Fargo: The Paradox of Intermediate Transactions
November 30, 2023 8:04 PM - Season 5, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Dot and Wayne protect their home; Roy neutralizes an obstacle; Witt suspects foul play; Gator makes a move.
posted by neilbert (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I absolutely hooted when the ‘500 years earlier’ text appeared. I’m loving the Nightmare Before Christmas references too. So far this season has impressed the hell out of me.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 11:55 PM on November 30, 2023 [6 favorites]

I miss when streaming services dumped the whole season because I feel so teased by the buildup to the attack on the house. Can't wait for Dot to Home Alone the shit out of these Dry Bandits.

Does anybody have any idea what is going on with the 500 years ago weird religious rituals and such? I have no idea what it's referencing except implying that our Nihilist has a kind of genetic memory of some terrible horror (also pretty sure people in the 16th century were able to wash their faces)
posted by dis_integration at 8:37 AM on December 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

I think you want to look at sin eaters.
posted by transient at 8:47 AM on December 1, 2023 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I liked the sin-eater stuff on basic "cool historical shit" principles but hope we don't go any further into mystical woo-woo territory. Has Fargo ever really been about that? Human foibles and horrible accidents are what define the overall franchise for me.

Which leads to my main criticism of the series so far: the unrealistic element of Dot's excuses and bizarre precautions, and the other characters' reaction to those. Sure, the show has always amped up tension, but the setup for the upcoming terribleness here feels a little forced and inauthentic. Performances are great (though Leigh's villainous rich white lady and Hamm's sheriff both feel straight out of central casting and kind of underwritten) and while the plot feels a bit like I can predict where it's going it's still twisty enough to keep me interested. Definitely in suspense for the next one.
posted by mediareport at 9:08 AM on December 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

Has Fargo ever really been about that?

Yes! It's always just at the edges and never gets explained but I'd say it's a somewhat important part to the formula.
posted by destructive cactus at 9:26 AM on December 1, 2023 [8 favorites]

I missed season 4 and it's been years since I watched the rest, so it's not an element I recall being a major part of the series, or the original film. Can you give me some examples (beyond "the universe is random and cruel and horrible shit happens by accident or freaky coincidence all the time", which is definitely part of the show's world) of mystical elements I'm forgetting about?
posted by mediareport at 9:45 AM on December 1, 2023

They fudged the MN gun laws a little bit in this episode. You should know that if you're ever being sought by the violent minions of your ex-husband, and unable to seek help from the authorities because of your own dark past, you can buy that pump-action shot gun and walk out of the store with it the same day. (You will have to wait for the assault rifle and the Desert Eagle, however.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:32 AM on December 1, 2023 [6 favorites]

Can you give me some examples (beyond "the universe is random and cruel and horrible shit happens by accident or freaky coincidence all the time", which is definitely part of the show's world) of mystical elements I'm forgetting about?

This is one of my favorite parts of the show, how they are just there, very subtle, and the characters never really talk about them. The rain of fish from season 1 and the UFOs from season 2 are the examples that come to mind for me (those are the seasons I've rewatched and am most familiar with, so hopefully someone else has the season 3 and 4 examples). This article talks about them a little: https://www.indiewire.com/features/general/fargo-ufo-meaning-explanation-noah-hawley-season-two-1201687564/
posted by odd ghost at 10:44 AM on December 1, 2023 [8 favorites]

hopefully someone else has the season 3 and 4 examples

In season 3, Ray Wise seems like he is an angel or an avatar of God or something. He offers up a kitten that is supposed to be reincarnation of one of one of the deceased characters.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:09 AM on December 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

The confrontation I'm most eager to see is when Deputy Witt Farr, currently on crutches, gets a shot at Gator Tillman (played so well by Joe Keery that is took me until this episode to realize he's the kid from Stranger Things). Twice Farr's been on the short end simply by being guileless about how shitty Gator is, but I think his eyes are open now.
I hope it's satisfying, though i do realize Dot is going to get a shot at him first. Maybe she'll put him on crutches too so it's a fair fight.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:23 PM on December 1, 2023 [4 favorites]

Oh yeah, there's a bunch of weird supernatural stuff in the Fargo TV series, not the movie, though. Man, this question just makes me want to rewatch the entire series again.

Season 1: The rain of fish, the main villain might literally be the Devil ("I haven't had a piece of pie like that since the Garden of Eden") who's manifesting the plagues of Egypt and mysteriously escaping from a basement

Season 2: The UFO sub-plot, and I think there were hints of this in season 1 when they find the weird language that her dad was obsessed with

Season 3: Gloria's inability to be seen by technology, the bowling alley afterlife and the Jewish judgement of the sins of the Cossacks, plus, there's definitely something up with David Thewliss' character - he can wipe his name off the Internet and escape out of an elevator leaving his clothes behind

Season 4: (I know this one gets dinged a lot, but it's seriously so good you guys). The haunting of the slaver sea captain, maybe the tornado (seems especially biblical, anyway)

On preview, great article there odd ghost!
posted by ssmith at 1:55 PM on December 1, 2023 [10 favorites]

Just one data point, but I really liked season 4. Season 2 is my favorite. This one seems characterized by a ton of references and homages to other films, and will demand a rewatch if it continues to be great.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:40 PM on December 1, 2023 [1 favorite]

"Wales, Kingdom of England".

