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 opening shot shows Gus sitting in the waiting room waiting to hear news on Molly's recovery, as a voice-over of Chaz and his family eating breakfast is heard. Cutting to the Nygaard residence, Kitty is trying to get Gordo to eat his breakfast and get ready for school, but is busy reading a comic. They stop to listen to a new broadcast about the raining of fish that occurred in the previous episode. They send Gordo off to get on the bus to school, where the bus driver tells Gordo "no funny stuff" this time. At school during lunch, two of the kids are rough-housing and accidentally knock Gordo's backpack off the table, causing the gun that Lester planted to fall out, which everyone sees.

At home, Kitty is vacuuming when she hears the doorbell ring. Answering it, Bill and several Bemidji police officers barge in with a warrant to search the house. Chaz and a colleague of his are talking in his office, when he gets a call from Kitty, who says Gordo got arrested at school and police are searching the house. Panicked, Chaz rushes back home to find them about to open his gun locker in the garage. Inside, Bill finds not only the illegal machine gun, but also the hammer that planted, along with Pearl's underwear and pictures. Furious, Kitty attacks Chaz and spits in his face. The police restrain her while Chaz goes into a state of shock.

Bill brings Lester in for questioning, believing that Lester was covering for Chaz this whole time, and tells him he should have said something. Lester "apologizes" and admits that he should have told Bill, and gives Bill a story involving Chaz being the culprit.  Allegedly, Lester came home from work and heard Chaz and Pearl arguing in the basement after Pearl cuts off their affair. Pearl tells Chaz he isn't half the man that Lester is, and she is beaten to death with the hammer. Lester finds them in the basement, and Chaz nearly kills Lester for being a witness until Vern rings the doorbell. Chaz leaves for the backdoor where the shotgun is kept and shoots Vern while he and Lester are talking. Lester does not mention Chaz being there due to fear and shock. Seeing as Chaz has apparently had a history of being unruly, Bill believes the story. Bill lets Lester go, and on the way out Lester passes Chaz in his cell, who angrily shouts at him.

A flashback shows the blizzard shoot-out from Molly's perspective. Molly steadily points her gun into the white unknown when suddenly she sees Malvo for a split second. She tells him to freeze, but hears a noise behind her. She quickly turns around and shoots at the source, taking down Wrench in the process. Malvo gets away. She looks around for him, but is accidentally shot by Gus.

In present day, Molly wakes up in the hospital to see Greta watching her. Molly asks what happened, Gus tells Greta to leave the room for a minute. Gus says they have Wrench upstairs being taken care of, and he admits to shooting her, and apologizes. It is revealed that Molly lost a spleen from the gunshot. He says he will confess, and he will probably get his badge taken away, saying it's probably for the best. Gus leaves and Lou Solverson enters. He sits down and puts on a hockey game to watch with Molly, and says he is proud of her.

Lester goes back home and decides to call the cleaner in order to clean up the blood stain that is still on the living room floor. He calls the company but once he mentions there is a lot of blood, they hang up. In Reno, Nevada, Mr. Rundle is seen attending a swimming lesson. He returns to his workplace to find Malvo sitting in his office chair. Malvo asks him why he has pins on every state except Georgia to which he replies his first wife, Georgia, hated him. Malvo tells him how Numbers and Wrench tried to kill him in Duluth, saying they were from Fargo. He asks Rundle if he gave information about his whereabouts, but he is not obligated to say. He says he did not put the hit on them, and whatever the cause was, it has nothing do to with Rundle's business. Malvo gives him an ultimatum: He will pick up either the phone that calls an ambulance, or the phone that calls a hearse. He will call one or the other depending on the answer to the question: Who does he talk to in Fargo? Malvo exits the building as a scream is heard from inside.

In the hospital, Molly visits Wrench, who is also recovering from gunshots. Due to being handcuffed, Wrench cannot use sign language, and gestures her to give him the small whiteboard hanging on the wall. He writes asking if Numbers is alive, which he is not. She asks him if he can talk, he writes he is deaf, but he can at least read lips. She asks if the two of them were looking for Malvo. He doesn't answer, instead tries to reposition himself to ease his pain. Molly admits she has never shot anyone before. She then asks why he tried to go after them, since his partner died for the cause, and he will spend the rest of his life in jail. He turns away, and Molly leaves.

Back at the Bemidji PD, Knudsen picks Chaz up from his cell. Chaz insists that this is a mistake, but Knudsen is not convinced. He is brought through the department, where all the police officers stare at him. Chaz will be held somewhere else until the trial. Lester arrives at his workplace, where Bo says he heard about him getting arrested. Lester passes it off as having too many drinks and spent the night in jail until they wore off. Bo tells him that Gina's insurance claim has been denied due to Sam apparently stopping the payments ages ago. Lester volunteers to tell her in person, being closer friends than Bo is with her.

Gus visits Molly's room in the hospital with flowers, where she has turned her window into a whiteboard. She has mapped out all the data she knows about the case, and goes over it with Gus. From this chart, they deduce that Lester knew Malvo was in Duluth, so he did have some sort of connection with him. Lou arrives with a wheelchair, having signed Molly out to take her home. Upon leaving, Molly tells Gus they're winning this case.

Meanwhile in Fargo, North Dakota, the Fargo mob members are seen exiting their usual restaurant and entering another building down the street. They are being watched by FBI Agents Bill Budge and Webb Pepper, who are sitting in a car across the street. Bill criticizes Webb's choice of a fast food meal for lunch, Webb tells him to get bent. Bill goes on a monologue about a man experimenting with water, when Malvo passes their car with a machine gun and enters the building where the mob is. The camera stays outside the building and pans across and up each floor as Malvo shoots up the building. Multiple mobsters are killed, as well as Tripoli, the boss. Jergen is the last to be killed, as he is thrown out the top window by Malvo. Bill and Webb see this and call for back-up. The back-up arrives, and Malvo escapes through the back door.

Lester visits the Hess residence, where Gina has been busy packing things up to sell the house. She says the boys aren't home, Lester asks for a drink. She asks about the money again, he says she should get it soon but there are a few more hoops to get through. He says it takes a middle-man like himself to know "which palms to grease" which leads to Gina seducing him. He accepts, and they have sex. While doing it, Lester stares at a picture of Sam as a form of dominance. He gets the bed to shake enough to knock the picture off the wall and break.

That night, Lou and Molly drive back to Bemidji. On the way back, Molly has Lou stop at the Bemidji PD to get an update on what has been happening during her absence. Cindy tells her they got the man who killed Vern and Pearl. Molly thinks they got Lester, but Cindy says it was Chaz the whole time, and Lester was just covering for him. The other police officers are out celebrating the wrapping up of the case. Molly exits the building, and stands out in the parking lot in panic.


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"

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.