Like the two seasons that preceded it, the third iteration of Fargo shifts to a different time period and introduces a cavalcade of idiosyncratic new characters, yet delivers all the things one has come to expect from this limited series. Which is to say that season three features, among other things and no spoiler alert necessary: decent folk who make incredibly stupid decisions; dazzling directorial choices; intimidating heavies who roll in from out of town; misunderstandings that lead to serious crimes; a pinch of sci-fi (remember the UFOs in season two?); and Minnesota accents as thick as the snow that coats the perpetually frigid ground. There’s also a bunch of stuff about competitive bridge, though that’s not necessarily anything one would expect. Fargo: It can still surprise ya!
Actually, even though showrunner, writer, and sometime director Noah Hawley hasn’t significantly altered his storytelling tools, Fargo still delivers enough moments that — tiny spoiler alert that won’t make any sense until you watch episode one on Wednesday night — hit you on the head with little advance warning. The FX series, universally praised, particularly for its ambitious second season, may have developed its own set of identifiable tropes, some of them borrowed from the 1996 Coen brothers film that inspired it. But it is certainly not the sort of television one can watch and credibly call lazy, not when Hawley, his fellow writers and directors, and a cast of exceptional actors, including not just one but two Ewan McGregors, are making such carefully considered choices. Drama is easy; crime drama with dry humor and this many bumbling idiots is hard. But Fargo, unlike some of its protagonists, knows how to handle it all, no problem, you betcha.
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