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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Was Lester initially a genuinely good natured person who descended into sociopathy after Malvo made him feel responsible for the death of Sam Hess or was he always a sociopath who concealed his true nature until he began to feel that he could get away with anything without getting caught?
    • Lorne's conversation with Ari has him mention Ari's "Jew bus" in a derogatory tone. Was he simply testing the waters to try and see how he could get under Ari's skin or, in keeping with Lorne's Devil motif, does he have an underlying hatred for God's chosen people?
      • Alternatively, Lorne is Satan.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Gus' neighbor flashing him her underwear. We later get a couple scenes with her husband, but nothing more comes of it.
  • Complete Monster: Lorne Malvo, the mysterious Big Bad of this season, is a hitman who, in his spare time, enjoys toying with hapless human beings and seeing how he can break them or turn them into murderers and monsters like himself for his own amusement. The downtrodden Lester Nygaard is only his latest corrupted victim, among dozens of others, all of whom he keeps recordings of in the moment they became killers, recordings which he regularly listens to when he is bored. Lorne is a sadistic, ruthless and efficient killer who has murdered countless people throughout his career, and racks up a body count that numbers in the dozens, including the slaughter of an entire building of people, to setting his partner up to be disturbingly killed in a faked Suicide by Cop when he outlives his usefulness. In one notable instance of Lorne's unpredictability and wicked nature, he disguises himself as a normal man to get close to an assassination target, and, after becoming engaged to a woman who loves him as part of his cover, Lorne murders his mark, the man's wife, and even his own fiancée with nothing more than wry amusement after Lester recognizes him. Combining utter heartlessness with dry humor and a fascination with the dark side of human nature, it's no surprise Lorne is frequently likened to a hungry predator.
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  • Creepy Awesome: Malvo.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Lester has a number of defenders even after framing his brother, many of them Sherlock or The Hobbit fans who reflexively root for Martin Freeman no matter what.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Pepper and Budge, for being genuinely hilarious characters whose desire for redemption is what finally kicks off the climax and causes Molly to be taken seriously.
    • Greta, Gus's Wise Beyond Their Years daughter, is generally liked.
    • Stavros's son Dmitri has those who like him for his Good Is Dumb feel (and yet still being savvy enough to be suspicious about the crickets) and feel that he got a raw deal.
  • Genius Bonus: Malvo states that Romans were "raised by wolves." This is a reference to Roman mythology, in which Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, twin heroes who were suckled by a she-wolf as babies.
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  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Wrenchers (Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers) seems to be the most popular pairing in the entire series owing in part to the pair's banter and ambiguous relationship. A03 lists their pairing as the most popular, having over triple the amount of fanfics as the next most popular ship (Lorne/Lester).
  • Jerkass Woobie: Stavros Milos; he's an unpleasant jerk, but he's not really evil. The Trauma Conga Line he goes through though makes him downright pitiful - Lorne kills his dog, makes him go crazy, and then his bodyguard and son die in a car accident - and at the end of the day he feels that it's God's punishment for his sins and that it's all his fault.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Lester is still a sympathetic character even after killing his first wife. Not so much when he frames his own brother for his crime or when he uses his second wife as a Human Shield against Lorne.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Gus's neighbour Ari Ziskind.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Golly for Gus and Molly, Wrenchers for Mr Wrench and Mr. Numbers, Lornester for Lorne and Lester.
  • Recycled Premise: Season 1 is basically a modern, American version of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.
  • The Woobie:
    • Linda Nygaard, a genuinely kind, if somewhat ditzy woman who is totally unaware of the kind of man she married and winds up getting killed for it.
    • Bill becomes this after telling Molly that he plans to resign as chief once Malvo has been caught.
    Bill: I used to have positive opinions about the world — about people. I used to think the best. Now? I'm looking over my shoulder. An unquiet mind, that's what the wife calls it... I never wanted to be the type to think big thoughts about the nature of things. All I ever wanted was a stack of pancakes and a V8.
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