Fargo Is The Greatest Show Currently On Television (Video)
[Ed. note: contains major spoilers, so beware.] Noah Hawley’s version of the Coen brothers’ Fargo universe ends its run Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on FX and I’m already gutted. Hawley has taken us over the last two months from what looked — at first — like a tribute version of a great movie and created something pretty awesome.
It begins in Brainerdesque town of Bemidji, with Lester Nygard (Martin Freeman), an inoffensive enough loser and cuckold, having a chance encounter with hitman Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) in an emergency room. Malvo plants a germ of an idea in his head — that playing by society’s rules has gotten him nowhere. It’s a realization that spells doom for Lester’s first and second wives, the town’s police chief, Lester’s brother and a bunch of gangsters and bystanders over the next several episodes — and, dammit, Stephen Root, who should have been busy voicing Bill Dauterive and Buck Strickland instead of eating a bullet.
Deputy Molly Solverson (the soon-to-be star Alison Tolman, if there’s any justice in the world) is on to both of them and spends over a year trying to convince her boss, the dim, but decent Bill (Bob Odenkirk in yet another great character role) that his old friend Lester was in cahoots with Malvo. Along the way, she loses her spleen in a shootout to her future husband Gus (Colin Hanks), gets pregnant and teams up with FBI agents Budge and Pepper (Key and Peele).
I won’t recap each episode because that’s what On Demand is for, but there was a scene in last week’s installment that might be the best bit of TV I’ve watched ever — and I watch a lot of TV, friend. Malvo returns to Bemidji after a sojourn to Kansas City and Las Vegas to hunt down Lester. He drops into Lou’s Coffee Shop, owned by Lou Solverson, Molly’s dad played to perfection by Keith Carradine, who took a bullet and got a medical retirement from the state police years ago. Malvo bullshits with Lou like he would any other clueless prole, attempting to find out where to find Lester. He discovers that there’s more to Lou than ice fishing and “ya, you betcha.” Neither man shows his hand, but both know the other is on to them.
I can’t do it true justice here, because I don’t think such perfection could be recreated. Go check it out on On Demand, iTunes or wherever you go to binge watch.
We’re left where I started with all this: gutted. I don’t know who will live, who will die or who will go to jail and it’s killing me almost as much as the realization that it all ends. Hawley has called Fargo “an anthology series”, but I’d be happy with him writing about Molly, Lorne, Lou, Gus and whoever else survives for the next decade.
The season, but hopefully not series, finale airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday on FX.