TV Review: Fargo: Season 2, Episode 3 (SPOILERS)
Season 2, Episode 3: The Myth of Sisyphus
REVIEW: After two insane episodes, Fargo season two seems to be settling down (slightly) into more of a character-driven rhythm as it hits the third of its ten episode season. While this week didn't feature any striking set-pieces, such as Rye's diner shootout or the already-infamous meat grinder scene from last week, episode three was no less intriguing. Basically, the characters are more-or-less established by now, the plot is in full-swing, and creator-ep-writer Noah Hawley firmly has us as putty in his hands.
What's so great about episode three is that, with everyone fleshed out, much of the joy comes from watching characters like Lou interact with folks like the Gerhardt's and Mike. While Patrick Wilson's Lou seemed un-eager to get involved in a full-blown investigation in the first couple of episodes, as the plot surrounding Rye and the shootout thickens, he shows a sturdy backbone. Wilson really has an old-school, straight-arrow hero vibe that he's good at (for further evidence see BONE TOMAHAWK) and he gives off a the same kind of sturdy vibe a guy like Jimmy Stewart did in some of his tougher roles. Wilson's best scenes this week found him fearlessly going-toe-to-toe with Jeffrey Donovan's hulking, wild-eyed Dodd, and then drawing on Mike Milligan and the Kitchen Brothers (with Woodbine's Mike hilariously pointing-out that they sound like the name of a prog-rock band).
If you've seen season one, you can really see Wilson's evolution into the kind of sad-eyed but sturdy fellow Keith Carradine played as the older Lou. The continuity is superb. Another really enjoyable moment was when Betsy, while getting her hair done, put forth her own idea about what happened to Rye, which – of course – happened to be dead-on much to Peggy's (Kirsten Dunst) dismay, leading to a hasty cover-up. It's interesting to see how the unassuming Betsy (expertly played by Critin Milioti) is displaying all the smarts her grown-up daughter Molly will come to be known for. Given her prognosis, my fingers are crossed that she'll survive the season – although that seems doubtful.
In short, everything about this episode was pretty much in-line with the high-bar set by the first two episodes. The cast is uniformly great, although I'd still like to see Ed (Jesse Plemons) and Peggy get fleshed-out a bit, although I assume that's still to come. One guy I'm absolutely loving is Bokeem Woodbine, as one of the most atypical bad guys since, well, I guess Billy Bob Thornton's Lorne Malvo in season one. His happy-go-lucky killer is an excellent creation, with his affability being a unique touch (I love the throwaway bit where he compares the softness of his hair to Brad Garrett's). As in previous week's, by the time the credits rolled I was all but desperate for the story to continue, and part of me wishes this was available in a streaming binge-format. Oh well. Good things come to those who wait.