'Fargo' Recap: Series Gets A Bloody Introduction In Premiere
Fargo, a small screen adaptation of the 1996 Oscar-nominated film, premiered on FX Tuesday night.
“This Is A True Story,” reads the opening credits of Fargo, "The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 2006. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred."
As the action opens, Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) is driving down a snow-coated road in the middle of the night. When he crashes into a deer, his car flips off the side of the road. There, a man who’d been stuffed in the truck makes his getaway through the snow wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and boots. Leaving the car behind him, Lorne stares menacingly at the animal that ruined his plans.
At home, amiable but hapless husband Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) gets an earful from his wife Pearl (Kelly Holden Bashar) over lunch. She compares him to his brother, Chaz (Joshua Close), who makes more money, bought his wife Kitty (Rachel Blanchard) an expensive washer-dryer and can fix things – unlike Lester. She wants him to make the big bucks, and encourages him to put some more effort into selling life insurance. Taking his wife’s advice, Lester ends up scaring away a young couple by running off a variety of ways they could meet their unexpected deaths.
Sam Hess, Pearl Bully Lester
After work, Lester is approached by his childhood bully, Sam Hess (Kevin O'Grady), as he stares at top of the line washers and dryers through the window. Sam teases him about his last name, Nygaard, and tells his sons how he used to beat him up back in school. When Lester goes to dodge a punch, he ends up slamming his face into a window.
While waiting to get seen by a doctor at the hospital, Lester winds up sitting next to Lorne. Lorne eventually engages him in conversation about his injury, and Lester tells him the whole story about Sam and what he said about his wife. Lorne says he should have killed him, to which Lester jokingly replies that Lorne can kill him for him.
While Lorne appears to be plotting his next kill, Officers Vern Thurman (Shawn Doyle) and Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) find the car Lorne had abandoned in the snow. Searching the area, they find blood and then the deer in the trunk. When the two travel farther out into the woods, they discover the man who’d been in the trunk, frozen to a tree branch.
Lorne eventually pays Sam Hess a visit at his business, where he also meets his two sons. Lorne makes fun of the younger brother’s intelligence when Sam comes to meet with him. When Sam wants to know why Lorne’s there, he says, “I just wanted to have a look at you. [looks him up and down] Okay, that’ll do it.”
Meanwhile, Lester and his wife head over to his brother Chaz’s for dinner where they learn he got a raise and a corner office. After Chaz tells Lester that his son, Gordo (Spencer Drever), might have autism, he shows him his new machine gun, which Lester drops. Enraged, Chaz cuts him down, saying his wife is through with him and that he’s ashamed to have him for a brother.
Lorne Kills Sam Hess
On the phone with someone who seems to be his boss, Lorne says that he has to take a detour. That detour was to a strip club, where Sam is busy having sex with one of the strippers. Lorne takes the opportunity to put a knife through his head. Lorne then heads to the local motor inn, where he gets a young guy who works there in trouble.
Officer Solverson has been looking into Sam Hess’s murder, and the case of the abandoned car. She realizes that the driver and the guy they found frozen were not the same person. Later on, she finds out that a guy with a head wound was talking to Lester about Sam Hess, leading her to believe that the two instances are connected.
Lester Kills His Wife
When Lester gets in to work, he learns that Sam Hess is dead. He goes into a state of shock and then ends up meeting Lorne at the motel to talk about how he killed Sam. Later, Lester is at home in the basement working on the washing machine. When his wife comes down to see how it’s going, they realize it’s even worse than what it was. His wife spews vitriol. Eventually, he has enough, picks up a hammer and bludgeons her to death.
Little does Lester know that Officer Thurman is on his way over. Thurman notices that Lester, who's cleaned up and called Lorne over to help fix his mess, is a bit on edge. Eventually, Thurman sees blood spatter on the floor, and makes Lester get on his knees while he looks down the basement and sees Lester’s wife. Then, in walks Lorne, who guns Thurman down and then seems to vanish. When Solverson gets on the scene, Lester decides to run himself into a wall down in the basement and ends up unconscious next to his wife.
As the premiere came to a close, Lester found himself in a hospital bed without handcuffs on and Lorne had threatened his way out of a ticket from Officer Gus Grimley (Colin Hanks).
Fargo airs Tuesdays on FX at 10/9c.
– Chelsea Regan