I wouldn't go round saying that in Cardiff I were you.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:52 PM on December 1, 2023 [9 favorites]

What great characterization of Dot, that she’d be super comfortable about firearms but have *no clue* about waiting periods.

Her plate carrier is way too low, though. Protect your aorta! (Also, cmon with that Desert Eagle. Get a nice sensible Glock.)

Can’t wait to see what’s up with Roy’s father. Seems just peripheral enough to be the link to one of the other seasons’ criminal organizations.
posted by supercres at 4:30 PM on December 1, 2023 [3 favorites]

*no clue* about waiting periods.
she's hiding from her life in North Dakota though, right? where the laws might be different.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:52 PM on December 1, 2023

i mean i was thinking more that she’s hiding from her life where her ex husband has no problem skirting federal firearms laws.
posted by supercres at 9:05 AM on December 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

Has it been determined if Dot is Gator's mother?
posted by Marky at 9:35 PM on December 2, 2023

i’d be pretty surprised; i know it’s not the best gauge but the actors are only 3 years apart in age. *Jon Hamm* is only 21 years older than Joe Keery.

If we’re speculating on parentage, i’d say it’s more likely that Scotty is Roy’s bio kid somehow. (i can’t remember the timeline for her showing up in Minnesota.) Though on second thought i guess Lorraine would have sussed that one out.
posted by supercres at 12:46 AM on December 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

Has it been determined if Dot is Gator's mother?

IIRC it's been confirmed in dialogue at some point that Dot is in her 30's and Gator is almost certainly in his early 20's, so it's not really possible. I think he's the son of Roy's first wife (as yet unnamed, but we saw her picture on the Wall Of Wives), possibly his only son(?) which would explain why he's the golden child even though he's a complete tool.
posted by fight or flight at 4:19 AM on December 3, 2023

Yikes, the dread of the last minute or so of this episode. Things don't look good for the Tillman household.
posted by jquinby at 7:49 AM on December 4, 2023

I'm thinking Dot could be his mother? If she is 35 and had him when she was 15 then he could be 20.
posted by halehale at 2:00 PM on December 5, 2023

Chekov's sledgehammer. Ye gods.

(Also in Season 4 - not to put any of the others down, 4 is my favourite. When the other seasons were done, I was sort of wrung out and I can't bear to watch them again, but 4 I can watch over and over - there's the lodging house, where it seems the ghost of Rabbi Milligan's father is being tended to by the ghost of the jewish exchangee. It's full of spooky dread is 4).
posted by Grangousier at 3:41 PM on December 5, 2023

Please don't comment in older threads about events in later episodes. I haven't seen the latest episode yet, and while I figured the sledgehammer would come into play, the comment just above is a spoiler that could lead to a slippery slope of other spoilers. Thanks!

I am glad to hear some folks say season 4 is worth watching; I'd heard mostly negative things about it.
posted by mediareport at 4:34 AM on December 6, 2023

All of the seasons are good. For different reasons, of course. I really enjoy the head villain (Varga, played by David Thewlis) in the 3rd.
posted by kingless at 8:02 AM on December 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I enjoyed 1-3 very much but didn't have Hulu during 4's run and heard just ok things about it. I'll check it out after this one unfolds.
posted by mediareport at 11:24 AM on December 6, 2023

It took me until this ep to clock Joe Kerry too!
posted by Pronoiac at 7:34 PM on December 24, 2023

I miss when streaming services dumped the whole season because I feel so teased by the buildup to the attack on the house.

This is FX and actually showing one episode per week, watchable live with cable or satellite. Hulu is the streaming service for FX, which is why it shows up there. I'm really glad that Hulu is almost live and doesn't wait for the season to be entirely finished plus a few months, like with the weekly shows that make it over to Netflix.

Personally, for very good shows like this, I like to take my time with it. To think and ponder and guess and read everything I can get my hands on. If I watch the entire series in a day/weekend, then its done so quickly I dont feel like I can really enjoy it to the fullest.

Bad shows though....yes please lets get this over with quickly without too much thought.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:43 PM on January 1

(coming late to this party, I just started this season.)

Has Fargo ever really been about that?

The thing I love so much about this show, besides the fact that it's just great storytelling, is that it's not really only taking Fargo (the movie) for it's starting point. It's taking the entirety of the Coen Brothers works. This season, they have Jennifer Jason Leigh, who starred in Hudsucker Proxy, doing basically the same accent. She's the only character who doesn't have that midwestern accent. But the big one for me was revealed in this ep.

I have always argued that Anton Chighur from No Country for Old Men isn't really a human, he's some kind of force of nature. He is able to disappear, he has no real motivation. He is more like the whale in Moby Dick. I'm probably not the only person to think this. It's not like Cormac McCarthy has never played with this idea before (cf Judge Holden in Blood Meridian.)

And now, finally, we get that character in this series: a character who appears to be immortal, or incapable of dying via natural causes at least, whose purpose is less constrained and more base (in all senses of the word) than regular folk.

I frigging love this show.
posted by nushustu at 1:44 PM on January 20

The sin eater stuff was interesting in and of itself but was not tied into the tone of the show or the logic of the plot in any way I found palatable. Huge derail.

I can see what they were going for, but it 100% didn't work for me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:04 PM on January 22

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