Fargo Review


Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks
Summary: Lorne Malvo is a manipulative man who meets small-town insurance salesman Lester Nygaard and changes his life forever, largely by convincing Lester to get involved in the search for a killer.
Genre(s): Drama, Crime
A small Minnesota town gets turned upside down after a drifter, Lorne Malvo, meets hapless insurance salesman Lester Nygard and multiple homicides follow. It’s a dark, yet comical limited crime series that will draw you in from the very first episode.

You can watch Fargo season 1 on Stan and Quickflix online movie streaming.

Show Summary

Murder, blackmail, and deception are usually expected from a television crime drama. Fargo will shock you though by making use of all of these dramatic narrative elements brilliantly, while also making you laugh out loud. The show is impossible to categorize; plus, we’re betting you’ll have a hard time not watching all 10 episodes in a row once you see the premiere.

The television series Fargo is loosely based on the Joel and Ethan Coen film with the same title that was released in 1996. In both the TV show and the film, rural police officers are faced with solving multiple homicides in a peaceful Minnesota town.

Fargo was made as a limited series rather than a traditional episodic TV show. The first season has 10 episodes which tell a complete story from beginning to end. The series focuses on the long list of homicides that occur after the appearance of drifter Lorne Malvo into a quiet Minnesota establishment. The homicides begin after Malvo meets the unhappily married insurance salesman Lester Nygard and offers to kill a bully who’s been pestering Lester. The bully’s shocking death and the lengths to which Lester goes attempting to distance himself from blame lead to a devastating series of events the local police are left to resolve.

The first season of Fargo received both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for Best Mini Series.  Billy Bob Thornton also won a Golden Globe for his performance as the sinister drifter. The show premiered in the US on the FX Network in 2014. Season 2  is scheduled to air in the US in the fall of 2015, and will focus on a completely different storyline, involving a different cast. The only connection to season 1 will be the character of Lou Solverson. The plot will revolve around an episode in the earlier life of Lou who, of course, will be played by a younger actor.

Cast

Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo

Martin Freeman as Lester Nygard

Allison Tolman as Molly Solverson

Colin Hanks as Gus Grimly

Bob Odenkirk as Bill Oswalt

Keith Carradine as Lou Solverson

Joey King as Greta Grimly

Season Recap

Fargo begins with the introduction of a mysterious drifter, Lorne Malvo, who gets into a car crash (with a person locked in the trunk) in a sleepy Minnesota town. Malvo meets depressed insurance salesman Lester Nygard and Lester reveals to Malvo that he feels victimized by both a town bully (whom he blames for his recent broken nose) and his nagging wife. Malvo asks if Lester would like him to kill the bully, so he can stop being a victim; and Lester’s non-response has deadly repercussions. When the town bully shows up dead, Lester makes what ends up being the first in a series of horrible choices, by not going to the police to turn in Malvo.

Rather than sharing his suspicions about Malvo’s involvement in the homicide with the police, a sinister side of Lester awakens. He kills his own wife in a fit of rage and then asks Malvo to help him cover up the crime. When Malvo’s ‘assistance’ leads to the death of the town’s Police Chief in Lester’s house, the snowball of crime was already underway.

Lester succeeds to make the crime scene look like the aftermath of a burglary gone wrong, but police officer Molly Solverson is suspicious of Lester from the beginning. While much of the series follows the misdeeds of Malvo and Lester, Molly’s character is the heart and soul of the show. Molly struggles to convince the Chief’s ineffective replacement that Lester is not the innocent bystander he claims to be throughout the season. During the ensuing episodes, Molly receives support and advice from her father, Lou Solverson, a retired police officer.

Molly also receives help from Gus Grimly, a young police officer from a nearby town who is scared of arresting Malvo during a routine traffic stop, after the drifter threatens Gus’s teenage daughter Greta. When Gus realizes that Malvo is most likely responsible for numerous deaths he decides he must stop him from committing further crimes and reaches out to Molly.

Fargo’s first season is like a dance between the deeply disturbing crimes Malvo commits, the hysterical ways Lester digs himself deeper and deeper into a criminal hole while maintaining his innocence, and the two police officers slowly putting all the pieces together.

Lester becomes more unlikeable with every episode, as he frames others for his crimes and puts his loved ones in harm’s way. Eventually, it appears that both Lester and Malvo have gotten away with murder when the series leaps forward one year, in the 8th episode.

After the one year jump, Gus (now a postman) and Molly (still a police officer) are happily married. Lester is not only re-married, but has apparently used his recently acquired criminal manipulation skills to become an extremely successful insurance agent. However, after a chance encounter Lester has with Malvo, the snowball of destruction starts rolling again. Lester and Malvo’s reunion also gives Gus and Molly their chance to finally make the crooks pay for their crimes. The season ends with the deaths of Malvo and Lester, which lead to a happy ending for Gus and Molly.

Our Critic Review

The television show Fargo is extremely successful for many of the same reasons why the film resonated with audiences. It’s dark, disturbing, unique, and hysterical, all at the same time. The ensemble cast led by Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman is simply stellar. Both the writing and the acting in the series make even the smallest character of the show memorable, which translates into many enjoyable moments for the viewers to relish in. Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks are notable standouts as small town police officers faced with a large and complex series of crimes to solve.

Fargo sets itself apart from traditional comedies, dramas, and crime thrillers by mixing elements of all of them all into one compelling show. However, what truly makes Fargo a must-see series is the brilliant storyline that keeps viewers hooked until the very final minutes of the finale.

VIDEO: Watch the trailer of the first season!

Critic Reviews

Filled with dark humor and a mix of quirky and menacing characters, Fargo blends whimsy and tragedy in a highly watchable mix. It’s easily the best produced work ever from writer Noah Hawley. Read Full Review

Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Fargo’s compelling, powerfully entertaining story is as strong as its great performances. Read Full Review

Matt Roush, TV Guide

Neither prequel, sequel or remake, this Fargo is instead a tonal accompaniment, a little more than kin, a little less than kind and a whole new breed of television. Read Full Review

Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

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