The worry for most surrounding the second season of Noah Hawley’s acclaimed Fargo adaptation is much the same worry as the first time around: can it live up to the previous Fargo? So far, so good.
Following the story of Molly Solverson’s father, Lou (played by Patrick Wilson), as he gravitates towards an odd triple murder, Season 2 sets off with sturdy footing. Much like its predecessor, the story is kicked into gear by an underdog and an act of God. While gangster Rye Gerhardt (a panicky Kieran Culkin) is out trying to prove his worth to his older brothers, their kingpin father is having a stroke, just as a new outfit is trying to muscle their way in. Rye’s ineptitude immediately gets him into trouble, dragging local police forces and innocent bystanders along with him. These include Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, respectively playing Peggy and Ed Blomquist, a struggling couple whose biggest concern was having children – until now.
Also along for the ride are a few of Lou’s friends: Hank (Ted Danson), a friendly local policeman, and Karl Weathers, a conspiracy-spouting local played by the ever-likeable Nick Offerman. Fargo wisely continues its run of casting big names in quirky Minnesota-nice roles to great affect: Dunst already establishes Peggy as an intriguing character, her relationship with husband Ed one of the most interesting aspects of the first episode.
Overall, the show does the best that could be expected. It’s still uniquely unpredictable, very well acted and the sound design recalls Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. Much like both its predecessors, though, Fargo will live or die dependant on its characters; replacing Martin Freeman’s loveable foolishness or Billy Bob-Thornton’s stoic malice was never going to be easy. But running with a proven character like Lou bridges that gap a little, and the final scene provides all the malice necessary to welcome us back.
Season 1 and 2 of Fargo are available to watch online on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. Head this way for a review of Fargo Season 1.
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Spoilers and further consideration
– Fargo’s oddities mostly speak for the themselves or defy analysis (UFOs, anyone?), though the final moments of the assumed crime syndicate we’re so used to being threatened by is more than enough to keep everyone’s attention.
– Peggy Blomquist’s odd actions following hitting Rye with her car, raise just as many questions. Her emotional distance from Ed adds to the idea that all is not quite as it seems in the Blomquist household.
– With only a peek into Lou’s life and actions, and his allowing Hank to take the case for now, can only suggest that further chaos is to come. Especially following Karl Weather’s drunken allusion that this thing’s only gonna get bigger.