Fargo Season 5: Come for the Hamm, Stay for the Tiger

Orly Minazad
Orly Minazad is a freelance writer and regrets it every day of her life. She moved to the States from Iran in 1991 with her family seeking better opportunities only to waste them earning a Masters in Professional Writing degree from USC which no longer exists, cost a lot of money, and for which she has nothing to show. No, she is not bitter at all. Why do you ask? Oh, you didn’t, ok. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles where she spends the day loading and unloading the dishwasher.

This is our second season five Fargo piece because it’s that good.

You can go to Thor’s if you want a concise and coherent take, but stay with me if you’re more into reading a confusing account of the season as a result of what I’m sure is my undiagnosed and untreated case of ADHD. Also a lot of spoilers here.

Don’t be discouraged if Fargo was never on your to-watch list. It has never been on my to-watch list and I don’t even know if I’ll watch any of the other seasons. What I remember about the movie – which is not much – is that it’s very snowy and cold, and just one of those moody films that white men who hunt love to watch. (There’s no valid basis for this. Just vibes). I only like snowy movies if they take place during Christmas and two beautiful people – one royal – fall in love despite all the odds.

Anyway, I may or may not have actually seen the original Fargo, is what I’m saying. Which is probably why I took the disclaimer about it being a “true story” seriously. But believe it or not, there was no 500-year-old European immortal sin eater called Munch spending his days exacting Biblical revenge in Minnesota in 2019.

I shouldn’t have liked this show as much as I did. One reason, like I mentioned before, is the snow. Also there are a lot of cliches; the billionaire Lorraine Lyon (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who talks like she’s very bored all the time and may or may not be having an affair with her pirate lawyer. That whole FBI vs local cops thing that’s in every movie. Please fight about whose case it is off screen. We’re just trying to follow a story here. And the absolute worst thing in this season was dedicating a whole episode to a dream sequence. I’d never felt more betrayed in my life than sitting through a puppet show at Linda’s Camp Utopia only to find out it was all a dream.

But even with all this, I was hooked.

I’ll keep it real, I wanted to watch Fargo because of the beautiful Jon Hamm, who reprised his role as the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne from Netflix’s comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where he kidnaps girls, forces them into marriage, and keeps them in a bunker for years. When it comes time for him to face justice in court, no one takes his crimes seriously because he’s so handsome and charming. (Shout out to Tina Fey, who always casts him as a hot idiot.)

Except in Fargo, his Bible-thumping, kidnapping, and forced marriage to young girls is not funny. He plays Roy Tillman, a villainous Sheriff and even more abusive husband and father, who thinks he’s the law of the land and, like Munch, takes the Bible very literally. Or as literally as is convenient for him.

So when he finds out his second wife, played by Juno Temple, whom he married when she was 17, is still alive, he tries to kidnap her and bring her back. Not sure what he was expecting after he brings her back, but she’s his “property” and he’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it. Spoiler alert, when he got to that “bridge” he decided to kill her so I’m not sure why he went through all that trouble to get her in the first place.

I’m telling you guys, the snow and cold puts everyone on edge. There’s nothing fun to do and you gotta figure out ways to entertain yourself, which I guess in his case is murdering his sort of ex-wife. In his defense, it’s cold and rainy here in LA and I too am feeling a little anxious, bored and homicidal.

Juno Temple, who plays the battered wife Dorothy Lyon, threw some people off, but I was excited to see her be as un-Keeley as possible because the last season of Ted Lasso was a disaster and I needed to wash that taste out of my mouth. I was glad to see her redeeming herself in a role where yes, another Roy was ruining her life, but this time she at least gets to shoot this Roy in the stomach. And in between, she burns someone’s face off and slices the immortal hit man with ice skates.

Of course some characters were just trying to do their normal jobs. Like Deputy Witt Farr, played by Lamorne Morris, who New Girl fans will recognize as Officer Winston Bishop. He is just too wholesome and loveable and nice so you just know he’s going to die. And just like Winston, he loves his cat. As much as Morris nailed this role, it was hard not to be worried about him getting back home safely to Jess, Nick, and Schmidt and unwinding in the tub him and Jess built on the roof. But that doesn’t happen. He dies. I’m telling you this again for your own good before you get too attached to him like I did.

Let’s not forget Gator, the Sheriff’s son. Yes, he’s a trigger happy Neo Nazi whose whole existence revolves around winning over his narcissistic, abusive father’s love, even if that means committing murder. But I have a soft spot for Gator. And it’s not because he’s played by Joe Keery, the sweet Steve Harrington from Stranger Things. He is just another one of Sheriff Tillman’s victims and I believe getting both his eyes gouged out before turning in his father to the police redeems him a little. Poor guy, all he wants is his stepmom whom he helped kidnap to come visit him in jail with oatmeal raisin cookies. He’s not asking for much.

And then there’s the ending none of us saw coming. This deserves its own post but I don’t have the strength nor do I know what the fuck was going on to really dive into it. And having been traumatized earlier by the puppet show dream, I thought they were playing another trick on me. But no, Munch really came to visit Dorothy in her home claiming him and “the tiger” had a fight to finish. After a very intense, awkward but also hilarious exchange, this very dark, mystical superhuman who comes to murder Dot not only doesn’t murder her, but is released of all his homicidal tendencies after she gives him some carbs. Turns out, he was just hangry these past 500 years.

No notes.

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