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Review: Welcome back Fargo for season 2 - @SBS

ReviewSteve Molk

Angus Sampson is Bear Gerhardt
Image - supplied/SBS

The Mid-NorthWest US in the 1970's was a seemingly innocent place. A place where men were men, women worked at the hairdressing salon, and bad guys kept everything under control and out of sight.

That peace is easily shattered however as an innocent attempt at leaning on someone turns into a triple homicide, and then the gunman goes missing.

Welcome to season 2 of FARGO.

Noah Hawley again returns to helm his extension of the Coen Brother's universe, replete with all the "Minnesota nice" you can handle, and just enough violence to remind you this is no bake sale.

In this sequel that's a prequel we're back in North Dakota as there's a horrible shooting at the Waffle Hut, and local Sheriff Hank Larsson (Ted Danson) and Deputy Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) are on the case (a wonderful nod to the original series linking in a young Betsy Solverson (played in S02 by Cristin Miloti) revealing the early days of her relationship with her father, as foreshadowed in the original series).

The local crime family, the Gerhardts, come into the gaze of the Kansas City Mafia who are looking to expand and will take over the region at any cost. Otto (Michael Hogan) & Floyd (Jean Smart), along with their sons Dodd (Jeffrey Donovan), Bear (Angus Sampson) & Rye (Kieran Culkin), aren't about to let Joe Bulo (Brad Garrett) and his cronies muscle in on their territory. The Gerhardts are a strong, proud family of criminals who've always worked together. But fractures are appearing that could be their undoing.

Then there's the locals who innocently or otherwise keep the town running. Ed Blomquist (Jesse Plemons) has a dream of buying the Butcher Shop where he works and starting a family with his wife Peggy (Reece Witherspoon), but she has grander, less settled dreams. It all gets a little more complex when they're thrust into sharp focus of the competing crime gangs over a little thing that happened with their car...

Nick Offerman is Karl Weathers
Image - supplied/SBS

Fargo season 2 delivers something magical in a sequel series that is better than the first (take note True Detective - it's possible!). The style, the art direction, the soundtrack all build with incredible visuals  of a bleak Minnesotan winter and a script and cast who appear made for their roles.

These 10 episodes are stand alone so there's no need to have seen the first series - though there are some delightful payoffs for those who have. The dark humour & intrigue are enough to engage and keep you soldered to your seat week to week.

Plemons & Witherspoon are ideally cast together, as are the entire Gerhardt family. It's really easy to believe you're seeing a snapshot from the 70's that these people inhabit. Wilson is note perfect as a young Solverson - a single-minded cop, not long home from Vietnam, who has a sound sense of justice & won't be drawn by distraction.

The cast rounds out with some incredible ensemble players including Nick Offerman, Adam Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Rachel Keller, Bruce Campbell and more. Fargo is a sensory time machine made even more delightful for their inclusion.

It's a joy to return to the little wintry town of Fargo, North Dakota - as much for the warm welcome as for the criminal intrigue. The story will captivate you as the pace nudges you along as we wait/hope/beg for our heroes to solve the mystery & see justice brought to bear.

Fargo premieres Wed 21 October with episodes 1 & 2 8:30pm on SBS, then weekly at 9:30pm (fast-tracked from the US).

Hear more about the filming of Fargo from one of the stars, Angus Sampson...