The folks in Minnesota might be well-mannered and seemingly ordinary in Fargo, but behind the polite facades lies something more sinister, as a murder most violent kicked off the second season of the television miniseries on Monday. “Polite societies are often the most violent because people don’t know how to bend. They just break, they snap,” show creator Noah Hawley said in an interview.
It’s a premise that film-maker brothers Joel and Ethan Coen first harnessed for the 1996 film Fargo, a black comedy in which a desperate car salesman falls into a doomed sequence of events stemming from a botched kidnapping. Hawley continued the tradition of an unassuming lead entangled in a crime with FX Networks’ 10-part Fargo TV series last year, which debuted to critical praise. It swept the miniseries awards at both the Golden Globes and the Emmys.
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Season two of Fargo is set in 1979, a vague prequel to the film and first season and linked to the previous season through the character of small-town police officer Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson), father to a young Molly Solverson. It’s a way of engaging viewers of the first season who watched an older Molly Solverson (Allison Tollman) solve crimes and find love with help from her elderly father. “We know a few things that happened but it raises a larger mystery,” Hawley said. “It’s to create a sense of expectation or anticipation in the audience.”
A violent triple homicide is the catalyst for the second season, which unknowingly entangles Peggy and Ed Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons) — a young, unassuming, small-town married couple — into the dealings of an underground family-run mafia. Just like William H Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard in the Fargo movie and Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard in the first season, the Blomquists are characters who face a moral fork in the road that determines their fates.
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Peggy “just knows she wants something more, and I think she finds when she hits this guy with her car that she’s going to lose the ability to reach that, so there’s a lot of things that she does to try and stay on course,” Hawley said. That is something that is very relatable to most people, he added. “None of us want to admit that our lives have changed forever and the opportunities that we dreamed of are no longer available to us. The question then becomes, how far will you go?”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.
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