Credit: FX

Okay, so Fargo, the movie from Joel and Ethan Cohen, is great, right? What about a series not based on the movie but more inspired by it. That should be terrible. Except the early buzz is that it’s not terrible. To the contrary, the series which starts on April 15 on FX, is good, very, very good.

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Fargo Season Two

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Admit it. You didn’t think there was any way that season one of Fargo would be any good. You thought it was a terrible idea that wouldn’t work, but it did work. Now the question is, can they do it again or will this series go the way that True Detective did in its second season? (I’m required to compare the two series as they are both anthologies.)

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Fargo Buridan’s Ass

Credit: FX

There was a lot that happened in “Buridan’s Ass”, including the snow storm that had been spoken of in a number of recent episodes. It’s still not clear how things are going to be resolved in the various storylines, although some stories were resolved this week (Don, Numbers, Semenko, Dmitri). But while it was an episode filled with incident, I am bereft over Gus shooting Molly.

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Fargo The Six Ungraspables

Credit: FX

There is only one character in Fargo who is doing exactly what he wants to do and that is Lorne Malvo. Malvo is not concerned about what other people want or how they feel about it. Instead he is moving steadily through the world, causing chaos for his own enjoyment, and if he ends up a million bucks richer then all the better. And Malvo’s focus is why he has been largely unopposed so far.

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Fargo Eating the Blame

Credit: FX

The opening of “Eating the Blame” demonstrates that not only does Fargo the TV series share the same setting and sensibility as the movie, it takes place in the same universe. The episode starts with a flashback to Stavros Milos and his family in 1987, out of gas on the side of the road in the snowy nothingness of Minnesota. There is little to distinguish the location; miles of snow in every direction, a barbed-wire fence running along the road. Nothing to distinguish the place where they stopped except for a red-handled scraper stuck in the snow. Those of us who have seen the movie know what Stavros is going to find buried below the scraper.

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Fargo A Muddy Road

Credit: FX

The most interesting thing about Lorne Malvo is that he doesn’t seem to worry about the consequences of getting caught, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the possibility of getting caught doesn’t occur to him. “A Muddy Road” opens with Malvo entering an office building in daylight and dragging a man from the office by his tie. He is seen by a number of people doing this, and none try to stop him, and he is captured on security cameras, and does nothing to hide his face. Malvo knows that people are not used to dealing with such brazen evil.

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Fargo The Rooster Prince

Credit: FX

The second episode of a series is always interesting. The first episode, the pilot, is often the result of months if not years of work, of someone writing a script with little to no hope that it will ever be read by a person in a position to greenlight it, much less have the script produced. Everything has to go into that script and the resulting episode; it has to be the template for the series going forward, to lay out the major plots and promise that what is to come will be at least as interesting as what we’ve just seen. The second episode of a series is when the writer and the cast and rest of the crew attempt to deliver on that promise.

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Fargo The Crocodile’s Dilemma

Credit: FX

Like probably every fan of the Coen Brothers’ movie Fargo, I was apprehensive about a TV series inspired by the movie. I felt somewhat better when I read that series creator Noah Hawley wrote the pilot on his own and the Coens got involved only after they read the script and liked it. This made it seem less like a cash-grab and more like a case of someone’s inspired love making something interesting. The good news is that based on the first episode, “The Crocodile’s Dilemma”, Hawley has made a series that echoes the movie and feels inspired in the best way, but is not slavishly devoted to its source.

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