Thu 18 May 2017, 16:49
With Fargo Season 3 currently on DStv, now’s your chance to binge on Seasons 1 and 2 on Showmax.
With Fargo Season 3 currently on DStv, now’s your chance to binge on Seasons 1 and 2 on ShowMax.
The dark comedy series Fargo is based on the Coen Brothers movie of the same name, but it’s got its own unique flavour of bleakness and farce. It has won multiple Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, and is one of the cleverest, bloodiest, most addictive crime series on TV.
Season 3 is currently airing on DStv, and Seasons 1 and 2 are available to binge by streaming or downloading on ShowMax. Now, unlike a lot of other bingeable series, each season of Fargo is designed to stand alone. While there are overlaps, such as the Minnesota setting, and certain characters from Season 1 who pop up again, each season is set in a different era.
So you don’t necessarily have to watch Seasons 1 and 2 to enjoy Season 3, but Fargo is so masterful and entertaining and shockingly dark that actually, yes, you absolutely do have to catch up on the first two seasons before diving into Season 3. Unless you don’t like the sight of blood or are averse to violence - because those are two things that Fargo has in spades.
Like Season 3, Seasons 1 and 2 are set in Minnesota and deal with the fallout when ordinary, desperate, hapless people become accidental criminals and suddenly have to escape the long arm of the law - and the mobsters who are out to get them.
Billy Bob Thornton plays the cold-blooded killer for hire Malvo, who crashes his car into a deer while driving through a snowstorm in Minnesota (with a man he’s kidnapped writhing around in the trunk). He takes a knock to the head and ends up in the waiting room of a nearby hospital, where he finds meek insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (played with a convincing Minnesota accent by Martin Freeman) waiting to have his broken nose attended to.
Malvo finds out that Lester’s just been beaten up by the bully from his childhood, who’s grown up to become a nasty piece of work. Malvo is so insistent that Lester should get revenge for getting beaten up and ridiculed that he offers to kill the bully himself. Lester doesn’t say no - and this starts a criminal downward spiral for downtrodden Lester and a whole host of problems for Malvo when it becomes clear that the bully was also a key figure in an organised crime ring.
Meanwhile, Deputy Molly Solverson starts suspecting Lester of foul play, but the new bumbling police chief (Bob Odenkirk) calls her off, because there’s no way poor Lester Nygaard’s hands are dirty. So Molly teams up with Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks) to investigate the spate of murders that have plagued the residents ever since Malvo came to town.
Meet Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst), another put-upon Minnesota resident who wants more from life than her current lot - but this time, the action takes place in 1979.
Peggy is a young hairdresser who’s married to Ed (Jesse Plemons), a butcher’s assistant, with some pretty lofty aspirations for herself. But all her plans collapse when she becomes the perpetrator of a hit-and-run, and her husband is forced to kill the victim himself after Peggy effectively kidnaps him and leaves him for dead in the garage.
Then we find out that Rye (Kieran Culkin), the victim, was a member of the dreaded Gerhardt crime family from Fargo, North Dakota, and that his associates will stop at nothing to find out what happened to him. Officer Lou Solverson (he’s the father of Molly from Season 1 and is played by Patrick Wilson) and his father-in-law Sheriff Larson (Ted Danson) start investigating the murders Rye committed before he died, and realise that he’s nowhere to be found.