Category Archives: Fargo

Fargo – Season 2 – Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Last

After a stellar first season, I had high expectations for the second season of Fargo.  I’m happy to say that this season surpassed my expectations.  The performances were top-notch, maybe even a bit better considering we were without Martin Freeman’s Kermit the Frog impression/accent.

The second season was strong thematically as well.  As institutions changed to become less personal, failures of communications and feelings of unnamed dread were revealed.  The characters grasped for straws to try and make things “like they were” or “like their best selves” when the solution was far simpler than that.  They just needed to listen to each other.

Anyway, final top ten:

10. Ed Died as He Lived

Surrounded by meat products.

9. I Want a Nice, Sunny Jail

Apparently Peggy never heard the song “Folsom Prison Blues.”  Two counts of kidnapping and two counts of felony murder (when people die while you’re committing another felony) should keep her hearing that train a comin’, a comin’ round the bend for quite some time.

8. Montage of Gerhardts

It should be pointed out that none of the Gerhardts were actually killed by the Kansas City Mob.  Instead, they died due to a combination of their own hubris and events largely outside of their control.  Their Rome was going to burn to the ground eventually, the role of the KC group served only to accelerate the inevitable.

7. And the Bad Guy Gets Away

How bad was Hanzee though, really?  Sure he caused a lot of people to die, but most of them were assholes or criminals.

6. Hank = Tolkien

Creating your own language is ambitious, just ask the great novelist and linguist J.R.R. Tolkien.  We all thought Hank was going a little crazy, and it turns out he’s one of the sanest people around.

5. Flash Forward

Great use of cameos from the cast of Season One.  It’s a bit of a Tolkien reference itself.  In The Lord of the Rings, Faramir gives an account of a recurring dream of a great wave, washing over trees and green fields.  Faramir fears the downfall of his people, and Betsy fears that the future she sees will not come to pass.

4. Camus is Do-Do

Betsy’s right about one thing though.  That Camus was full of crap.

3. Mike Milligan is the Czar!

Mike fashions himself a cruel, but fair, monarch.  From his throne in the Dakota badlands he will rule an empire of crime with an iron…

2. There is no Czar!  Only the Party!

Or not.  Instead he gets “promoted” into a role as a corporate worker-bee with a 401K and a 9-5 office job.  His dreams of being a brutal tyrant are crushed by the massive weight of the collective machine.  The machine has no name, has no face, and cannot die, in theory, anyway.

1. The Works of Anton Chekhov

This theme of Russian history leads me into the final point I want to make about this season.  The second season of Fargo has much in common with the works of Anton Chekhov with its themes of family, miscommunication, and dread.   Specifically, Chekhov posits:

Nature’s law says that the strong must prevent the weak from living, but only in a newspaper article or textbook can this be packaged into a comprehensible thought. In the soup of everyday life, in the mixture of minutia from which human relations are woven, it is not a law. It is a logical incongruity when both strong and weak fall victim to their mutual relations, unconsciously subservient to some unknown guiding power that stands outside of life, irrelevant to man.

The second season of Fargo certainly demonstrates that the strong and weak are subject to the power of forces outside of their control. It goes one step further and tries to provide an answer.  There can be order in the chaos if we just stop and listen.  We may always be subject to the chaos, but we don’t have to despair in it.  We can understand each other if we try.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe

Fargo – Season 2 – Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Ninth

Let it not be said that the Sioux Falls Massacre didn’t live up to its name.  The buildup to the climax of the season, only mentioned in whispers in season one, was almost as perfect as the execution of the scene and the setup for next week’s season finale.  Anyway, top ten:

10. Peroxide and Super Glue

Ouch, that looked really painful.  Also, it’s probably still infected – those scissors were certainly not clean.

9. More Dumb Cops

Especially the big, dumb “my way or the highway” cop.  He wasn’t just dumb, but belligerently dumb.

8. True Crime Stories of the Mid-West

More on the voiceover later, but get a load of that book.  Those drawings were fantastic.  Also, it was kind of cool to see the phony-baloney “this story is true” opening in book form.

7. Low Level Enforcer?  Ouch!

Milligan is only a “low level enforcer?”  And here we were thinking he was a force of nature akin to Malvo.  A pity really.

6. Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

Revenge for what exactly?  Decades of casual racism?  Hanzee’s motives are left open ended, but he seemed to take sadistic joy in stabbing Floyd.

5. Peggy is Realized

And she like her chips!

4. Bear Attack!

It was kind of crazy when Bear mauls Lou.  Sure we know Lou survives, but he still hasn’t injured his hip yet so it looked like this was the moment.  Turns out that’ll happen next episode.

3. Well, that was a Freebee

Milligan may have gotten a deep burn from the narrator – see above – but it must be satisfying to come to a location and see your enemies laid to waste and your job essentially done for you.

