Billy Bob Thronton is certainly pumping a look in this show. He is giving a next-level psychotic Lloyd Christmas effect. As bizarre as that sounds, I am into it.
Martin Freeman is a great actor. In this role, he seems to be drawing on his training from the Celine Dion School of Accents, because he sort of picks and chooses how “Minnesota” he’s going to be at any minute.
Allison Tolman is fantastic as the Frances McDormand style cop. She’s not really bringing the comedy the way Margie was, but her performance is top-notch.
Colin Hanks is the same reliable Colin Hanks… like a blunt instrument.
Bob Odenkirk is great as a small town sheriff who likes to take people at their word. Fool! When does Better Call Saul start?!
Gary Valentine is still a “big fat sack of garbage.”
It is loosely based on the film of the same name. Except now, the town of Bemidji, MN steps in for Brainerd; Lester Nygaard (Freeman) is an insurance salesman rather than a car salesman; and several plot points have been changed.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING
Billy Bob Thornton and Allison Tolman.
Thornton’s menacing drifter, Lorne Malvo, is as icy as he is dangerous. Tolman’s cop, Molly Solverson, is the show’s moral compass. Nygaard is very reminiscent of William H. Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard. Timid, mousey. That’s all fine. The big difference here is the wife. In the film, she was also a mousey person whose dad was loaded. In the show, she is an emasculating nightmare of a harpy who gets what the fuck she has coming… in the most awesome way.
Kate Walsh shows up for no reason as the boozy wife of a local trucking kingpin that used to bully Lester in high school. He has two piece of shit sons that I would have put through a wood chipper the moment they were introduced. Kate used to be a stripper, and she is really drinking through the pain.
Agent Frank Lundy Keith Carradine plays Molly’s dad, who owns a greasy spoon and serves up sage advice.
So, the storyline here is that Malvo wanders into town and basically starts manipulating people. He has a chance encounter with Lester in the waiting room of the hospital (after Lester’s nose was broken during a run in with the aforementioned bully from high school). Malvo somehow talks Lester into, SPOILER ALERT, killing his wife. There is also a blackmail side plot going on with Oliver Platt’s grocery store magnate and Dennis Reynolds, an insurance side-plot involving Kate, and the investigation (or lack there of) of Lester’s wife’s death. There is kind of alot going on, but it is a treat to watch. Just don’t fall too hard for these characters because…
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T
Fargo is going to be an anthology series, like American Horror Story and True Detective. So season 2 (which is has been renewed for) will have all new characters and a new plot. But that reason is not compelling enough to for you to not watch the show. It is brilliant. But doesn’t it makes complete sense to basically reboot a new show… especially on the heels of being nominated for 18 Emmy awards?!
THE GRADE: A-