Fargo: Waiting for Dutch
October 12, 2015 11:39 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

An unexpected turn of events at a diner disrupts the lives of the citizens in a small Minnesota town.

We head back from 2006 to 1979, and after the truth is momentarily out there, we find Molly from the first season's father with quite the mess on his hands.

I wasn't ready for Chubby Todd (but then he wasn't ready for what happens himself), but as Jesse Plemons seems like a fine actor, I'm sure that'll be just fine. However, I am so very here for Conspiracy Theorist Ron Swanson.

That's a shoe alright.
posted by sparkletone (30 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh! The colour! The split-screen! The wipes! The glory of the soundtrack! I-can't-believe-it's-not-Tobey-Maguire-but-wait-it's-Kieran-Culkin!? Adorable pixie Kirsten Dunst with a dark secret! Shouting "HEY! It's that guy!" in almost every scene (Seriously did every great character actor and Australia's Own Angus Sampson drop everything to be available for this?)

I feel like I have to go back and watch it again, just to capture the full glory of the framing, every finely-honed detail - the blood and the milkshake; the ball on the end of the garage door cord bumping gently into ICBINTMBWIKC!?'s buttcrack; 'OK then.'; the mafia slideshow...
posted by prismatic7 at 2:59 AM on October 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


The show was pretty good, but I think some of those Gerhardts sounded more Canadian than Minnesotan?

Like, they showed a Tom Mulcair commercial in the middle, and it sounded the same, eh?

And I think Otto Gerhardt was actually Saul Tigh, and he's from Kirkland Lake?

Still- good show, eh?



Jeez, they don't have the dauber bingo at their Legion hall yet? Frickin' backwater, eh.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:09 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Big bonus points for using Billy Thorpe's Children of the Sun, which dates the setting to 1979, at the earliest.

Nick Offerman playing Ron Swanson's dad was pure comedy gold-plated-latinum. I really hope that wasn't a one-off scene.

The only misstep (for me) was the use of the trope of someone doing something bad (i.e. hit-and-run), and then doing more and more things to cover it up, making the situation even worse. It's a time-worn trope that requires the audience to believe these people really are that stupid. But, it wasn't a show-killer for me, which is good because that was pretty-much a lynch-pin of the story.

Other than that, I really liked this opening. There are a hell of a lot of story arcs begun in this episode. Here's hoping it doesn't get too unmanageable.

Also: My wife had Kirsten Dunst's striped top in 1979.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:23 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Loved the Close Encounters scene. I'll need to watch that again, but did those lights resolve into a lit-up sign or were they just left mysterious and unexplained?

The only misstep (for me) was the use of the trope of someone doing something bad (i.e. hit-and-run), and then doing more and more things to cover it up, making the situation even worse.

But isn't that the whole thing about Fargo? Wasn't that basically the premise of both the movie and the first season? Relatively minor crimes explode into something huge.

A great start to season 2. It really is tough to not be able to binge a show like this. You mean I have to wait a whole week to find out what happens next?
posted by bondcliff at 6:43 AM on October 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll need to watch that again, but did those lights resolve into a lit-up sign or were they just left mysterious and unexplained?

I was confused by that, too. The way the scene was shot, it almost looked like the lights in the sky resolved into the headlights of the oncoming car. Maybe, we are to infer that he was starting to hallucinate due to shock and blood loss? And, do the lights have anything to do with the shoe in the tree? Or is all of that just one big hairy McGuffin?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:48 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hmm. A great episode, but the editor sure seems hungry for attention.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:22 AM on October 13, 2015


Now this is how you start season 2 of your anthology crime series.
posted by cazoo at 8:34 AM on October 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


I enjoyed the hell out of this. I had intentionally not looked up any information on this new season just so I could go in as fresh as possible. Aside from everything people mentioned above, I thought I would list some references to other Coen Brothers films:

- the UFO as a symbol of cosmic mystery (The Man Who Wasn't There)
- Nick Offerman as the spiritual brother to Walter Sobchak (The Big Lebowski) down to slamming his fists on the table and making comparisons to struggles suffered by war heroes
- the Solverson's house having the entrance down some stairs in the middle of the frame was strongly reminiscent of the Gunderson's house layout (Fargo)
- closing song Go To Sleep You Little Baby (O Brother Where Art Thou)

There was one other one that stuck out in my mind but I wasn't writing as the show happened, choosing instead to enjoy it without distractions. This doesn't count the several pieces of dialogue that might as well have been ghost written by the Coens themselves.

Well done. I haven't enjoyed an opening episode so much since ... maybe ever.
posted by komara at 8:51 AM on October 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is probably the best season 2 opener I've seen. I want to watch it again.

I too was curious about the lights. I think they may be opening a subplot, but I can also see how they could be reflecting blood loss and confusion.

I missed half the cameos, but I love the casting. I was worried they wouldn't be able to top Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, but I dare say I like this cast better already.

