DVD Review: ‘Fargo: Season 3’

Adapting the movie Fargo into a multi-season television show is one of the stranger ideas that has come to pass in recent years. It’s also one of the most brilliant.

If you’re not familiar with the format, the show, upon which the first season was loosely based on the award-winning Coen brothers movie, tells a unique crime story each season, with a cast of colorful and often “simple” characters who do bad things. The “mini-series every season” approach also makes it easier for the show to attract top talent, with season one featuring Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, season two Kirsten Dunst and Patrick Wilson, and season three Mary Elizabeth Winstead, David Thewlis and Ewan McGregor, who plays two of the lead characters.

Season Three is another terrific entry in the series, though arguably the most outlandish. The showrunners take their time with the story, spending several episodes carefully arranging all the pieces before suddenly ramping things up and shifting the season into overdrive. Without going into much detail, the plot entails a rare stamp, two brothers who hate each other, and a seemingly innocent business deal that leads to the destruction of a company, a family, and much more.

While McGregor, who plays both a successful businessman with a full set of hair and an overweight, balding loser, straddles the line of caricature much of the show, he’s clearly having fun and embraces the zany weirdness of the Fargo series. Carrie Coon, who plays the sheriff, does a terrific job, as does Winstead, who offers up one of the most interesting characters of the season.

Thewlis, of course, is on an entirely different plane of existence, delivering one of the most sinister villains ever seen in television. He’s terrific, even if the character seems like he’s from an entirely different show.

And if there is a criticism for Fargo Season Three, it’s that the show seems to be content mashing a grounded crime story with something much bigger, and the pieces often feel like oil and water. On the flip side, Fargo relishes in being bigger than life, and the dichotomy of stories do not negatively affect the series’ overall entertainment value.

Fargo Season Three isn’t perfect, but it’s still a lot of fun and often utterly unpredictable.

The show is now available on DVD (but not Blu-ray?).

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: TV Series