Fargo is a crime drama – black comedy anthology series from FX. The series is inspired by the Fargo movie (1996), which was directed by the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan). The Coens’ film oeuvre is a heavy influence on the tv series. Each season is different with very minor overlaps. Fargo Season 4 is set in 1950 Kansas City, Missouri. The latest series revolves around two crime families – one African-American and the other, Italian – struggling for supremacy.
The African-American gang is led by Loy Cannon (Chris Rock) and the mafia is led by Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman). The first two episodes also feature characters from outside these families. Nurse Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley) and young student Ethelrida Pearl Smutney (E’myri Crutchfield) figure prominently as well. Though at this point it’s not clear how their stories will intersect with the gangster feud.
Typically, the plot is unconventional and twists to keep the audience guessing. Nurse Mayflower, for example, causes the death of the Fadda patriarch in the first episode. The hospital subsequently fires her for her suspiciously criminal behaviour.
In the second episode we are introduced to a pair of escaped jailbirds. This recalls the Coens’ Raising Arizona. One of which is Ethelrida’s aunt, which by the end of that episode will prove consequential to her family. Her family is also in debt to Cannon’s gang and surely that connection will have a significant impact as well.
Certainly, there is a strong underlying theme concerning racial issues in Fargo Season 4. Historically, the powers-that-be have excluded the Italians and the African-Americans from full social participation. Thus, they have to fight each other over the right to take what has been denied them, because of their race.
Then, there are the quirky fringe individuals. In this case, Nurse Mayflower and Ethelrida, whose role in the scheme of things remains to be seen. I anticipate that their actions will be integral to the plot in surprising ways. I am looking forward to that.
All told, an intriguing two episodes that bode well for the series to come, with 9 episodes to go. Recommended.
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