Molly begins to suspect that Lester is involved with the murders, but her new boss points her in a different direction. Meanwhile, Malvo investigates the blackmail plot against a man known as the Supermarket King.


Fargo hitmen Grady Numbers and deaf Wes Wrench are sent by the Crime Syndicate to Bemidji to find the murderer of associate Sam Hess. They meet with Syndicate representative Max Gold, who tells them about and describes the man who had harassed Hess a few days prior. Chazz Nygaard holds a memorial service at his house for his sister-in-law. Lester Nygaard notices his hand wound has become infected, but continues to hide it as Chazz offers Lester a place to stay because of the police searching his house. Lester slips away and goes back to his house, and thinks about murdering his wife as he looks down into the basement.

Molly Solverson visits Vern Thurman's grave before attending the service at his house. She washes dishes with Ida, and they reminisce about Vern together until Bill Oswalt, now chief, comes to talk to them. Molly states that they should question Lester again, because it was him that Thurman was going to talk to and his house that he died in, but Bill believes Lester to be too meek to hurt anyone. He theorizes the murders as the work of a drifter, but agrees to question Lester when Ida references Thurman's methods of investigation.

Lester is weeping into one of Pearl's sweaters when Molly and Bill come to question him. Bill is more interested in conversing with him, but Molly directly asks him for his recollection of the night. Lester claims he found Pearl dead when he came home and was knocked out from behind, but becomes nervous when Molly references the man in the hospital and Sam Hess. He deflects it by claiming the nurse who overheard him misheard the word "mess," and that he cannot remember what the man looked like because of his head injury. Bill leaves satisfied, but Molly leaves more suspicious than ever.

In a Duluth post office, the man picks up a package sent by his new client. Inside is a book written by "Supermarket King of Minnesota" Stavros Milos that marks him as his target, as well as a fake ID that gives him the name of minister "Frank Peterson". He practices his minister's attitude by making the sign of the cross and cheerfully telling the post office worker to "have a blessed day." He meets with Milos, who is unaware that Peterson is targeting him, and shows him a blackmail note that demands exactly 43,613 dollars or they will "tell the world". Milos asks Peterson to find and stop the blackmailer, telling him to start with his wife Helena, who is planning to divorce him and sue for half his worth. Before leaving, Peterson gets Milos' autograph on the book he was sent.

As Duluth police chief Ben Schmidt informs the force of the investigation into Thurman and Pearl's murders, Gus Grimly guiltily looks at the ticket he was going to serve Peterson. He brings food home to his daughter Greta and awkwardly rebuffs his married neighbor's seduction attempt. Over dinner, Greta tells him about a school assembly that talked about defending oneself from bullies. Greta doesn't agree with it, believing that not everyone has time to call for help. He tells her about his encounter with Peterson (framing it as a hypothetical scenario) and says that he let him go because Greta having at least one parent is important to him, but Greta affirms that she would stop him regardless.

Wrench and Numbers question the stripper that was with Hess when he was murdered, but get nowhere. When Numbers describes their target using the description given to them by Gold, she muses that it sounds like Lenny Potts, a frequent visitor of the strip club who has a dislike for people with Hess' temperament. When they politely approach Potts, he insults and antagonizes them, and they force him into the trunk of their car and drive him back to Gold the next day, who confirms they have the wrong man.

Peterson, now posing a divorce attorney, visits Helena to ask about if Milos started his business the way he describes it in his book, but Helena dismisses his version of events. Before she can explain further, she is interrupted by her son Dmitri. Peterson, who had met him earlier and noted his passion for cheesy jokes, gives him one to tell his father. He later listens to a recording of Lester calling him after murdering his wife. Noticing a brown smudge on Milos' blackmail note, he realizes it is from Helena's dim-witted personal trainer Don Chumph, who wears excessive amounts of spray-tan. He is visited by Milos' head of security, Wally Semenchko, who has gone behind Milos' back and orders Peterson to leave town, mistrustful of him. Annoyed, Peterson ignores him and uses the bathroom in front of him, getting Semenchko to leave.

Bill tells Molly to focus on his drifter theory instead of Lester. As she leaves his office, she notices Thurman's name being scratched off the door. Lester sneaks into his house again and reveals he stashed the hammer used to kill Pearl inside the washing machine, and hides it somewhere else. He accepts Chazz's offer to live with him, and moves into his nephew Gordo's room. Chazz offers to take Lester out shooting with him and Gordo, and Lester accepts, surprising Chazz when he states intent to sell his house. When Kitty Nygaard reassuringly squeezes his infected hand by accident, he decides to treat it himself. He comes across Molly at a local pharmacy, who starts asking him more questions. He leaves, claiming harassment and forgetting his medication to treat his hand. Molly talks to Lou Solverson the next day about the case, and Lou, a retired police officer, agrees that her suspicions are valid. Bill visits Molly and takes her off Thurman's murder case because of her questioning Lester when explicitly told not to, instead putting her on the man frozen in the woods.

Wrench and Numbers drive Potts out to a frozen lake, drill a hole in the ice, tape his hands, and drop him in, drowning him.

Deleted Scenes

  • Numbers & Wrench foil gas station robbery (1:58): In this deleted scene, Grady Numbers and Wes Wrench enter a gas station and interrupted an attempted robbery. Numbers ended up killing the robber as well as the gas station owner for having a running security camera. The scene ends with Wrench killing an eyewitness knocked over by the robber earlier and Numbers taking the money from the cashier and stealing a bag of chips.


Main cast

Recurring cast



  • Unnamed burglar (Deleted scene)
  • Unnamed gas station owner (Deleted scene)
  • Unnamed eyewitness (Deleted scene)
  • Lenny Potts


  • First appearance of Grady Numbers.
  • First appearance of Wes Wrench.
  • First appearance of Ben Schmidt.
  • First appearance of Greta Grimly.
  • First appearance of Stavros Milos.
  • First appearance of Helena Milos.
  • First appearance of Dmitri Milos.
  • First appearance of Don Chumph.
  • First appearance of Wally Semenchko.
  • First (and last) appearance of Lenny Potts.
  • Pearl Nygaard (Kelly Holden Bashar) and Vern Thurman (Shawn Doyle) appear in flashbacks, but are not credited.
  • Vern Thurman's birthday is revealed to be September 28, 1961.
  • The title "The Rooster Prince" refers to the parable of the same name. A prince is put under a curse where he believes himself to be a rooster, and sits under the table naked pecking at the floor. The king and queen ask around for someone to help cure their son, when an old man volunteers, saying he knows how to cure him. He too takes his clothes off and sits under the table with the prince, pretending to be a rooster. Eventually the prince befriends his "rooster friend" and the old man shows him how a rooster can do human things such as sit at a table and wear clothes. Eventually, the old man is able to bring back his old human habits one bit at a time, curing him.


  • In this episode, Molly states she is 31 years old, making her birth year 1975. However in Season 2 she is 6 years old in 1979, making her birth year 1973.
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"