Highly irregular: ‘Fargo”s greatest WTF moments
Expected to arrive in 2020, the fourth season of FX’s Fargo will open up a new chapter from the show’s “book”: The History of True Crime in the Midwest. With three madcap, beguiling, and ingenious seasons behind it, Fargo creator Noah Hawley opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about how ideas for a fourth season are gathering pace.
It’s interesting to note Hawley also pontificated upon the idea that “on some level, there’s a good joke in the idea that the more things change, the more they stay the same,” because that’s been a recurring motif throughout all three seasons of Fargo. Though they’ve all been set across different eras of the past, their narratives still feel disarmingly timeless, held together by a gruesome thread of decaying Americana, offbeat dialogue, and jaw-dropping WTF moments.
More and more as I think about telling stories in this vein and what the original film is about, these are really American stories and stories about the American landscape, and the things that people do for money. I feel like I have a very interesting and exciting direction to go in. I’m trying to find the time to get it down on paper . . . What I can say is that it will be another period piece.
As we continue to speculate upon just what ghoulish, greedy stories Hawley has up his sleeve for us in S4, here are eleven of the most WTF moments from Fargo so far, sure to make you deadpan “oh jeez, yah” in horror and bewilderment.
Lorne Malvo meets Lester Nygaard (S1)
Martin Freeman’s shambling, neurotic pushover Nygaard suffers a chance meeting with psychotic madman Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) in a hospital waiting room. Malvo calmly encourages a flabbergasted Nygaard to kill the guy who has broken his nose and been boning his wife. Thus, a rampage of violence is immediately set in motion by two unanswered words proposed by Malvo: Yes or no?
Peggy gets stabby about good manners (S2)
Peggy Blumquist (Kirsten Dunst) is easily one of the most unhinged characters in a series full of them. Something that this particular scene highlighted with disturbing (and hilarious) clarity, as Peggy loses it over Dodd Gerhardt’s (Jeffrey Donovan) lack of manners. The solution? Forcing a kitchen knife into his chest until he learns to say thank you.
The long take massacre before the FBI (S1)
Featuring the perfectly casted Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu) as two shambolic FBI agents on a (soon to be failed) stakeout, this Fargo scene is one of the greatest the series ever achieved.
In one masterful long take, we see the two agents arguing about fast food before Malvo casually pulls out an automatic, walks into a building, and massacres everyone in it. The true genius of the scene? We follow it through sound with a sweeping camera guiding us from window to window as screams and gunshots flare out.
The recurring UFO visitations (S2)
In a truly wondrous set of magical realism sequences, UFOs show up in a number of scenes across various episodes of the second season. The third time is possibly the greatest due to the insane timing of the alien spacecraft arriving during a savage motel melee. Momentarily halting proceedings so everyone can gawp at the spaceships in awe, Peggy pulls husband Ed (Jesse Plemons) away, exclaiming, “It’s just a flying saucer, Ed! We gotta go!”
Googling V. M. Varga (S3)
Exquisitely banal, this scene was weird & extraordinary because of how utterly simple and cunning it is. Showing Irv Blumkin (Hardee T. Lineham) at odds with technology as he searches for the mysterious and terrifying V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), the scene ends with the computer taking a snap of him before shutting itself down.
The scene teased the levels of ineptitude shown by all characters while also setting up what a horror Varga is – a man willing to hunt down and kill anyone who googles him.
Malvo wants his damn mail (S1)
When a poor mail worker is tasked with explaining to an apoplectic Malvo why his mail looks to be “highly irregular,” the trigger-happy lunatic proclaims, “No, highly irregular as the time I found a foot in a toaster oven.” A fair point, well made.
Karl Weathers’s drunken cop station speech (S2)
Attorney Ron Swanson at your service! Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) offers an impeccable performance as a sozzled lawyer in this scene in which he delivers an endless patriotic speech about law, order, and justice (and all that good stuff) while reading Ed his rights.
The air conditioner kill (S3)
Parolee Nicki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and her parole office boyfriend Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor) climb out of a bathtub and into action in order to “destroy” the evidence of their criminal misdeeds. Since that evidence happens to be an actual person, the destruction involves loosening an air conditioning unit, impeccable timing, and one single kick that smashes a man’s head like a cantaloupe.
The preposterous diner massacre (S2)
There’s a good few violent montages and sequences in the second season of Fargo that could easily be on this list. However, there’s something especially ludicrous and awkward about Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin) failing to level with a judge in a diner and subsequently killing everyone in the damn place because of it.
Malvo calmly executes his girlfriend and co-workers in an elevator (S1)
The power of those words comes back into play as Malvo denies knowing who Nygaard is at a hotel bar. The two reconnect in an elevator and Malvo obscurely asks, “Is this what you want?” before pulling out a gun and dispatching his party pals one by one with a horrifying nonchalonce.
Bruce Campbell’s spot-on impression of Ronald Reagan (S2)
Look, we all love Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness). He has the best chin in the business and the greatest one-liners. But did anyone expect him to show up (and show off) as one of the most divisive presidents in political history? Not at all. But he absolutely nailed it.