TV Review: Fargo, Season 3, Episode 1- SPOILERS

Season 3, Episode 1: The Law of Vacant Places

SUMMARY: Emmit Stussy (Ewan McGregor) is the parking lot king of Minnesota, but all is not well in his kingdom. Almost bankrupted by the financial crisis, he took a loan from a shady outfit that, now that he’s out of the red, want to use his business as a front. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Ray (also Ewan McGregor) is still fuming over how, as a youngster, Emmit convinced him to take their late father’s Corvette as his inheritance, while he took stamps that wound-up being far more valuable, and proved to be the foundation his kingdom was built upon. Broke, and needing cash, Ray hatches a scheme that, wouldn’t you know it, has a bloody payoff.


REVIEW: What’s the deal FX Canada? As I went to bed after the first episode of Fargo’s third season last night, I was sure that I’d seen the whole thing – only to learn this morning that the network, in a move of astonishingly poor quality control, cut off the finale, which was the gory, Coen-esque moment that kicks the season into high gear. It’s a good thing I opted to save my review until this morning, as otherwise I would have had no idea how it’s even better than I thought it was last night.

At this point, Noah Hawley’s proving himself to be one of serialized TV’s great auteurs. While we’re used to great writers being at the helm of a show, Hawley’s also got a highly idiosyncratic visual style, which goes way beyond ape’ing The Coen Bros, as one might have assumed when the spin-off of their 1996 film was announced. This season premiere was the most cinematic “Fargo” episode yet, right down to the wider than average aspect ratio (something I’m fond of shows trying) and bravura set-pieces. Having directed it himself, its on-par with the magical second season opening, and to me, season three is off to as good as start as any show I’ve ever seen.

Ewan McGregor is the showiest piece of casting, and he’s wonderful as the twin brothers who no longer look like twins. The well-appointed Emmit has held on to his hair and youth, while Ray, working as a parole officer, has gone to seed, but while it’s Ray’s scheme to steal his brother’s stamps that sets the murderousness of the plot in motion, I’d bet that of the two Ray turns out to be the better man.

As good as he is, and he’s great, McGregor is not the whole show – not even close. There are several contenders for Fargo’s MVP making their presence known this episode. First is David Thewlis, as the rotting-toothed leg-man for whatever mob has bought their way into Emmit’s business, tying it into the organized crime of the first two seasons (will Bokeem Woodbine make a cameo as a 2010 version of Mike Milligan?). Thewlis only has one scene, but it’s a delicious one, as he calmly tells Emmit that his business is really no longer his anymore, and to either go along for the ride or suffer the consequences.

Tying it all together is Carrie Coon, as the town police chief, very much in the mold of the Solverson family, being the cool-headed one with a moral compass. It’s the murder of her ornery step-father, whose name is unfortunately similar to Emmit’s that kicks things into gear. He’s killed by Ray’s stoner parolee, Maurice, who thinks he’s doing what he’s been told when Ray blackmails him into stealing his brother’s stamps, only to return with murder on his conscience, and worthless two dollar stamps in his pocket.

Which brings us to the other scene-stealer, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ray’s paramour, one of his parolees, who’s the most baller bridge player ever. When Ray finds himself blackmailed by Maurice, she and Ray cave his head in with an air-conditioner, and of the cast, she’s the toughest to pin down. While her youth, beauty and status as one of Ray’s parolees may make it seem she’s going to be a femme fatale, she actually seems to love her beau and wants the best for him – making this cast distinctly likable, with no real baddies among them. As the show goes on though, expect plenty of mayhem and reversals (I don’t’ quite trust Michael Stuhlbarg as Emmit’s number two guy). As always, “Fargo” is out-of-control good, and I eagerly, EAGERLY await episode two – but let’s hope FX doesn’t mangle the ending this time.

Source: JoBlo.com



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