Fargo is back for its second season, and like shows such as True Detective and American Horror Story, Fargo is going for an anthology feel. When the original series was created, the idea was like a person was reading a book that contained the greatest, and most unusual crimes, of the Midwest. The movie’s plot, which involved a botched kidnapping and ransom, was one story. The first season of the Fargo television series, about an evil man arriving in town and turning it upside down, was another story.
Season two of Fargo is another story in that book, this one from the year 1979.
This story is connected to the first season by two characters as well. Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) is a state trooper who is sent out to investigate three murders at a local Waffle Hut. Solverson also appears in the first season by Keith Carradine, the father of one of season one’s heroes, Deputy Molly Solverson. In this second season, Molly is just a young girl and her dad is investigating the case that he mentioned to her in season one. That is really the only connection, but that is the point. Fargo is about crimes that took place in the Midwest, located around the Dakotas.
The entire massacre at the Waffle Hut was caused by one man – Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin). Rye basically suffers from Little Man Syndrome, caused mostly from being the youngest of three in the Gerhardt crime family. The episode starts off with his older brother Dodd (Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan) jumping all over him for not having the money he was supposed to collect from local business owners that they shake down. Rye wants to be his own man though, and has a plan to work with a local businessman to sell self-correcting typewriters.
Yes, this is Fargo, so the big plans are often ridiculous.
However, this ridiculous plan goes sour when Rye approaches a judge in the Waffle Hut (Ann Cusack) to get her to release the lien on the businessman’s affairs. After she dresses him down (“you are dim”) and sprays bug spray in his eyes, Rye pulls out his gun and shoots her. He then kills the cook and shoots the waitress. The judge is still alive and stabs him in the back, so he turns and kills her. He then has to follow the waitress outside as she tries to escape wounded, and shoots her dead. Just then, he sees what he believes to be a flying saucer in what might be a homage to the Coen Brothers The Man Who Wasn’t There, which happens to star season one star Billy Bob Thornton.
Then a car hits him.
Ed and Peggy Blomquist
With the murders and deaths out of the way, it is time to really bring out the crazies in Fargo season two. The two “normal” people who make really bad decisions are a staple of the Coen brothers, and in this case, it is Ed Blomquist (Jesse Plemons) and his wife Peggy (Kirsten Dunst). From the start, it is clear that this marriage is in trouble. Ed loves Peggy a lot and will do anything for her, but it is clear that Peggy is bored and wants more from life than just being a housewife in the Midwest.
She gets her wish.
Ed and Peggy are having dinner when they hear something in the garage. Ed, who wants to start a family, wants to investigate, but Peggy says they should try to start their family right now, even though she earlier claimed to want nothing to do with it. He pushes away and goes out and sees that Peggy had been in an auto accident. While she claims to have hit a deer, Ed investigates and finds Rye, still alive, but crazed. The two scuffle and Ed has to kill Rye.
While they should just call the police, Peggy convinces him that, if they do, she will end up in jail for hit and run and he might go to jail for murder. If this happens, they will never get to have the family that Ed wants. It is clear that she is manipulative and he finally gives in, tossing the body in the freezer. Ed, being a butcher by trade, might be the perfect person to dispose of a body.
Meanwhile, Lou has started his investigation and works alongside his father-in-law Hank Larsson (Ted Danson). The entire original investigation was funny in the dark and quirky way that the show specializes in. Lou doesn’t like the entire scene and is just distracted throughout. His conversation with Hank about coming over for a family dinner while investigating the scene is just awkward and funny. The same goes for when they find the skid marks from the car outside and Hank notices one of Rye’s shoes up in a tree.
There is also problems at home for Lou, as his wife Betsy (Cristin Milioti) has cancer and is undergoing chemo treatments. It is obvious why Lou has so many things on his mind. Even his time away, such as at the local American Legion, is not completely relaxing as he has a friend named Karl Weathers (Nick Offerman), who is full of advice and conspiracy theories, as well as over-the-top disgust at the fact that someone as young as Betsy has cancer.
The Gerhardt Family
The other major players in season two of Fargo are the Gerhardt Family. While Dodd was bullying his younger brother Rye, it is clear that this is a family and one that will rain down hell if they find out someone killed their youngest sibling. However, tragedy strikes early when patriarch Otto (Michael Hogan) has a stroke. That leaves mother Floyd (Jean Smart) as the head of the family, and her sons Dodd and Bear (Angus Sampson) as her two arms that needs to learn more about the rival criminal organization from the south is that is coming into their town.
These rivals have one recognizable face, and that is Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett), who meets with his bosses at the end of the episode to explain about the Gerhardt family. While it seems like he is severely underestimating Floyd, he has been given permission to “liquidate” the entire family if they don’t roll over for his bosses.
How this all ties into the impending visit by presidential candidate Ronald Reagan is still a mystery. The good news is that, when Reagan shows up on Fargo, he will be played by Bruce Campbell.