Fargo Season 1 Review: Experimental, Brilliant, Flawed

Fargo Season 1 Review: Experimental, Brilliant, Flawed

Inventive storylines and fascinating performances made for a great first season, until the final episode failed to deliver.

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Gus didn't randomly stumble across Malvo's cabin, he followed him there.

For that matter, he was looking after his pregnant wife, like a good husband should. Malvo almost certainly would have butchered Molly, and then you'd be left feeling bad. Malvo had to fall, and fall in ways that belied his cleverness and seeming invulnerability. One of the underlying narratives was Gus failing to stand up to Malvo, nearly killing Molly, and eventually shrinking away from policework completely only to come back an off the most dangerous villain in the series. Not perfect, no, but a damned good hero story.

Lester ended up hoisted by his own petard. Everything he built up he also pissed away in an instant, and ended up dying thanks to his mix of confidence and stupidity. Also fitting.

Things don't always tie up with a riveting all heroes vs all villains climax. What did you want, a lightsaber battle over a pit?

I really hated this show for the most part almost immediately. The references to the film are ham-fisted and near-constant. It's just never very interesting. I liked Molly, hated Malvo (but not because he's 'bad', because he's just written so...badly) and found Freeman to be the most consistently hateable (but in the right way.) The two hitmen were irritating 100% of the time.

This show was for me, a perfect example of why spinning a series off a film (especially a film as beloved as Fargo) is like tying an enormous albatross around your neck. The elements I did like would have worked better if they hadn't called this show Fargo, in my mind. But between the weight of that legacy and the CONSTANT referencing of the film (seriously, go back and watch the movie and then watch this show, there's a REMEMBER WHEN THIS HAPPENED IN THE MOVIE moment like every 5-10 minutes), I just couldn't get into this show at all. And I really wanted to.

Finally! Someone else agrees with me. I swear, everyone else ignored the massive flaws the finale had and showered it with praise. I guess since the show was so good up to that point, people had an easier time suspending their disbelief with the plot-holes and almost deus ex mechina wolf.

Zero=Interrupt:
Gus didn't randomly stumble across Malvo's cabin, he followed him there.

No, he was heading in to town because he wanted to meet Molly. He then has to slam on the breaks because there is a wolf standing in the middle of the road (oooh symbolism wowie!). He then looks over to the cabin that this wolf just so happened to stop him near and discovers that it is Malvo's cabin. I liked that Gus got to enact poetic justice, but everything about it was incredibly stupid.

He stumbles upon Malvo's cabin due to some divine, wolf intervention. He then trespasses into said cabin and waits for Malvo to come home. This is already illegal. Then, he murders Malvo when the man was unarmed and instead of being halled off to jail for what could likely be considered first degree murder, he get rewarded! Yes the man was a criminal but this was pure vigilantism at best. Also, Minnesota does not have the death penalty, so you can't even argue that he was merely speeding up the process.

The only side-plot that really annoyed me for not getting tied up was the one with Mr. Wrench. I guess there was no reason for him to be vengeful since everyone he worked for was dead, but it still would have been nice to see if even took the offer of freedom.

RedDeadFred:
Finally! Someone else agrees with me. I swear, everyone else ignored the massive flaws the finale had and showered it with praise. I guess since the show was so good up to that point, people had an easier time suspending their disbelief with the plot-holes and almost deus ex mechina wolf.

I'm fairly cool with the ending because the show was pretty much designed to be sloppy and meandering and that it didn't get tied up in a neat little bow seemed in the spirit of the show at large... even with a big ol' coincidence leading to the finale.

I had far more problems with the True Detective finale which only rarely felt like the show I had enjoyed up to that time.

But mileage varies on these things. Stuff I don't mind is more important to other people and vice versa.

I thought the finale was fantastic, and it tied up everything it needed to.

Gus's part in the story was that he happened upon a criminal and let him get away, which lead to lots of misery and death. His story finished when he happened upon that same criminal, and he chose to take action.
I kind of scratched my head for a bit when he seemingly got off scot free. But this is a guy who's probably more or less a pillar of the very small community, who's also married to the police chief. It's not that much of a stretch to imagine how he managed to avoid incarceration, and frankly the story didn't need him getting punished.

What happened to the gaslit supermarket mogul after the car accident that killed his son?

