Tonight (Monday 19th October) sees the return of Fargo, that excellent series based loosely on the Coen brothers’ movie. The first series was just brilliant – a morality tale set in the frozen wastelands of Minnesota – and now it’s back for a second run with an all-new cast of characters. Well, sort of. We’ll meet some of the same Solversen family we saw in series one but younger versions, and a whole host of brand new characters that bear no relation to those in the first story. But what can we expect? And what should we be looking out for?
The same balance between farce and the macabre.
I’m absolutely fine with the anthology format, even though others have voiced their concern. It doesn’t work for all series, but there’s something fresh about the approach and getting to know an entirely new set of characters is an enticing prospect. But one thing an anthology approach absolutely must do is get the tone right, and I’ll be looking for this second series to carry on the good work started in series one. Noah Hawley did a fantastic job of imbueing the first series with another finely balanced tableau that expertly mixes farce with the macabre.
Who will be this series’ Lester Nygaard?
Martin Freeman was just so utterly brilliant as the henpecked Lester Nygaard in the first series that we’re intrigued to see who series two’s everyman (or woman) will be. It’s odds-on that Kirsten Dunst’s Peggy Blomquist will be this year’s equivalent – a small-town staple who dreams of bigger and better things, and ripe for giving into temptation. In the trailers we’ve seen Peggy desperately tries to wipe blood from her shirt. Could she, like Lester Nygaard before her, be the person who gets in way over her head?
The Solversen family.
It’s always an intriguing proposition when a second series takes the prequel approach, and in this one we’re going to be introduced to the Solversen family, who played a crucial role in the first series. Molly, that series’ heroine, is a mere toddler in this series, so attention falls to her father Lou (Patrick Wilson), a Vietnam vet who is a policeman in Luverne, Minnesota. Joining him on his patrols is father-in-law Hank Larsson (Ted Danson), and they’re both plunged into something gruesome when a murder (or three) takes place at a local diner. We’re also introduced to Lou’s wife, Betsy. I’m looking forward to getting to know the Solversens.
An explanation of the massacre at Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls, in neighbouring South Dakota, is bathed in Native American lore, and was a place mentioned sporadically by Lou Solversen in the first series. What happened there? And will we see it in this series?
Religion and myth.
Series one was so obviously part religious-allegory, so I’m wondering if series two will follow suit and go down the morality-tale route again. Will there be end-of-the-world-style frogs falling from the Sky, references to Greek myths and the like? In some way it’d be good if it did – it was one of the things that set the first series of Fargo apart.
Fargo: Monday 19th October, 10pm, Channel 4
For all our Fargo news and revews, go here