FARGO [Season 3, Episode 1 Review]: Oh, Brother…
Fargo is back, baby! After airing its season 2 finale in December 2015 and with creator Noah Hawley busy with pre-production of the bombastic first season of Legion, 2017 seemed a ways off. Well my friends, we made it to the promise land and Season 3 is upon us. Fargo has a reputation of exceeding expectations set forth from prior seasons, will S03 live up to that or might it buck the trend?
In true Coen Brothers fashion the story begins in Berlin 1988, a decade or so off from when the main storyline picks up. Fans of the Coen’s A Serious Man will draw the parallels between the show and the film’s prologue. A distraught Jacob Ungerleider is being interrogated by East German authorities about the a murder, as much as he pleads and reasons that he is not Yuri Gurka authorities believe otherwise and is responsible for murdering his girlfriend, even though he has a wife. True to Fargo roots it seems that it is a mistake that might get blown out of proportions. Whether it has anything to do with the main storyline is yet to be seen that or it is a dramatized bit of the opening text that precedes every Fargo episode, “This is a true story. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
The story revolves around the brothers Stussy (Ewan McGregor and.. Ewan McGregor) fighting over a stamp. There’s Ray, the down-on-his-luck parole officer, and Emmit, the older brother and successful parking lot king. Ray wanting to make an honest girl out of one of his parolees, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), goes to Emmit for a bit of money to buy a ring. Emmit refuses his brother’s wish and thus sets off the chain of events.
Emmit not divulging that his business had hit a snag and with no banks willing to loan him the money, he and his right hand man Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg), turn to a broker by the name of Ehrmantraut. As they’re willing to pay back the money they owe they can’t reach the broker when they call, getting clicks and buzzers for an answer. When suddenly appears V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) telling the pair that the money was never a loan rather an investment. Being that this is Fargo’s nefarious big bad one can only imagine the returns Varga is looking to get.
In a world where no character is either all bad or all good, there’s plenty shades of gray, the true, and logical, moral compass falls on a police officer. Wouldn’t ya know it, this iterations likely hero is Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) who’s caught right in the middle of this whirlwind of events. As Ray dispatches one of his parolees Maurice (Scoot McNairy) to retrieve the stamp but the dope head makes a bigger mess of things by burglarizing the wrong Stussy! Ennis Stussy, Gloria’s stepfather.
Noah Hawley, you’ve done it again! We’ve come back to a world where every choice, no matter how big or small, causes a ripple effect through the entangled lives of these characters, whether they live, die or somehow scrape by. This is required television viewing even if you haven’t seen Season 1 or 2 (both on Hulu). The characters are larger than life, the twists are unexpected, the accents are heavy, it is poetically violent and the affable idiots caught in the middle are loveable.