'Fargo' Star on Big Twist: 'The Stakes Are So Much Higher' (Q&A)

Allison Tolman also teases the finale, telling THR not every character will get a happy ending.
Allison Tolman

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Tuesday's episode of Fargo, "The Heap."]

Fargo keeps pushing forward — this week, in a big way.

In Tuesday's episode, the FX drama made a time jump, moving one year past the pilot episode's murders.

Molly (Allison Tolman) is now pregnant and living with Gus (Colin Hanks) – and despite her new life, she can't get over knowing the murders were not actually solved. From a storytelling standpoint, Tolman says the time jump ups the ante for viewers, who may have been worried that either Molly or Gus would die before the couple got together.

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"With the reboot, you miss the whole relationship and so the stakes are so much higher," Tolman tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It's 'Oh, my God, I got what I wanted and I still feel like somebody is going to die.' It's smartly done."

Here, Tolman discusses what she's learned from Martin Freeman and teases that not everybody will get a happy ending in the finale.

What does it mean to Molly knowing Lester is getting away with his crimes?

It was a hard scene, where she's continuing to be tenacious and Bill (Bob Odenkirk) says sometimes you have to go to bed hungry or unsatisfied. For me – as someone who spent all that time in Molly's shoes – it was a crushing disappointment knowing she's going to sit on the murders. It's a huge blow to know she's going to have to put it on the back burner

The time jump was a surprise. What did you think about that choice?

I think that people have been counting on and rooting for Molly and Gus so hard – they were probably thinking "one of them is going to die." With the reboot, you miss the whole relationship and so the stakes are so much higher. It's "Oh, my God, I got what I wanted" and I still feel like somebody is going to die. It's smartly done.

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This is your breakout role and you more than hold your own with some very established actors. What's the secret to doing that?

This whole process has been incredibly strange and exciting and unexpected. I've been lucky to have really good guides on the way. Everyone's been really helpful and helping me learn to navigate this.

You are now nominated at the Critics' Choice TV Awards. Did you have any idea you'd be getting this kind of attention?

I knew the show was good, and that was my focus. I didn't feel like I was doing a bad job while I was working, but I didn't feel like I was doing anything groundbreaking while I was working. I've never been that kind of actress either. I'm not method. I don't immerse myself in the role. I can usually turn it off OK at the end of the night. I'm getting up there in years as far as people who are making a break in the business. I'm just kind of doing the same thing I've been doing for 10 years but no one had been watching before. (Laughs.)

How'd you get the accent down?

I'm pretty good with accents, and I've got a pretty good ear for them. I worked a little bit with a dialogue coach before I left over Skype. When I got to Canada we had a coach on set, but it got in my ear pretty quickly.

Would you and your costars walk around all day talking in the accent between takes?

Martin would keep his accent from when he was in the makeup chair until the end of the day. I didn't consciously put it on or take it off, but I'm still doing the accent on a fairly regular basis out of habit.

What's acting opposite Martin like?

Martin is a force to be reckoned with. He is super fearless and he does different things with takes. His motto is you'll never know unless you try it. He'll try all sorts of different things with these takes. Watching Martin play Lester was a lesson in improvisation and being fearless.

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Are you privy to what happens with all of the other storylines?

Colin and Billy Bob (Thornton) and Martin and I each got the full scripts. I know where everybody ends up and nothing is sacred in this world, so not everybody is going to be happy. I think it's really well done and really satisfying. When I read the finale, it felt like "this is right."

Do you feel pressure as the finale comes?

It's scary. Finales are hard, and I think about Battlestar Galactica, which I was a huge fan of. That finale was so mixed – people hated it or they loved it. They are hard, because people feel invested and they feel like you owe them something. And you do owe them something.  You hope you led them in the right direction and they are satisfied in the end.

Fargo airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch