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Who Saves the Barber?
Season 1, Episode 7
Episode Information
Air Date:

May 27, 2014

Written by:

Noah Hawley

Directed by:

Scott Winant

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

Buridan's Ass

Next Episode:

The Heap


Who Shaves the Barber? is the seventh episode of Season 1 of Fargo. The episode premiered on May 27, 2014.


Malvo seeks answers, while Lester finagles a few of his own. Molly and Gus try to get past a setback in the investigation.


The gun placed in Gordo Nygaard's bag by his uncle Lester is found at school, causing the police to search his house. Bill Oswalt and the Bemidji police find Chazz's illegal machine gun, as well as the evidence planted by Lester to incriminate him for the murder of Pearl Nygaard. Chazz is arrested and Lester is questioned by Bill, who believes Chazz was having an affair with and eventually killed Pearl, and Lester was threatened into silence. Lester goes with the story and says he came home to find Chazz and Pearl arguing, and Chazz killed her and later Vern Thurman when he dropped by. He is cleared of all suspicion and walked out of the police station. As he walks by Chazz, locked in a holding cell, he shouts furiously after his brother, demanding to know what he has done.

Molly Solverson, recovering from her gunshot wound, wakes up in the hospital with Gus and Greta Grimly by her side. She remembers shooting Wes Wrench in the blizzard before being shot herself, but she does not know who shot her. Gus has Greta leave the room and tells her she lost her spleen in surgery, and admits he was the one who shot her. He says he will confess and likely lose his job, but feels it is for the best. Despite his confession, Molly remans in good humor. Lou Solverson visits her as Gus leaves, and he puts on a hockey game and sits, telling her he is proud of her.

In Reno, the hitman contractor known as Rundle is visited by Lorne Malvo, who wants to know who in Fargo ordered his assassination attempt. Bound by his reputation, Rundle refuses to tell him despite Malvo telling him he will leave Rundle alive if he gives him the information. Malvo leaves Rundle's building as his receptionist screams from inside, leaving his fate unknown. Molly visits the also recovering Wrench and communicates with him using a whiteboard. She explains that Grady Numbers is dead and finds him unresponsive when she asks why they were tracking Malvo. She tells him she had never shot anyone before, and asks him what all the violence was for with Numbers dead and him going to jail. Again, he does not answer.

As Chazz is transported to a higher security prison until his trial, Lester comes into work, passes off his arrest as mere public intoxication, and goes to visit Gina Hess after learning her husband had not been paying insurance for years. Gus visits Molly and finds she is out of bed, drawing a map of the case on her window. Together, they deduce that Lester was aware of Malvo being in Duluth, therefore having a connection with him. Lou arrives to wheel Molly out and take her home, and she tells Gus they are starting to win as she leaves.

FBI agents Bill Budge and Webb Pepper stake out the building used by the Fargo Crime Syndicate. As they argue over Pepper's choice of fast food for lunch, Malvo walks past their car and enters the building with a machine gun, killing twenty-five people including Moses Tripoli and all of the lieutenants. The agents only take notice when Jergen is thrown out of a window and lands next to their car and call for backup, and Malvo calmly leaves the scene as the police arrive. Lester has drinks with Gina, who is preparing to sell the house. When he hints at Gina getting her payout earlier if she does something for him, the two have sex in her bed. In the middle of it, Lester notices a picture of her and Sam on the wall, and forces the bed to shake hard enough that it falls off and shatters its frame. He climaxes when it falls.

As Lou and Molly arrive back in Bemidji, she has him stop by the police department, having only heard snippets of the incident at the school from Bill. The department's receptionist happily tells her they caught Thurman and Pearl's murderer. Molly believes she is talking about Lester, but is dumbfounded to learn it is instead Chazz. Distraught, she walks back outside and stares at her father.


Main cast

Recurring cast




  • First appearance of Bill Budge.
  • First appearance of Webb Pepper.
  • Last appearance of Mr. Carlyle.
  • Last appearance of Mr. Jergen.
  • The title refers to a genuine paradox in philosophy called the Barber paradox, which is a specific version of (Bertrand) Russell's paradox. In a town where all the men are clean-shaven, there is a barber who shaves every man if and only if that man doesn't shave himself. This leads to the paradox of "who shaves the barber?" If the barber shaves himself, then he can't shave himself. And if he doesn't shave himself, then he must. The generalized version is Russell's paradox - the question of whether the set of all sets which doesn't contain itself contains itself or not. If it contains itself, then it mustn't contain itself and if it doesn't contain itself, then it must.
  • Malvo's line about one phone calling an ambulance and the other calling a hearse echoes a line Billy Bob Thornton's character Carl said in "Sling Blade": "You better send an ambulance and a hearst (sic)."
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"