Fargo: Murder, Coffee & Kitchen Nightmares

The second season of Fargo travels back to Sioux Falls 1979, in South Dakota and Luverne in Minnesota State. The second season is the prequel to season one as we follow State Police Office Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as a young cop, not the coffee shop owner in the first season played by Keith Carradine. He is recently back from Nam, and is investigating a local gang and organized crime bracket. Working the case with him, is his father-in-law Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson). The case will bring them into contact with a number of characters including Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman), Luverne’s local lawyer. He’s a drunken attorney with the gift of a motor mouth.

We also have the Kansas City Mafia, represented by a quartet of men. First off there’s the front man, Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) for the northern expansion the Kansas City crime syndicate.His number two is Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine) and he’s always bloody smiling and cracking jokes. And with Mike, there’s the Kitchen Brothers (Brad Mann & Todd Man) as his muscle.They have their eyes on the Gerhardt crime family in Fargo, led by Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart). With her husband nearly six feet under, Floyd takes over the family business, spurning her eldest, Dodd Gerhardt (Jeffery Donovan). He’s the Sonny Corleone of the show; hotheaded, needlessly violent and an inkling to be cruel as well as ambitious without the wits to carry it out. Dodd wants both his parents to croak so he can rule. Bear Gerhardt (Angus Sampson) is the middle son, a big guy, uneducated, a bit dim but is probably the most reasonable of the family. Then we also have Rye (Kieran Culkin) who is the youngest of them all, who starts the whole brutal and bloody mess that is the plot of season two.

Patrick Wilson as young Police State Officer Lou Solverson (Fargo, FX)

Patrick Wilson as young Police State Officer Lou Solverson
(Fargo, FX)

Aw Jeez! This season was brutal. Sure, season one was heavy and with many shockers, especially with likes of the little and quaint Martin Freeman earning the title of MC Hammer, though he isn’t a broke-ass. But season two was as if Black Mass has come to Twin Peaks with Scorsese giving it the Goodfellas do over. Season two was all mobbed up and boy, it was a wonderful season. There’s no way in hell that anyone could replicate a character as great or as bad as Lorne Malvo (Thornton), and they didn’t bother trying. Season two introduces the audience to a different batch of personalities instead. The season centres around a familiar character with a different face in Patrick Wilson’s Lou Solverson as well as two crime syndicates battling it out. Also, we were witness to the activities and shenanigans from Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers, that doesn’t sound like a tacky 80s rock band one bit.

Much alike season one, season two brings in a new batch of masterclass actors from Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) to Jean Smart (24) to Bokeem Woodbine (The Host) and even to Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man). But the small-time players in the series like Cristin Milioti as Betsy Solverson or the quirky and eccentric Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman) have the chances to wow us. Each cast member, no matter how small or big shined at one time or another. FX doesn’t suffer fools with the making of this show and doesn’t waste screen time, which can’t be said for many other networks with their twenty-three episode seasons. They elongate storylines in to twenty-three episodes and then string viewers along ending seasons with awful finales, cringeworthy stories, plot armour and casting bad actors.

Mike Milliagan & The Kitchen Brothers (Fargo, FX)

Mike Milligan & The Kitchen Brothers
(Fargo, FX)

Much akin to season one, season two is masterclass storytelling. In addition, the use of technical elements like musical score, editing and cinematography are second to none. This is quite evident by the season’s conclusion, after the huge shootout at the motel but not before the great voiceover by Martin Freeman. A murder in Fargo is like the equivalent to seeing the Second Coming Of Christ. It’s unheard of. Nothing goes on this quaint town in the Midwest. Yet, ironically a triple homicide isn’t even the worst thing to happen in the Midwest as we see this season.

Fargo’s season two is just as perfect as season one.The thing about Fargo is that it feels more like a Netflix series than an FX series, in the way that the seasons feel more like ten-hour feature films than a television show. Many episodes stood as standalone narratives and were depicted with things like Martin Freeman’s voiceover, though in his native English accent rather than the quirky Midwestern-accent he used in season one.

The poised, intelligent and ruthless Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart)
(Fargo, FX)

Fargo doesn’t rely on special effects and car chases like most crime dramas, because it doesn’t need to. Stellar acting performances and superb narratives are enough to keep viewers interested with their eyes glued to what’s next on the Mike Milligan’s bucket list with the help from his trusted pals Shaggy & Scooby…sorry I meant The Kitchen Brothers, though no time for Scooby Snacks.

When this series returns in 2017 with Ewan McGregor, it’s not going to be adding salt to the wounds of season two. The crime families and the Solversons will be ancient history and there won’t be any Roswell-esque sightings. The third season will take places some years after the first season with a modern twist, incorporating something unique to the post-2010 world, mayhap national surveillance yet keeping the originality of the Coen Brother’s cult classic as well as telling a story inspired by “The History Of True Crime In The MidWest.”

Guilt wears the veil of innocence with these two jokers; Ed Blumquist (Jesse Plemons) & Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) (Fargo, FX)

Guilt wears the veil of innocence with these two jokers; Ed Blumquist (Plemons) & Peggy Blumquist (Dunst)
(Fargo, FX)

Fargo is the pinnacle of crime dramas, past and present. Truly a wonderfully constructed season from start to finish, incorporating moments of shock, joy and laugh-out-loud moments at the very black comedy. Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) plays a compelling young Lou and Kirsten Dunst plays a very crazy and borderline sadistic, Peggy Blumquist in addition to season-stealing performances from Jean Smart and Bokeem Woodbine. Filled with excellent storytelling and picturesque cinematography, Fargo is a keeper, and I hope it runs for a couple more seasons at the very least.

FX delivers a hotpot of mobster mayhem, scintillating storytelling and phenomenal performances from all the cast