Fargo: Season 1
Written by Kate Loneragan
These reviews serve no purpose other than to convince Sebastian to watch the shows. There is only so much Star Trek a person can watch. Branch out.
Edit: Make Me - Sebastian
Fargo (2014) is the tonal and spiritual continuation of the Coen Brothers 1996 film Fargo. As an anthology series, each season is a self-contained story set in the original films location of wintery Minnesota.
Season 1 introduces the mischievous Lorne Malvo (Thornton) as he insights violence across the sleepy town of Bemidji. It soon becomes clear that anyone who comes into contact with Malvo is in danger of becoming the danger. No one takes this to heart more than Lester Nygaard (Freeman). Malvo’s visit to Bemidji sets of a chain events that pulls Molly Solverson (Tolman), Gus Grimly (Hanks) and the mob in Fargo into the fold of mischief and murder.
Executive producer and creator Noah Hawley constructed what I think is a very insular story. Over the course of 10 episodes we follow Malvo and Nygaard as they are pursued by Solverson and Grimly. Save for a few supporting characters, it’s these four we focus on.
Television lives or dies on with its characters, and Fargo’s cast is strong in all corners. Molly Solverson emerges from the snow completely formed; determined, smart and full of conviction, unafraid of what searching for the truth might mean. Lester Nygaard is so mad at the world for the hand he’s dealt he returns his perceived injustices to it in spades. Gus Grimly is quiet and just trying to be a good man and good police officer. And Malvo is quite literally evil. It isn’t hard to imagine the events in Fargo having happened elsewhere Malvo has visited.
The first massacre of Season 1 comes at the end of the first episode. The first massacre of Season 2 comes about 15 minutes into the first episode. As violent as Season 1 is, there’s something sinister about it. Season 2’s violence is hyperbolic and jarring.
Season 2 of Fargo is as full of grandeur as Season 1 is isolated and understated. We follow Lou Solverson (father of Molly) as he investigates the massacre at the Waffle Hut and the events it invokes. The players include: The Gerhardt crime family, the Kansas City mob and Peggy and Ed Blumquist, who also become teeny tiny crime family in their own right. It’s Peggy, a hairdresser, who sets of the events of Season 2 with her personal drive and obliviousness to her affects on the people around her.
As a series Fargo is a slow, satisfying burn that somehow keeps you on the edge of your seat. Both seasons are excellent examples of character and plot coming together to tell an excellent story.