1996 permanently established the Coen brothers as modern visionaries. With ‘Fargo’, they entered the elite club of filmmakers who can do no wrong. The wonderfully plastered and soulfully performed kidnapping gone-wrong thriller etched itself in the history of celluloid as a truly groundbreaking masterpiece. It materialized into universal acclaim for the Coens, also fetching them their first Academy Awards. FX decided to revamp the film as an anthology television series. Creator Noah Hawley talked the idea with the Coens over a phone call with his baby strapped to his chest, which possibly might be the most important phone call in television history. Because what follows is an absorbing, atmospheric, hair-raising three seasons (soon, four), might be unsurpassable. With the blessings of the Coens, Hawley nails the tenor and tone of the 1996 film to give an end product that is a timeless classic.
The flawless narratives in each season spread over different timelines, sprawl over many themes and moods. The quality it achieves in production is unprecedented for television series. Commentators and audiences often mention ‘Fargo’ in the same breath as shows like ‘The Wire’, and ‘Sopranos’, proving just how good the show is. The hardest task for Hawley and the writing team was to avoid imitation. The Coens served as producers for the first season and set the tone for the next two. The television series completes the task with aplomb and sets its own niche in place that is wildly effective.
Although the series is an anthology, meaning there is no connection between the storylines of different seasons, the first two share the same character universe, even featuring many of the same characters. The third, though, is set in a different space than the other two. It stars Ewan McGregor in a double role as the twin Stussy brothers, Emmit and Raymond. While one is a business tycoon living in a dreamy mansion, happily married; the other a lowly probation officer, sharing his life in a small apartment with his girlfriend, Nikki, a crafty and alluring young woman, and an ex-parolee. The introduction of VM Varga, a mysterious British businessman, in their lives, upend normalcy and pits the two against each other. Police Chief Gloria Burgle gets connected to the story in bizarre fashion and sets up an enticing finale.
‘Fargo’ outperforms and outranks its contemporary shows with hauntingly original and inventive storytelling. Replete with big performers, ‘Fargo’s dark humor and quirky one-liners stay in the memory long after you finish the show. This explainer takes a look at the third season and attempts to dissect its themes, symbols, and everything that might have slipped under your radar. Happy reading!
Season three draws on the interconnected lives of a police chief, Gloria, commanding two people; the Parking Lot King of Minnesota, Emmit Stussy; and a probation officer, Emmit’s twin brother, Raymond Stussy, and his girlfriend, Nikki, a young swindler out on probation. The Stussy brothers constantly fight due to Emmit’s inheritance of valuable antique post-stamps, which Raymond feel can set his life on track. In a series of comical events, the man Raymond and Nikki send to steal the post-cards from Emmit, inadvertently goes to the wrong Stussy, Gloria’s father, and murders him.