A diner massacre, a meat grinder, a body stuck in a windshield, and a UFO. What could possibly go wrong? I am going to be tackling something a little different here. I have chosen to do a review of the second Fargo series, which aired from October to December of 2015. The series has won seven awards, and has been nominated for an additional fifteen. I have made multiple allusions and shout-outs to Fargo in my past reviews, so it is about time I tackle quite possibly one of the greatest series of last year. You betcha!
There have been two seasons of Fargo so far, and every season is different, so essentially you get to slack off: you don’t have to watch a previous season to understand the following one. Lucky you. We begin in late winter of 1979, hot on the heels of the Reagan presidential campaign. A massacre at a Waffle House near Luverne, Minnesota, and a fatal hit-and-run introduce us to our ragtag bunch of misfits. Three different storylines converge from this point forwards, each intertwining with the others, which is one of the show’s strengths.
First, we have the police force investigating the murders at the Waffle House, consisting of Patrick Wilson as State Trooper Lou Solverson, and his partner in crime and father-in-law, Sherriff Hank Lawson, portrayed by Ted Danson. Next, we have a Kansas City-based crime syndicate, headed by no-nonsense family matriarch Floyd Gerhardt, in an award winning performance by Jean Smart. The stars of the season are a husband-and-wife team, the Blomquists, portrayed by Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, who may appear normal and wholesome on the surface, but are hiding their own personal demons. Dunst, in particular, is the standout of the season and was nominated for three awards, most recently winning a Critic’s Choice Award for her performance. (Please expect her to win even more awards, because God commands it.) Playing a small-town beautician with big dreams, her portrayal of compulsive liar Peggy Blomquist is equal parts charming and refreshing, having just a touch of insanity mixed with standard wholesome 1970s hospitality. Her interactions with husband Ed are just believable enough to make you root for her. In supporting roles we have one of the Culkin brothers as youngest Gerhardt sibling, Rye; Cristin “How I Met Your Mother” Milloti as Lou’s wife Betsy; and Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman, as Detective Karl Weathers.
For a show set in the 1970s, the crew went all-out to retain that nostalgic sense. Everything is accurate to the time period. From the costumes, to the hairstyles, to the cars, this show has it all. The music is all vintage, with songs by Fleetwood Mac, The Dramatics, Bobby Gentry, Jethro Tull, and Pink Floyd, among others. If I had any complaints about this show (as you know I always do), it would be that the characters in Fargo talk like Sarah Palin. Expect to hear a lot of, “Oh y’know” and “Oh yah!” However, none of this should deter you from watching one of the funniest, darkest, cleverest shows of the past year.