2. Lester Nygaard Returns!

Sort of.  The voiceover was provided by Martin Freeman.  Usually I don’t care for voiceovers in movies or TV shows (even documentaries), but this was one time the device was well utilized.

1. UFO!

Speaking of creative devices, a UFO?!?  It was set up a few times before though so it wasn’t totally out of left field, just far enough out of left field to make a statement on the bizarre and random events of this season.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe

Fargo – Season 2 – Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Eighth

Okay – NOW we only have two episodes left.  This week was basically a bottle-episode with Ed, Peggy, and Dodd.  Three unpredictable, miserable idiots in one small cabin, what could possible go wrong?  Anyway, top ten:

10. Wheelin’ Out

Apparently Hank wasn’t feeling too badly, since he was a part of the raid later in the episode.  Still, one can’t help being concerned about the guy, bizarre drawings and all.

9. Reagan!

He’s back – in WWII B-Movie form!

8. No One Believes Me!

How many times does the same guy have to call a house before someone with actual power answers the phone?  You’d think Floyd would have just picked up on a whim.  Oh well, on to Mike Milligan.

7. Milligan Likes Your Style, Ed

But what style is that exactly?  What does Milligan actually know ?  Hmmm.

6. Hamburger Helper

In this context – yick!  Yick, yick, yick!

5. Check Yourself, Dirtbag

This is why racist scumbags should check their asinine comments.  You never know when you’re talking to an unstable maniac who’s about to shoot you.  I mean look at Hanzee – doesn’t he just look completely insane?  Idiots.

4. Gas Stations

Gas station attendants have a rough go of it in Coen Brothers movies, especially No Country for Old Men (2007).   Hanzee lets this one off easy.   Speaking of which, there have been plenty of homages to the Coens this season, especially with the music.

3. Dodd Humiliation #3

Getting stabbed in the foot and shot in the face is the most humane thing done to Dodd in the cabin.

2. Dodd Humiliation #2

Let’s just drape a pillowcase over his head – hide that ugly mug while we spoon.

1. Dodd Humiliation #1

Honey – you gotta stop feeding him our beans!  We need those beans!  Also, quit stabbing him already!

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe

Fargo – Season 2 – Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Seventh

There’s some creepy shiz going down this week in the Upper Midwest.  The key difference between this season and last season is that the first season of Fargo had two villainous focal points – Lester (Martin Freeman) and Malvo (Billy-Bob Thornton).  Season two has only a sense of dread, a nameless, external Sauron-esque nightmare descending upon our characters.  Anyway, top-ten:

10. Runes?

I think that our Sheriff friend has either 1) a bizarre hobby or 2) an unfortunate mental illness.  The latter might explain why he bailed on Peggy last week without “checking on her.”

9. The King of Breakfast

Liquid breakfast too!

8. I’m No Rat, But…

Here’s all the information I have about my enemies.  Also, let my kids get away with previous murders, thanks.  I’m still not a rat.  Look at me smoking my pipe.

7. Ricky from Buffalo

Buffalo, New York I assume, although there is a Buffalo, Minnesota.  Interesting fact, Buffalo, New York is a Anglicization of the Old French “Beau Fleuve” or “Beautiful River.”  Buffalo, Minnesota is named for Buffalo Lake, which likely refers to actual bison (just a hypothesis).

6. Window-Washers

They were really committed.  They were doing a great job, then boom – murder.

5. Well if John McCain…

Thumb screws suck, don’t get me wrong.  But I think that’s a central theme of this season – medieval torture has nothing on slow, inner decay.

4. The Undertaker – Ooooo, Scary!

Obvious Mike Milligan didn’t think so.  That escalated quickly.

3. So Long Adrianna…er…Simone

Spoiler alert!  Well maybe not, if I don’t explain the context, but fans of a certain critically acclaimed drama will know what I mean.  Lots of parallels there.

2. The Butcher

Ed is now like, “fuck this, I’m going to be a criminal.”  Might as well at this point.

1. You’re a Shit Cop, You Know that, Right?

Best line of the season so far!

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe

Fargo – Season 2 – Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Sixth

So apparently I was wrong in my previous post – this season of Fargo is ten episodes like Season One.  Yay!  Instead of getting into a reasonable explanation for my snafu, let’s get right into this week’s top ten:

10. So the Kid’s Not Dead

Good for the kid.  Bad for everyone else.  Except for Karl (Nick Offerman) who gets two clients in one day.  Yay!

9. Bro Fight!

After bro fight, you get the belt, apparently.  Ouch.

8. Look at our Convoy!

When you’re engaged in a vicious mob war, it might not be the best idea to roll unnecessarily deep when trying to spring an injured youth from the pokey.

7. Run Ed, Run!

I have a feeling that he’s not getting very far.

6. Why, Peggy, why?

That’s a good question.  She doesn’t seem like a moron (although Hank (Ted Danson) finds her “a little touched”).  So why didn’t she just call the police?  Her explanation is perfectly weird and circular.

