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Week by Week TV: Fargo Series 3 Episodes 3 & 4

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 1 and Episode 2.

Two more episodes have gone by since my last review but I am amazed to say that still nothing has happened. It’s the most frustrating thing about this third instalment of the Fargo saga; almost halfway through now, we’ve only just got to the point where the cop on the case links the evidence together and starts heading along the right track.

One problem is that there’s half the numbers of characters there usually is by this point. And, somewhat counter-intuitively, the more time we spend with them, the more we realise they’re not doing much. Gloria spends the entirety of Episode 3 (which is dedicated solely to her) following Ennis’ story to L.A., but it ultimately takes the case no further. It’s the most individual episode so far, featuring an animation of a robot wandering worlds and some familiar voices, but the fact that its only point appears to be to develop Gloria’s character coupled with it being so early on in a series where we’re already worried that not much is happening takes the edge off the charm.

Episode 4 saw the other characters back but similarly little happen. Varga and Emmit Stussy have the same conversation – “Take your money back” “No” “Please?” “I said no” (more or less) – as they’ve have in the first two. Ray is still going after that stamp. Oh, one thing does happen! Ray gets found out about being with Nikki. It’s solved pretty simply, though.

It still feels like we’re in the setup. Most of the characters aren’t as engaging as in previous series, and that diminishes what little tension there is. It’s not making me want to stay through the ad break to find out what happens next.

The creative team are still trying to have fun, though. Episode 4 brought back Billy Bob Thornton to do some voiceover work, narrating the story of Peter and the Wolf and attributing instruments to each character in the show. It introduces the episode, and pops up again at the end, but somehow they could’ve made more use of it throughout.

Ultimately, I hope there’s a point to all this gradual storytelling. I’m waiting for something bigger to happen, maybe even tip the series on its head. Join me next week to find out if it happens that soon.

Fargo Series 3 Episodes 3 & 4 are available to catch up on All4. Image source: Mic.com