Fargo Season 2 began with Waiting for Dutch, with a rather odd little scene on the set of the bogus movie Massacre at Sioux Falls, starring then-actor Ronald Reagan, who wasn’t on screen at any point.
We’re in Minnesota, 1979, so set 35 years before the first series, where the Gerhardt family have problems dealing with organised crime and having to make some nasty guys wait for money to be delivered. We get the impression that the Gerhardts ruled the roost for some time and that now there’s a new outfit who’s the new king of the block. As such, head of the family, Otto (Michael Hogan), has a stroke.
One of the family members, Rye (Kieran Culkin), looking rather like Steve Buscemi’s character in the original movie, Fargo, heads over to a diner for probably the best scene of the episode, waiting for it to empty in order to hassle a judge (Ann Cusack) about a particular case. After confusing him by reciting a story about God and the Devil making a bet, and telling him how she’s not taking any of his crap, she delivered bug spray into his eyes, illiciting a response of getting shot. As she collapsed, the cook (Dwight Layne) came out with the intention of flooring Rye with a frying pan, but getting a bullet through the heart for his trouble. The onlooking waitress (Lara Zaluski) also took one for the team, but in a nice turn of events, the judge, not dead after all, rose up and stabbed Rye in the back with a steak knife. She should’ve put it through his neck, really, since he was then in a position to finish her off.
While stealing money from the cash register to make it look like a burglary, the waitress upped and escaped, but he was out of bullets. For a while, anyway.
A UFO flew over the cafe, distracting Rye and causing him to bewilderingly walk into the road, at which point a car drove into him…. stopped… then carried on anyway, regardless of him being buried into the windscreen!
Soon after, we were introduced to two cops, Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) plus Ted Danson as his father, Hank Larsson, the conversation leading taking in how Lou’s wife Betsy (Cristin Milioti) is going through chemotherapy. And then on to the butcher’s where young man Ed Blomquist (Jesse Plemons) works, but his life is disatisfying as he’s not getting any at home, such is the summing up of the conversation with his wife Peggy (Kirsten Dunst).
While preparing for dinner, a clunking sound in the garage shows that the car which ran Rye over belonged to Peggy, but she’s explained it away, saying it was a deer… So what’s also in the garage making a lot of noise? It’s, of course, Rye, and Ed had to kill him in order to save his own life after the near-corpse went for him. Ed wanted to go to the cops but Peggy blackmailed him into not doing so, otherwise they’ll both go to jail and it’ll separate them, leading to them never having the children that he wants and which she has shown that she clearly doesn’t care for.
With a short scene earlier that also introduces Karl Weathers (We’re The Millers’ Nick Offerman), overall, things progressed without racing in the first episode of season 2, but it was reasonably well-paced and tied up a lot of strands towards the end. Hence, despite the loss of Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman’s characters from the first series, since they’re both dead and from a near-present day timeline, there looks to be enough in this series to retain my intrigue for the whole ten episodes in this series.
Oh, and everyone talks in that weird stilted way we got from the last series as well as the film, which irritates me, but I can get past that.
Fargo Season 2 continues next Monday at 10pm on Channel 4 and the first episode is available to watch on All4 until November 18th, and click on the group shot for the full-size image. The series isn’t yet available to pre-order, but Season 1 is already available on Blu-ray and DVD, and the film is also out on Blu-ray and DVD.
Episode 1 Score: 8/10
Directors: Randall Einhorn and Michael Uppendahl
Producer: Kim Todd
Creator: Noah Hawley
Screenplay: Noah Hawley
Music: Jeff Russo
Peggy Blomquist: Kirsten Dunst
Lou Solverson: Patrick Wilson
Rye Gerhardt: Kieran Culkin
Ed Blomquist: Jesse Plemons
Floyd Gerhardt: Jean Smart
Hank Larsson: Ted Danson
Betsy Solverson: Cristin Milioti
Dodd Gerhardt: Jeffrey Donovan
Mike Milligan: Bokeem Woodbine
Joe Bulo: Brad Garrett
Karl Weathers: Nick Offerman
Judge: Ann Cusack
Otto Gerhardt: Michael Hogan
Hanzee Dent: Zahn McClarnon
Bear Gerhardt: Angus Sampson
Hamish Broker: Adam Arkin
Molly Solverson: Raven Stewart
Bud Jorgenlen: Eric Keenleyside
Noreen Vanderslice: Emily Haine
Fry Cook: Dwight Layne
Sonny Greer: Dan Beirne
Clyde Butterworth: Anthony Ulc
Running Bear: Gregory Odjig
Syd Schwartz: Jonas Chernick
Dad: Marty Hanenberg
Mom: Area Murdoch
Native American Housekeeper: Wilma Pelly
Trucker: Karl Sine
Brenda: Kara Francisco
Corpse: Chandler Kerr
Bjorn Gruffenson: Christopher Heatherington
Spanish American War Vet: Louie Loutis
Gale Kitchen: Brad Mann
Wayne Kitchen: Todd Mann
Waitress: Lara Zaluski
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.