Season 3 of Fargo, FX’s hit series based on the 1996 Coen brothers film, has been peculiar—which is saying something for Fargo. We’re five episodes into the third season, so there will be SPOILERS in this article. If you haven’t caught up, or you’re new to Fargo, first of all: go watch seasons one and two. Then catch up with this season.
While each season has been its own story, and you can pick right up with season three if you’d like, it’s worth watching the first two seasons, in part, because they’re better. There’s still five episodes to go, but season three hasn’t been quite as good as the first two. That’s not to say the current season isn’t good, because the first two seasons were among the best seasons of any series in recent memory.
Season one and two were partly connected, with season two depicting events that were talked about in season one—particularly, the Sioux Falls Massacre, while following Lou Solverson, who’s in both season one and season two (played by Keith Carradine in season one, and Patrick Wilson in season two). The storytelling in the first two seasons was outstanding.
Season 3 has been good—better than most things on television—but it hasn’t quite lived up to the first two seasons. The dynamic between Ray and Emmit Stussy hasn’t been as subtle as the Gerhardt family dynamic from last season. However, Ewan McGregor has been great as both Ray and Emmit—the acting in season three has been on par with the first two.
V.M. Varga, played by David Thewlis, is probably the strangest character of the entire series so far—and that’s saying something with Lorne Malvo being one of the characters. While Malvo had no regard for human life, Varga has no regard for…anything.
Michael Stuhlbarg has done a great job as Sy Feltz—the hilarious “fixer” for Emmit Stussy that hasn’t fixed much of anything so far. Sy is among the funniest characters in the series.
The characters are great, as always. For now, though, season three feels less “Fargo” than the other two seasons. Perhaps it’s because it has no connection (yet) to past characters and storylines.
Maybe it was the episode that 99% took place in Cali that threw things off. I liked the episode (“I can help”), but it’s debatable how necessary it was. While it was good, it was the least “Fargo” of the 25 episodes in the series so far (being set in California instead of North Dakota will do that).
While there’s still snow all over the place, and it’s Christmas time, it doesn’t feel quite the same. But with five episodes to go in the third season, and things looking to be headed to a climax, that can change very quickly.
Last week’s episode felt like a turning point in the season. Not only was it the funniest episode of the season, it was a big step forward towards the story coming together. Also, the lead female, officer Gloria Burgle (played by Carrie Coon), is getting more and more involved in the story, which is a plus. The gloves are off for just about everybody at this point.
Now we just wait for the payoff.