Television: Fargo, "The Law of Vacant Places"

We begin with an incident in Berlin, 1988: A man is seemingly wrongly accused of murdering his girlfriend, all based upon his living at a certain address. The man insists he is not the person they say he is, that he is happily married and has no girlfriend, but the cold efficiency of the State is not to be denied. He lives at said address? Then he is this man and he must have killed the girl.

Jump ahead to 2010 and to our more familiar surroundings. Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor) is a parole officer having an illegal affair with one of his parolees. They also play competitive bridge together. Ray's (twin?) brother Emmit is a successful businessman, and also the inheritor of a valuable postage stamp. Ray is still sore on this subject—he inherited a car, Emmit got the stamp, though now the car is falling apart and Ray insists Emmit used reverse psychology to dupe him. Ray therefore gets the brilliant lightbulb of an idea to send yet another parolee named Maurice (Scott McNairy) to steal the stamp. But Maurice is a pothead, loses the instructions, and robs the wrong house. In fact, he robs the police chief's stepfather's house and kills him in the process.

It can only go downhill from here. Which is pretty much the normal state of things for this show.

Meanwhile, Emmit and his business partner Sy are trying to pay back a loan they took out when beginning their business. Alas, the investor who comes to call—V. M. Varga (David Thewlis)—is not interested in money. He (and whatever larger organization he works for) wants Emmit and Sy to act as some kind of front for something shady. Emmit and Sy are understandably uncomfortable.

Maurice shows up with the wrong stamps and a gun and attempts to blackmail Ray. But Ray's girlfriend and bridge partner drops an air conditioning unit on his head. So. Yeah.

A pro forma start for the series, which isn't a bad thing. This is what they do, and they do it well. We'll see how things develop.

1 comment:

Christine Rains said...

While quirky, I'm not immediately yanked in like the previous seasons. I'll keep watching, but I hope it doesn't fizzle out for me.