(Spoiler alert: Please don’t read on if you haven’t watched Wednesday’s premiere of “Fargo”)
Noah Hawley’s “Fargo” goes to its darkest and most cynical place yet with the third installment.
A new collection of characters living in the frigid tundra of Minnesota are introduced in the Season 3 premiere episode, and they’re already much further down the road to villainy than any of their predecessors.
Ewan McGregor plays twins Emmit and Ray Stussy, but there is no good twin vs. bad twin here, they’re both pretty bad people — and are both already breaking the law by the end of the season premiere.
Ray believes Emmit screwed him out of his rightful inheritance, and has a much worse life for it. Ray works as a parole officer, but he’s immediately revealed to be in a (forbidden) relationship with one of his parolees, Nikki (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and then proceeds to blackmail another parolee Maurice (Scoot McNairy) into robbing his brother.
Maurice is kind of a numbskull though, one who’s high all the time, then robs the wrong house, killing an old man who turns out to be the father of Gloria (Carrie Coon) the sheriff in town and the only truly good and morally-upright person in Season 3’s sea of murky morals and criminal behavior. But even she was recently removed from her post for reasons still mysterious.
When Maurice threatens to spill everything, Nikki springs into action and murders him by dropping an air conditioning unit on his head in the episode’s most gory moment. It’s a calculated, cold-blooded move, and when Nikki and Ray celebrate with a kiss and an escape plan, we are reminded immediately that we are a far cry from the bumbling accidental murderers played by Martin Freeman in Season 1 and Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst in Season 2.
Meanwhile, Emmit, the more successful of the Stussy twins, has his own shady dealings, though they are of the decidedly more white collar variety.
Having secured a loan from a shady business, he and his “lawyer” Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) are confronted by a mysterious and mysterious accented visitor, identifying himself as V.M. Varga (David Thewlis). As Emmit tries to pay back the loan now that his business is back in the black, Varga quickly throws water on that attempt to sever ties.
“Investment,” he says. It wasn’t a loan but an investment, and Emmit is confusing the words “singularity” and “continuity” and that what he thinks is an ending is actually a beginning. It’s quite a speech that demonstrates showrunner Noah Hawley’s immense talent as a writer and storyteller, and sets up the rest of the season nicely.
One can only guess how dark things will get this season when the characters are already so far down the rabbit hole, but we’re certainly riveted.
“Fargo” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.