Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fargo Debuts with Two Psychos

Fargo debuted on FX this Tuesday, in the spot of the just-concluded next-to-last season of the excellent Justified.  I saw the 1996 movie, thought it was superb, but recall little other than the general setup.   So I approached the television series with not much in the way of specific expectations.   If the premiere is any indication, it looks like we're in for an experience even better than the movie - whose story has been changed at least somewhat for the television series.

The story on Tuesday night was basically a tale of two psychos.  One, Lorne Malvo (perfectly played by Billy Bob Thornton) is a already a criminal and a killer.  But he's a psycho beyond the way that any hired killer is a psycho, in that he has no tolerance for people being bullied or pushed around - at this point, one man in particular, no relation to him.  He has so little tolerance for this that he kills the bully after encountering the bully's victim in the hospital.

The victim - Lester Nygaard ( also played perfectly by Martin Freeman) - turns out to be the second psycho himself.  Inspired by Malvo's exhortation that Nygaard should act like a man, Nygaard hammers his wife to death after her customary ridicule, this time of his inability to fix their washing machine.   And just for good measure, Malvo shows up and kills the sheriff who's come to Nygaard's house to investigate the murder of the bully.

This is the situation that the pregnant deputy Molly Solverson inherits.  This is the character - named Marge Gunderson - that I most remember from the 1996 movie, which more than anything else was a story about how a highly intelligent, highly pregnant police officer could investigate a deadly case in the cold of Minnesota.   I'm glad this character will also play a central role in the television series, but it's already looking to be more than that.   Less humor (though still plenty), more action and violence, equally great Northern dialogue make Fargo a contender for one on of the best television shows to come down the pike in a few years.

#SFWApro


A story about another kind of killer ...  The Silk Code




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