Is the opening scene of Massacre At Sioux Falls going to have any relevance, or maybe it's a reference to something I missed?
posted by jaden at 12:27 PM on October 13, 2015


Reagan. Also, Lucerne MN is just outside Sioux Falls SD.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:36 PM on October 13, 2015


Reagan.

I saw Ronald Reagan in the credits, but I still don't understand how it relates to the show.

Also, Lucerne MN is just outside Sioux Falls SD.

Ah, thanks.
posted by jaden at 12:53 PM on October 13, 2015


I saw Ronald Reagan in the credits, but I still don't understand how it relates to the show.

The AV Club's review has some interesting stuff relating Reagan to Carter (seen in footage at the beginning) and how they told Americans different stories about their country - Cater pessimistically looking to the past and Reagan optimistically to the future.

Is the opening scene of Massacre At Sioux Falls going to have any relevance, or maybe it's a reference to something I missed?


I'm pretty sure this is going to have some more significance later on

And that was totally a UFO... they were real in the 70s and 80s... my local library had a whole section on them and Big Foot and The Loch Ness Monster and ghosts. I read them all as kid. All my friends did. Military Industrial Complex. That's a bit nutty though.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:56 PM on October 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Is the opening scene of Massacre At Sioux Falls going to have any relevance, or maybe it's a reference to something I missed?"

It's referenced in S01 of Fargo. I can't find good scripts online, but in S01E03 there's the following, spoken by someone (I want to say a chief of police and a deputy):

"For Christ's sake, you pulled over a stolen car and let the guy go with a warning."
"Well well, no, see it wasn't, you know, listed as stolen, you know, so and now, I checked this morning, and it's impounded, - as of yesterday, so -"
"Stop! It's goddamn Sioux Falls all over again."

And then there's this conversation between Malvo and Lou Solverson (the Lou Solverson of S02) in S01E09 where Lou says:

"Had a case once, back in '79. I'd tell you the details, but it'd sound like I made 'em up. Madness, really."
"Bodies?"
"Yes, sir. One after another. Probably, if you stacked 'em high, could've climbed to the second floor. Now, I saw something that year I ain't ever seen, before or since. I'd call it animal. Except animals only kill for food. This was-- Sioux Falls."

So yeah, it's well foreshadowed from last season.
posted by komara at 7:18 PM on October 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


Who's playing the big boss that gave the approval at the mob power point presentation?

Adam Arkin is listed in the credits on IMDB as "Hamish Broker" so it's probably him.
posted by Catblack at 9:28 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Selectric II came out long before 79 though - my mother owned the correcting model through most of the 70's - she typed thesis's, a job that probably doesn't exist now.
posted by rfs at 9:46 PM on October 13, 2015


I loved the song at the end. Also, I paused the scene where the judge is talking to the little brother to remark: "That judge lady reminds me of Joan Cusack". And there at the end who was it? Freaking Ann Cusack! I can spot a Cusack from a mile away apparently.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:48 AM on October 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, really really great start to the 2nd season. I have really high hopes for the show this season.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:50 AM on October 14, 2015


I loved all of it, but the scenes between Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst in particular were just outstanding. So much subtext in body language, facial expressions, and manner of speaking. I feel like I know so much about the dynamics of their marriage after just a few scenes.
posted by The Gooch at 8:10 AM on October 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the detailed references komara. I remember those references now that you mention them. I should watch season 1 again to fill the void of having to wait a blasted week to see the next episode.

The AV Club review was so thorough, it teased out more references and allusions than I could have imagined.

This is going to be good...
posted by jaden at 8:16 AM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wasn't ready for Chubby Todd

Surely you mean Chubby Landry?
posted by Flashman at 10:24 AM on October 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Selectric II came out long before 79 though

Yep; '71. And aside from a couple of minor functional improvements, it was mostly an aesthetic revamp of the original '61 Selectric.

And that's the joke. The Apple II, Commodore PET, and TRS-80 all came out in '77. Selectrics were still bought and sold, but used ones would start flooding the market in pretty short order as they were replaced with computers. Being the exclusive regional dealer in 1979 would likely just mean selling the most expensive Selectrics in town, if any actually got sold.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:25 AM on October 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


someone doing something bad (i.e. hit-and-run), and then doing more and more things to cover it up, making the situation even worse. It's a time-worn trope that requires the audience to believe these people really are that stupid.

At the run part of the hit and run, I immediately expected him to spend the next few episodes stuck in the windshield, as I immediately remembered that perfectly horrible story of people, really true events, being that banally, stupidly, evil.
posted by Drastic at 5:50 PM on October 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


So good. So good. The split scene where the trooper walks up to find the bloody dollar bill in the snow, with the two differing depths of field merging into one - I've never seen that done before, and it didn't feel like a stunt, it just felt right. The sound editing. The acting! This is some damn fine filmmaking right here. And what a joy to see Ted Danson being quiet and understated. And Chubby Meth Damon was terrific. So glad we recorded this so we can watch it all again. I can't remember the last time I felt that way about... well, anything. SO GOOD.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:04 PM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


And Chubby Meth Damon was terrific.

