We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I watch less TV than the average American, but more than a little. M*A*S*H reruns (it's on when I get home from work and it's still great television), sports, and movies. I was a regular viewer of The Sopranos and Mad Men. I never watched Breaking Bad (though I may since many people have recommended it), but I have gotten hooked on Better Call Saul. Most of this viewing has been done via binge-watching. Late at night, when nothing else is going on and I can squeeze two or three episodes in on VOD or Netflix.
Recently, the wife and I got a recommendation to watch Fargo. The original film is classic, thoroughly enjoyable. Coen brothers at their very best. I wasn't sure how telling fake 'true crimes' tales in serial format would play out. Despite my reservations, the show is fantastic. I finished the final episode of season two (because I can't get season one yet) this week and had a difficult time taking a break from viewing.
In true Coen brothers fashion, there is plenty of violence, dark humor, and outlandish twists of fate. The Coen brothers often have a theme of unstoppable and overwhelming evil running through their films. Fargo is no different, with several characters, who can only be described as psychotic, pursuing various goals. Each one meets a different end, some more surprising than others.
Without providing spoilers, there is one particular theme which caught my attention. It was mentioned early, and barely discussed until the very end. A secondary character is reading Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus for a class. This detail is brought up in conversation on occasion as the story progresses, several characters comment on the book. As the story unfolds, plot twists hint at the absurdity of life, how boring and difficult it is to live a life that only leaves you dead, without much to show for it. As you begin to think there can't be any redemption, the primary characters (the police) continue to pursue their goals, against odds that slowly stack against them.
Then the script flips. It becomes clear each character is Sisyphus, pushing their own particular boulder up a hill each day. A criminal seeking to make his boss or himself happy, a police officer engaging crime prevention and enforcement against increasing human stupidity and avarice, a mother dying of cancer trying to make life comfortable for her family, and a woman seeking personal fulfillment. Each day, they wake up and push that same rock up the hill again.
What becomes clear at the finish is the rock we all push, the thing we consider a burden, is in fact a privilege. It can be family, a job, any repetitive detail in our lives which we view with some level of disdain simply because it has to be done over and over again. Camus insinuates the reward for this seemingly useless behavior was death. Fargo alternately embraces this point in some cases, and rejects it in others. The characters point out our duties are what provide meaning and value. The show is full of death, and someday we will die. But on every other day, we will live. Living a life expecting nothing but an absurd finish is a fate for many, who don't expect much else. For others, death gave their lives meaning and highlighted what was good in the lives of those around them.
Fargo closes with a standard Coen brothers flourish. We're happy, but not completely so. Life goes on, happy enough for those we're pleased to see finish in good spirits, but it takes bizarre twists for others. Good has triumphed, but only barely, and evil continues in various, new, formats. It's not Hollywood. It's close enough to real life to relate to, but strange enough to keep your interest and make you think.
I look forward to watching the first season (no spoilers in the comments, please!).
The final few minutes, I agree, were too preachy. That whole part on communication was stupid and weird. It didn't fit into the arc of the story and it seemed forced.
The part where they tie in mythology (UFOs, Camus) with how life really is felt very right.
Agreed on the Indian. He was a wild card character, to me. I could tell he had good in him. The problem is, as he tried to turn the corner, it all came crashing down and his past forced his future. He was alternately an unstoppable evil, as well as a source of redemption. Not unlike the Milligan fellow.
And maybe I was a bit unclear (because I didn't want to engage spoilers), but the show did kind've say Camus was right, with specific characters meeting nothing other than a complete end without redemption.
But that's life, isn't it? In the show, most of those characters deserved what they got. So evil was, largely, an affirmation of Camus' view, whereas the generally 'good' people found the good in life in the midst of great disruption and death.
I thought I would enjoy the series more because it is filmed up here in Calgary, Canada, (birthplace of Ted Cruz, first Canadian President of the USA - joke, joke, calm down all of you political junkies) or nearby.
Except the bizarre twist of the UFO I liked the second season. But as mentioned already, the first was better. The bad guy and the good gal both do outstanding jobs in making their characters just right. You'll like it.