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Week by Week TV: Fargo Series 3 Episode 5

Fargo is an award-winning drama inspired by the 1996 film of the same name. The show, now on its third series, was created by Noah Hawley and currently stars Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon and David Thewlis. It airs on Channel 4 at 10pm every Wednesday.

This is a continuing review. Follow the links to read the reviews of Episode 1Episode 2 and Episodes 3 & 4.

I’m officially off the bandwagon for this current series of Fargo. Episode 5 brought an element of unnecessary vileness which has put me right off. It’s a level that the show has never stooped to before, and I’m well and truly disappointed.

This we catch up with our unusually small cast of characters and the story moves along a comparatively long way in relation to the last few episodes: Gloria and her new police pal are actually cracking the case, but they’re halted by the easiest antagonist of all time – the lazy boss who thinks nothing of them; Ray and Nikki find a new way to ruin Emmit’s life, and it seems like the feud might be gaining some heat at last; Varga does some more terrorising (which isn’t all that different to normal, but he steps it up a gear).

It’s this terrorising that was the most horrible thing. It involved Sy being forced to drink Granny’s peach tea, to quote Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor (which I never thought I’d do), and there was absolutely no point to it. We already know Varga is evil. We don’t need him to lecture Sy about why he shouldn’t have “fat wife”. We don’t need him to belittle everyone even further than he already has. It’s Sherlock‘s Charles Magnussen-level pointless, and if anything Varga becomes less intimidating and more repulsive for doing it. It’s the detail that’s shown that made me react so strongly. Characters can be repulsive whilst also being fascinating, but here’s there’s no restraint from the creators – it’s sinking into cheap shock, which I thought Fargo was above.

I was particularly frustrated by the holding back of Gloria’s story as well. We’re halfway through the season now and the only way the writers can be bothered to hold her back is her boss? Come on. By this point last series, Lou had already talked to Ed and Peggy about his suspicions – granted, Gloria has also spoken to Ray, but Lou had also been dealing with the Gerhardts, and we knew him in the context of his family. Gloria has pretty much only trailed after Ennis’ past, which led to nothing, then met this other police officer by coincidence, and her son has barely been seen. Oh, and we know she doesn’t like technology. If by some stretch they’re going for the angle that female officers come up against more obstacles, we only need to look back fondly to Molly in the first series to see a much better example of it. Really, I just think the writing has gotten lazy.

So, on we go down the rabbit hole of underdeveloped new series of beloved television shows which don’t live up to the predecessor(s). What will they do to disappoint us next week, I wonder?

Fargo Series 3 Episode 5 is available to catch up on All4. Image source: Denofgeek.com