Fargo: Rhinoceros Review

Tensions boil without bubbling over on this week's Fargo. Read our review of "Rhinoceros" here...

This Fargo review contains spoilers.

Fargo Season 2 Episode 6

Fargo can do no wrong. Six weeks in, the show just continues to create memorable moments, using its wealth of distinctive characters with grace and nuance. The previous season of Fargo was pretty great too, but it never showed the restraint that this season has, the handle it seems to have on its story. Everything feels tightly choreographed. Tensions simmer till they’re scalding but never boiler over.

Now that the threads of the story are weaving together, things are getting chippy. Last week’s episode ended with Charlie and Ed taken into custody, two people that the Gerhardts want to get their hands on, albeit for different reasons. That means Lou and the boys in bl…er…maroon(?) are the only ones that stand in their way. What unfolds is a good old-fashioned Mexican standoff, and just when it seems like Bear might go berserk for his boy and the chance to brutalize Blumquist, cooler heads prevail and Carl talks him out of it.

Tonight, we got to spend some time with a few of the underutilized players of the season, like Carl, Bear, and Hank. Nick Offerman plays Carl with drunken, righteous indignation like blowhard Ignatius J. Reilly, the monologuing fool from A Confederacy of Dunces, which is fitting since Offerman is playing the character on stage in Boston. It’s been fun to watch Danson play a character with so little flare; you almost forget he’s there, in a good way. And the more time we spend with Angus Sampson’s Bear, the more that we realize that he’s the most measured Gerhardt next to Floyd and shouldn’t have to suffer Dodd’s idiocy.

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Speaking of Dodd, he continues to be a problematic character. He once again insults his daughter, tries to humiliate Bear in front of the rest of the Gerhardt men, and then when he storms the Blumquist home, the only person he manages to kill is one of his own men. Dodd has been leading the Gerhardts in all of the wrong directions and continues to alienate other members of the family, weakening the very thing that he’s trying to lead and protect. Finally, he gets his comeuppance at the hands of Peggy, who surprises Dodd with his own cattle prod.

Dodd’s alienation of his daughter Simone leads her to alert Mike and the Kansas City crew that the Gerhardt compound will be left unattended. For a moment, it seems like Mike might meet the other warring parties in Luverne and really escalate things, but instead, he marches on to the Gerhardt turf, guns ablazing, just as Floyd was questioning Simone’s loyalty. It’s not an overt cliffhanger, but it’s unsure if anyone will be revealed to be dead when we revisit next week.

Tonight’s episode was just really an exercise in building suspense. Whether it was worrying about Hank as he faced off with Dodd, wondering whether Dodd would find Peggy behind a stack of magazines in the basement, or watching Lou batten down the hatches at the police station in anticipation of a bum rush, the episode kept things tense and continually kept building toward a blow up that never quite came, and the episode is almost better for it. I’m sure we’ll get a bloody conclusion at some point, but until then, I’m happy watching verbal sparring and these characters sniffing each other out.

If the writers decided to flip things into high gear, we surely wouldn’t get scenes like tonight’s standout, the quiet little post-confession conversation that Peggy has with Hank, where she compares her decision-making after hitting Rye with her car to dream logic. Kirsten Dunst was fantastic in this exchange, adding further depth to Peggy as she laments the fact that she’s living in a relic of her husband’s past. It takes the character from just being selfish and “touched,” to being something more tragic. When the bullets really start flying, they’ll drown out exchanges like this.

I can firmly say that Fargo is the best drama of the season. The Leftovers may be more interesting, but Fargo is just pure entertainment: funny, thrilling, beautifully composed, and just the right amount of weird. The show has yet to have a misstep or beat that hasn’t worked and isn’t just indulging in violence for violence’s sake. With so much going right, and only four episodes left, what could go wrong? Hopefully nothing for us, but plenty for the characters.

Buy Fargo Season One on Blu-ray here!

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4 out of 5