I really thought it was a Matt Damon for a half second before I remembered it was Landry. Kirsten Dunst was great, too. I'm not usually a fan of hers but she really disappears inside that character in a way I've not seen her do before.
posted by something something at 9:06 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I find it really hard to judge this episode, because there are so many different elements to it. You can tell this season is a chess game, and this episode is just the first pawn being pushed forward a space. We just don't get to see the underlying strategy to what's been done, and we won't know what to make of this episode until the whole game is done with. After the season is over, we're all going to have to go back and re-watch it again!

But: I certainly am excited. I got a lot of trust for the producers of Fargo in the first season, and this episode makes me believe they're going to live up to that trust.

Furthermore, let me just make a general note. I moved to Minnesota a bit over a year ago, and this show (and re-watching the original movie) has done so much to understand the culture, here. It's really hard for me to put a finger on it, exactly, but the show really does express something about the structure of society in Minnesota and the way that individual lives interact with that society... As an outsider, I feel like it helps me make sense of things.
posted by meese at 10:07 AM on October 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I loved & hated the judge's murder. I can't count how many times a TV show or movie will feature a cool-as-Chili-Palmer character dominating the scene: telling off a punk in an unflappable manner. I don't blame 'em---I like that trope. I wanted the judge to tell the punk to quit wasting her time so she could fix her real problem: a burnt hamburger.

But Fargo says no. Fargo says fate has a plan that will knock you on your ass, even if you think you've seen it all.
posted by Monochrome at 7:12 PM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


But Fargo says no. Fargo says fate has a plan that will knock you on your ass, even if you think you've seen it all.

I found her treatment of this D-grade, no good, shithead hassling her perfect even as it was clear from the way the show set it up that this was not going to go her way. You could tell too. On literally any other day, she would've steam-rolled the little fucker just as she did here with the bug spray and he would've gone away. But she happened to do it on the wrong day, to the wrong backed-into-a-corner fuck up and... Well, as she says, "Aw, crap."

I feel like as much as any other part of this episode, that whole sequence of events right down to the awful image of the judge's blood mixing with the milk is just... Fargo as hell, in a very promising way for what's to come.
posted by sparkletone at 3:47 AM on October 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. It's better than season 1. They got the obligatory senseless murdering idiot out of the way very quickly. Ed and Peggy Blomquist are so much more appealing and sympathetic than Lester was last season. And it's a pleasure to see Jesse Plemons in a sympathic role. I did enjoy him as Todd in Breaking Bad, but I kind of hated where that storyline ended up going. I guess we'll see what happens this time around.
posted by isthmus at 6:14 PM on October 17, 2015


Finally watched this (it's a "Stop everything and focus on it" show, and I wanted my spouse (who haaated the accents in the first ep of the first season to the point that I watched the rest of the season alone) to see it as well, and our schedules finally lined up enough to devote an hour), and oh, man, am I happy this one worked as well as any of the eps last season.

Also, I've been calling Jesse Plemons "Fat Damon" since FNL. It was only true in the face until now.
posted by Etrigan at 7:26 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


A ton of random notes on rewatch:

In the typewriter store, the contractor says to Rye, "Wait your turn, short round." Is that a Minnesota thing, or did someone accidentally reference 1984's Temple of Doom?

Intellectually I know that Dodd is the guy from Burn Notice, but I forget every time I see him. He just fades into that role.

I liked the very specific references like Pol Pot and Love Canal. They seem both very over-the-top obvious and perfectly natural for some reason. Like Xtreme Xposition. Also the measles reference!

Those recipe cards you could order! With free storage filing system! Hot Dish Flambé!

The strobe effect from the flashlight, which is another thing that could have seemed forced except flashlights totally do that thing where you have to hit them. Fucking brilliant.

Can we please talk about how great Jean Smart is? Very. She is very great.

I may have a thing for Brad Garret now?

Maybe, we are to infer that he was starting to hallucinate due to shock and blood loss?

On rewatch, that was my take.

Who's playing the big boss that gave the approval at the mob power point presentation? Not being able to pinpoint his voice is driving me insane.

Catblack is right, it is Adam Arkin, but it really sounded like John Malcovich. Arkin also played a mob boss in Justified. I like the Arkin men.

the two differing depths of field merging into one - I've never seen that done before

Me neither. The scene where Rye is driving into town to the typewriter store almost has a tilt-shift effect. And I agree, it did not feel like a stunt.

But she happened to do it on the wrong day, to the wrong backed-into-a-corner fuck up and... Well, as she says, "Aw, crap."

I think she lucked out. She took him on in her own way. If she and Rye survived the family would bring all its might down on her.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:33 PM on November 23, 2015


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