Fargo: Season 2

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A botched blackmail attempt, a sassy judge with a side line in caustically deployed Biblical metaphors, a failure to self-actualise, a few lines of coke, a triple homicide and an apparently dead body impaled in a windscreen. A single moment of madness fans out into chaos, darkness and splashes of scarlet on the pristine Minnesota snow. A seemingly wholesome, folksy character with blood on their hands who should be more out of their depth than they are taking to deception, manipulation and murder with unnerving competence, all ostensibly in the pursuit of bland, mediocre happiness.

Fargo is back and it’s still as dark, ironic and hypnotically brilliant as ever.

These season’s Lester Nygaard is Peggy Blomquist a small town hairdresser played by Kirsten Dunst who accidentally finds herself on the culpable end of a hit and run. She pauses, she thinks, she drives on slowly, she carries on as normal. After a bit of skilful suspense and a gruesome incident involving a garden trowel, she convinces her unwitting husband whose aspirations run as high as owning a butcher’s shop, into hiding the body so they can go on living their life as normal.

Like Lester, she is seemingly unremarkable and rife with hidden sinister depths. Like Lester, her lack of likeability is no bar to how deeply compelling she is as a character. Part of the beauty of Fargo is that the viewers aren’t just waiting to see what happens next but who these characters are.

Although, what is going to happen next is a hook by itself given as the victim just happens to be part of a crime syndicate teetering on the brink of a full on turf war. Oh, and he may have also committed a triple homicide in broad daylight in front of a police officer seconds before taking a bounce on Peggy’s bonnet, so the chances of his disappearance going unnoticed seem fairly slim…

The mood of Fargo is as much of a character as New York is to Woody Allen. The characters may change but the distinctive dark, ironic, self-effacing tone ensures that there is always a constant. The success of maintaining this mood means that rebooting season two with a completely new set of characters and a different time period doesn’t feel like an imposition on the viewers. Just like the characters we know exactly where we are, and still have no idea what’s coming next.

Fargo is broadcast on Monday nights at 10pm on Channel 4.