Fargo—Season 2

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9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Clever writing, great characters, fun balance of humor and drama like the movie

The sci-fi storyline could be off-putting to some

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Yah…It’s gonna get messy

A shootout at a diner and an unexpected encounter in the road leads to a trail of blood with a butcher and his wife (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst) find themselves the targets of the Gerhardt mafia family.  As Officer Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and his father-in-law Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) try to stop the bloodshed, a family from Kansas City has also moved in to make a power-play in the situation…and walking away might not be an option.

Fargo—Season 2 aired from October 12, 2015 to December 14, 2015 on FX.  It is a prequel to Fargo—Season 1 and the movie and was received with rave reviews and awards.  It received Golden Globe nominations for both Patrick Wilson and Kirsten Dunst.

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The Kitchen Brothers give this season an 11 out of 10!

Fargo is one of my favorite movies and the Fargo TV series really, really scared me.  I didn’t want the movie to be marred by the series, but I was pleasantly surprised by Fargo—Season 1 which I enjoyed.  Fargo—Season 2 received even more hype than season one and once again I was worried…but I shouldn’t have been.  There is a *****Spoiler Alert***** in effect for the rest of the review.

While Fargo—Season 1 kept a lot of the spirit and style of Fargo, this season seems to be a bit more brutal, but still has that Fargo touch.  The movie really captures the Coen Brothers style and reminds me a lot of Blood Simple.  The story is rather relentless and no one is safe.  It is a study on people on various levels of “goodness” from “Very Good” (Lou Solverson and his family) to “Very Bad” (Dodd Gerhardt and Hanzee) and those that fall somewhere in-between (the Blumquists).  You find yourself siding with different characters throughout the film and in turn questioning “what’s it all for” just like in the original Fargo.

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The ’80s are coming and so is Reagan!

The cast is stellar and even improved on the fun first season with a number of standout characters.  Both Wilson and Danson are good as the law, but as in most films, the bad guys are more fun.  Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst were good with Plemons putting on pounds while Dunst actually gets the “meatier” role as the unbalanced Peggy.  I felt that the Dodd and Bear were a little too one dimensional but I loved Floyd played by Jean Smart as the no-nonsense mother and potential boss.  The real standouts of the show were Bokeem Woodbine (and his Kitchen Brothers) as the smart talking agent from Kansas City and Zahn McClarnon as the assassin Hanzee who could have given the Coen Brothers’ Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men) a run for his money.

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That’s one scary guy…

The season also feels more stylized than the previous season.  Set in 1979, the characters are already in period garb, but the show was shot in a DePalma-esque format that utilized lots of split screens to show characters side-by-side.  It also frequently utilized overlapping time and interacting storylines that panned out in other episodes.

One of the strangest parts of Fargo—Season 2 is the sci-fi aspect of the show…yep, sci-fi.  I imagine that this is what people would have a problem with if they weren’t willing to go with it.  It would be a deus ex machina type situation when the spaceship shows up in “The Castle” providing both Solverson and the Blumquists  with a means for escape, but the spaceship was present throughout the story.  Not only did it cause Culkin’s character to be struck, but other characters reference strange sights in the sky and there are multiple references to it peppering episodes.  It is almost a more visible mystery like something from Picnic at Hanging Rock but I also could see the viewers feeling like it was when the UFO showed up in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian as a sight-gag.  It is never explained nor does it really need to be…viewers will either like it, or hate it.

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Eat your heart out Close Encounters!

Fargo—Season 2 continues a great series, but it worries me.  With each season being impressive, I’m dreading the inevitable “bad season”.  The series is pretty tangentially tied together (a flashforward indicates what happens to the characters here) and even Hanzee’s fate is revealed if you are paying attention.  I sometimes wish it was a bit more tied together, but I still enjoy the ride…UFOs and all.  Bring on Season 3!

Fargo—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

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“Waiting for Dutch”

2.1       Waiting for Dutch Airdate:  10/12/15

Otto Gerhardt (Michael Hogan) suffers a massive stroke and leaves his crime family in crisis.  An attempt to set out on his own puts Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin) on the trail of a judge (Ann Cusack)…leading to a bloodbath and a surprising twist.  Officer Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and his father-in-law Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) are called in to investigate the murders and try to piece together the crime.  Ed Blumquist (Jesse Plemons) returns home from work to receive a surprise from his wife Peggy (Kirsten Dunst).  Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) and his crime organization plot the takeover of Gerhardt’s organization.

