Fargo, returned for its sophomore season on the FX network last night. The setting this season is again in Minnesota, but it is 1979 which makes this season a prequel.
Just two characters return from last season’s nearly universally praised and surprising hit show. One would be Lou Solverson, played last year by Keith Carradine and set in 2006. Here Solverson is much younger and played by Patrick Wilson.
Lou’s daughter Molly, was played wonderfully last season by Allison Tolman, who starred as a Minnesota Deputy Sheriff is back – but this time around, she’s just a four-year old kid. So we won’t be seeing Allison.
What has also returned is the quirky characters, the sudden and shocking violence, and the often tundra ike weather of Minnesota.
We’ve got another season of warfare by gangsters, dumb as doorknobs characters, a whole bevy of characters who speak with Minne-sow-tah accents as they strive ahead always seeking something beyond their reach, capabilities, or good sense.
Like True Detective, another anthology series that aired its second season on HBO recently, Fargo is also an anthology. But while True Detective was mostly deadly serious – this show is best described as mostly deadly.
And that’s not meant to be a negative. In this Season Opening episode called Waiting for Dutch we are going to hear about and see a Ronald Reagan western film being filmed (that is without “Dutch” Reagan who is off-screen getting the shot by Sioux arrows inserted), and then, in no particular order, we will see Jimmy Carter, electric typewriters, UFO’s, and a restaurant called The Waffle Hut.
Before the episode is over, 4 separate people will have been killed, the police will notice a single shoe hanging off of a tree, as well as facing the challenge of the case which yields the bodies of three victims with 4 cars remaining in the parking lot.
Now Fargo may be deadly, but the situations are decidedly humorous – they lack only the snappy one-liners, as well as a laugh track.
Lester Nygaard (played by Martin Freeman) last year is not back physically. The character presumably died. But a Lester Nygaard-ish character is there front and center.
That would be Kirsten Dunst playing Peggy Blomquist, a hair-dresser married to a butcher. She is both in over-her-head and far smarter than she appears to be.
Her husband, Ed Blomquist, has no idea as to what he’s gotten himself in for by agreeing to help her out of her dilemma – which she conveniently calls ‘our dilemma’ when talking to him.
Of course Lester had to deal with Lorne Malvo. And he didn’t come out on top. I’ve no idea as to might be playing that type of character in this year’s show. But there is some terrific casting that will command your attention.
Ted Danson plays the older cop who says upon viewing the carnage – This is a deal…
Patrick Wilson plays the young Lou Solverson. Brad Garrett is a Kansas City mobster with designs on the Gerhardt gang in Luverne, MN,
and Jean Smart is the current head of the Gerhardt gang after her husband Otto suffered a stroke. By the way her name is Floyd Gerhardt.
The thing about this year’s Fargo, and the key to enjoying it, is to not come in expecting a lot of laugh out loud moments. Instead concentrate on the lines themselves as well as the deliveries by the actors. When you do that, the humor, doesn’t quite explode, but upon reflection, you will smile, and you will note that series creator and chief writer, Noah Hawley, has done a masterful job.
Hank Larssen: There’s a shoe in that tree…s’pose we oughtta get that down?
His job was to start with a foundation of the 1996 Coen Brothers film called Fargo, and develop it for a TV series without bringing back either the story line, the characters, or even the original actors.
I think he’s succeeded wildly, and that’s just telling it like it is.
Here is the trailer for Fargo – Season 2
Check it out. And quoting from the three characters in the butcher shop who all used this line in last night’s season premiere – Okay then!
Full Disclosure: I am bound for Minneapolis. Minnesota next week. I’m flying out of Tampa for Minneapolis for the Twin Cities Film Festival. I depart on October 20th, and the festival begins October 21st. Details to follow.