Fargo’s second season concludes with a resounding bang – a lot of them, in fact – after a mid-section that took a couple of missteps. Where Episodes 6, 7 and 8 ramped up the plot and tension, Episode 9 confidently steps on the accelerator until the final third, at which point it crashes headlong into a wall. In a good way.
Ending in total carnage, it becomes all too clear why Lou and Ron brand the antics of the future “goddamn Sioux Falls all over again”. It retains a lot of quirks of the first season in a brilliant manner; diligent and laughable police-work, an affinity with the supernatural, civilians becoming far more involved than anyone would like. Noah Hawley has managed to create a season of television that’s unlikely anything else, except his previous creation.
The conclusion of Season 2 is certainly its deepest and strongest moment. The final resting places – above and below ground – of the major players fit with the unpredictable tone and Episode 10’s tangled melancholy echoes Season 1’s brilliant final chapter in which characters are left standing amidst anarchy wondering what happened.
Where Episode 9 ramps up the bedlam, Episode 10 makes the statements. After the bloody and confusing occurrences at the Motor Motel, Lou looks for answers and peace. The remaining characters are given their futures and Hawley’s writing doesn’t let up for a second. What the season lacks in spark, it makes up for with a plot that clearly took a look of thought and hard work.
Fargo’s second season, in some respects, failed to create characters as interesting as its first outing. Bokeem Woodbine’s Mike Milligan being the exception (especially following Billy Bob’s Lorne Malvo as the loquacious enforcer), the impressive cast does well at portraying solid, three-dimensional characters, but sometimes struggles to make them likeable in the way Freeman, Tolman and Hanks did. They’re good, rounded, fascinating people – just a little less rich and colourful.
Having been given a third season, it should be clear that no one doubts Hawley’s ability to craft a show. Season 2’s relationships, monologues and twists – especially while quietly tying into Season 1 – have established that every member of the cast and crew can produce truly original, quality television. So after the massacres and threats, family squabbles and violent betrayals, we can all rest easy. And begin theorising about what Noah Hawley will do next.
Season 1 and 2 of Fargo are available to watch online on Netflix UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription. Head this way for a review of Fargo Season 1.
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Additional notes (contains spoilers
– Will the next season include a version of Hanzee Dent? This may be the question on most minds, after a sly nod to his part in the future of Fargo – and the career trajectories of the Solverson family – and his enjoyably befuddling decision to kill pretty much everyone in sight. It may well prove that he’s too good a character to lose.
– This season has answered a lot of questions asked in the first season, which came across as nonchalant conversation. We now know what they all mean by “goddamn Sioux Falls”, we know what happened to Lou’s wife and we know that Ron Schmidt is “kind of a dick”, as first-season Lou describes him. It’s been an exercise in joyously spotting continuity, as well as a roller coaster.