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“Before the Law”

2.2       Before the Law Airdate:  10/19/15

Bulo meets with Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart) and offers to buy out the Gerhardt operations…leading to a faceoff between Floyd and her son Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan) over who’s going to run the family.  Lou questions turning over the murder case when his wife Betsy (Cristin Milioti) finds a new clue.  Ed works to cover up his wife’s hit-and-run by getting rid of Rye’s body, but Peggy’s coworker Constance (Elizabeth Marvel) begins to suspect that Peggy is hiding something.  Floyd orders Rye found, but Bulo’s men Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) and the Kitchen Brothers (Brad Mann and Todd Mann) are also looking for him.

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“The Myth of Sisyphus”

2.3       The Myth of Sisyphus Airdate:  10/26/15

Ed has disposed of Rye’s body, but the discovery of Rye’s gun now have the police looking for him and questioning his disappearance.  Lou stakes out Judge Mundt’s office and gets on the trail of Skip Sprang (Mike Bradecich).  Skip searches for Rye but runs into Rye’s niece Simone (Rachel Keller) and Hanzee Dent (Zahn McClarnon) who want to know Rye’s location.  Charlie (Allan Dobrescu) tries to get into the family business but is warned by his father Bear (Angus Sampson) that he’s is not allowed.  A visit to the Gerhardts  by Lou and Detective Ben Schmidt (Keir O’Donnell) goes south when Lou ends up in a face-off with Dodd.

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“Fear and Trembling”

2.4       Fear and Trembling Airdate:  11/02/15

Dodd remembers going on his first kill with his father.  Lou and Betsy get bad news on Betsy’s cancer treatment.  Floyd meets with Bulo and his men with an offer, but Bulo has his own offer for Floyd and the Gerhardts.  Hanzee tracks Rye and finds the link to Peggy and Ed.  Ed plans for his future at the butcher shop but discovers that Peggy has her own plans.

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“The Gift of the Magi”

2.5       The Gift of the Magi Airdate:  11/09/15

The Gerhardts have gone to war with Kansas City over control of their territory.  Peggy tries to convince Ed to go to California on the run, but Ed tries to convince Peggy to make his dream work.  Mike demands that Simone work as his informant inside of the Gerhardts.  Ronald Regan (Bruce Campbell) makes a visit to Minnesota as he campaigns for the Presidency and Lou is assigned to escort him.

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“Rhinoceros”

2.6       Rhinoceros Airdate:  11/16/15

Ed is under arrest and Charlie is in custody for his attempted murder.  Floyd has sent Bear and Dodd to get her grandson back and kill Ed and it is up to Lou, Hank, and the local attorney Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman) to stop the bloodshed.  Simone’s selling out of her family has consequences when Mike Milligan moves in.

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“Did You Do This? No, You Did It!”

2.7       Did You Do This?  No, You Did It! Airdate:  11/23/15

The Gerhardts mourn Otto and Rye and the war is heating up.  Ed and Peggy are on the run, and Dodd is missing.  Floyd makes a deal with the police to get rid of the Kansas City faction.  Bear finds Simone has betrayed the family and takes matters into his own hands.  Karl watches over Betsy, and Betsy makes a discover about her father.  Mike learns his failure to settle the Gerhardts means the Undertaker is being sent in…leading to a bold move.

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“Loplop”

2.8       Loplop Airdate:  11/30/15

Peggy and Ed are on the run with Dodd as their hostage.  While trying to broker a deal for his return, Hanzee tracks Ed and Peggy.  Dodd finds Peggy is becoming more and more unbalanced as her grasp on reality slips.

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“The Castle”

2.9       The Castle Airdate:  12/07/15

Hanzee has gone rogue following his murder of Dodd and turned against the Gerhardts as the police set up a hotel sting for Kansas City using the Blumquists.  Betsy takes a turn for the worse.  Lou finds himself in a power struggle with the local police but suspects that the police don’t know what is coming…as a surprising intervention could change everything.

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“Palindrome”

2.10     Palindrome Airdate:  12/14/15

Betsy has a vision of possible things to come.  Mike is rewarded in Kansas City for his hard work but it isn’t what he expected.  With the Gerhardts slaughtered in the motel shootout, Peggy and Ed are on the run from Hanzee…leading to a deadly confrontation and an uncertain future.

Related Links:

Fargo (1996)

Fargo—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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