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TV Review: Fargo: Season 2, Episode 5 (SPOILERS)

11.09.2015
100%

Season 2, Episode 5: The Gift of the Magi

SUMMARY: Lou (Patrick Wilson) is pressed into service for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell), while Ed's (Jesse Plemons) resolve is tested in a big way.

REVIEW: Damn, how good is this show? With episode five marking the official midway point of season two's 1979-set prequel to season one, the only downside here is that there's only five more hours of Fargo to enjoy. These cable programmers are on to something with their ultra-contained ten-to-thirteen episode seasons, with no fat whatsoever on the bone. All four episodes leading up to this have been well-paced and lean, but five is possibly the most explosive installment yet.

Show-runner Noah Hawley's M.O seems to be to open each episode with unexpected gusts of violence, and this week's teaser is no slouch with Brad Garrett's scene-stealing Joe Bulo meeting his maker in a violent shoot-out with the Gerhardt clan. As usual, the gore is extreme but darkly comic, with the juxtaposition of Bulo's deer hunting party stalking their prey only to be unexpectedly slaughtered themselves. All of this is set against Ronald Reagan (as played by Bruce Campbell) giving his famous “”rendezvous with destiny” election speech.

Campbell's Reagan proves to be one of the few opportunities for levity in this tense episode. Campbell's certainly in the midst of a great run on cable, with his sharp, comical turn here as the confused Reagan (who quickly relates his Hollywood WW2 adventures to Lou's actual service in Vietnam) being a nice complement to his awesome turn on Ash vs. Evil Dead. This feels a bit like Bob Odenkirk's role in season one, although I have a feeling his appearance here might be a one-off. Nevertheless, he's great and one assumes his old Burn Notice buddy Jeffrey Donovan put him up for the gig. It's great to see Campbell getting the quality work he deserves.

But back to Fargo – this proves to be an exceedingly tense episode, with Milligan's confrontation with Dodd's traitorous daughter having a real undercurrent of menace. Even better is Charlie's attempt to kill Ed, with him opting out in order to spare Ed's cute Camus'-quoting co-worker, Doreen. Charlie's attempt to get the drop on him later goes badly awry, with Ed once again proving how adept he is at killing, making short-work of Dodd's enforcer in order to save Doreen, who convinces him to not only spare but save Charlie. It'll be interesting to see what the payoff is here, but Ed and Peg (Kirsten Dunst) are proving to be much more sympathetic than Lester Nygaard proved to me in season one, with Peg even coming through with the money for Lou's butcher shop – only to see his dreams go up in flames. Hopefully they''ll have a better outcome.

In the end, I'd say this has been all-around my favorite episode of the season so far, although there's still half of the season to go. There's no doubt that by the time season two ends we'll have seen one hell of a story. Between this and The Knick we're really being spoiled in the quality TV department right now.

Source: JoBlo.com

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9:34AM on 11/11/2015
Echoing anyone with a brain, this is the best show on television. Noah Hawley deserves any and all praise dumped on him and then some. Not only has there not been a bad episode in two seasons, there hasn't been a bad moment. I was sure Ed and Peggy were going to get it. They still might, but they're in Lou's protection now so it's looking like they'll at least survive a few more episodes.
Echoing anyone with a brain, this is the best show on television. Noah Hawley deserves any and all praise dumped on him and then some. Not only has there not been a bad episode in two seasons, there hasn't been a bad moment. I was sure Ed and Peggy were going to get it. They still might, but they're in Lou's protection now so it's looking like they'll at least survive a few more episodes.
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10:56AM on 11/10/2015
Best show on television. Each week keeps getting better and better and it's really building up towards an explosive battle between everyone involved. This is definitely just the best, overall well rounded made show with some of the best writing and dialogue since Justified.
Best show on television. Each week keeps getting better and better and it's really building up towards an explosive battle between everyone involved. This is definitely just the best, overall well rounded made show with some of the best writing and dialogue since Justified.
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10:52AM on 11/11/2015
Sounds like all we need for good television are good source material and show-runners terrified of fucking it up. You mentioned Justified. People working on it wore bracelets that said WWED (What Would Elmore Do).
Sounds like all we need for good television are good source material and show-runners terrified of fucking it up. You mentioned Justified. People working on it wore bracelets that said WWED (What Would Elmore Do).
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10:03AM on 11/10/2015
This is one the best shows on TV right now and considering how good first season was and how amazing second season is this show might be right up there with the greatests of all time but time will tell.
This is one the best shows on TV right now and considering how good first season was and how amazing second season is this show might be right up there with the greatests of all time but time will tell.
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