Fargo: Welcome to the Alternate Economy
September 28, 2020 6:28 PM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

"Fargo’s fourth-season premiere, “Welcome to the Alternate Economy,” takes it further away from its geographic namesake than ever. Set primarily in Kansas City in 1950, the episode opens with a crash course on the city’s underworld history that stretches from the first years of the 20th century to its midpoint — as narrated by Ethelrida Smutney (E’myri Crutchfield), a 16-year-old who, by episode’s end, will find herself swept up in that history’s latest chapter." (vulture)
posted by ChuraChura (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Super compelling interleaving of character relationships. Great costumes (and haircuts!) again. The food feels period (and... at least in the Smutney household; not very appealing).

Not sure I've seen Chris Rock in a (mostly, "For instance there is a lot of exciting things happening these days in plastics*.") serious role.

Fan of the Ethelrida character (and actor) already.

I wonder if Jessie Buckley as Oraetta Mayflower might end up being a knockout character like Dunst in S02. Certainly written with the potential. Personally a big fan of Buckley ('Chernobyl,' haven't seen but 'Wild Rose' [2018] seems potentially interesting).

Not really seeing Schwartzman filling in as well as Jesse Plemons. Andre Bird as Thurman Smutny is an early winning character/ actor (but in a different relationship circle as Buckley/ Mayflower.

Appreciate the explicit exploration of Italians and Irish historically being treated as non-white.

I was waiting for when/ how the hijinks end up coming around.

Gas buildup can elevate the diaphragm and impair the contractility of the heart causing symptoms of cardiac arrest; compression of the vagus nerve can also cause a cascade of events leading to similar symptoms.

Liked the insert of a couple of kids shooting cap guns at each other in the park.

Thanks for reminding me that S04 of 'Fargo' ended up being a thing, ChuraChura! Super stoked for this season now.

*Credit_Card#History [wikipedia]; the history (captured elsewhere) of "Diners Club" is kind of interesting
posted by porpoise at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

These first two episodes (the second, "The Land of Talking and Killing" also aired) were really solid and an exciting start to the season. Jeff Russo is worth his weight in gold, the soundtrack and music editing is just fantastic.

I've seen a lot of speculation that Satchel Cannon will become Mike Milligan, taking Rabbi Milligan's name out of respect (or for some other reason not yet known). The timelines work out so I'm pretty convinced, though I know things are rarely that easy when it comes to Noah Hawley's shows.

I'm not really convinced by Oraetta Mayflower as a villain yet -- she seems a little.. overt? Obvious? But maybe I'm comparing her too unfavourably to the sly cleverness of Varga and Malvo. She'd better not lay a finger on Ethelrida though.
posted by fight or flight at 7:23 AM on September 29, 2020

My initial read on Oraetta is that while she's overtly unsympathetic, that's she might be playing insider baseball with the African Americans?
posted by porpoise at 8:25 AM on September 29, 2020

Oh, that's an interesting idea. I think she likely acted on what she assumed was a request by Josto at the hospital, but there is the question of why she was at the funeral home -- is she supplying them with bodies? Killing off their enemies? But that is undermined by her actions at the end of the second episode (idk if we're allowed to discuss that here). It's gonna be interesting to watch it unravel for sure.
posted by fight or flight at 11:40 AM on September 29, 2020

You can post a thread for the next episode - I just haven't watched it yet!
posted by ChuraChura at 11:58 AM on September 29, 2020

Rival gang lords trading children—is this really a thing that ever happened? (I have not been able to assemble the keywords for a search on that topic that doesn't just result in a flood of stories of contemporary gangs killing or recruiting children.)

Fictional or not, it sure doesn't seem to work as advertised.
posted by ejs at 12:00 PM on September 29, 2020

Rival gang lords trading children—is this really a thing that ever happened?

I don't know.

But -- in the middle ages rulers would sometimes enter into voluntary hostage relationships with each other. It doesn't seem like a huge stretch to map medieval politics onto gangster politics.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:56 PM on September 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Holding heirs as hostage in some form has occurred through human history from Sankin-kotai to Noblesse d'epee. Whether that has actually happened in the context of ethnicity-based organized crime, couldn't say.
posted by porpoise at 12:58 PM on September 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

I’m really glad this is back! Varga was a bit too stomach turning for me to really enjoy Season 3 but the first two are in my fave TV in recent memory and I enjoyed this one a bunch.
posted by yellowbinder at 2:54 PM on September 29, 2020

Rival gang lords trading children—is this really a thing that ever happened?

Also, the Scott Free / Orion exchange between New Genesis and Apokolips.

posted by Grangousier at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2020 [6 favorites]

I didn't catch any of the usual Coen Brothers references. Did they discontinue that in back in Season #3? I'm kind of glad if they did. This show has a life of its own now and this new season is off to a great start.
posted by cazoo at 9:53 PM on September 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

There were a few Raising Arizona references in the second episode.
posted by fight or flight at 4:59 AM on September 30, 2020

Seasons 1 and 2 of Fargo are amongst some of my favorites of all time. I could not, however, finish season 3 to save my life. This episode has made me very excited. Cant wait to see how the irish Italian plays out. I imagine he's still got some resentment towards the Faddas. I also expect some tension between he and Josto, it's got to be hard to come back to your family after 3 years, and your father allows your replacement to stay.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2020

A lot of the names are very Pynchonian (I mean, Oraetta Mayflower!), and it struck me recently that Pynchon must be a huge influence on the Coens, which is how they managed to precís Inherent Vice in The Great Lebowski while he was still writing it. Sort of.
posted by Grangousier at 2:06 AM on October 1, 2020

Seasons 1 and 2 of Fargo are amongst some of my favorites of all time. I could not, however, finish season 3 to save my life.

I got through season 1 but just barely. I acknowledge it's well produced, directed, and acted but I found it boring and dark in a way that I am just not comfortable with. I avoided season 2 because of my disappointment with season 1. Now I consider season 2 an absolute masterpiece second only to The Wire. Season 3 started slow but then it too was a masterpiece.

I'd heard that there were no more after season 3. Very pleased to have another season and so far off to a great start.
posted by juiceCake at 8:17 PM on October 4, 2020

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