‘Fargo’ : Season 5 Is Great

Thor Benander
Thor Benander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Antagonist and a father of four. He’s a lover of ancient history, Greek food, and sports. He loves to travel and thinks that if libraries were the center of American society, many things would improve overnight. You can hit him up at hilordcastleton@gmail.com.

I was a huge ‘Fargo’ fan until showrunner Noah Hawley took his love to town and split his affections between ‘Fargo’ and ‘Legion.’ The quality dipped. Hawley forgot Ron Swanson’s sage advice:

Then there was the Chris Rock season of ‘Fargo,’ which, while still objectively ‘good,’ nevertheless felt like a bit of a dip in quality from the heyday of previous seasons.

Well, I’m happy to say, in case you were on the fence: ‘Fargo’ is back and it’s fantastic. The consensus so far seems to put it back where it used to be, as must watch TV.

I remember when I first saw ‘Ted Lasso’s’ Toheeb Jimoh featured as a character on another show – I wasn’t ready for him not to be Sam Obisanya. I felt that way with Juno Temple as well, until about thirty seconds into episode one of season five. Temple so effortlessly fills her role as Dorothy “Dot” Lyon on ‘Fargo’ that you won’t connect her to ‘Ted Lasso’ even once. It’s that much of a departure and that convincing of a performance. You’ll hardly believe her Minnesota accent and then you’ll just embrace it.

This season, Jon Hamm continues his tour through prestige shows (The Morning Show) where he goes against his standard fare and plays a depraved type of bad guy. Hamm seems to be trying to exorcize something from his personal life with these choices, but I couldn’t tell you what. That, or he’s just decided to have to the time of his life and play some seriously twisted bastards. Bad guys are way more fun to play. On ‘Fargo,’ Hamm plays Sheriff Roy Tillman, whose dialogue is up there a some of the most offensive and patriarchal/theocratic nightmarespeak you’ll ever hear on television.

Jennifer Jason Leigh comes out of the gate chewing a lot of scenery but you can’t argue with the world-view of the character she inhabits. Leigh’s Lorraine Lyon is definitely doing a thing, but it makes a strange kind of sense. We don’t get many female characters like this one. When she shows you who she is: believe her the first time. She’s not exactly brimming with subtlety.

I’m a huge Dave Foley and ‘NewsRadio’ fan so seeing him in this role with Coen Brothers’ sensibilities was delightful. I bet he was absolutely delighted to get to dress like this. He plays the matriarch Lyon’s fixer, attorney Danish Graves. Danish. Graves. How’s that for a name?

This is Juno Temple’s show, plain and simple. As she goes, so will go the season. But in addition to her outstanding performance we’re treated to an Anton Chigurh level performance from Sam Spruell as Ole Munch. I’ve seen several films Spruell has been in before – ‘Taken,’ ‘K19,’ and others, but I’ve never truly noticed him before. After this season, his face will haunt my nightmares. I feel like the season kicked it up a notch when he says the word “tiger.” (You’ll see when you watch it.)

I want to talk about all the various twists and turns and the amount of holy-shit moments, but just go watch it. I can’t remember the last time I was this impatient between weekly episodes. The fourth episode just dropped on Hulu, which should give you plenty of Coen Brothers inanity to watch before the fifth ep drops on December 13th.

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