Sunday, November 1, 2015

Loving Fargo on FX


Unlike the big disappointment I had with HBO's True Detective’s second season, Fargo’s second season  on FX hit the ground, running leaving us breathless and in shock. I had the opportunity to watch the first three episodes on Halloween and I’m so happy that I did. On Fargo, we have our bad guys, the good guys and, a few good people who do dumb-ass stuff that makes them just as scary as the bad guys. The acting and script are superb, which makes it such a pleasure to return to good ole Fargo, North Dakota.

Waiting for Dutch S02 E01
The show opens with a snippet of film called Massacre at Sioux Falls. There are bodies everywhere; those of soldiers and Native Americans alike. Then we jump to a scene of Jimmy Carter speaking on television. It’s 1979 and there is a gas shortage. The Gerhardt family is North Dakota’s version of the Sopranos led by Otto (Michael Hogan), his wife Floyd (Jean Smart) and their three sons, Dodd (Jeffrey Donavan), Bear (Angus Sampson) and Rye (Kieran Culkin). People are afraid of this family and rightly so. They are cold-blooded killers who control trucking distribution for the entire Northern Midwest and, they fear no one, not even the law.

We also have our good guys Officers Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) and Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) who eventually have to tangle with this crime family when the youngest son gets in trouble. There is one character that carries over from season one and that is Lou Solverson, who in season one played the diner-owning father of Deputy Molly Solverson, originally played by Keith Carradine. In this prequel, Patrick Wilson is playing the younger version of Lou when he was a Minnesota State Trooper who recently returned home from the war in Vietnam.
Rye, the youngest of the Gerhardt sons, wants a little more power than he’s given by his brother Dodd but that’s not going to happen anytime soon, especially because Rye owes Dodd money. A trip to Watson’s typewriter store promises some income with a newer self-correcting typewriter, but owner Skip (Mike Bradecich) needs a judge to forgive his case on back taxes in order to get the funding to purchase the stock. If Rye can accomplish changing the judge’s opinion, then he can get the money Skip owes him to pay Dodd. It’s the ultimate shell game.
When Rye’s plans to talk to the lady judge go very, very wrong (I mean who carry’s bug spray in their purse?) Rye gets into a shootout. Now, this is why Fargo rocks! Once outside the diner, Rye is distracted by a UFO causing him to be hit by a car driven by Peggy Blumquist (Kristin Dunst). Does she stop? Does she call the police or an ambulance? No! She drives home with Rye stuck in her windshield.
When her husband, Ed (Jesse Plemons) comes home from his job at Bud’s Meat Shop in Luverne, he’s wondering what the racket is in the garage. Peggy lies and says she hit a deer. Surprise! Rye is alive; badly injured, but alive. In an act of self-defense from a knife wielding Rye, Ed is forced to kill Rye.

The fact that Peggy calmly drove home and made dinner gives a hint to her character. She’s the most dangerous kind of narcissist and we know from the get go that poor Ed is going to suffer.
Fargo did what True Detective didn’t do in their second season. It kept the formula the same. Why change what doesn’t need fixing. With the Coen brothers, Ethan and Joe at the helm and, Noah Hawley as the writer/executive producer/showrunner, Fargo remains an award-winning series.

What Peggy doesn’t know is that Otto has had a stroke and the Kansas City Mafia is coming to town to take over the Gerhardt operation by force. The Gerhardt’s are going to be looking for their youngest and so will the police who investigate the diner killings.

Her husband has Rye in the freezer for now, but they’ll have to get rid of the body and soon. The ground is frozen solid, so burying the evidence is out of the question. Oh, did I mention that Ed is a butcher?

The show comes on every Monday at 10 p.m. on FX. Watch it!

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