5. Where’s that Meat?

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all that the corpse of Rye Gerhardt is currently in someone’s hamburger.  I think someone will, at some point, eat that hamburger.

4. Emancipated?

That’s interesting.  Maybe a little too interesting for a throwaway detail on the butcher shop receptionist.

3. Best Lawyer in Town!

Hear him say cool things like “the jackboots are upon us!”  See him drink himself silly!  Smell him soiling himself at the sign of danger!  He’s the only, and therefore best, lawyer in town!

2. The Jungle of Magazines

The mom-jeaned jaguar stalks her prey in her jungle of hoarded magazines.  The unsuspecting goons are caught unaware.  We’ll see the aftermath next week I suppose.

1. Jabberwocky

Speaking of aftermaths – gunning down your enemy’s stronghold usually has a big one.  Mike Milligan is one scary dude.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe

Fargo – Season 2 – Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Fifth

 

Well.  As foretold last week the crap hit the fan this week.  One bloody shootout, one butcher shop brawl, and one future President.  Anyway, top ten:

10. Reagan at War

Why did you bother asking about a real war when all you had was movie anecdotes to share?  Besides, couldn’t he have told him a story about the homefront or something?  Sheesh.

9. The “Butcher of Luverne”

I mean, look at Ed.  One look and the whole hitman thing kind of goes out the door.  Then again he did just kill a guy with a meat cleaver.  So there’s that.

8. Starstruck

I know the line about not shaking Reagan’s hand was from the previews, but it was pretty hilarious how quickly that turned around.

7. Take My Car!  Please!

No.  That’s not fishy at all.  Buying a car for half price from a crazy lady on a whim.  What could possibly go wrong?

6. UFO’s in Pictures

There’s something uniquely unsettling about children’s drawings featuring UFO’s.

5. At Least it’s Not the Sugar Pill

Or maybe it is – nausea is a symptom too.  In any event it’s not looking good for Mrs. Solverson.

4. Camus Can Do

But Sartre is smartre.

3. Somebody Start a Head in a Box Mashup

For I neither have time nor skill to do so.

2. You Can Do Anything

For you are an American.  Just don’t ask me how.

1. Let’s Get Out of Here

For the world is hollow and I have touched the sky.  Oh wait, that’s a Star Trek episode.  Got carried away there.  Anyway one minute before leaving, and here come the cops.  And next week, here comes all hell breaking loose.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe

Fargo Season 2, Top Ten Most Bizarre Moments: Part the Fourth

FARGO -- ÒFear and TremblingÓ -- Episode 204 (Airs November 2, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blumquist, Jesse Plemons as Ed Blumquist. CR: Chris Large/FX
FARGO — “Fear and Trembling” — Episode 204 (Airs November 2, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blumquist, Jesse Plemons as Ed Blumquist.
CR: Chris Large/FX

Some serious events are about to transpire.  Seriously, every week gets more and more ominous.  With only three episodes left, it is unlikely that we’re going to get Season One’s epic time-shift, so the next three episodes are bound to be filled with mayhem.  But first, the top ten:

10. Dr. Hamster Lover

That doctor had an awful bedside manner as it was, but did he really need all of those hamsters?  Hi, I’m doctor so and so, behold my lovely hamsters.  Oh and you’re probably screwed, but there’s a clinical trial.  But it might be a sugar pill.  Behold!  My hamsters!

9. Finger-Play

Nope.  Not saying anymore about this one.  Except Milligan certainly knows how to spot a weak link.  A weak, kinky link (and a lot of nudity for FX).

8. The Things You Can Do with Makeup!

Yep, old and young Otto Gerhardt are both played by Michael Hogan, who’s other meaty roles include the XO on Battlestar Galactica.

7. Stabbed by a Kid

That flashback would make Lord Varys, Sherlock Holmes, and other literary figures who use small children to do their dirty work very happy.

6. Hanzee Comin’!

And he’ll bore you to death with cliched tales of ear necklaces in ‘nam.  This particular, likely mythological practice, was first made known to the general public in 1992’s Universal Soldier.

5. Doughnuts

Nothing to fill you with energy after ill-advised head-bashing like a nice, sugary doughnut! And remember everyone, it’s the 70’s, so they’re made with real lard!

4. Meat Shop Speculators

Speaking of lard, poor Ed, being outplayed by the meat shop speculators of the north.  Now he’ll never live out his perfect little fantasy.

3. Watch Out for That One

Which he won’t anyway, because Peggy is totally going to kill him.

2. Aw, Isn’t that Cute?

Sorry I made of a mess of things mom.  Can I just cry on your shoulder?  Sheesh, from tough guy to momma’s boy in one succession of shots.  I don’t think the KC mob was going to agree to any counter-offer anyway, so it’s a moot point.

1. Why Didn’t they Kidnap the Old Guy

I thought that was the plan.  It’s scary that it wasn’t – it means they really are ready to kill everyone.

(c) 2015 D.G. McCabe