Having begun watching ‘The Castle’, the penultimate episode of this thrilling second season of Fargo, I felt a sense of dread as what looked like a fifth Shrek movie unfolded before my eyes. So just imagine my sigh of relief as the book titled ‘The History of True Crime in the Mid West’ opened itself up to reveal a slightly altered version of the Fargo titles sequence! You know how it goes, ‘at the request of the survivors, the names have been changed…’
In another shaking up of the storytelling style of Fargo, this week’s episode had none other than last season’s Martin Freeman (whose unnerving dork turned baller Lester Nygaard remains one of the series’ most compelling characters) narrate the tale, as he read through a chapter that depicted the ‘Sioux Falls Massacre’ of 1979. And boy was there a lot to get through.“He was the Gerhardt’s man, or he had been until…” Hanzee Dent once again found himself to be highly pivotal to the plot, as his betrayal of the Gerhardts was revisited, and its consequences played out. We all knew he had it in for his employers, but did anyone actually expect him to kill Floyd, the show’s great matriarch?!
If you’ve seen any of this season of Fargo already, you absolutely do not need me to tell you how fantastic it all looked and sounded, although the use of both vertical and horizontal split screens was a refreshing addition to the show’s quirky cinematography. It was also critical in conveying the interrelation of each strand of the plot, doing so with a typically generous amount of off-beat flair.
As the episode entered its final act, the battle between the Gerhardts and the police, with Dent and the Blomquists half caught in the crossfire, half orchestrating the entire thing, was probably the finest fifteen minutes or so of television this year has seen. The choreography of the action itself was stunningly executed, whilst stylistically the jittering freeze-frames were a really interesting touch; that Golden Age of high quality TV isn’t over just yet.“It’s just a flying saucer, Ed, we gotta go.” Yeah, about that. Once we can get over what was easily the season’s best line yet, I don’t think a piece of dialogue has ever summarised a show better, I think we really need to talk about the great big blue spaceship that saved Lou Solverson’s life. Keen-eyed viewers will have seen the ‘WE ARE NOT ALONE’ stickers on the walls of the gas station where Hanzee Dent committed his first murder of the episode, and finally our attentions were turned back to that paranormal phenomenon that led to Rye Gerhardt’s death in the first episode.
So we have Peggy and Ed on the run, with “the Indian in pursuit” and Lou not far behind them. The Gerhardts are pretty much extinct and it looks like Betsy Solverson’s inevitable fate has finally arrived. Her dad, who we know may have the answer to the UFO mystery thanks to his hieroglyph-covered study, isn’t looking to clever himself. We have found ourselves with an incalculable amount of questions prepared as we go into the season’s finale, and blimey, the way this show has gone about its business the last few weeks, we can’t wait to see how they will be answered.