Also, I'm not sure why this matters. His sons death is the end of that story. The mogul (I forget his name) offers a penance to god to save his son from biblical wrath (which is feigned by Malvo). When he pays back what he thinks he owes, his son none the less die in a freak natural disaster. There's a lot you can read in to that story by itself, and what happens after that is really inconsequential to the overarching plot.

"supposedly based on a true story, but that was just a ruse" some proof please...

even if it was not true that it was "based on a true story" i think its well done in the fact that people act real, like in the end were Gus kills Malvo, he starts in like it going to confront him, like he is going to give a big heroic moment, but Gus isn't a hero, and he knows that Malvo will find a way to escape, to kill him, and his family so as they say "if your going to shoot, shoot, don't talk" and just guns him down.

I would have done the same thing in that situation.

Huh. I honestly kinda forgot about some of the side stories along the way until this article reminded me. I did not think much of Gus stealing Molly's thunder until now either. Looking back I do agree that was a bit of a let down. Honestly I was just surprised that Gus managed to survive walking into the cabin let alone having the guts to kill Malvo. I guess purchasing the full season/series/whatever will just have to be a higher priority so I can remember everything.

Netrigan:

RedDeadFred:
Finally! Someone else agrees with me. I swear, everyone else ignored the massive flaws the finale had and showered it with praise. I guess since the show was so good up to that point, people had an easier time suspending their disbelief with the plot-holes and almost deus ex mechina wolf.

I'm fairly cool with the ending because the show was pretty much designed to be sloppy and meandering and that it didn't get tied up in a neat little bow seemed in the spirit of the show at large... even with a big ol' coincidence leading to the finale.

I had far more problems with the True Detective finale which only rarely felt like the show I had enjoyed up to that time.

But mileage varies on these things. Stuff I don't mind is more important to other people and vice versa.

I was sort of on the fence with the True Detective ending. On the one hand, I was annoyed at how neatly everything wrapped up and how there was nothing even remotely surprising about the ending. I was hoping they'd do something more with the supernatural elements of the show but I guess that was mostly for symbolism. On the other hand, I did enjoy how it ended on a much happier tone than the series had been portraying up to that point. For such a dark show, its ending had me feeling a great sense of hope. Ultimately, I forgave the show for playing it safe with its ending since the final moments were quite touching for me.

Funnily enough, I was actually enjoying Fargo more than True Detective up until the ending. I probably ended up liking the shows fairly equally. Both had flaws, but I'm still eagerly awaiting both of their second series.

I loved the movie, and thought the show was done quite similarly. After every episode I was left wanting to see what happens next. As for the finale, I thought it was done well. Molly does get rewarded for all her persistence and hard police work, by becoming chief. Gus gets to stand up and redeem himself as a hero, even if its vigilante style. Of course he won't get into trouble for taking out a known murderer. Shouldn't be necessary but he could easily a placed a weapon nearby Malvo's body to make it look as if he was a threat. If not i'm sure the local police would gladly tweak the facts in Gus's favor, they are surely glad to be done with Malvo, dead or captured.

Lester would not have gone quietly no matter what, he was bound to end up dead. He should have never confronted Malvo in the elevator. He was home free at that point and could have moved away with his new wife, a fool to the end he was.

I would have liked to see something else with the deaf hit-man. I was thinking that he may decide to join up with Malvo. Who knows maybe they will have a 2nd season and tie a character or 2 in from the first season. I would think the deaf hit-man would be an easy tie-in. I'm positive there will be some connection, minor or major, since the movie was tied-in through the money found in the snow.

Overall I really enjoyed the show. Just like the movie, great cast and performances. The story kept my interest as well. Just about 80-90% of FX and FXX programs are on my watch list, Fargo has been no different.

Just watched the finale and I'm deeply impressed.

The loose ends and flaws aside I've never enjoyed a series so much and I defiantly will be watching it again.
Great acting and superb score.

Really how about the score!?

I have a number of friends I insist watch this and they just couldn't get into it! I don't understand it: I thought it the best new drama of the year. Such a breath of fresh air with all of these family sitcoms and police procedurals.

I thought it very apt that Gus does what he does and a great intro to it: "I have the answer to your riddle."

Do we know if there will be a next season? I hope so.

Now, onto American Horror Story Season 4 please.

 

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