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Is Molly Dead? Fargo’s Allison Tolman Sounds Off on Show’s Dramatic Turn

BY Jennifer Griffin

Published 8 years ago

Is Molly Solverson dead? That’s the question on the minds of every Fargo fan anxiously awaiting the series’ next installment on Tuesday night.

Last week’s episode “Buridan’s Ass” saw a shootout in a snowstorm turn deadly when Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) found himself fighting for his life against Mr. Numbers (Adam Goldberg) and Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard). The altercation ended badly for both Numbers, who was ultimately ambushed and murdered by Malvo, and the intervening Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) whose fate remains the subject of much speculation this week. 

Did Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) accidentally claim Molly’s life through friendly fire, or was she gunned down by the now missing Wrench? And if Molly is taken out of action is there anyone remaining in the sleepy town of Bemidji with enough smarts to solve the interconnected murders involving Malvo and Lester Nygard? With the reluctant Gus Grimly and the incompetent Deputy Bill Oswalt (Bob Odenkirk) as the only other contenders at present, the odds are looking less than stellar.

“Well, I know everyone’s quite upset about what happened,” Tolman admitted in a press call with ScreenSpy earlier this week. “But the more savvy fans of mine are getting on my IMDB page and checking to see how many episodes I’m in.  So, that has given them some comfort, I think, during this dark time.”

And if that’s not hint enough, the Fargo actress added “So, yes, people don’t need to be too worried, although of course nothing is sacred in the world of Fargo, so a lot can happen between now and episode 10. ”

However as welcome as the news concerning Molly’s fate is, fans may not see Tolman’s determined Deputy Solverson swinging back into action any time soon, as both her investigations, and her burgeoning relationship with Gus, will be seriously derailed by the injuries she has suffered in the line of duty.

“The budding relationship that we saw between Gus and Molly is derailed a little bit by ‘recent developments,'” teased Tolman coyly.  “It’s a major setback for her.  She’s used to just go, go, go and being unable to do that is going to make things difficult for her, because, again, she’s really ambitious.  And secondly, while she’s not working, other people are working on things, so definitely this episode has sort of derailed us from the track that we were on.”

With Gus taking the lead on the Malvo and Nygard investigation, Molly, ever the shrewd investigator, may still be calling the shots from the sidelines.

“I think that the good thing that Molly has going for her is that she’s a natural detective, her brain works that way,” said Tolman. “If she had remained untested and never had this case come her way, she might never have found that out about herself.  But because this has come her way and this has landed in her lap, she’s getting to find out just how good she is at this sort of analytical detective work.  And I think that it’s a really dog-eat-dog world, it’s a brutal, brutal world that this show takes place in, but she’s so pragmatic that I think she’s able to adjust and remain emotionally detached from the things that are going on and just proceed with getting things done.”

The actress also mentioned a “favorite scene” between Gus and Molly which fans can look forward to in episode 8.

“The really nice thing about it is that we had permission when we played it to not feel like we had to speak too quickly, that it was okay to have some silence in there, and it was okay for these two people to just exist in the same space for a little while.  And that one was really special.  It was really fun to play that and to not feel like—because I talk a lot in the show and I do a lot of police speak and I have to relay a lot of facts, so getting to just sit with my character, Molly and Gus to just sit together and have not as much to say was really nice as an actress to be able to play with that.”

Will Gus manage to survive this brutal landscape without Molly’s assistance, reassurance and physical presence? While we can only speculate, his odds of both cracking and surviving the case are surely better than those of Molly’s boss, Deputy Oswalt.

“There’s a really interesting evolution between the two of them,” notes Tolman of Oswalt and Molly’s frustrating relationship. “You kind of get to watch them throughout the series begin to become colleagues and begin to respect each other for their different reasons, which is nice, because in the beginning he’s just such a buffoon.  He’s just really so wrong about everything.  But I think that does go back to in the beginning when he first becomes chief she still feels really strongly that he’s the chief and you get in line behind him and you do what he says, and those are the rules.  But as she quickly learns that if she follows behind him that things are going to be done incorrectly, and more importantly that her friend and mentor’s murder is not going to be solved, she starts to think that maybe she should step around him.  So, over the 10 episode arc the relationship between the two of them goes to some really, really beautiful places and I’m excited for people to see it.”

Fargo continues on FX, Tuesdays at 10 pm.

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